Why Bother with God? Down-to-Earth Questions to
Over-Your-head Questions

This lecture series is sponsored by a grant from the Simmons Religious Commitment Fund.

Times: 7:00 PM
Location: Raynor Libraries Conference Center, Beaumier Suites B/C
Free and open to the public.
Lecture Series Flyer


Dr. Sharon PaceFeb. 17: Dr. Sharon Pace, "Four Who Bothered With God"
The Psalmist states, “The fool hath said in his heart: 'There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1); yet the Israelites never “prove” the existence of God--whom they identify as “I will cause to be what I cause to be” (or, “I am that I am,” Exod 3:14). The people Israel indeed “bothered” with God, seeing God’s works in creation, history and in the giving of the torah. Furthermore, they believed that God’s presence—either explicitly or implicitly—mattered. God’s presence not only guided their nation but also prompted courage and hope in the lives of individuals. My presentation focusses on four people for whom God mattered:  Rebekah, Hannah, Esther and Daniel. Each of these people were transformed by their experience of the transcendent. What might their experiences mean for people today? See flyer

Dr. Michel BarnesMar 31: Dr. Michel Barnes, "Is Faith Only for the Foolish?"
Karl Marx is famous for having said, “Religion is the opium of the people” – which sounds like a really harsh statement until you think about how much people will pay for an opiate. But if demand for the feeling that everything is just fine is so high, then why aren’t more people in church? Perhaps what Marx really meant was that religion is a crutch, something that gets people by, that gets people by who aren’t smart or strong enough. God is what you believe in when you can’t take the truth; religion is what you believe in when God isn’t enough. Only simple people believe in God, but religion makes what should be simple complicated and artificial. A person can have these two thoughts at the same time, and feel them as connected: two sides of the same coin. What these two thoughts have in common is the feeling that you won’t get fooled again.

This lecture deals with two questions. First, is belief in God something we should outgrow as an individual and as a civilization? Second, if you believe in God then do you have to believe in religion? The perspective the lecture begins with is that of someone who has thought both these things in his or her lifetime – someone like me. No one will be surprised to know that I’m going to answer “No” to the first question, and “Yes” to the second one, but you might be surprised by why I have those answers. I didn’t come here to fool you. 

Dr. Danielle NussbergerApr. 14: Dr. Danielle Nussberger, "Stop, In the Name of Love: Why Silence, Prayer, and Meditation Matter in a Frenzied World"
We long to be connected to each other. So, we text, tweet, and friend one another on Facebook. However, our yearning remains. How do we truly connect with one another and with God? Christianity's great spiritual teachers, like the sixteenth century mystic, John of the Cross, devoted their lives to answering this question. According to John, we will never be one with others and God, unless we stop and dwell in the silence with the God who loves us. If this was a challenge in the sixteenth century, it is even more of a challenge for us in our technological age of multitasking. With Nussberger, we will explore the wisdom of the Christian spiritual tradition to learn how to stop and be still for the sake of love.


Theology Department Mission Statement

Theology Department Mission Statement

Marquette University defines itself as Christian, Catholic, Jesuit, urban, and independent. The Department of Theology functions within the university to investigate and understand the Catholic tradition, its relation to other Christian communions, and to other religions of the world. Read more of our mission statement.