CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Jon Butler, the Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History and Religious Studies at Yale University, will deliver the 2009 Marjorie Hall Thulin Lecture in Religion at the University of Illinois.
Butler's lecture will begin at 8 p.m. March 10 (Tuesday) in the Knight Auditorium of Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana. His lecture is titled "The Surprise of Religion in Modern America."
The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the department of religion.
Butler will discuss the decidedly bleak future that religion appeared to have in late 19th-century America and question why the forecasts and concerns about America's religious future were so wrong.
"Intellectuals often saw religion as an artifact of a primitive past unlikely to survive modernity," Butler said. "Science seemed to deny traditional creation accounts of most religious scriptures."
Butler will discuss these issues and address the appeal, transformations and success of religion in 20th-century America.
A desire for university students to understand how religion grows and functions in a complex society, especially Christianity in the U.S., led Marjorie Hall Thulin, who graduated from the U. of I. in 1931 and had a successful career in advertising, to endow a fund that established the Marjorie Hall Thulin Scholar of Religion and Contemporary Culture.
Thulin, who plans to attend this year's lecture, is a published poet, the author of children's literature and the editor of a book about the history of Glencoe, Ill.
A reception in the Spurlock Auditorium will follow the lecture.