Veritas Forum

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MIT professors Alan Lightman, Troy Van Voorhis, Alex Byrne, and Daniel Hastings speak on "Life, the Universe, and MIT" in a discussion moderated by Rosalind Picard.
Os Guinness addresses the Veritas Forum at UCLA, 2010
Rodney Brooks and Rosalind Picard discuss robotics and humanity at the Veritas Forum at MIT, 2009

The Veritas Forum is a non-profit organization which works with Christian students on college campuses to host "forums" centered on the exploration of truth and its relevancy in human life, through the questions of philosophy, religion, science, and other disciplines. The organization, named after the Latin word for truth, aims to "create university events engaging students and faculty in exploring life's hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life."[1] The first Veritas Forum was held at Harvard University in 1986. By 2008, 300,000 students had attended over 300 forums at 100 campuses across the United States, Canada, France, England, and the Netherlands. In the 2010–2011 academic year, Veritas Forums were held at over 50 institutions of higher education. Veritas Forums are available for viewing online, and the organization has published several books with InterVarsity Press.

Forums[edit]

To plan a Forum, Veritas partners with Christian student groups, who organize and host the Forum, typically co-sponsored by other student organizations and academic departments. Typical events include evening keynote addresses, workshops, debates, and discussions. Common topics include the existence of God; the relationship between science and religion; social justice work; questions of social ethics; feminism and women's issues; questions of meaning or purpose in human life, evil, or beauty; human sexuality and relationships; the existence of objective truth; religion and art; Christianity and popular culture; and the historical validity of the Bible.

The Veritas Forum has hosted several discussion events with prominent speakers representing secular or non-Christian points of view, including Peter Singer, Steven Pinker, Antony Flew, Christopher Hitchens, Shelly Kagan, Alan Lightman, and Jeffrey Sachs.

Recent discussion events include the following: the 2009 Veritas Forum at MIT with atheist philosopher Peter Singer, Christian philosophical theologian John E. Hare, and philosopher and religious scholar Eric Gregory;[2] the 2010 Veritas Forum in the Sheldonian Theatre of the University of Oxford, with atheist and journalist Christopher Hitchens alongside Catholic philosopher and ethicist John Joseph Haldane;[3] and the 2010 Veritas Forum at UCLA with Christian mathematician and apologist John Lennox being interviewed by UCLA Law Professor Daniel Lowenstein.[4]

History[edit]

Pianist Mia Chung performs as part of an exploration of music, beauty, and truth, 2009.
Peter Singer addresses a Veritas Forum at MIT about human worth and dignity

The first forum took place at Harvard University in 1986, and was organized as an academic conference in Christian apologetics.[5] Peter Gomes, Harvard's campus minister, participated in the forum in 1986.[5] The Forum's name derives from Harvard's motto, Veritas, meaning Truth.[6] Harvard's motto reflects the school's Christian heritage: although it is popularly trimmed to the one word Veritas, it officially reads "Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae," or Truth for Christ and the Church. With this name, Veritas seeks to remind the university community of the centrality of Christ to its founding. At the first Veritas Forum writers of the book Finding God at Harvard gathered to share their own questions, sufferings, journeys, and discoveries with the Harvard community.

After its first forum at Harvard, Veritas Forums spread to the University of Michigan, Ohio State, the University of Virginia, Yale and eventually across the country to Berkeley, Stanford, UC Davis, and UCLA.[7]

France had its first Veritas Forum in 2006; England and the Netherlands in 2007; Macedonia in 2010. In the academic year 2010-2011, Forums were held at over forty American institutions of higher education. To date, over 400 speakers have presented at a Veritas event, representing a variety of disciplines and worldviews.[8]

Past speakers[edit]

Christian speakers[edit]

Secular speakers[edit]

Books and media[edit]

Veritas Forum recordings are freely available on the Veritas website.

Veritas Forum Books seek to provide "academically engaging, culturally relevant and distinctively Christian points of view" to the public. Current titles include the following:

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "What is Veritas? Archived May 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Organization's self-description.
  2. ^ Moral Mammals: Why Do We Matter? Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ We Don't Do God: Secularism and Faith in the Public Square Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Christianity and the Tooth Fairy: A UCLA Law Professor questions an Oxford mathematician on the claims of Jesus Archived September 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Kofol, Anne K. (28 February 2001). "Christian Groups Plan Veritas Forum". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  6. ^ About Harvard's shield and logo Archived July 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Where We Are Archived January 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Veritas Presenters Archived July 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Local media[edit]