“Religious convictions that once cost believers their lives are now presented in a fashion that lets the students make up their own mind,” Stanley Hauerwas said to Auburn faculty, students and local community members. “So, it’s quite difficult for students not to think that theology is just a matter of opinion.”
The theme of the talk focused on theology and universities and how the two relate. The talk also featured
“Here we have a church who sufficiently, distinctly produces people with imagination to create sustained knowledge of the world that can be described as Christian,” Hauerwas said.
Mary Wofford, sophomore in communication disorders, and Marshall Dyer, freshman in supply chain management, said they appreciated the speech even though they thought the subject material was difficult to understand at times.
“I feel like I was only getting nuggets of it,” Dyer said. “I feel like my mind wasn’t capable of processing the fullness of what he was saying. But, I really enjoyed the blunt approach.”
Hauerwas said his main message he was trying to get across was “the difference Christianity might make in the modern university.”
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“Topics like this are more controversial, so it’s nice when someone believes in what they’re saying that much to give a talk like this,” Wofford said.
Parts of the Hauerwas’s speech were met with “amens” and other signs of adulation from the crowd.
The event concluded with a question and answer segment that lasted around 30 minutes and ranged from his path of becoming a theologian to his thoughts on modern politics.
The event was put on by the Philosophy and Religion Workshop at Auburn, which is run by Kelly Jolley, professor in philosophy at Auburn, and James Loxley Compton, who teaches religion as an adjunct professor in the philosophy department.
As a part of the workshop, Jolley and Compton invite a speaker each semester and were both thoroughly pleased with how this semester’s event turned out.
“We work together to oversee the workshop’s wish list of speakers, and we decided to ask the person at the top of that wish list. And that person said yes,” said Jolley.
Hauerwas was a long time professor at Duke University and assumed a chair in theological ethics at Aberdeen University. Prior to these positions, Hauerwas taught at the University of Notre Dame. He was the first American theologian to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews in Scotland in over 40 years.
“We try to bridge the gap between the philosophy and religious communities,” Compton said of the mission of the event. “We think Dr. Hauerwas was a great person to do this.”
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