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Dr. Howard Miller to give a talk on unbelief at UT

April 13, 2007

The ACA has been invited to the following talk at UT by historian G. Howard Miller who spoke to the ACA in February. The lecture will be Monday, April 16th, 7:30pm. The lecture is titled "Belief and Unbelief in George Bush's America". It will be given Monday, April 16th, 7:30pm at in Gearing Hall room 105. The talk will enlarge on comments he made in his February lecture and will pay special attention to the recent public defenses of unbelief in the works of men like Dawkins and Harris.

Dr. Miller's Biography

A native of Graham, Texas, Howard Miller is University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been teaching about religion in American history since 1971. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Professor Miller is currently writing a book on the impact of General Wallace's novel, Ben-Hur on American culture since its publication in 1880. He has recently become interested on film in America and has developed several new courses that rely heavily on audio-visual materials. Over thepast few years he has taught new courses on Jesus in America, on the cinematic lives of Jesus, on religion in America in the Fifties and on unbelief in America. This semester he is teaching a new lecture course on religion in America since 1945. In the Spring of 2008 Professor Miller will offer a new lecture course on unbelief in America that grows out of the undergraduate seminar he recently taught on the same subject. His lecture grows out of his experiences in that course.

Talk Abstract

Scholars and cultural commentators have much recently of the power of religious belief in George W. Bush's personal life and in his rise to and survival in power in American politics. Critics of the President speak ominously of the rise of a politically engaged religious fundamentalism that has disturbing similarities to the Islamic fundamentalists against which America is now arrayed in Afghanistan and Iraq. But in the past few years, just as commentators have predicted the inevitable and lamentable triumph of the Religious Right in the United States, the nation's bestseller lists have begun to fill up with books defending, of all things, unbelief. How to account for this seemingly unexpected rise of a clearly articulated, intellectually sophisticated, public defense of unbelief? Is it but the inevitable reaction to the stridency of the Religious Right? Is it part of our growing fascinating with the capacity of science to answer ultimate questions? Just how unusual is it in the broad sweep of American history? These and other questions will be the focus of this lecture on one of the most important developments of our time.

Directions to the Event

The event will be in Gearing Hall Room 105 on the UT campus. If you walk north from the Tower and cross 24th Street, you will walk right into Gearing Hall. Look at the bottom of map 1 on this page to see where the building is. If you go to the lecture, I recommend parking in the parking garage at 25th and San Antonio and walking over. See the visitor parking map. Go early enough to find parking and allow for walking time whenever you visit the UT campus. Once you enter Gearing Hall, take a left then the next left, and you are there at room 105.

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