Over four days, our 20 plus speakers – philosophers and theologians, historians and writers, believers and non-believers – will consider what it means to be religious, and what role the voice of faith may legitimately have in the conversations of citizens in a multicultural, democratic state and the community of nations.
Launching our four-day weekend, series curator and acclaimed philosopher Raimond Gaita will deliver the opening keynote address. Throughout the series, after each keynote, we will be offering an opportunity for discussion and exchange, with many sessions accompanied by panels and rebuttals from other thinkers and speakers. Following his agenda-setting lecture ‘The Voice of Faith and Public Reason’, Gaita will be joined on the stage by Scott Stephens, Asma Barlas, Susan Neiman, and Bernadette Tobin to tease out his ideas, opening up the debate more widely.
For the full text of this lecture plus transcripts and recordings of the series, visit our Faith and Culture archive.
Raimond Gaita has published widely to academic and non- academic audiences. In 2009, the University of Antwerp awarded Gaita the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa ‘for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution to the role of the intellectual in today’s academic world’.
Asma Barlas is a distinguished scholar and an outspoken and esteemed public intellectual, recognised as such in Europe and the US. She has written and spoken eloquently against Western misreadings of the Qur’an, and passionately against Islamic misreadings that would appear to justify the oppression of women.
Bernadette Tobin is one of the most original and respected voices in Catholic Health Care Ethics. She is Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics, a joint centre of Australian Catholic University and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney, and Reader in Philosophy at Australian Catholic University.
Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, just outside Berlin. At the interface of eastern and western Europe, it is one of Europe’s most important centres of intellectual and cultural innovation outside the university framework.
Scott Stephens is the religion and ethics editor for ABC Online. He is the editor/translator of the selected writings of the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, and is currently working on books with theologian John Milbank and literary critic James Wood. He is a regular commentator on ABC Radio National and ABC TV.