2012–2013 Theme: Religious Responses to Suffering

Religions have been the cause of suffering. But they have also provided vast theoretical and practical resources for its removal. In fact one of the greatest strengths of the world’s religions is their ability to offer both explanations for why we suffer and motivations for how we alleviate suffering. Traditional philosophy of religion usually overlooks these resources, focusing on the justice of God in the face of evil.

In 2012-2013 The Comparative Project explored and compared the range of responses to suffering in the religions of the world, looking especially to those occasions during which the intensity or pervasiveness of suffering provoked the reimagining of traditional religious explanations of suffering and the redoubling of practical efforts to assuage suffering.

Below is a complete listing of the events of our 2012-2013 series. Click on the titles to find descriptions, pictures, audio files, and sometimes also manuscripts and power point presentations.

Below the calendar you can find supplementary resources related to this Comparison Project theme from the students in Prof. Knepper’s 2012-2013 Comparison Project classes.

Programming, Spring 2013


“Who Ended Slavery? Secularization in Context” Hector Avalos, Professor of Religious Studies, Iowa State University Thurs, 2/14
6:30 p.m.
Olin 101
Creative Nonfiction Narratives of Recovery, Discovery, and Advocacy Andy Fleming and Ruth Bachman, Members of Above + Beyond Cancer’s 2012 Journey to the High Himalaya Thurs, 3/7
7:30 p.m.
Cowles Reading Room
“Innovative Jewish Theological Responses to the Holocaust” Steven Katz, Alvin J. and Shirley Slater Chair of Jewish & Holocaust Studies, Boston University Thurs, 4/4
7:00 p.m.
Olin 101
“Suffering, Memory, and Compassion – A Variation on the Ethics of Memory” Gereon Kopf, Associate Professor of Religion, Luther College Wed, 4/17
7:00 p.m.
Olin 101
Comparative Philosophy of Religious Responses to Suffering: A Panel Discussion Bradley Herling, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Marymount Manhattan Jin Y Park, Associate Professor of Philosophy, American University John Thatamanil, Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions, Union Theological Seminary Tues, 5/7 7:00 p.m. Olin 101


Programming, Fall 2012


Drake Student Interfaith Dialogue Nashmi Abladarin, Chloe Ginsbury, Joshua Jeun, Samantha Kenison, Sumit Sen, Erin Shoup Wed, 9/12 7:00 p.m. Olin 101
“Sikhism and Suffering: Understanding and Healing after the Milwaukee Massacre” Nikky-Guninder K.Singh, Crawford Family Professor of Religion, Colby College Thurs, 9/27 7:00 p.m. Harvey-Ingham 104
“Dancing Our Troubles Away: Native American Ways of Alleviating Suffering” Michelene Pesantubbee, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Indian Native Studies, University of Iowa Thurs, 10/25 7:00 p.m. Olin 101
“Loss and Suffering with Dignity: Abd el Kader’s Jihad with France” John Kiser, Author Wed, 11/14 7:00 p.m. Olin 101
Des Moines Community Interfaith Dialogue Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank, Howard Croweagle, Shuji Valdene Mintzmyer, Baljit Navroop, Ako Abdul-Samad Thurs, 11/29 7:00 p.m. Tifereth Israel Synagogue


Student Resources on Religious Responses to Suffering

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