Fairfield University presents Open VISIONS Forum April 21: A lively discussion with Christopher Hitchens and John Haught


To believe or not to believe

Image: Christopher HitchensThe Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) series was originated to stimulate thought and conversation. In the final offering of the year, Fairfield University's premiere lecture series presents two very different views of "To Believe or Not To Believe" when journalist, literary critic and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens joins John F. Haught, Senior Fellow of Science and Religion at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University onstage at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts with OVF Director Philip Eliasoph and the Aloysius P. Kelley. S. J. Professor of Catholic Studies Paul Lakeland. The event is Wednesday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m. and is presented with community partner Westport Magazine/Moffley Media. It is part of the Arts & Minds season at Fairfield University. Tickets are $45.

Lakeland will introduce the guest speakers and will co-moderate the discussion with Eliasoph. "It is a wonderful thing to have two such distinguished contributors to the debate over the new atheism on the same platform at the same time," Lakeland said. "Either would be an event. Both together will be a veritable feast on a topic that is as prominent in popular culture as it is in academia."

Hitchens, well known for his controversial points of view on most things religious, is the author of The New York Times #1 bestselling critique of religion, "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything." Michael Kinsley, in his The New York Times Book Review critique, lauded Hitchens' "...logical flourishes and conundrums, many of them entertaining to the nonbeliever." On the other hand, religious critic Frank Brennan noted that, although Hitchens has claimed to have abandoned "his earlier Leftist proclivities...he remains an orthodox Marxist" in at least one area of belief. "Some would argue that his book is a straightforward reiteration of Marx's own critique of religion, albeit in a more bombastic fashion."

Image: John F. HaughtHaught, a distinguished researcher, has spent much of his career searching out the relationship between religion and science with a special emphasis on evolutionary biology. It is Haught's belief that "Darwin was a gift to theology. We can't have exactly the same thoughts about God that we did before."

Haught has written extensively on myriad topics relating to God and science: "Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation", "The Promise of Nature: Ecology and Cosmic Purpose," "Nature and Purpose" and "Religion and Self-Acceptance."

Eliasoph and Lakeland, who is also director of the Center for Catholic Studies, will bring these intellectual giants' individual and strong opinions to the fore. The speakers have both written extensively and have the power and knowledge to support an in depth exploration of and stimulating points of view for or against the wisdom of whether to believe or not to believe.

Tickets are available online or at the Quick Center Box Office, (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 877-ARTS-396.

 

Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 7, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 258