Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning

7 June 2004, 10:00 - 12:00 AM, Congregational Church, Manchester Center, VT

To register, call 802 362 0788, or visit

Is Religion Irrelevant? Paul Tillich's Answering Theology

Paul H. Carr, Ph. D.

Paul Tillich's mission was to make religion relevant by answering existential questions such as, "How do we overcome the power of death?" His response was: "The power of love is stronger than death." His picture on the cover of the March 16, 1959 issue of TIME magazine portrayed him as one of most influential theologians of the 20th century. His books Dynamics of Faith and The Courage to Be were best sellers and still in print.

Tillich's Harvard University course, "Theology of Culture," answered my questions about relating religion to science, philosophy, art, psychology, and history. He said: "Culture is the form of religion, religion is the substance of culture." My new wife, Karin, and I were moved by his inspiring sermon on the transforming power of the Spirit, entitled "Spiritual Presence." I wrote down his saying: "Spiritual presence assures our ultimate fulfillment in spite of our fate and the ambiguities of life." When Karin died of leukemia 26 years later, leaving me with daughters ages 12, 14, 16, 21, and 24, I turned to these words as I struggled to find "the courage to be."

My powerpoint lecture will include photographs of the Tillich Memorial Park and Picasso's Guernica, which Tillich regarded as a great Protestant painting. It will also include short audiotape of Tillich with highlights from his popular books, his sermon books, and his seminal Systematic Theology. Finally, I will give a summary of the Science and Religion Session I organized at the International Paul Tillich Conference: "The Religious Situation at the Dawn of the Millennium."


Suggested Books: The Essential Tillich: An Anthology of the Writings of Paul Tillich,

By F. Forrester Church.

Religion in the New Millennium, by R.F. Bulman & F.R. Parrella.

North American Paul Tilllich Society,



Paul H. Carr taught the philosophy course "Science and Religion: Cosmos to Consciousness" at the University of Massachusetts Lowell from 1998 to 2000. This course was supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation. He organized the Science and Religion Session of the International Paul Tillich Society Conference in New Harmony, IN, and presented the paper "Science and Religion: Original Unity and the Courage to Create," published in Religion in the New Millennium (Mercer 2001.) He was a Board Member of the North America Paul Tillich Society.

In his earlier life, he led the Component Technology Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which did pioneering research and development on microwave ultrasound, surface acoustic waves, superconductors, and laser activated antennas. He has published over 80 scientific papers and has been awarded 10 patents. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Brandeis University and his M. S. and B. S. from MIT.