We are pleased to introduce the newest member of our faculty: Omar Fakhri, Ph.D. Dr. Fakhri will be serving as Assistant Professor of Philosophy, offering courses in environmental ethics, philosophy of religion, and more. Recently, we sat down with Dr. Fakhri and asked him to share a bit about himself — what his story is, how he came to be interested in philosophy, and what led him to Bethel University.
Fakhri was born in Iraq, but moved to Jordan when he was still a small child. Around the age of 10, he relocated with his family to the United States as a refugee, and has remained in the states ever since. Raised as a Muslim in an increasingly secular context, Fakhri became interested in Christianity as a young adult and converted shortly thereafter as an undergraduate. Intellectually, Fakhri saw Christianity as a persuasive source of answers for the many questions he had regarding the character of God, Christ’s divinity, and others of this kind. He appreciated the freedom to ask questions in a Christian context and sought to explore philosophy as a means of understanding and deepening his faith. Christianity, he says, is an intellectually robust faith, one that provides far better answers than what a secular worldview has to offer.
Dr. Fakhri received his undergraduate degree at Biola University in La Mirada, California, a small Christian college similar to Bethel in nature. It was at Biola where Fakhri converted to Christianity and experienced some of his most formative years. From there, he went on to earn his M.Phil. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Fakhri recently defended his dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley and earned his Ph.D., and is now beginning his career as a professor at Bethel University. He is drawn to Bethel for the same reasons he was drawn to Biola: its rich combination of Christianity with academics, and the freedom to ask difficult questions in a Christian environment.
Fakhri’s areas of research have focused on epistemology, metaethics, and philosophy of religion, exploring questions that pertain to God’s nature, historical Christianity, and more. His dissertation addressed the issue of moral disagreement as it relates to moral knowledge. Additionally, Fakhri has published a number of articles on philosophy and religion, topics he will be teaching in his new position as assistant professor of philosophy. When asked to share what he hoped students would walk away with after attending his classes, Fakhri emphasized the importance of testimony as the main source of all knowledge. As such, he hopes that students will leave with humility and an understanding that our knowledge depends on trust, since it is impossible to know everything on our own.
When he isn’t teaching and researching philosophy, Dr. Fakhri enjoys hiking and traveling. He attends Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN. To learn more about Dr. Fakhri, check out his page in our faculty collection.