CRIS Lecture Series With Russell Hittinger: Is Natural Law Still Relevant?

by Christy Gazanian '07

On Wednesday, October 4, students and faculty came to the LAPC Board Room to listen to a lecture on Natural Law, hosted by APU's Center for Research and Science (CRIS).

The ultimate purpose of CRIS is to “serve a community of students, scholars, and laypersons by promoting research that encompasses and extends the scope of scientific studies.”

The event also encouraged the discovery of faith. Craig Boyd, Ph.D., director of faith integration at APU, welcomed all attendees to this event and introduced the internationally acclaimed speaker and philosopher, Russell Hittinger.

Hittinger’s accomplishments include professorships at Princeton University, the Catholic University of America, Fordham University, and New York University. He has won awards including the Josephine Yalch Zekan Award for “Best Scholarly Article in Faith and Law.”

With a wealth of knowledge in law and ethics, as well as religion, Hittinger's lecture on “Is Natural Law Still Relevant Today,” unpacked a centuries-old discussion and integrated questions of faith and relevance in today’s world.

Hittinger began by explaining that “The premise of natural law can be stated very simply. There are some norms of human conduct which are true and binding prior to the laws made by men.” The somewhat simplistic notion of this beginning instigated "food for thought" for all in the room. At the end of the lecture, Hittinger led a question and answer time to address the thoughts and concerns that were brought up.

Leslie Wickman, Ph.D., CRIS director, said, “Lectures like this challenge some of the beliefs students have grown up with, causing them to think through their faith. . . If God is who we say He is, then He will stand up to the tests of our inquiry.”

Adjunct Professor Will Haskins noted that although students respond to APU professors, they seem to be more attentive to outside speakers. Student Jesse Meredith ’06 affirmed and contributed that he "really liked the lecture because it brought in different views and broadened the field of discussion.”

The lecture proved to be a success through the discussions and questions that arose. Wickman’s final words on the event expressed the hope that APU holds for its students: “[I hope] people will be encouraged to think about their faith and see how reason and evidence contribute to building a faith that makes sense, as well as making it stronger and more personal.”

The next CRIS Science and Theology lecture, “Conflict Management and Peacemaking Techniques,” takes place October 18 at It's a Grind Coffee Shop (865 W. Route 66, Glendora).