Most students entering college are hoping to examine questions of meaning, purpose, and beliefs. But we seldom have opportunities to explore our deepest questions in a safe and open environment. The Veritas Hour aspires to create those opportunities, through a series of small-scale, weekly discussion groups founded on rigor, respect and relevance. Veritas Hour groups are sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, but we welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs and seek to create an open environment where we can all engage in stimulating discussion and bring out whole selves to the table. Groups will be formed based on location and interest. Fill out this form to register for a group! Desserts provided.

DISCUSSION GROUP OVERVIEW

In the course of the semester, we will be exploring a range of questions. The overview below will give you an idea of the topic areas. The sample clips and discussion questions below will give you a sense of the content we will be discussing. None of us have all the answers, but we will be asking the big questions together.

SERIES 1: Curious

In this series, we will explore purpose, meaning and worldviews: What is a human being? Where do we look for meaning? What kind of people do we want to be when we are 50? As a sample discussion-starter, watch this clip of MIT professor, Alan Lightman, arguing that human identity is an illusion.

Watch clip (3 mins)

DISCUSS (15 MINS)

Question 1: Do you resonate with Prof. Lightman’s analysis of what a human being is? Where do you agree/disagree? What do you find attractive about it? What do you find troubling?

Question 2: Prof. Lightman advocates for following the Golden Rule “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Is there any intrinsic connection between this philosophy and his description of what a human being is? If so, what connection do you see? If not, where is the dissonance?

SERIES 2: Seeking Truth

In this series, we will test our worldviews. Where are the gaps in our current beliefs? Are all religions equally true – or equally false – or neither? What tools do we have for exploring our beliefs in a rigorous and respectful way? As a taster, watch this clip of Oxford professor, Ard Louis, arguing that science cannot ground our ethics.

Watch clip (6.5 mins)

DISCUSS (15 MINS)

Question 1: Prof. Louis argues that we cannot limit our understanding of a human being to our biological make-up. Where do you agree/disagree? What do you find attractive/troubling?

Question 2: Prof. Louis says that it is a “dangerous mistake” to think that science can ground our ethics. Do you agree? What potential dangers do you see with an attempt to base human value and ethics on science?

SERIES 3: Searching

In this series, we will explore science, success, pluralism and race. As a taster for the content you might encounter, watch this clip of Claremont professor, Sumun Pendakur, who identifies as atheist, and Emory professor, Andra Gillespie, who identifies as Christian, sharing their experiences as people of color growing up in America.

Watch clip (7 mins)

ASK YOURSELF (15 MINS)

Question 1: Have I wrestled with the big questions in the way Prof. Sethupathy describes?

Question 2: What questions do I have about my current beliefs?

Question 3: How serious am I about exploring the hard questions of identity?

In the spring, group members will have the opportunity to participate in a Veritas Forum even, where professors and experts of different beliefs will engage in public discussion around a relevant theme.

Last year’s Veritas Forum featured Rutgers professor of psycholinguistics, Julien Musolino, speaking from a secular perspective, and Duke professor of Radiology, Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Ehsan Samei, speaking from a Christian perspective. ¬† The title was “What should I believe? ¬†Christian and Atheist Science Professors Discuss Their Conflicting Views in a Pluralistic World.