The Veritas Forum
Summary: How can we mend a broken world? How should we seek justice? What is the good life? The Veritas Forum helps students and faculty ask life's hardest questions. Many of the world's leading universities were founded to answer the big "why" questions. Our mission is to help them confront these questions anew. Learn more at veritas.org
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In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries named ‘post-truth’ the international word of the year, leading the Washington Post to declare that “truth is dead.” But, as author and social critic Os Guinness argues, “Without truth, there is no freedom." Guinness sees the fallout of the ‘post-truth’ era as the consequence of seeking freedom with no strings attached. At a Veritas Forum from Berkeley last week, Guinness offers a vision of truth that leads to real freedom.
From the Crusades to the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Christianity’s relationship to violence is troubling. How can we make sense of Jesus's call to "love your enemies” when so much violence has been committed in his name? Yale theologian Miroslav Volf believes that blaming religion for violence ignores the larger problem. At a Veritas Forum from UC Santa Barbara, Volf explores the relationship between God, religion, and violence.
The data says we’re lying to each other about a third of the time. Philosopher Christian Miller thinks that number is actually higher. After years of researching hundreds of psychological studies that put people’s character to the test, Christian concluded that a gap exists between how good we should be and how good we actually are. On our latest podcast episode, we sit down with Christian to discuss his latest book, The Character Gap, and what we can do to become better people.
Some say that claiming to know God or truth is too exclusive in a pluralistic society and too divisive in a free democratic one. People who hold such exclusive beliefs, they say, tend to impose them on others and oppress those who disagree. How can Christians, then, justify their faith that says Jesus is the one true way to God? Can they fit in and operate in a free society? Some say Christianity and the pursuit of a peaceful world are incompatible. "I don't agree with that at all," says Tim Keller at a Veritas Forum from UC Berkeley.
Are we more than our biology? At a Veritas Forum from Cornell, Praveen Sethupathy (Cornell) and Roald Hoffmann (Cornell) explore how genetics influences how we think about personal identity and what, if anything, is beyond the scope of science.
As the wounds of racial injustice--old and new--continue to grip America, where can we find healing? At a Veritas Forum from Claremont, Andra Gillespie (Emory), and Sumun Pendakur (USC) discuss the intersection of race, faith, and reconciliation.
When Mary Poplin met Mother Teresa, Poplin was looking to understand Mother Teresa’s work in purely secular terms. But the life of this mystifying nun refused such categorization. When Poplin returned from India, she realized that a secular telling of Mother Teresa’s story would radically distort the reality of her life. At a Veritas Forum from the University of Michigan, Poplin recounts her formative time in Calcutta and her dreams for a more inclusive Academy.
The project of pluralism promises inclusiveness, tolerance, and peace, but it rarely satisfies. At a Veritas Forum from Harvard, Diana Eck (Harvard) and Vinoth Ramachandra (IFES) discuss the nature of pluralism and the challenges that keep us from genuine dialogue. How can we maintain our deepest core beliefs while also engaging with the beliefs of others?
The practice of medicine is intrinsically tied to what it means to be human. How do we care for people, especially at the most critical moments of their lives? At a Veritas Forum from the USC School of Medicine, Ray Barfield (Duke) and Ankit Shah (USC) examine questions of medical ethics as a vehicle to the larger questions of worldview and meaning.
As we continue to wrestle with the reality of a changing climate, Wendell Berry’s invocation—”Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts”—is a great challenge. At a Veritas Forum in 2016, Dorothy Boorse (Gordon College) and John Nolt (University of Tennessee) discussed the nature of climate change and the hope that can guide our action.
Beethoven’s presence and music still looms in our modern imagination, but we rarely think about the man behind the music. Mia Chung, a world-renowned pianist at the Curtis Institute, says that, in order to appreciate Beethoven’s genius, we must examine his relationship with suffering and faith. In this performance-presentation from Veritas at the University of Michigan, Chung explores the richness of Beethoven’s inner life.
In the modern age, skepticism is often equated with intelligence. But is there room for belief in the contemporary mind? At a Veritas Forum from Claremont, the late philosopher Dallas Willard discusses both the dangers and benefits of doubt in our society.
The line between science fiction and reality grows increasingly thin as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prominent. While some fear an impending robot apocalypse, others wonder what this new technology means for everyday life. At a recent Veritas Forum at Brown University, Rosalind Picard (MIT) and Michael Littman (Brown) discussed the implications of AI for our understanding of what it means to be human.
Dr. Francis Collins, world-renowned geneticist, physician, and Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is uniquely positioned at the intersection of science and faith. Formerly an atheist, his New York Times best-selling book, The Language of God, chronicles his conversion to Christianity and its impact on his scientific practice. In this talk, given at a Veritas Forum at Caltech, Collins explores the evidence that now informs his worldview.
What do you want? Our answer to this question, argues author and philosopher James K.A. Smith (Calvin), reveals the habits that shape our lives. Yet we often remain unaware of those habits and how they motivate us. In this talk, from a recent Veritas Forum at the University of Michigan, Smith helps us to recognize the structure of desire and reorient its place within the human person.