2 p.m. EDT Monday–Friday, Hall of Philosophy
The Interfaith Lecture Series is designed to present issues that impact the lived experience of everyday life from theological, religious, spiritual, ethical, and humanitarian perspectives.
Week One :: June 27–July 1, 2022
America’s Global Conscience
Looking historically at America’s almost 250-year presence on the world’s stage, this week we invite spiritual leaders to guide us in a conversation on what America’s role in the world should be as a leader of conscience and integrity. Please join us in this examination of our global conscience to discern how it guides our values and the decisions that flow from it, and informs the ways we want to lead.
Week Two :: July 4–8, 2022
Reconnecting with the Natural World
People and communities of faith worldwide are increasingly returning to an embrace of our spiritual-existential relationship with all of creation. At the heart of this movement is a growing realization of our natural relationship with the healing temples of trees, plants, waters and air, in interconnectedness with sun, moon and all living beings. In tandem with this returning, religion now appears to be entering a post-dualistic, Earth-based spirituality and connection with the divine, arising out of the awareness that nature is our primary holy scripture, written on our sacred earthly home. Be with us in this week as we reconnect with the divine through the natural world.
Week Three :: July 11–15, 2022
The Spirituality of Human Rights
How did humankind come to recognize what we understand as “human rights”? In 1776 the Declaration of Independence recognized “… these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights.” In 1948 the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights echoed this reality in recognizing that “the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” Does this recognition arise from the human psyche as manifested in the sacred scriptures of the world’s religions? From whence does it come? In this week we will seek to discern the spiritual and ethical well-spring foundations of this truth, and how to live it.
Week Four :: July 18–22, 2022
The Future of Being
Theologian Paul Tillich understood the source of the universe as an overflowing and evolving expression of “divine love,” the very “ground of being.” As the universe and all creation continue to evolve into a changing and unknown future, in this week we ponder how our understanding of “being” — both human and divine — might also evolve to reveal more consciously a new experience of what we now simply call “life”? Together we will ask how this evolution might change the way that we will think about everything, and then how we will be, and then what we will do.
Week Five :: July 25–29, 2022
The Ethical Foundations of a Fully Functioning Democracy
Building upon work begun in 2021, the Interfaith Lecture Series again shines a light on Socrates and his student Plato, who entered the discourse on ethics by way of a question that became central in Greek thought and is still relevant today: What is the relation between virtue, excellence of character, and a functioning society that provides for personal and societal happiness? For the flourishing of a democracy, as in “demos/the people,” the Greek philosophers believed in reverence and justice, as well as the objectivity of goodness, as the links for knowing what is good and doing it. In this week we will discern the ideal ethical foundations of a system of government by a population that believes in reverence for life and justice.
Week Six :: August 1–5, 2022
Embracing the Dark: Fertile Soul Time
Dark Night of the Soul is a poem by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross that narrates the journey of the soul to mystical union with God, the Unknowable. Life, however, often leads us into darkness and fear, and to a feeling of failure and the notion of impossibility. Can we contend with these forces by seeking out ancient wisdom, light within our souls, and mystical renewal, both spiritual and secular? In this week we will look to contemporary wisdom teachers to show us how to embrace the dark as fertile soul time, for renewed hope and trust.
Week Seven :: August 8–12, 2022
Home: A Place for Human Thriving
“Home is where the heart is” is a sentiment that has been repeated for over a hundred years, known to mean where our loved ones are. In reality it is also the place wherein “family” in many forms and contexts is created, wherein each member can thrive if the nurturing elements of shelter, security, caring, nutrition, and felt love are present. In this week we will look at the essentiality of “home” from multiple perspectives and insights, and perhaps to see more clearly into our own lives and histories.
Week Eight :: August 15–19, 2022
New Profiles in Courage
Courage is often assigned to acts of heroism or is included in soaring national rhetoric about leaders in extraordinary times, but some of the most profound examples of courage come through in the adherence to the morals, values and ethics found in the world’s many religious traditions. In this week, Chautauqua links the Chautauqua Lecture Series and Interfaith Lecture Series to explore the broad range of courageous voices shining a light on the path ahead for a world too often described as divided.
Week Nine :: August 22–26, 2022
Faith and the Tapestry of the Future
In Partnership with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Despite the “separation of church and state,” Americans have often turned to diverse religious, spiritual and ethical traditions for inspiration and illumination about the meanings and possibilities of the collective life of this nation. The United States in 2026 will celebrate its 250th anniversary. As this auspicious moment approaches, it provides an occasion to glance backward at what American has been. It also offers an inspiring opportunity to gaze forward — to imagine what America might be. In this week, through a creative partnership, two venerable American institutions invite influential leaders from America’s diverse traditions to muse on what the United States might become if it governed itself not by mean-spirited partisan politics but rather by morally centered principles and practices.