The yearly Veritas Forum is an almost established phenomenon at UCR, but for the few who have not been around that long, an introduction is appropriate. The Veritas-forum is an international organisation concerned with hosting forums on college campuses about life’s hardest questions. The first forum was organised by students and faculty at Harvard University in 1992. Since then, it has branched out to over 200 universities in North America and Europe, including the Netherlands. It has even reached our little town!
This year, the 6th forum will be organised in Middelburg by a team of dedicated UCR students. A Veritas Forum consists of a dialogue between two speakers with a theistic and atheistic worldview respectively, guided by a moderator. The speakers deal with a list of challenging questions about subjects such as religion, ethics, and/or objective truth. The goal of these forums is not to find ‘a winner’, but rather to reflect on each other’s worldviews and, perhaps, even find new perspectives. This does not only involve the speakers, but also the audience: they will have the chance to ask questions during the debate, and later on during some informal drinks.
The main question our speakers will discuss this year is ‘What makes for a successful life?’. This topic is highly relevant at UCR, a university concerned with turning all of us into successful people. But is being successful in business or in science the same as having a successful life? Will proper education make our lives more successful, or is a successful life something deeper, something related to notions such as love or conscience? The theistic point of view will be defended by Dr. Peter Roelofsma, professor of Social Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Next to his successful publications about topics such as rationality theory and the religious experience, he also serves as a campus pastor in Amsterdam. His opponent is atheist Dr. Floris van den Berg, professor of Geosciences at Utrecht University. Dr. van den Berg is known for his atheism-campaign and his passionate defense of atheism in the Dutch television program “Rot op met je religie” (“To Hell With Your Religion”). The debate will be moderated by our very own Dr. Jaap Hanekamp.
Visited by around 200 people last year, this engaging and popular event will take place on April 3, in the Burgerzaal. You are all invited to attend the evening, and join us for drinks in Elliot afterwards (first drink free!). This will also be your opportunity to talk more in-depth to the speakers, or to other people that have sparked your questions or interest during the forum. Be sure to like the Facebook page to stay updated. We look forward to welcoming you at our Veritas Forum!
The Veritas-forum Middelburg 2017 consists of Eric Schoute, Julianne van Meerten, Gerjanne Hoek, Mariska de Boer, Marit Versteeg, and Adriana Kerkstra.
Gerjanne Hoek, Class of 2018, is a politics and history major from Bunschoten-Spakenburg, the Netherlands.
Adriana Kerkstra, Class 0f 2018, is a politics and economics major from Maasdam, the Netherlands.