Posted on February 9, 2011 by Tia Lalani

Religious Perspectives on Civil Life: A Ronning Centre Symposium co-sponsored with Islamic Studies – U of A, King’s UC, St. Mary’s UC & Istanbul FSC

Religious Perspectives on Civil Life Symposium

In an attempt to temper the kind of religious insularity that turns its back on civil life on the one hand and the widespread secularism that thinks religion has nothing to contribute to civil life on the other hand, the Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, based on the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, will be hosting a major symposium this March. The symposium will feature both local and international scholars on the theme: “Religious Perspectives on Civil Life,” and is co-sponsored by the ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta and the Istanbul Foundation for Science & Culture, and in partnership with King’s University College and St. Mary’s University College.

Ronning Centre Director David J. Goa envisions this as “first of a series” and will focus on “the capacity of religion to cultivate the faithful’s responsibility for the civil life—how does it do that? Why does it care?”

The Edmonton event will be held at the King’s University College (9125 – 50 St NW) on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 (from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day) and will focus on the neo-Calvinism of Abraham Kuyper, the Islam of Said Nursi, and modern Lutheranism. The Calgary event will be held at St. Mary’s University College (14500 Bannister Road SE) on Monday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 22 (from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day) and will focus on the Islam of Said Nursi, Roman Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council, and the Hesychastic tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy. The symposium will delve into these questions in detail by having a very specific focus for each tradition.

Each day of the event will focus on two of the themes below, to be addressed by scholars from each religious tradition:

  • How does each tradition understand the private sphere, the public sphere, and the secular?
  • What are the sources within each tradition that cultivate a life-giving stance toward the other?
  • What lessons can be drawn from a concrete and recent example within each tradition of its way of responding to the struggles found in the communities of another tradition?
  • How do spiritual disciplines central to each tradition prepare the faithful for active citizenship?

The papers presented by the scholars will be published. “The twenty-first century is going to require all of us to think much more deeply about what it means to be a human being and how we can respond to the issues of our time in a life-giving way and do so in the civil sphere” explains Ronning Centre Director David J. Goa. This symposium will be one step toward doing that.

Registration is free, but please send your name and contact information as well as which city you will attend to Rebecca Warren. More information can be found at the Ronning Centre website.

Friday, 18 March, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday, 19 March, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
King’s University College
9125 – 50 St NW, Edmonton

Religious Perspectives on Civil Life (cont’d)
Monday, 21 March, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 22 March, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
St. Mary’s University College
14500 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB


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