Dr. Andrew Irvine continues series on interfaith dialogue

Dr. Andrew Irvine

Dr. Andrew Irvine

“Many Faiths, One World,” Maryville College’s Community Conversations Series focused on interfaith dialogue, continues this month with Dr. Andrew Irvine, assistant professor of philosophy, presenting “From Dogmatism to Discovery: Personal and Theological Reflections on Religious Pluralism.”

Irvine’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, in Lawson Auditorium of the College’s Fayerweather Hall.

“We live in an age of religious diversity, both among and within different faith traditions,” explained Dr. Will Phillips, associate professor of English and chairperson of the Community Conversations Committee, when asked about the series’ focus. “Learning ways to better talk with each other across those traditions will help us in our relationships with our neighbors and our world.”

Irvine has a Ph.D. in theology from Boston University, where he studied in the graduate division of religious and theological studies. He worked in the areas of philosophical and comparative theology. Before coming Maryville College, Irvine directed a study abroad program in comparative religion and culture and spent considerable periods of time in Taiwan, China, Thailand, India and Turkey.

He said the connections between philosophy and religion are strong.

“There have always been philosophers who take an interest in questions about religion - philosophers are seekers of wisdom, and surely the world’s religious traditions have much wisdom to offer us today,” Irvine said.

“At the same time, many of the world’s religious traditions have used philosophical thinking to clarify and communicate their core commitments,” he continued. “In a rapidly changing global society, philosophical thinking may be more useful than ever.”

Three events remain in the 2009-2010 series.

Julie Galambush, associate professor of religious studies at the College of William and Mary, will visit the College on March 1. She will discuss the interaction between Judaism and Christianity in the Bible. Formally American Baptist, Galambush converted to Judaism, and she published a book entitled The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament’s Jewish Writers created a Christian Book. Her lecture will be held in the recital hall of the Clayton Center of the Arts.

On March 9, there will be a showing of the award-winning documentary, “The Pastor and the Imam,” which tells the story of the astonishing reconciliation between Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye and how they relied on peace-making initiatives to defeat inter-religious violence in Nigeria. The film will start at 7:30 p.m. in Lawson Auditorium.

Four students with different religious backgrounds will participate in a panel discussion about living with a diversity of faiths at Maryville College. Moderated by the Rev. Anne McKee, Maryville College campus minister, the panel is scheduled for 7 p.m., April 6 in Lawson Auditorium and will include Mona Alhauser, Rachel Sharp, Jeff Taylor and Ashley Vandevender.

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