COMPAS Colloquia

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The Religion COMPAS program is putting together a number of "Colloquia" which involve individual speakers and small panels discussing the Religion theme. Check back to keep up to date on these and additional events!

Spring 2018


February 26, 2018: Conscientious Objection in Medicine

3:30p - 5:00p
Thompson Library, Room 165

Do doctors and other health care professionals have a right to refuse to perform certain medical procedures, or to treat certain patients, based on their religious or moral beliefs? Should so-called “conscience laws” enabling them to do so be passed? These questions touch on some of the most sensitive areas of contemporary medicine, including end-of-life care, abortion and in vitro fertilization, contraception, and the treatment of LGBT persons. Join us for a conversation between two leading experts who take opposing sides on the issue.

  • Abraham Nussbaum (Psychiatry, University of Colorado; Chief Education Officer, Denver Health)
  • Ronit Y. Stahl (Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania)
  • Dana Howard (Center for Bioethics, Ohio State University)

April 12, 2018: Science, Religion and Democracy

Time TBA
Wexner Center for the Arts, Film/Video Theater

Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. Kitcher is best known outside academia for his work examining creationism and sociobiology. His works attempt to connect the questions raised in philosophy of biology and philosophy of mathematics with the central philosophical issues of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. He has also published papers on John Stuart Mill, Kant and other figures in the history of philosophy. HIs 2012 book documented his developing interest in John Dewey and a pragmatic approach to philosophical issues. He sees pragmatism as providing a unifying and reconstructive approach to traditional philosophy issues. He had, a year earlier, published a book outlining a naturalistic approach to ethics, The Ethical Project (Harvard University Press, 2011). 

David C. Lahti is an Assistant Professor of Biology and the Undergraduate Research Coordinator at Queens College, City University of New York, where he runs a Behavior & Evolution laboratory focusing mainly on learned behavior in birds and humans.  Prof. Lahti received a PhD in moral philosophy and the philosophy of biology at the Whitefield Institute, Oxford, for a study of the contributions science can and cannot make to an understanding of the foundations of morality.  He then received a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan for a study of rapid evolution in an introduced bird. His current research projects involve co-evolution between avian brood parasites and their hosts in Africa, the genetic and cultural divergence of the house finch, the diversification of moral beliefs among African peoples, and the evolution of our capacity for morality and religion.


Autumn 2017


October 10, 2017 - New Religions and American Law

What is a religion, and how does U.S. law decide what counts? What is law, and what role does it play within American religious communities? This symposium will address these questions, among others, through a consideration of particular case studies, including the Church of Scientology and the Moorish Science Temple of America. Presenters will reflect on the varied ways that new religions challenge us to think differently about both religion and law.
  • Hugh Urban (Comparative Studies & Center for the Study of Religion, Ohio State University)
  • Spencer Dew (Religious Studies, Centenary College of Louisiana)

October 31, 2017 - Roadmap for A Shared Society: How Israeli Jews and Palestinians Can Live and Prosper Together

The Center for a Shared Society at Givat Haviva aims to build an inclusive, sustainable, thriving Israeli democracy based on mutual responsibility and civic equality. Its leading work has been recognized by the award of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. The speakers will discuss how they engage Israel's divided communities in collective action towards the advancement of a shared vision of the future. They will also consider how their model for developing equality and coexistence might be applied in other contexts of societies with deep historical, political and social rifts.

  • Yaniv Sagee, Executive Director, Givat Haviva International
  • Mohammad Darawshe, Director, Shared Society education department
Co-sponsored by Melton Center for Jewish Studies, the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and the department of History at The Ohio State University.

November 6, 2017 - Frances FitzGerald, “Evangelicals: A new way to look at American history”

Abstract: Until the 20th century, religion was a great part of American intellectual life. It was deeply ingrained into the educational system from primary school to university. It was the stuff of philosophy and “natural science.” Only when universities adopted the German model of dividing scholarship into separate disciplines, and purging the supernatural from the natural was religion forced to retreat to the departments of theology. Today American history books and textbooks say so little about religion that students could believe we always lived in a secular society. That is hardly the case. For most of the 19th century evangelical Protestantism dominated American culture and society. My talk will be about how evangelicals influenced 19th century history, the split within the movement that led to the culture wars of the 20th century, and the future of evangelicals in 21st century politics. 

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion that will be moderated by Paul Beck (Political Science, Ohio State). The panelists will include Tim Ahrens (Senior Minister of First Congregational Church, UCC in downtown Columbus), and Rich Nathan (Senior Pastor of Vineyard Columbus). 

This event is co-sponsored by Honors and Scholars.