- Wednesday, October 25 @ 4:00 p.m., Chemistry D200, 2036 Main Mall – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, philosopher, theologian, politician, one of the UK’s top public intellectuals, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth 1991-2013. Baron Sacks will be brought to us by video. Responses from: Dr. Olav Slaymaker, Professor Emeritus Geography, UBC and Dr. Jason Byassee, Professor of Hermeneutics and Homiletics, Vancouver School of Theology.
The Dignity of Difference versus the Clash of Civilizations: the Critical Moral Contribution of Religion in our Globalized World.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, a top UK public intellectual, affirms that religion can be part of human controversy today, but he wants to strongly emphasize that it also can and should be a big part of the solution to contemporary tensions and conflicts. It is especially true for him that the morality carried by religious traditions has a vital contribution with respect to the powerful forces of globalization in late capitalism. He wants to celebrate the differences among religious traditions and use them to preserve and enlarge, not stunt, our humanity. Sacks, a man of conservative temperament who follows a very orthodox version of Judaism, is a large-hearted person who has come to respect the different ways humanity has expressed its search for meaning (the dignity of difference). The liberating thing about his book and this talk, The Dignity of Difference, is that he uses it to open the wisdom of the Hebrew tradition, not out of religious arrogance, but because he believes it will help us find a way to heal the troubles that beset us. The astonishing thing about his achievement is that his application of the Hebrew religious genius to the human condition works whether you believe in God or not. He wants a world where all can participate on a level economic playing field. Judaism has always had a healthy attitude towards the world, but it has always sought moderation in its adherents and a strong sense of covenanted responsibility toward the less fortunate. It is for this reason that Rabbi Sacks’s analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the global market economy is so compelling and hopeful. He is attentive to important nuances of the human condition and the variety of motives. There is much that resonates with people concerned about the common good.
An international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author and respected moral voice, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as “a light unto this nation” and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as “an intellectual giant”, Rabbi Sacks is a frequent and sought after contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world. Since stepping down as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth – a position he served for 22 years between 1991 and 2013 – Rabbi Sacks has held a number of professorships at several academic institutions including Yeshiva University and King’s College London. He currently serves as the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. Rabbi Sacks has been awarded 17 honorary doctorates including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
- Wednesday, November 29 @ 4:00 p.m., MacLeod Building Room 254, 2356 Main Mall – Dr. Thomas Heilke, Professor of Political Science, and Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, UBC Okanagan
A Close Examination of the Foundations of Democracy: Religion and the Current Crisis
Limitless human potential and progress will result in this-worldly, pan-humanist fulfilment for all people groups. Inclusive pluralism, tolerance and respect will rule the day. Human possibilities will extend into a perfected and still perfecting future, supported by and supporting human autonomy, equality, and freedom. These expectations (or values) form one stream of the Western political tradition—liberal democracy. It functions as a political “myth” that regulates our thinking about public discourse, political leadership and perhaps reality itself. The myth has often been thought to originate within religious sensibilities and thought-ways, especially (but not exclusively) those of Christianity. Recent national and international political shock events have cast doubt on this myth and its inherent hopes for democratic polities like Canada. Therefore, we want to circumspectly probe: What indeed are the foundations of such a myth? Can a rigorous examination of current events help us think more clearly about the meaning of such foundations in the light of institutions and emotions, virtues and vices? Included in this inquiry, we contend, is the understanding that they are arguably based in the same religious sensibilities that underpin the hope of human progress. Professor Thomas Heilke will argue that the sources can be fruitfully examined, but also that their theological origins—alongside the parallel theological origins of progressivist thinking— must be more clearly discerned.
Thomas Heilke received his PhD from Duke University in 1990. After 23 years as a faculty member and a variety of administrative positions at the University of Kansas, he has been Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies UBC Okanagan since January, 2014. He is the recipient of three teaching awards, and has written on a variety of topics in political philosophy, including civic friendship, political theology, the political thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, Eric Voegelin, John Howard Yoder, and Thucydides, and Anabaptist political thought. He has authored or co-authored four books and edited or co-edited six further volumes. His work has appeared in journals that include American Political Science Review, Political Theory, Polity, The Review of Politics, and Modern Theology. Among his published books are Voegelin on the Idea of Race: An Analysis of Modern European Racism (1990); Nietzsche’s Tragic Regime: Culture, Aesthetics, and Political Education (1998); Eric Voegelin: In Quest of Reality (1999). He co-edited with Ashley Woodwiss The Re-Enchantment of Political Science: Christian Scholars Engage Their Discipline, (2001). He belongs to the American Political Science Association and the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.
- Wednesday, January 31, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m., Room TBA – Dr. William Newsome, Neurobiologist, Stanford University
Of Two Minds: A Neuroscientist Balances Science and the Big Questions
- Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m. – Expert Medical Panel Discussion on Mitigating the Addiction Crisis
- John Koehn, Addiction Medical Practitioner, New Westminster, Royal Columbia Hospital, completed a Fellowship under Dr. Evan Wood, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
- Jay Wong, Psychiatry Resident UBC—St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health.
- Jadine Cairns, Nutritionist, Children’s Hospital, Specialist in Eating Disorders
- Gabriel Loh, Doctor of Pharmacology UBC—Clinical Coordinator Pharmacy Proctice, Richmond Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health, Clinical Assistant Professor UBC
Interesting Interview with Dr. Robert Lustig University of California San Francisco, author of The Hacking of the American Mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkUtrL6B18
More details to follow: Your GFCF Committee