Institute for Studies of Religion Presents “Does the Family Matter?” Symposium

April 4, 2014
Mary EberstadtCourtesy photo.

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (April 4, 2014) – Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion will dissect a heavily weighted question – “Does the family matter?” – at a symposium on “The Crisis of Faith in Church and Culture” at 9 a.m. until noon Monday, April 7, in the Paul Powell Chapel of Truett Theological Seminary.

The symposium also will focus on the future of the church with Mary Eberstadt, a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., will presenting an opening address titled “Is Secularization Inevitable?”

Additional questions the symposium will attempt to answer include:

  • Which came first in the Western world, the decline or religion (Christianity) or the decline of the family?
  • Have churches participated in their own decline by ignoring the family factor?
  • What is the future of Christianity and the family?
  • Are there reasons for optimism?
  • Are there links between marriage, childbearing and religiosity?
  • Respondents to these questions will be Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion, Julia Hejduk, Ph.D., professor of classics at Baylor University and David Solomon, Ph.D., visiting professor of philosophy at Baylor University.

    The closing panel of the event will be composed of Eberstadt, Johnson, Hejduk and Solomon.

    This event is sponsored by the Center for Ministry Effectiveness and Educational Leadership, the Institute for Studies of Religion, and the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

    Truett Seminary is located at 1100 S. Third St. For more information, call the seminary at (254) 710-3755.

    by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805.


    Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


    Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve. For more information, visit

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