Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
At each session, Seminarian Daniel Johann will give a presentation followed by a guided discussion on some of the top theological issues of the day. Morning and evening sessions are the same.
- June 3rd - On the Benefit of Dragons - The problem of theodicy is one of the bastions of atheism: If there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God, then why is the world full of suffering and evil? The Catholic answer, avoiding both cynicism and blind optimism, must recognize the reality and seriousness of suffering while professing the perfect love, justice and goodness of the Creator. Our class will discuss how this is done .
- June 10th - Creation and Science - The relationship between science and religion is all-too-often stylized as one defined by opposition and contradiction (usually by people who lack proper understanding of both); but nothing could be further from the Catholic view. Prominent points of contention are the theory of evolution and physical cosmology as they relate to the creation narratives in the Bible, and a focus of our class will be on these topics.
- June 17th - Islam - Islam is the world’s second largest religion and closely related to Christianity. Due to the emergence of international terrorism founded on Islamic fundamentalism, many Christians today, especially in America, meet Islam with fear, distrust or animosity. A better understanding of the religion’s central tenets, its different sects and denominations, and its history can lead to a more balanced (and charitable) assessment.
- June 24th - The Natural and the Supernatural - How does God interact with his creation? If he is omnipotent, are there really any causes but him? Do miracles destroy the laws of nature? Does grace destroy free will? The class will discuss these and related issues at the intersection of science and faith.
- July 1st - Religions of India (Hinduism and Buddhism) - The world’s third and fourth largest religions were born in India long before the arrival of Christianity. In the guise of New Age spirituality about reincarnation and fashionable trends in lifestyle and health such as yoga, some of their ideas have arrived in the West – but usually only as an almost unrecognizable caricature of the original Indian wisdom. Our class will discuss what these religions really teach, what they have in common with our faith and where the great differences lie.
- July 8th - On the (Un)Reasonableness of Atheism - Atheism is as old as human civilization, but in our own time it has become more wide-spread and more virulent than ever before. The class will discuss the main arguments for and against atheism, the different varieties of unbelief, and the central misunderstandings about reason and science that lie at the core of the so-called New Atheist movement.