October 21, 2010

God in New York!

Posted in Philosophers, Theologians tagged , at 10:27 pm by tiffanyannbrown

A good friend recently introduced me to the American author, speaker, and Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller who wrote the book The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism and founded the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City where she used to attend (lucky girl!). As a result, I listened to a 2008 lecture he gave at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA regarding his book, which you can view here:

A very impressive and knowledgeable speaker, Keller lays out the reasons for believing vs. not believing in God, pointing out that the argument for God is better than the argument against God, supported by material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology, and a multitude of other disciplines. He further mentions that the primary reasons for believing vs. not believing in God are either due to intellectual, personal, or social factors. For example, one might be drawn to a particular religion because they can identify with a certain group of friends who all subscribe to the same belief system, while another may have a personal experience that suddenly spins that person onto the path of belief vs. non-belief. Overall, it was very refreshing to hear this pastor speak, and I would highly recommend taking the time to pick up one of his books, or at the very least, listen to one of his lectures.

In a similar vein, there is also an Episcopal church out of Manhattan called Trinity Wall Street that has been putting on a National Theological Conference for the past 40 years.  In the year
2000, I remember sitting in on a live broadcast of their “God at 2000” conference, which was being shown at one of the auditoriums on the California State University, Chico State campus. I had intended to sit in and listen to just one speaker to obtain my “extra credit,” but ended up staying for the entire day to listen to all of the presentations! That year such captivating speakers as Karen Armstrong (a British author of numerous works on comparative religion, who first rose to prominence in 1993 with her highly successful A History of God and a former Roman Catholic nun); Marcus Borg (an American Biblical scholar and author); Diana Eck (Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard); Lawrence Kushner (a Jewish Rabbi based out of San Francisco); Hussein Nasr (Iranian University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, and a prominent Islamic philosopher); and Desmond Tutu (a South African activist and Christian cleric who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid) gave speeches. Overall, it was very refreshing to witness such theological scholars come together to participate in an open dialogue, despite their obvious on-the-surface differences. To learn more about the Trinity Institute, its national conferences, and to view video clips of past speakers, click here.

In closing, just for fun … in case you’re not sure what faith you are, there is a resource that can tell you. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice … or ought to consider practicing. You might just be surprised!

Please click here to take the quiz.


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