Religious debates converge in Waco

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

Baylor’s philosophy department will host its sixth annual Philosophy of Religion Conference today and Saturday.

A number of philosophers from across the country will attend the conference as well as give presentations on various topics concerning the philosophy of religion.

Dr. Jonathan Kvanvig, distinguished professor of philosophy, organized the conference, which will be held at the Hilton downtown.

“The conference covers everything within the philosophy of religion,” Kvanvig said, “from arguments for and against the existence of God, to issues concerning the role of religion in ethics and public policy, as well as matters of philosophical theology concerning the nature of God.”

Dr. Michael Beaty, chair of the philosophy department, believes there is a good balance of philosophers attending the conference.

“It is going to bring to campus some very established philosophers of religion from all across the country as well as some younger philosophers who are really doing interesting work in the philosophy of religion,” Beaty said.

Speakers at the conference will present papers, which Beaty described as works in progress, which will cover a variety of ideas and issues. Presentations will be kept relatively short in order to allow time for a discussion.

Most of the papers presented will eventually end up in publication.

“Our faculty and graduate students will be in attendance and actively involved in the sense that the presenters will make short presentations and then expect questions from the audience,” Beaty said. “And certainly, interested faculty, staff and students are welcome to come also.”

Both professors feel the conference has and will continue to serve Baylor in a positive way.

“To be a great university, Baylor must celebrate and display the life of the mind in all its aspects, as well as make public the quality of work being done on campus,” Kvanvig said.

“Conferences such as this, which bring in major players from the best universities in the country, provide a perfect opportunity for high impact with other professors.”

Beaty said the conference makes a contribution to the intellectual community at large and also provides Baylor an opportunity to be projected in a good light.

“The conference has been a terrific success, both in terms of the quality of presenters that Dr. Kvanvig has brought to the conference, and also in giving our department an opportunity to interact with philosophers from all over the country and develop a network of people who know about the work that our department is doing,” Beaty said.

“It gives us an opportunity to present Baylor well and contribute to the kinds of conversations that are going on. It has certainly been a boost to our graduate program and our graduate students really enjoy it.”