Details of the one-day (free) SOFIA conference
At Sea On How To Live – Where should we look now for moral guidance?
15 June 2019 Queensland Art Gallery
Announced in previous sofia bulletins; the conference is described in more detail below. The conference is FREE to attend, but please register on-line so the organisers can estimate numbers.
Saturday 15 June, 10.30am – 3.30pm Queensland Art Gallery Lecture Theatre South Bank, Brisbane – we seem to be all at sea. on how to live, many in our society struggle with social media and other addictions/abuses, our once most-trusted institutions (churches, councils, parliaments, banks, sporting bodies) let us down, advancing secularisation; cause, or ray of hope? popular culture looms large in contemporary moral guidance, from Harry Potter (eg the Harry Potter Alliance) to superhero films.
Can traditional religions, or civil society, claw back their moral authority? What other options are there?
Program 10.00 Registration/Welcome
12.15 Lunch (available for purchase at nearby cafes/restaurants
1.30 Panel session with Q&A
2.30 SOFIA AGM
(1) Rodney Eivers: Can a completely neutral stance towards ethics replace the unifying function of religion?
Perhaps from the influence of his mother and an early association with Christianity, Rodney started life with an aim to make the world a better place. In his teenage years he concluded that the prime need of human beings was food, which led him to became an agricultural adviser in Papua New Guinea. However, he soon came to realise that a more urgent factor than food for human beings, especially in Australian society, was personal relationships. For 30 years he instructed in Parent Effectiveness Training, a democratic approach to child-raising, which reignited Rodney’s interest in Christianity as a social binding force. With the collapse of a common institutional Christianity in Western society – to which, ironically, Rodney contributes with his espousal of ‘progressive’ Christianity – he has become uneasy about where people today imbibe those values which contribute to building a harmonious community. Rodney is currently President of Sea of Faith in Australia.
(2) Gail Parataz: Religion as Culture – how Judaism has different strands of observance within an overall religious culture
Gail was born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time) and emigrated with her family to Melbourne when she was a very young child. She lived there for 30 years before moving to Brisbane. Gail is married to David and has 2 sons – Benjamin 26 years and Jonathon 24 years. She has been a high school Art teacher and her last teaching post was at Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School. Nowadays Gail is the Interfaith Chair on the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) and is also the Chair of the Queensland Faith Communities Council (QFCC).
(3) Professor Sarva Daam Singh: Pursuit of peace and happiness in a world riven by intolerance
Sarva Daman Singh stresses the indivisibility of humanity and its cultural diversity as a natural expression of its bountiful creativity. Professor Sarva Daman Singh, BA(Hons), M.A., PhD (University of London), PhD (University of Queensland, Australia), F.R.A.S., was born at Angai, in District Mathura of Uttar Pradesh, India and migrated to Australia in 1974.He won many awards and five gold medals during the course of a distinguished educational career at the universities of Lucknow and London. He has taught at the University of Lucknow; National Academy of Administration, Government of India, Mussoorie; Vikram University, Ujjain; and the University of Queensland, Australia; and held chairs of Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He is at present Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane. He was the Honorary Consul of India in Queensland from 2003 to 2011.
Neil Davidson is a community activator, catalyst and keynote listener who listens deeply, empathizes, synthesizes, and reflects back to diverse groups: interfaith gatherings, organizations, not-for-profits, NGOs and rural communities in ways that reveal patterns, weave threads and lift those present by unlocking hidden/ignored potentials. Neil takes photographs, writes poetry, and sometimes finds himself seeing/channeling the multiple wisdoms present in ways that surprises him and transforms those present. His academic background was Marine Biology and Geology.