Cornell Claritas — an academic journal exploring the Christian faith — released a first issue that will be distributed throughout campus next week, according to Esther Jiang ’16, the journal’s founder and editor-in-chief.
Jiang and a group of students who are passionate about their Christian faith and eager to share it with others founded Cornell Claritas last year. The group wanted to develop discussion of their faith in a novel setting, according to Jiang.
“When we created a team for Cornell Claritas, we were trying to find a new way to do it on campus,” Jiang said. “Fellowship groups have a good presence on campus but we also realize that we are in a very academic setting, so we wanted to bring the conversation to our studies, think critically about our faith and explore if the truth we find in the Gospel is the truth that is relevant to all areas of life.”
The journal’s purpose is to stimulate dialogue between Christians and non-Christians on critical issues in their life and faith, according to Ellie Schmucker ’19, the journal’s production manager.
“The intent is to engage the campus in an intellectual conversation,” Schmucker said. “We come from a Christian perspective, but we also want to hear about other people’s ideas and foster a pluralistic view.”
Although it discusses Christian topics, the Cornell Claritas founders intended the journal to be read by readers of different faiths, according to John Nystrom ’18, the journal’s managing editor.
“We are not trying to preach anything,” Nystrom said. “We are trying to start a discussion and share our viewpoint about deeper things like truth and what it really means.”
The journal will include nine articles written by students from a number of different majors, according to Jiang.
“We have a student writing about philosophical skepticism, exploring what some of the arguments against the philosophy of skepticism are,” Jiang said.
Other articles include an essay about how donating blood is an act of love and an exploration of the relationship between Christianity and environmental issues.
Jiang said the journal is intended to be a semester-long project that culminates in a new issue at the end of every semester. Writers also post more regularly on the journal’s online blog.
“We are trying to put out an issue every semester that is more essay-based,” Jiang said. “But we are also looking for different talents like art, design, poetry, to join us in what we are doing because we think that different mediums speak to different people in special ways and it’s important that we embrace that kind of variety in our journal.”
Schmucker added that Cornell Claritas is looking for other ways to engage the Cornell community in meaningful conversations about everyday issues.
“I’ve had really interesting discussions about everything from separation of church and state to racial tension and how it relates to Christianity,” Schmucker said. “We are trying to organize an open discussion once a month to interview someone and to critically engage people in a meaningful conversation about issues we don’t necessarily have clear answers to.”
The founders of Cornell Claritas chose the journal’s name because “‘claritas’ has a twofold meaning of clarity and truth,” according to Nystrom.
“Cornell Claritas is about the desire to find truth, to speak about truth and to engage in a clear conversation about truth,” Nystrom said. “We believe the Christian worldview is true and offer that as a meaningful and thoughtful contribution to this discussion.”