The Honors Program’s fall luncheon series is off to a great start!

On September 7th, we held our first luncheon of the semester, a Welcome Luncheon, where students gathered to hear about our plans for the semester and got to share their ideas as well.  New students and old enjoyed pizza and heard from the student leaders of the Honors Student Council and the staff of the program.
Then, on September 21st, the Honors Program welcomed James Gilligan, professor of law at New York University, who spoke on “The Impact of Modernity on Religious Experience: Origins and Transcendence of Nihilism, Fundamentalism and Terrorism.”  The event drew a large crowd of students.  Gilligan spoke about how the scientific revolution of the 17th century replaced the “Age of Faith,” in which knowledge is based on faith in Revelation, with the “Age of Doubt,” where everything is doubted until it has been confirmed by empirical data.  As a result, the traditional sources of moral authority, such as God and religion, lost their credibility.  To fill this gap, people replaced their traditional religions with political religions (such as Nationalism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism).  These caused various forms of violence, including genocide and terrorism.  Gilligan contrasted these outcomes with a new understanding of religious experience that is compatible with modern science.

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