Past PHRE Conference – 2014

Schedule for Truman State University’s
25th Annual Undergraduate Philosophy and Religion Conference

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Unless otherwise noted, all sessions take place in the Student Union Building’s Alumni Room.

  • 9 a.m.
    Introduction to the Conference
  • 9:05 – 9:35
    Josh McBride (John Brown University):
    “Karl Barth and the Theology of Vocation”

    Karl Barth’s theology on “vocation” is rooted in the calling to follow Christ before all things. This framework for vocation stands in a mixed relationship to previous theologians. Through comparing Barth’s theology of vocation with that of Aquinas, Calvin, Schleiermacher, and Bonhoeffer, I demonstrate that Barth opposes Aquinas with regard to the definition and of vocation; he follows in Calvin’s understanding of everyone having the same vocation, that is to follow Christ; he argues against Schleiermacher’s view of the object of vocation that is, according to Barth, Christ; and that he had similar views to Bonhoeffer in terms of man’s true vocation being following Christ first.

  • 9:40- 10:10
    Roberto Renteria (Truman State University):
    “Stigmata: The Holy Wounds to Salvation”

    A particularly fascinating religious phenomenon found within Christianity is the Stigmata. Stigmata are the physical manifestation of Christ’s Holy wounds on the physical body, usually on a highly spiritual mystic of the Christian tradition. There are various types of manifestations of this occurrence, but this presentation will focus on the manifestation of physical wounds on the body that were not self-induced or products of self-harm. That is, independent of whether some cases of stigma were caused by the individual or not, I will interpret this behavior assuming the wounds were not caused by a deliberate, physical external source. To understand this phenomenon, we must delve into the psyche of the stigmatic. I will interpret the stigmatic behavior and mental mechanisms through Jungian and Freudian perspectives. I will also present the medical perspective on this phenomenon and the Christian perspective to formulate a better understanding of the stigmatic’s psyche. To finalize, I will analyze Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the most popular stigmatic, and interpret the purpose, function and origin of his stigmata.

  • 10:15-10:45
    Blaine Hill (Truman State University):
    “Trademarked: Why Copyright Infringement Really is Stealing”

    Copyright infringement through digital piracy is fairly commonplace today. Copyright holders, especially large companies that own a lot of different copyrights, repeatedly tell us that copyright infringement is stealing. If this is true, how do so many people morally justify stealing copyrighted information? This paper enumerates five arguments a pirate might be likely to raise as justification for their actions and responds to each of those arguments in turn. It concludes that, despite what pirates may think, copyright infringement is not ethically justified.

  • 11:30-12
    Joelle Axton (Truman State University):
    “The Lord’s Supper in Light of Paul’s Eschatology: Proclamation and Judgment”

    The meaning and significance of the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, is a widely contested issue within Christianity. Apart from the Last Supper accounts in the Synoptic Gospels, the issue is addressed at length only once in the New Testament canon, namely in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. An often neglected aspect of this text is the eschatological themes that Paul imbeds in his admonition of the Corinthian Christians. This paper focuses on two themes – proclamation and judgment – that emerge when the text is read in light of Paul’s eschatology and offers a possible interpretation of the crucial verse 1 Corinthians 11:29 that fits the eschatological emphasis of the pericope.

  • 12 p.m.:
    Lunch (Georgian Room B)
    Henry Smits Lecture: Dr. Manuel Chávez (Monmouth University):
    “Ethics and Anti-Racism”

    The struggle against racism has utilized many different approaches as it has evolved over the decades. While mainstream morality recognizes that racism is morally wrong, I argue that dominant moral philosophies are inadequate for creating an ethics of anti-racism. Dominant ethical theories fail to confront, what the Peruvian sociologist Aníbal Quijano called, the “coloniality of power.” To develop an ethics of anti-racism, I contend, requires going beyond the horizon of modernity and re-locating ethical thinking in the “moral anti-structure,” a concept I build from the work of the U.S. Latina philosopher, María Lugones. The creation of an ethics of anti-racism, I believe, is vital to the critical transformation of our communities.

