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CONTACT: TOM SNEE
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: tom-snee@uiowa.edu

Release: Dec. 9, 2002

December ‘Finding God’ panel to discuss Christian pluralism

Many people consider the claim that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ to be arrogant, narrow-minded and bigoted. Indeed, what Jesus said in John 14: 6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," does appear to be exclusivistic and intolerant. So how should one understand Jesus’ statement in the context of our pluralistic culture? Is it "absurd religious chauvinism" as pluralist Rosemary Radford Ruether labeled it? Or is it as one Jewish rabbi called it a "spiritual dictatorship" that fosters the kind of smug and superior attitude that can lead to hatred and violence?

To attempt to get at the real meaning of Jesus' statement, a panel composed of four UI faculty members from various academic disciplines will share their insights on Friday, Dec. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. in River Room 1 in of the Iowa Memorial Union. The discussion will be moderated by Arnold Andersen, professor of psychiatry, with the panel composed of Lauris Kaldjian, professor of internal medicine; Kenneth Kuntz, professor of religion; and Fred Skiff, professor of astronomy and physics. The event is free and open to the public.

The special panel discussion is part of the ongoing Finding God at Iowa lunch series that seeks to create a healthy environment for the life of the spirit and the life of the mind. It is hoped that through the regular, open and informal exchange of ideas, members of the university community, within and outside of the faith communities may have a greater understanding and appreciation of the healing and reconciling power of the Judeo-Christian message.

For further information, contact Jason Chen at 341-0007 or by email at geneva@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu.