A Message from Dr. Shawn Floyd (Founder of the Woolman Lecture Series):
I am pleased to announce the 2013-2014 John Woolman Lectures. These lectures will take place on March 11 and 12, 2014. This year's lecturer is Dr. William Cavanaugh, Professor of Theology and Catholic Studies at DePaul University. He received his B.A. from Notre Dame, his M.A. from Cambridge University, and his Ph.D. from Duke University. His areas of teaching and research include political theology, economic ethics, and ecclesiology. He is the author of many articles and has edited or authored a number of books, includingTorture and Eucharist (1998), Theopolitical Imagination (2003), Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire (2008), and The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (2009).
Titles and descriptions of the lectures, in Dr. Cavanaugh’s own words, are as follows:
Lecture 1 (March 11): "The Myth of Religious Violence"
In this lecture, I take on the common idea that religion is more inherently prone to violence than secular ideologies and institutions. I argue that the distinction between "religious" and "secular" is an arbitrary one, a modern Western creation and not embedded in the nature of things. There is no essential difference between "religious" and "secular" ideologies and institutions; people are just as inclined to kill for nation and freedom and the flag and oil than they are for God or gods.
Lecture 2 (March 12): "Secularization and Idolatry"
In this lecture, I pick up on some of the themes from the first lecture and develop them in a more theological way. I look at the biblical theme of idolatry and show that people are inclined to treat all sorts of things as gods. I argue that we do not live in a secularized society at all, if "secular" means disenchanted or devoid of gods. In fact, we live in a society where people are enchanted by material things.
Both lectures will take place in the Johnson Center, Rm. 106, at 7:30 PM. Malone Faculty, Staff, Students, and the general public are most welcome to attend these presentations and engage Dr. Cavanaugh in conversation, as there will be time for questions at the end of both lectures.
“Dr. Shawn Floyd is a professor of philosophy at Malone University in Ohio, but hopes to be buried in Texas after he dies. He likes to write and teach on the subjects of ethics and St. Thomas Aquinas.“