Faith and Culture: The Voice of Faith and Public Reason: Keynote Address
In his address to open the Wheeler Centre’s Faith and Culture program, series curator Raimond Gaita makes the case for why, in a world beset by religious conflict on the one hand and ‘the new atheism’ on the other, a conversation about the role that faith can play in multicultural, democratic societies – and between nations – is essential.
This talk was followed by a panel discussion featuring Bernadette Tobin, Susan Neiman, Scott Stephens and Asma Barlas.
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.
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’.
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.
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.