  • 2-2:30
    Virginia Gallner (University of Nebraska-Omaha):
    “The Cult of Asherah: Figurehead of a Folk Religion”

    The worship of Asherah developed from a folk tradition into a branch of Israelite religion through contact with neighboring cultures and the growth of the monarchic structure. Ancient Israelite households participating in her cult of worship offered contributions from both genders, defying the extant division of labor by placing women at the forefront of her worship. As Israelite religion became more centralized with the building of the First Temple, Asherah veneration diminished in public perception from a widely accepted aspect of domestic life to a minor cult, and eventually was condemned by reforming prophets.  Reflecting transformations in trade, gender relations and the interaction of religion and government, the worship of Asherah provides an intriguing glimpse into private religious life as it intersected with the public spheres.

  • 2:35-3:05
    Scott McEachern (Truman State University):
    “Mormonism: An American Success Story”

    Mormonism is probably the most influential of all American-born religious traditions. Why is that? Why did this religion survive and thrive among all the other alternative religious choices in America? Was it divine province? Dumb luck? Being in the right place at the right time? Charismatic leaders? Some exceptionalist spirit within the nation itself? The answer is long and complicated mesh of several crazy factors in American history. Much like the birth of the Church itself! Come learn the answers to all the questions you were afraid to ask about why Mormonism thrived and learn more about one of the most turbulent times in American religious history.

  • 3:20-3:50
    Elizabeth Ward (Truman State University):
    “Inside the Lives of Muslim Women”

    Women in Islamic countries have had a history of ups and downs in terms of their political rights. Throughout history, there have been times when Islam has been very progressive – letting women have political involvement and job opportunities, and other times when women have had virtually all of their rights stripped away. The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate how women’s lives have changed throughout the last 1400 years of Islam. The main focus of this talk will be about two predominantly Muslim areas/countries – Palestine and Jordan.

  • 3:55-4:25
    Aaron Potter (University of St. Mary):
    “Heaven on Earth”

    “Hell does not lie before men. It has been conquered in the cross.” How is the Christian to interpret such a bold claim? In this paper, I will explain Jürgen Moltmann’s theological claim, turning to several criticisms to expand upon Moltmann’s ideas to suggest that if life on earth can be realized as a hell, then it can also be realized as a heaven. I will map this argument in the following three sections: First, by considering the context and background of Moltmann’s theological claims; second, by considering important Trinitarian criticisms of Moltmann; and finally, criticisms concerned with Moltmann’s interpretation of the crucifixion.  If, indeed, the realization of heaven on earth holds true, then the Christian life holds more meaning than has been previously thought.

  • 4:30-5
    Garry Moore Soronio (UCLA):
    “Joseph Ratzinger’s Biblical Hermeneutics of the Creation Narrative”

    The paper will explain how Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) employed the hermeneutic tools of the principle of contrast and Christological typology in order to interpret the first creation narrative in Genesis (Gen 1:1-19). I will make the case that the contrast principle takes into account the human authorship of Scriptures by contrasting the narrative to the competing worldview or creation myth prevalent at the time when the Genesis narrative took form. I will also make the case that the Christological typology is the lens to take into account the divine authorship of Scriptures so that one would interpret narratives in light of Jesus Christ, the fullness of Revelation. Applying the two interpretive principles on the Genesis creation narrative, one arrives at the Christian doctrine of Creation and all its essential theses. In contrast with the Babylonian creation account of Enuma Elish, one can affirm that God, solely by himself, freely created the cosmos from nothing (ex nihilo) out of his sheer goodness. And in light of the New Testament affirmation of the divine act of creation through the Divine Logos (Christ, God’s reason), then the foundation of reality is intelligibility, which finds resonance in all of created nature.

    This event is co-sponsored by the Kirksville Chamber Tourism Division and by the Philosophy and Religion Department and the School of Social and Cultural Studies of Truman State University.