Profs and Pints presents: “Is Religion Obsolete?” with Michael J. Sigrist, lecturer in philosophy at George Washington University, co-editor of Time and the Philosophy of Action, and scholar of the early existentialists.
Why do people turn to religion? What’s its purpose?
In today’s America, public debate about religion centers on questions like whether religious beliefs are true, and whether religion makes us better people. Is there a factual basis for religious beliefs? Does religion lead people to do good, or harm? Sigrist, an expert on the early existentialists, will discuss how many of them viewed religion as a means by which we grapple with basic aspects of human existence that are mysterious and leave us unsettled.
The meaning of death, our place in the cosmos, and profound feelings of guilt or innocence can seem beyond our capacity to comprehend them. Early existentialists like Gabriel Marcel, Karl Jaspers, Max Scheler, and Simone Weil argued that religion represents a necessary attempt to answer such questions. Others, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger, disagreed.
Hearing Sigrist discuss such thinkers and life’s mysteries won’t necessarily shake, restore, or fortify religious faith. It’s likely, however, to leave you thinking about religion much more thoughtfully than you had before. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door.