East Carolina University
Religious Studies
Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture


Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture

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Lecture on Religion and Culture

The annual Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture is one of the important projects of the Religious Studies Program.

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours prior to the event at (252) 328-6799 voice or (252) 328-0899 TTY.

Would you like to receive e-mail notices about area religion-related cultural and/or academic events? If so, please send your request to mercerc@ecu.edu. This list will not be shared with any other group or person. E-mail newsletters are sent only about once every two months. They are sent more frequently during the weeks before the Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture.

The entire exciting schedule of the Voyages of Discovery series can be found [here].

Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture DVD
Some of the more recent Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture are available on DVD. Please contact Dr. John Tucker (tuckerjo@ecu.edu) head of the Voyages of Discovery series. Provide the following information:

 • Name
 • Complete Mailing Address
 • Telephone Number
 • Email address
 • Lecture wanted
 • Number of copies

For more information, please contact the Religious Studies Program Director:

Dr. Calvin Mercer
Director, Religious Studies
(252) 328-4301
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The 23rd Annual Distinguished Lecture on Religion and Culture
October 27, 2015, Tuesday, 7:00 PM
Wright Auditorium



Dr. Raymond Moody has interviewed thousands of people from all over the world who experienced episodes of transcendent consciousness when they almost died. In this lecture, Dr. Moody will describe the common elements of near-death experiences as they have been studied by medical doctors in many countries. He will also describe shared death experiences, an identical phenomenon reported by bystanders at the death of some other person. Are near-death experiences and shared death experiences relevant to the question of life after death? Dr. Moody traces the debate back to Plato and Democritus who argued about whether near-death experiences indicate an afterlife, or just a dying brain. He will discuss fascinating new ways of studying such experiences and their relationship to humanity's biggest question: what happens when we die?

Raymond A Moody, Jr. was born June 30, 1944 in Porterdale, Ga. He Received a B.A. with honors (1966), M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1969) in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He received an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia in 1976 and served a residency in psychiatry at the University of Virginia Medical center (1980-83). Dr. Moody was assistant professor of philosophy at East Carolina University from 1969-72. He was visiting associate professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia, 1977-78. He served as associate professor of psychology at the University of Western Georgia 1987-92. He served as Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (1992-2002). Dr. Moody served as a forensic psychiatrist in a maximum security unit for the criminally insane (1985-88). He has practiced grief counseling for more than two decades. Dr. Moody is the author of fourteen books including Life After Life (1975), Coming Back (1995), Glimpses of Eternity (2010), and Paranormal (2012). His main professional interests are logic, philosophy of language and ancient Greek philosophy. He is best known for his work on near-death experiences.

Prominent speakers who have delivered the lecture include:

  • Dennis Campbell, Dean, Duke Divinity School. "The Changing Role of Religion in American Culture." Fall 1992
  • Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern Christianity, University of Chicago, "What a Way to End a Millennium: Fundamentalism and Other Hardlines, Today and Tomorrow." Fall 1993
  • Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological Seminary, "Unmasking the Powers." Fall 1994
  • William H. Willimon, Dean of the Chapel and Professor, Duke Divinity School, "Thinking Like a Christian in the Post-Modern World." Fall 1995
  • Os Guinness, author and lecturer, "The Crisis of Cultural Authority and the Christian Faith." Spring 1997
  • Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Professor Sociology of Religion, Center for Social and Religious Research, Hartford Seminary, "Christianity in a Postmodern World: Challenges and Opportunities." Spring 1998
  • Bill J. Leonard, Dean, Wake Forest University Divinity School, "Spirituality in America: Faith or Fad?" Spring 1999
  • Lawrence Cunningham, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, "Thomas Merton: Contemplative Monk as Critic of Culture." Fall 1999
  • Huston Smith," Retired Professor of Religion, University of California, Berkeley, "Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith in an Age of Disbelief." Fall 2000
  • Elizabeth A. Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion, Duke University, "What's the Matter with Marriage? Some Early Christian Answers." Fall 2001
  • Will D. Campbell, "Speaking His Mind." Fall 2002
  • Charles Kimball, chair and professor of Religion at Wake Forest University, "When Religions Become Evil." Fall 2003
  • Christian Smith, Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNC-CH, "Is 'Moralistic Therapeutic Deism' America's Real Religious Faith? Popular Religion From the Mouths of American Youth." Fall 2004
  • Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University Divinity School, "Why No One Wants to Die in America." Fall 2005
  • Phyllis Trible, University Professor of Biblical Studies at Wake Forest University Divinity School, "Taking Back the Bible." Fall 2006
  • William G. Dever, Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Arizona (retired), "Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel." Spring 2008
  • Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, Oregon State University (retired), "Christians in the Age of Empire." Fall 2008
  • Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary (retired), "Recovery from the Long Nightmare of Amnesia." Spring 2010
  • Matthew Fox, theologian and author, "Reinventing Christianity." Fall 2010
  • J. Kameron Carter, Duke University Divinity School, "Religion and the Post-Racial Condition." Spring 2012
  • Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University, "Strange Bedfellows: The Bible, American Politics, and Homosexuality." Spring 2013
  • Jose Casanova, Professor of Sociology and head of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, "Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity." Spring 2014

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