As Time Goes By: A Discussion of Relativity and Religion

As Time Goes By: A Discussion of Relativity and Religion April 4, 2016

ArtsFest is an exciting time at Butler University. In April, we essentially have a marathon of artistic events, many of which are marathon-like in their own right. We’ll have performances of works by Eric Satie and John Cage which will more-or-less compete to see which can be played over the longest period of time. We’ll have guest artists and Butler faculty. And alongside the artistic productivity, there are also lectures and talks that relate to the theme of this year’s ArtsFest.

I’m involved, in a conversation with my colleague, physicist Brian Murphy. Here’s the description from the ArtsFest website:

What is the nature of time?”; “How do we understand the beginning and end of the cosmos and creation?”; and “What are the implications for our own place in the universe and our meaning-making as humanity begins to further understand and manipulate time?”  Science and theology must respond to time. Both have made considerable efforts to describe time, react to time’s consequences, and articulate that which is not yet understood about time.  The Center for Faith and Vocation brings together two academic voices, a professor of physics and a professor of religion, to help shed light on these questions. We hope audience members will find overlaps in their own interests, their own questions, and their own respect for that which we investigate, that which we take on faith, and that which is unknown altogether.

It will take place April 13th at 9pm in the Holcomb Planetarium on the Butler University campus. Click through for more information, and please do explore the fuller list of ArtsFest events.

Butler ArtsFest


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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I wrote my senior thesis on this topic! Time as a faculty of perception and the implications for theology! I don’t think I’m going to be able to make the festival, though, so I won’t be available as a keynote speaker.

  • John MacDonald

    James quoted:

    What is the nature of time?”; “How do we understand the beginning and end of the cosmos and creation?”; and “What are the implications for our own place in the universe and our meaning-making as humanity begins to further understand and manipulate time?” Science and theology must respond to time. Both have made considerable efforts to describe time, react to time’s consequences, and articulate that which is not yet understood about time.

    The Basic Concepts are always fun. Is time to be discovered in reality, as Newton thought, or is time rather a way our mind structures reality for us, like Kant thought? Or is it something in-between? It’s cool you have your friend, physicist Brian Murphy, to walk this questioning path with you.

    “What” is time, and “how” is it with time?