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Truth and Tradition in the Modern World

What influence should tradition have in our navigating the challenges of the modern era?  Is the concept of truth still relevant?  Does our religion essentially teach the same idea as others?

This seminar will address six major topics:

1)    The Balance between Revolution and Tradition:  What wisdom should we adopt from earlier generations?  How should we go about changing the world into a better place?

2)    The Golden Mean: Aristotle and Rambam thought that character excellence involved a kind of balance.  What is the nature of this balance?

3)    Pluralism and World Religions: Are all religions the same at the core?  How does classical monotheism differ from pantheism?

4)    Family and Friends:  We value our connections with neighbors, countrymen, family, and friends.  How can we evaluate the worth of our various attachments?

5)    The Importance of Truth: In our skeptical age, many have despaired of belief in truth.  Can we still defend such beliefs?

6)    Religion and Joy/Pleasure: Does religion infringe on human enjoyment of the world?  Are some religions more guilty of this than others?  Is it possible that religious restrictions actually enhance  human enjoyment?

Readings for the course will be based on the writings of the Christian theologian G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936).  Chesterton was a British writer who penned powerful and popular articulations of religion. We’ll explore his short books Heretics and Orthodoxy and discover their ongoing relevance to today’s issues.

Dates:  Nov 5, Nov 12, Nov 19, Nov 26, Dec 17, Dec 24

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