Wesleyan Theological Society selects paper by Adrian College Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Chris Momany, for its anniversary publication.
When the Wesleyan Theological Society celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, a host of scholars contributed to the two-day gathering. In fact, more than sixty session papers were presented, and several more panel discussions were convened. But when it came time to publish representative thought from the event, only ten articles were selected. One of those was contributed by Rev. Dr. Chris Momany, Adrian College Chaplain and Professor in the Department of Philosophy/Religion. His piece was titled, “The True Nature of Virtue.”
The Wesleyan Theological Society is an international group of scholars who mine the tradition of John Wesley and early Methodists to suggest insights for today. Much of the scholarship features interpretation of nineteenth-century religious leaders and thinkers, including Adrian College’s founder, Asa Mahan. Momany’s presentation explored the way Mahan’s ethical theory provided a courageous challenge to slavery before the Civil War. The Adrian Chaplain also suggested ways this perspective can contribute to a better world today.
“Mahan was an extraordinary figure in so many ways,” says Momany. “He was a spiritual leader, academic philosopher, and activist – all rolled into one.” Momany notes that Mahan also drew from the best moral thinkers of the Enlightenment period, and Enlightenment thinking has fallen out of favor with many religious scholars today. Momany warns, “The Enlightenment had many flaws, but recent decades have witnessed a knee-jerk rejection of almost all Enlightenment thinking.”
Sound like a lot of theoretical hot air, unrelated to student concern? Not so. Recently some Adrian College graduates were seen sporting words from Asa Mahan’s philosophy on their Commencement-day mortarboards: “Intrinsic Worth.” The reference is to Mahan’s ethical principle that all people possess an intrinsic value or worth. Momany adds, “Young adults crave substance, authentic ideas, and integrity. Mahan’s unique philosophy is very, very relevant today.”