How The Right is Wrong: Understanding and Overcoming Fundamentalism
November 8-9, 2019 Beaverton, Oregon
This multi-disciplinary event will provide an analysis of and response to Christian fundamentalism and draw on work on the religious engagement of climate science, the religious decline among millennials in North America, comparative religious studies, and religious pluralism and spiritual practice.
Mary L. Keller (Ph.D., Syracuse University) is a historian of religion who works at the intersection of feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and Indigenous studies theory in order to study the relationship of religious lives to struggles for meaning and power. She teaches Introduction to World Religions, African Spirits in the New World, African American Religious Culture, Gilgamesh to the Bomb to Climate Change, and a field course on Heart Mountain. Keller emphasizes the geographical, historical and social context in which religious lives are embedded and then focuses on questions of personhood within religious traditions. Current research examines the role of sacred land in a world of global capital, money and agency, recent developments in theory and method in the study of spirit possession, and the religious dimensions of climate change.
Michael Zbaraschuk (Ph.D. The Claremont Graduate University) is an Associate Professor of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He received his M.A. in 1998 and his Ph.D. in 2002, both from The Claremont Graduate University, and both specializing in the philosophy of religion and theology. His research interests include process theology, radical theology, constructive theology, religious pluralism, and millennials and religion (especially their declining interest in it). He has led study tours to southern Mexico and is investigating religious diversity there. His latest research project is conceptualizing a theoretical explanation of religious decline in millennials across north America, including Canada, the USA, and Mexico.
How the Right is Wrong on the Theological Dimensions of Climate Science
Mary Keller will discuss how weather has always been interpreted in religious discourses from a comparative and Christian framework (Zeus, Thor, Thunderbird, Biblical Floods), then lead us through a brief slide show of recent abrupt climate crisis events that are established scientifically in relation to global warming, and discuss the profound theological journey ahead as humans reorient themselves in relation to the Creation in the accelerating volatility of crises that humans have unleashed in their use of fossil fuels.
Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm
How the Right is Wrong for Millennials
Michael Zbaraschuk will present new research on religious decline among millennials and why so many of them are moving away from Christian fundamentalism.
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am
Re-Orienting Right and Wrong
Mary Keller will offer a new perspective for thinking beyond the dichotomy of right and wrong drawing from contemporary ideas in the comparative study of religion regarding the ways that religious horizons can open one toward uncertainty, or, in the case of religious fundamentalism, close horizons in a circling of the wagons which inevitably leads to fearful reaction toward the changing world that one is encountering. She will make the case that all humans navigate across their landscapes by drawing from three points of reference (where did I come from, what is the right step to take next, and what is the significance of my death for my community). With this insight from the comparative study of religion, people may experience greater agility and even courage as they face radical difference.
Saturday, 11 am – noon
Ways to Talk Beyond Right and Wrong
Michael Zbaraschuk will open up a toolbox of ways to talk with the Christian fundamentalist in your life. He will offer strategies for talking about the Bible, talking about the place of Christianity in the larger world of religious practice, and the role of spiritual life in engaging with fundamentalism.
Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm
Discussion (Q&A): Saturday, 3–4 pm
Southminster Presbyterian Church
Local Contact and Information
All events at:
Southminster Presbyterian Church
12250 SW Denney Rd.
Beaverton, OR 97008