A full day seminar will tackle this difficult and challenging concept. First, our two speakers will explain how each of them approach this topic. In the afternoon, a dialogue chaired by Rev'd Professor Robert Gribben, will allow further discussion and hopefully, audience participation.
How is the secular mainstream culture to arrive at religious or spiritual truths?
Australia is a thoroughly secular society, and if anything, our secularism is likely to increase rather than diminish. This means that formal religious practice is likely to decrease further in the immediate future. Ought we not, therefore, to begin to imagine what a 'secular spirituality' would look like? Spiritually, Australia is running on empty, but it is highly unlikely, and against all trends, that it will fill up by returning to formal worship.
David Tacey will take up the challenge delivered by his Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, that: 'It is my belief that together we need to find a new form of spirituality. It should be developed in parallel with the world religions, so that those of goodwill can follow it, whether they are religious or not. One new concept, for example, is that of lay spirituality. We should promote this idea with the help of the scientific community. It could help us to establish what we are all looking for secular ethics. I believe in this deeply, with the view that it will lead to a better world.'
David Tacey is Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Critical Enquiry, La Trobe University, teaching courses on spirituality, psychology and literature.
What resources do we have for fashioning a secular spirituality?
Rufus Black will explore the role of science, poetry and transpersonal psychology in the development of secular spirituality. Following this, he will turn to the question of how mainstream Christianity should creatively respond to a secular spirituality shaped by these forces.
Rufus Black is a theologian, ethicist and management consultant with McKinsey & Company. He is also a Uniting Church minister, actively involved in a new community in Melbourne's Docklands.