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Faith and Reason in Our Day

 March 1-31, 2008                                                  Washington, D.C.



I. Theme


The recent letter entitled “A Common Word” by 138 leading Islamic religious leaders and scholars addressed to Christian leaders was a most creative initiative which all should heartily endorse.  

It brought forward in detail our shared belief based in the Holy Qur’an and the Bible regarding the One God, father of all, and its implication: the brotherhood of humankind. It concluded with a call for cooperation in working toward justice for all. This echoed the words of the Second Vatican Council: “On behalf of all humankind, let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.” 

The letter noted that “polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” was not enough; “the very survival of the world is perhaps at stake.” This calls then for open, rigorous and creative work to bring the insight and inspiration of our faith to bear upon the dynamics of our world as we enter the new reality of intense global interchange. 

Such an effort on the role of faith for our times faces serious difficulties. Modern times began with a strong effort to separate thought from its religious foundations as typified by Descartes’ universal doubt and Locke’s blank tablet. This has been reinforced by John Rawls’ relegation of all religious vision behind “a veil of ignorance” as a condition for political discourse.  

As a result, on the one hand, the West has become so secular that it fears the religious inspiration it needs. On the other hand, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, while standing against the secular rationalism of the Enlightenment, share a common search for ways to live faithfully in modern times. In both cases there is urgent need for deep exploration of the relation of faith and reason, of religion and modern life.

 For this there is great need to share our common experience and insight and to think through how a religious perspective can engage the secular mind and how faith can be lived, rather than attenuated, in the modern context.

To this end the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy invites ten Islamic scholars to its Catholic University Center for the Study of Culture and Values for an intensive one month seminar with Christian scholars in order jointly to explore these issues. In the following months corresponding work will be carried out in Iran, Pakistan and South East Asia.           

The combined results will be published in print for distribution to 350 university libraries and on the web for universal availability and will be presented at the World Congress of Philosophy under its theme: “Rethinking Philosophy Today”.


II. The Structure (each week)


  1. The historical Hermeneutics

  2. Classical Islamic texts on faith and reason

  3. The Encyclical letter of John Paul II on faith and reason

  4. Contemporary Islamic authors on faith and reason in our day


First Week (March 3-7):


Monday March 3

- Introduction and planning


Tuesday March 4

- Hermeneutics I: Heritage and Application 

  B. Tatar (Turkey), G. McLean (CUA)


Thursday March 6

- Hermeneutics II: Intercultural Interchange

   G. Dastagir (Bangladesh), J. Hogan (CSCV)


Friday March 7

- Intellection as Wisdom

  Karim Crow (Singapore)


Second Week (March 10-14):


Monday March 10

- Averroes, Harmony of Religion and Philosophy

  H. Heriyanto (Indonesia) and O. Alper (Turkey)

- Meeting and Interweaving of Christian and Islamic Thinkers

  S. Griffith (CUA)


Tuesday March 11

- Faith and Reason

  B. Tatar (Turkey)

- Language: Christian and Islamic

  Th. Druart (CUA)


Thursday March 13

- Alfarabi: Attainment of Happiness IV

  Ch. Butterworth (U. MD)

- Conference “The Future of Christian-Moslem Relation” 

   Georgetown University


Friday March 14

- Conference “The Future of Christian-Moslem Relation” 

   Georgetown University


 Third Week (March 17-21):


Monday March 17

- Muslim-Christian Dialogue

   T. Michel, S.J. (Georgetown University)

- The Epistemology of al-Ghazali: Reason, Revelation and Intuitive Knowledge of God

   Y. Mohamed (South Africa)


Tuesday March 18 

- The Dialectical Moment of Explanation and Uncovering of the Faith and Reason Relationship: Mulla Sadra and Hans-Georg Gadamer Thought

   H. Heriyanto (Indonesia)

- Mulla Sadra and the Shiite Tradition

   Mehdi Aminrazavi (University of Mary Washington)


Wednesday March 19, 10.30am 

- The Prophecy of Wisdom

   Prof. Sayyed Hossein Nasr (George Washington University)


Thursday March 20

- Reason, Religion and Revelation

   O. Alper (Turkey)

- Theological Critique of Fide et Ratio

   D. Power (CUA)


Friday March 21      

- Philosophical Analysis of Fides et Ratio

   K. Schmitz (University of Toronto)

- Benedict and Habermas: A Dialogue

  H. Zaborowski (CUA)


Fourth Week


Monday March 24

- Political Islamic Issues

   A. Soroush (Iran)

- The Role of Faith and Reason in Enhancing the Efficacy of New Economy

  Y. Dadgar (Iran)


Tuesday March 25

- Faith and Reason in Islam

  L. Kazmi (India)

- Philosophical and Comparative Perspectives on the Relation between Faith and Reason

  J. Kenny (Nigeria/USA)

- The Dialogue between Christinaty and Islam in Nigeria

  J. Abah (Nigeria)


Wednesday March 26

- The Islamization of Knowledge

 International Institute of Islamic Thought


Thursday March 27

- Interrelation for “Regime of Truth” of Faith and Reason: Central Asian Context

  P. Shozimov (Tajikistan)

- Conceptualize: Paradoxes of Faith and Reason of Post-Soviet System

  U.  Asanova (Kyrgyzstan)


Friday March 28

- Conclusion and suggestion  








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