The exploration of the deeply rooted union of religion and violence, and the resources within various faith traditions to live together in peace without losing the uniqueness of their faith, will be the focus of Trinity Institute's 2008 conference.
"Religion and Violence: Untangling the Roots of Conflict" will run January 21-23, 2008 at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. The 38th annual conference will be led by a panel of prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim theologians who, through keynote presentations and small group theological reflection, will provide opportunities to deepen understanding, build community and explore how religion can be a powerful force for peace within ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world.
"In nearly four decades of exploring the intersection of faith and culture, Trinity Institute has never addressed a topic with such high stakes," said the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Church/St. Paul's Chapel. "Every day, religious violence affects people around the world, threatening our very survival. This conference will not only consider the roots of religious conflict, but also ask how we can manifest religion's true vocation as a force for peace both locally and globally."
Keynote speakers will include: James Carroll, theologian and Boston Globe newspaper columnist; James H. Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Seminary in New York City; Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Chair on Jewish Studies at Dartmouth; and Tariq Ramadan, senior research fellow at St. Antony's College (Oxford), Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan), and the Lokahi Foundation (London). Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach at the opening Evensong.
The conference will aim to answer questions such as: Is violence an inescapable result of religious commitment, or is it a distortion, a human projection on a God in whom there is no violence? Is it the sole province of extremists, or do its roots touch all persons of faith? Do solutions to the problem lie within the traditions themselves?
Carroll is a bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction, a former Roman Catholic priest, and a lifelong activist for peace. His recent books include the National Book Award-winning memoir "An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us," "Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History," and "House of War" (2006), a history of the Pentagon. His regular column for the Boston Globe newspaper is a widely read engagement with national and global issues.
Cone forged black liberation theology in the crucible of the civil rights movement and has remained on the cutting edge of its development. His 10 books began with "Black Theology and Black Power," and include "Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare," "God of the Oppressed," and his most recent work, "Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology of Liberation, 1968-1998."
Heschel is a scholar of Jewish-Christian relations in the 19th and 20th centuries. She is the editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist and Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, an anthology of essays by her father, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and co-editor of Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism. She is also the author of Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus, which won a National Jewish Book Award, and the forthcoming "The Aryan Jesus: Christians, Nazis and the Bible."
Ramadan writes and speaks on the future of Islam in pluralistic society. Named one of TIME magazine's "100 Innovators for the 21st Century," he has written six widely translated books, including "In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammed," "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam," and "Islam, the West, and the Challenge of Modernity."
Ramadan writes and speaks on the future of Islam in pluralistic society. Named one of TIME magazine"s "100 Innovators for the 21st Century," he has written six widely translated books, including "In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammed," "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam," and "Islam, the West, and the Challenge of Modernity."
Conference participation is open to clergy and laypersons of all faith traditions and can be attended onsite at Trinity Church, at video-linked partner sites located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and online here.
To attend the conference in New York, early registration before November 16, 2007 is $300; registration between November 17, 2007 and December 31, 2007 is $350; late registration after January 1, 2008 is $400. The registration deadline is January 11, 2008. Registration is available online here or by phone at 1-800-457-0224. Local parishes or groups wishing to apply to be a partner site will find information here, and click on "regional partners."
Trinity Institute is a continuing education program, founded in 1967 as an outreach of Trinity Church Wall Street, which presents emerging and inclusive theological perspectives and engages participants in inquiry, dialogue, and reflection. Past conferences include: The Anatomy of Reconciliation, Naming Evil and Shaping Holy Lives with speakers such as Helen Prejean, Kofi Annan and Rowan Williams.