Fall 2023 Worldview Forum
Just War, Pacifism, and the Conflict in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 the world was saddened, but not shocked when Russia followed its past hostilities towards neighboring Ukraine by launching a full-scale invasion with the goal of conquering the entire country. While analysts and strategists in the East and West had assumed that the conflict would end quickly, the war has dragged on much longer than expected and has unleashed a type of land war that major powers haven't seen in generations and which is being fought with new technologies such as drones that challenge long standing assumptions and strategies.
While aspects of the situation are new, the question is perennial for the Christian church: what should be our response or witness in the midst of war? Our Worldview Forum will bring together a pacifist Catholic theologian and a Protestant just war scholar to engage in dialogue about the classic issue of the Christian response to war and violence and how this can inform our thinking about the present situation as well as the future.
Biography of Proponents
William Cavanaugh is professor of Catholic studies and director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, a research center housed in the Department of Catholic Studies and focusing on the Catholic Church in the global South—Africa, Asia, and Latin America at DePaul University. He holds degrees from Notre Dame, Cambridge, and Duke. He is the author among other books of Torture and Eucharist, Theopolitical Imagination, and The Myth of Religious Violence.
Eric Patterson is a Scholar-at-Large and the former dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University. His research and teaching focus on religion and politics, ethics and international affairs, and just-war theory in the context of contemporary conflict. He served as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and has spent two stints in the State Department’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs. He continues to serve as an officer and commander in the Air National Guard. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on just war and Christian realism including A Basic Guide to the Just War Tradition and Just War and Christian Traditions.
Our moderator for the evening is David Beer, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Christian Faith & Culture at Malone University.
The intent of the Worldview Forum Series is to provide the community with the opportunity to practice critical thinking and civil dialogue in the comparison of various worldviews in a professionally moderated, academic environment. It is expected that the forums will help those who attend learn to identify the constituent elements of differing worldviews as well as their implications upon belief and practice. Past topics have included discussions between Muslims and Christians, the commonalities between the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant faiths, just-war and pacifism, homosexuality, pagan religions, and much more.