Christianity And Toleration Symposium To Be Held April 9

April 6, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University's Center for Christian Ethics will host a symposium on "Christianity and Tolerance" on Monday, April 9, that will focus on a Baylor theology professor's latest book.

The symposium, held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Blume Conference Center of the Cashion Academic Building, features Dr. J. Budziszewski of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. William T. Cavanaugh of the University of St. Thomas and Dr. A.J. Conyers of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, who will discuss Conyer's book The Long Truce: How Toleration Made the World Safe for Power and Profit.

The Long Truce suggests that the rise of a modern doctrine of toleration in the early modern period is related to a whole range of developments in politics, in economics and in the intellectual life of the 17th century, said Dr. Robert B. Kruschwitz, director of the Center for Christian Ethics and professor of philosophy at Baylor.

"Toward people who disagree about ultimate religious issues, what stance should we take? Is 'being tolerant' a virtue?" Kruschwitz said. "This symposium examines the alternative practice of Christian toleration grounded in humility."

Budziszewski, a political philosopher with special interests in the problem of toleration and in the tradition of Natural Law, holds joint appointments in the departments of government and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. The author of five scholarly books, including The Revenge of Conscience, Written on the Heart and True Tolerance, he has contributed articles and reviews to numerous journals including the American Journal of Jurisprudence, First Things, Review of Politics, Public Choice and American Political Science Review and has been cited in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore. Concerning toleration, he is best known for showing the incoherence of the idea of "neutrality" between competing conceptions of good and bad. His current work focuses on the pathologies that flow from the repression of moral knowledge -- from trying to convince ourselves that we don't know what we really do.

Cavanaugh, an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., studies the intersection of Christian theology and politics. His first book, Torture and Eucharist, recounted the church resistance to human rights abuses under the Pinochet regime in Chile and is based in part on the author's experience living in a poor area of Santiago during the Pinochet years. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Political Theology and author of other articles and reviews on political theology.

Conyers is professor of theology at Truett Seminary, where he teaches Christian texts and traditions, and the theological capstone course. Previously he served as chair of the department of religion and philosophy at Charleston Southern University. With research interests in 20th-century Christian theology and in the work of Jnrgen Moltmann, he has authored numerous articles and books, including The Eclipse of Heaven: The Loss of Transcendence in Church and Society; A Basic Christian Theology, a theology textbook; The End: What Jesus Really Said About the Last Things; and God, Hope, and History: Jnrgen Moltmann's Christian Concept of History, as well as essays appearing in First Things, Modern Age, Christian Century and Touchstone.

"We are pleased to have these three speakers for our first on-campus symposium sponsored by the Center for Christian Ethics," Kruschwitz said. "In a pluralistic culture like ours it is very important for Christians to consider the stance of hospitality and toleration we should take toward people who hold different worldviews."

The Center for Christian Ethics was formed in 1990. Last summer, the center, which had been loosely affiliated with Baylor since 1997, became an official part of the university.

For more information on the symposium, contact Kruschwitz at (254) 710-3774.

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