Peter Berger to Present “The Challenge of Religious Pluralism”

November 24, 2014

Cyndi McMahon
[email protected]

WENHAM, MA—Peter Berger, professor emeritus of religion, sociology and theology and the director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, will speak about “The Challenge of Religious Pluralism” on the campus of Gordon College on Tuesday, December 2. Hosted by the Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI), Berger is globally recognized for his academic contributions in the field of sociology, religion and culture studies. His newest book, The Many Altars of Modernity, will be a marquee discussion moment as Berger shares a new paradigm for understanding religion and pluralism in an age of multiple modernities.

Joining Berger on stage will be Gregor Thuswaldner, associate professor of German and linguistics at Gordon College and CFI Senior Fellow for the popular lecture series Faith Seeking Understanding. Thuswaldner interviewed Berger on the Gordon campus in 2013; the focus of this second event together will be to discuss Berger’s latest book, his research, and their shared interested in sociology.

“Berger, who is one of the most important sociologists of religion of our time, is a wonderfully witty and highly interesting conversational partner,” Thuswaldner said. “In his new book, Berger provides a new theory of pluralism, which is quite provocative. I am sure we will have a very spirited discussion about the role religion plays in a pluralist age such as ours.”

Berger has written numerous books on sociological theory, the sociology of religion, and third world development, which have been translated into dozens of foreign languages. Among his most internationally recognized books are Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience (1997); Modernity, Pluralism and the Crisis of Meaning (with Thomas Luckmann, 1995); The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equality and Liberty (1988); and The War Over the Family: Capturing the Middle Ground (with Brigitte Berger, 1983). Berger is a recipient of the Manes Sperber Prize—presented by the Austrian government for significant contributions to culture. Since 1985, he has served as the director of Boston University’s Institute for the Study of Economic Culture, a research center committed to systematic study of relationships between economic development and sociocultural change in different parts of the world.

Who: Peter Berger
What: Public interview with Peter Berger—Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series
When: Tuesday, December 2, 4:30 p.m. (reception starts at 4 p.m.)
Location: Ken Olsen Science Center, MacDonald Auditorium, Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Rd., Wenham, MA

Hosted by the Center for Faith and Inquiry, the Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Fides quarens intellectum (faith seeking understanding) is a venerable phrase in the Christian intellectual tradition, associated especially with Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109). It was chosen as the Center’s lecture series title because it suggests our view at Gordon College—that faith should not be a matter of self-satisfied piety and isolation from the life of culture and intellect. Rather, we should be engaged in the great issues, ideas, and debates of our day. Selected speakers seek to nurture both faith and understanding and explore the relationship between the two.

For information on this event, contact Susanne McCarron at [email protected] or 978.867.4227 in the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College.