Religion & Philosophy, 2012
  • Hope Quilt
    Jennifer Davis, Daston Campell, Brooke Fox, Jesi Howell, Courtney Otto, Jennie Pabst, Ryan Ross, Mary-Helen Skowronski, Ashley Stotesbery, Jessica Woodruff
    Mentor: Michelle Barsnack, Sharon Stout-Shaffer, Deborah Shields, Amy Oehlschlaeger, Andrea Thomas, Renda Ross, Dina Lentsner, Janette McDonald, Andrea M. Karkowski


    Art has been used as a way to inspire hope in people through times of crisis. The purpose of this project was to create a hope quilt. Students studying hope imagined what hope looked like and portrayed hope through a symbol or an image. Students were asked to think of a color that represented hope for them and then were asked to think of a symbol that represented hope for them. Students then designed the image that incorporated their color of hope and used different quilting techniques. Each piece was stitched together to create an enlarged quilted wall hanging. This project expands our understanding of hope by exploring the colors, images and symbols associated with hope.

    Just Joking: An Ethical Analysis of Humor and the Virtuous Comedian
    Timothy Green
    Mentor: Monica Mueller


    Two views have long dominated and Balkanized discussion on the subject of ethics with regard to humor. Superiority theory, descended from writings of Plato, gives humor a negative connotation and advises the virtuous individual to avoid its use for fear of degrading relationships. In contrast, the contemporary view of humor claims humor is more of an art form and as such should be respected, not limited. This paper seeks to provide a middle ground between these two approaches to humor and to allow for a virtuous comedian. By evaluating the distinct elements of a joke including its place within a context, the life-span of the joke, and the comic’s relationship to the audience, I demonstrate that utilizing humor requires virtue in order to avoid insult and insensitivity. Analyzing the function of these characteristics within a humorous claim provides a means of determining the moral aspect of the comment. Determining the moral aspect of humor leads the comic out of being either condemned or ignored for a sense of humor, a faculty that has reason to be applauded as a virtue.

    The Hopelessness of Traditional Eschatological Hope: A Broken World’s Cry for Active Hope in Suffering
    Sarah McIlvried
    Mentors: Monica Mueller, Joy Schroeder


    Eschatology, the study of the end of things, is often pointed to as the source of hope within the Christian faith. Such theology, which focuses on a new future without suffering, has sometimes been interpreted to ask humans to patiently endure their suffering and wait for it to pass, without providing anything substantial to help them cope. In the face of injustice this is often insufficient. Liberation Theology presents an alternative, more active, form of hope which exists in the midst of suffering and leads to change. I examine the movement of the Arpilleristas in Chile during the dictatorship of Pinochet to better understand how justice movements embrace a more active hope. By applying the beliefs of liberation theologians such as Dorothee Soelle, Jurgen Moltmann, and Vaclav Havel, I find that in a time when success seemed impossible and suffering dominated their lives, these women were able to cultivate hope through solidarity, a redefining of meaning in their lives, and action. For the sake of justice movements everywhere, such an understanding of hope is essential and must be adopted if we are to engage with this world rather than accept its injustices and suffering.

    A Community and a Purpose: A Call to the Christian Church to Care for the Poor
    Katherine Wilson
    Mentors: Monica Mueller, Joy Schroeder


    There is an overabundance of suffering in the world that is, sadly, often easily ignored, particularly by those who have the resources to target social problems. An examination of the Church as a global community and the purpose of the Church to strive for that community’s common good are prevalent in Jesus’ commands that we are to love others as we would love ourselves. I reviewed organizations and movements such as Church World Service that help illuminate the problem of poverty. Several scholars identify possible solutions to the problems, such as the need to redistribute wealth and privilege. I illuminate and offer a purpose and a call to eradicate the disconnect between the wealth that so many in the Church experience and the poverty that permeates our global community at the deepest levels. There must be a bridge built that crosses this divide and brings all into the community.