God, Christianity, and the Human Future
November 6–7, 2015
Calling “God” a “problem” does not mean that God is problematic. It means that the question of God has no easy answer. Throughout Christianity, God questions have most often been about how the world works. What do we mean by God today? Has God any value for humanity? What about Christianity? In a significant departure from traditional emphases on beliefs concerning Jesus and the confession of creeds, modern scholarship talks about Christianity as an attitude. What does that mean? And is religion an inevitable part of the human experience? In what ways does religion challenge and change humanity? Thomas Sheehan and Jeffrey Robbins will explore these and other timely questions about religion, Christianity, and God.
Thomas Sheehan is Professor, Department of Religious Studies, at Stanford University, and the author of many books including Making Sense of Heidegger (2014), Becoming Heidegger (rev. 2011), and The First Coming (1986). Sheehan's interests in biblical history and exegesis include first-century Christianity and early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic.
Jeffrey W. Robbins is Chair and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College, where he also serves as the director of the American Studies program and the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Awarded the Thomas Rhys Vickroy Award for Outstanding Teaching at LVC in 2005, Robbins is the author or editor of eight books, including the forthcoming Radical Theology: A Theological Method for Change.
The New Problem of God
Calling “God” a “problem” does not mean that God is problematic. It means that God is a question with no easy answer. Throughout Christianity, God questions have most often been about how the world works. The solutions came through revelation, doctrine, and the witness of the Bible. In the modern era, these solutions have become dysfunctional. Does this dysfunction cancel questions about God or revitalize them? What do we mean by God today? Has God any value for humanity? (Jeffrey Robbins)
Friday evening, 7:30–9 p.m.
The Human Future with Christianity I
Like any other world religion, Christianity can be understood as an attitude toward the world, but this way of thinking about Christianity marks a significant departure from the traditional emphasis on beliefs concerning Jesus and the confession of creeds. What does it mean to talk about Christianity as an attitude? How might this insight challenge or change Christianity? In a world where the popular face of Christianity is often reduced to fundamentalism, is there a substantially new way to think about the value of Christianity for the future of humanity? (Thomas Sheehan)
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
The Human Future with Christianity II
A continuation of the explorations of Session I. (Jeffrey Robbins)
Saturday, 11 a.m.–noon
The Human Future with Religion
The word “religion” holds many connotations. It can refer to a specific tradition, but it can also describe an attitude toward the world, like consumerism. To speak of the human future with religion is to call into question an attitude or orientation toward the world. This raises the question, is religion an inevitable part of the human experience? Further, in what ways does “religion” challenge and change humanity? Is it possible to distinguish between forms of religion that help humanity from those forms that are detrimental to the human spirit? (Thomas Sheehan and Jeffery Robbins)
Saturday, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Questions and Answers
Thomas Sheehan and Jeffery Robbins
Saturday, 3–4 p.m.
Southminster Presbyterian Church
Local Contact and Information
All events at:
Southminster Presbyterian Church
12250 SW Denney Rd.
Beaverton, OR 97008
For local information, contact:
- Individual Rate $75
- Pre-registration Rate (by Oct 23rd) $60
- Additional Family Members $50
- Friday Evening Lecture $20
- Saturday Morning Workshop $30
- Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30
Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.