Theologian and author Harvey Cox to lecture on 'The Future of Faith'

By

Terry Williams

“For the last four decades, Harvey Cox has been the leading trend spotter in American religion."

This is how Stephen Prothero, author of "Religious Literacy," describes Harvey Cox, the theologian, scholar and preeminent face of American liberal Christianity.

The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is presenting a major public lecture by Cox at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, when he will discuss "The Future of Faith" at the Ventana Ballroom in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. The lecture is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A, book sale and signing.

This lecture is part of a three-week residency in January and February, during which Cox will work with undergraduate classes and meet with faculty and graduate students.

In his 2009 book "The Future of Faith," Cox explored Christianity's history and its trajectory, discussing the rise of fundamentalism in our ever-changing world and why he thinks it will ultimately fail. He examines three major periods in Christianity and argues that the world has entered "the era of the Spirit."  He discusses what it means to be "religious" today, revealing how doctrines and dogma are giving way to new grassroots movements based in community, social justice and spiritual experience.

“We are so fortunate to have Harvey Cox in residence at the center this semester,” said John Carlson, acting director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and associate professor of religious studies. “He is a beacon in the study of religion whose brilliance has illuminated the public’s understanding of religion — in addition to the many scholarly contributions he has made in his field. He will have an ambitious speaking schedule during his time here at ASU, and I expect he will take Tempe and the Valley by storm.”

Cox’s acclaim is by no means limited to scholars of religion, though. Other civic leaders and intellectuals offer up accolades when discussing Cox.

Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra has said: "Harvey Cox has been a voice of both reason and faith in our cynical times." The Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. said Cox is "the most important liberal theologian of the last half century."

Cox is the author of fifteen books. "The Secular City," first published in 1965, is an international best seller and widely regarded as one of the most influential books of Protestant theology of the past 50 years. His 2015 book "How to Read the Bible" was hailed by author James Martin, S.J., as "an absolutely masterful book by one of the great theologians of our age."

Cox was ordained as an American Baptist minister in 1957 and started teaching as an assistant professor at the Andover Newton Theological School. In 1965, he began teaching at the Harvard Divinity School, where he taught for 44 years. His research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of religion, culture and politics. Among the issues he explores are urbanization, theological developments in world Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, and current spiritual movements in the global setting (particularly Pentecostalism).

For more information please see the event webpage.

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is an interdisciplinary research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.