2 p.m., Monday-Friday, Hall of Philosophy
The Interfaith Lecture Series is designed to present issues that impact the lived experience of everyday life from theological, religious, spiritual, ethical, and humanitarian perspectives.
Week One :: June 24–July 1
Inventing God? A Brief History of Religions
The search for meaning and imagining the Source of Life are among the hallmarks of being human. Calling this Source by many names in different ages and among all peoples has inspired ever-evolving ways of knowing and experiencing It, including looking within ourselves. In this week we will consider both the traditional and the newer ways that the religious imagination has conceptualized our experience of the Holy.
Week Two :: July 1–July 8
Celebrating the Genius and Soul of a Nation
Alexis de Tocqueville said, "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." Today, global and national events challenge us to initiate introspection, self-analysis, and repair, all while celebrating the greatness of our democracy. In this week of observing our nation’s birthday we will seek to discern the genius and soul of the nation, and ask how they may be authentically embodied and celebrated.
Week Three :: July 8–15
Crisis of Faith?
For decades, Chautauqua Institution has brought people of different faiths – and no faith – together for civil, enlightening dialogue. Building on that work, this week we dive even deeper into questions of identity, religion and community. Major research organizations such as Pew Research Center and PRRI report that religions are undergoing dramatic change: a decline in mainstream Christianity and practicing Judaism, demographic shifts pointing toward a growing Muslim population, and more young people than ever who claim no affiliation with any organized religion. Some detect crisis amidst these changes, but in this week we look to the possibilities. What impacts do shifting religious norms mean for other aspects of public life? How are churches reinventing themselves as moral centers of the communities they serve? Together, we imagine the future of faith and of religion as we have come to know it.
Week Four :: July 15–22
Religion and Statecraft Today: The Soft Power of Global Peacemaking
Across the global community a shared consciousness is arising that can guide us towards a sustainable, healthy, and peaceful earth for humans and for all living beings. Increasingly, interfaith traditions are promoting new paradigms for conflict transformation, understanding, and collaboration through promising practices, rituals, visions, and ideals. In this we week will learn from organizations and individuals who are exploring and practicing these emerging paradigms for global peacemaking, reconciliation, and enhancing the quality of life.
Week Five :: July 22–29
The Supreme Court and Religious Communities: Holding America Accountable?
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that “The conscience of the country must be both the Supreme Court and the Religious Communities.” How are these, as well as other civil entities, informing the moral compass of the nation today? In this week we will seek to discern how our social conscience is faring.
Week Six :: July – Aug. 5
The Spiritual Power of Humor
Many religions tell stories in which ‘the gods laughed.’ In the Hebrew Scriptures Abraham and Sarah named their only son Isaac – meaning ‘she or he laughs,’ because of Sarah’s improbable advanced age to be giving birth – and Buddhism often depicts the Buddha laughing. In this week we will look at the power of humor to create in-sight and healing of the spirit.
Week Seven :: Aug. 5–12
Spirituality in an Age of Anxiety
Theologians have begun calling the time in which we are living ‘The Age of Anxiety,’ and describing an immersion in an ocean of fear and insecurity. In this week we will strive to identify the presenting causes of anxiety in our times, and in previous times, and to discern what secularists, religions, and spiritual modalities can offer as antidotes.
Week Eight :: Aug. 12–19
Media, News, and Ethics in the Digital Age
The world community now experiences a 24/7 barrage of news and information that penetrates all aspects of the world’s culture – indeed, that not only shapes commerce, consumerism, and world affairs, but also permeates the private sphere. What are the ethical obligations of information consumers? Of the community? What are the ethics of reporting and advocacy? How does the citizen discern truth and make ethical choices in the face of Big Data and big distortions? In this week we will ask how to stay afloat in the flood of information-overload.
Week Nine :: Aug. 19–27
Food and Faith
Eating is essential for life, but it is so much more. All cultures have developed rituals around food and eating that shape the life patterns and rhythms of family and communal life, and religions also utilize food for spiritual nourishment in sacred meals, religious dictums for self-discipline, and for the formation of communal identity. This week will be a rich and full exploration into the relationship between food and faith.