2002: Christianity and Economics: Integrating Faith and Learning in Economic Scholarship

Christianity and Economics: Integrating Faith and Learning in Economic Scholarship
Thursday, November 7 - Saturday, November 9, 2002

Baylor's Department of Economics in conjunction with the Institute for Faith and Learning will host "Christianity and Economics: Integrating Faith and Learning in Economic Scholarship" November 7-9, 2002. Jointly sponsored by Baylor's Pruit Memorial Endowment and the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, the event will bring together the annual Pruit Memorial Symposium and the second annual Lilly National Research Conference. The Pruit Memorial Symposium will be organized around a keynote address and several plenary sessions. The keynote speaker will address the general conference theme and the plenary speakers will cover the various aspects of the role of the Christian economist.

The Lilly National Research Conference will feature five concurrent sessions exploring a variety of topics, general and particular, associated with, or suggested by, the very idea of Christian perspectives in economics. Each session will be divided into four topic areas with three papers each. Some papers may be invited, but the majority will come from an open call for papers to faculty at Lilly Network of Institutions.

Christianity and Economics: Integrating Faith and Learning in Economic Scholarship will address the challenges and opportunities facing Christian economists in the discipline today. This two and one-half day symposium intends to include a broad range of denominational perspectives and philosophies of political economy. The symposium will be organized around three broadly defined roles of the economist, scholar, philosopher, and advocate. It will bring together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines who are interested in exploring issues related to the integration of faith and scholarship in economics.

Most scholarship devoted to the integration of Christian values and economics has been out of the mainstream, as defined by publication in the leading journals and major university presses. While the basis of modern economics, to use Paul Vitz's description, is functional atheism, a Christian perspective is not wholly absent. Such publications as Christian Scholars' Review, the Journal of the Association of Christian Economists, the Journal of Social Economics, and the Journal of Markets and Morality have shouldered the responsibility of promoting Christian scholarship. It is our belief that the Christian faith should make a difference in the work and scholarly activities of economists. If Christian values are not incorporated into the work of economists, it is likely to create a vacuum where other types of values will dominate. Our objective is to explore with Christian scholars from a variety of disciplines the appropriate ways of integrating faith and scholarship in economics.

Affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor University is the oldest university in the state of Texas-with its 1845 charter predating the entry of the Republic of Texas into the Union. The university has over 14,000 students, making it the largest Baptist university in the world. With an endowment now valued at over $600 million, the university ranks 74th in the most recent Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac.

The vision of Baylor's founders and the ongoing commitment of generations of students and scholars are reflected in the motto inscribed on the Baylor seal: "Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana," which we now understand to mean-"For Church, For Society." Thus, it is not surprising that Baylor's mission statement declares that Baylor "is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service, both in the church and in society."

In keeping with this commitment, the conference will maintain the highest standards of excellence upon which the university's reputation is built. Understandings of how the Christian worldview can be integrated into economic scholarship will not only benefit the Baylor community of students and scholars, but will spill over for the benefit of the greater community of scholars worldwide.

Featured Speakers:
George M. Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Rebecca M. Blank, Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Henry Carter Adams Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Judith Dean, International Economist, U. S. International Trade Commission, Associate Professor of Economics, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
David Gushee, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy Senior Fellow, Carl F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership, Union University
Glenn C. Loury, Professor of Economics, Director of the Institute on Race and Social Division, Boston University
Robert H. Nelson, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
Michael Novak, George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute