Stiltner, Brian 1966–
Stiltner, Brian 1966–
Academic. Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, associate professor of religious studies, 1998—, director of the Hersher Institute for Applied Ethics, 1998-2003, director of the Center for Catholic Thought, Ethics, and Culture, 2003-06, chair of the department of philosophy and religious studies, 2006—.
Religion and the Common Good: Catholic Contributions to Building Community in a Liberal Society, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1999.
(With David L. Clough) Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War, Georgetown University Press (Washington, DC), 2007.
Brian Stiltner is an academic. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from John Carroll University and went on to earn a master of arts and Ph.D. from Yale University. Entering a career in academia, he began working at Sacred Heart University in 1998, eventually becoming an associate professor. He also served as director of the university's Hersher Institute for Applied Ethics from 1998 to 2003 and its Center for Catholic Thought, Ethics, and Culture from 2003 to 2006. In 2006 he was named chair of the department of philosophy and religious studies. His research interests include Catholic social ethics, religion's role in democratic societies and public life, and the ethics of war and peace.
Stiltner published his first book, Religion and the Common Good: Catholic Contributions to Building Community in a Liberal Society, in 1999. In the book Stiltner addresses how religious traditions contribute to public discourse on policies and theories on the common good.
F. Matthew Schobert, Jr., reviewing the book in the Journal of Church and State, commented that "throughout this text, Stiltner achieves a level of lucidity and clarity that untangles the complex philosophical issues surrounding the role of religion in promoting the common good. He provides an excellent layout of the essential terms and their lexical variants, as well as the competing philosophical claims and implications of the multi-faceted liberal-communitarian-Catholic dialogue on the common good." Schobert concluded that Religion and the Common Good is "a significant contribution to the field of political philosophy."
In 2007 Stiltner collaborated with David L. Clough in publishing Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War. The book shows countering views of the two theologians, with Clough's Methodist pacifist views condoning the American-led war in Iraq and Stiltner's Catholic approach to just wars.
Booklist contributor Bryce Christensen wrote that the book is "a cogent analysis of both immediate and long-term relevance." Gary P. Gillum, reviewing the book in Library Journal, remarked that the authors "provide a balanced view of all Christian aspects concerning war, leaving readers to decide for themselves" where they stand on the issues.
After publicly voicing his support for the American war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003, calling it a just war, Stiltner eventually had doubts about his initial position. In an interview with Kim Lawton in 2006, Stiltner discussed the difficulty in publicly taking an opposing stance to his original argument. In an interview posted on the Public Broadcasting Services Web site, Stiltner stated: "It was difficult to take a stand in favor of the war at first, because it did really go against most of my friends, most people in American academia, I think, and against the tenor of the body of religious and Christian ethicists. It was not a popular war among my professional colleagues to start with. I thought the argument needed to be made. The reason I think I made it at the outset was I felt one side of the argument wasn't being given its due, and there were claims on that side and I was convinced by them. It was also hard to change. I didn't want to feel I was just going back and forth."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2007, Bryce Christensen, review of Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War, p. 6.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June 1, 2000, R.F. White, review of Religion and the Common Good: Catholic Contributions to Building Community in a Liberal Society, p. 1831; February 1, 2008, L. Steffen, review of Faith and Force, p. 994.
Journal of Church and State, September 22, 2001, F. Matthew Schobert, Jr., review of Religion and the Common Good, p. 801.
Journal of the American Academy of Religion, March 1, 2001, John F. Kane, review of Religion and the Common Good, p. 261.
Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Gary P. Gillum, review of Faith and Force, p. 75.
Theology Today, January 1, 2002, Jean Porter, review of Religion and the Common Good, p. 636.
Faith and Force Web site,http://www.faithandforce.com (May 12, 2008), author profile.
Public Broadcasting Services Web site,http://www.pbs.org/ (March 24, 2006), Kim Lawton, author interview.
Sacred Heart University Web site,http://www.sacredheart.edu/ (May 12, 2008), author profile.