Day Conference Saturday 23rd November 2013

Speakers: Anthony Gimpel, Sushma Sahajpal and Mohammad Talib
Purpose and aims:
Exploring the positive and negative contributions the major religions have made in world history:
religion as something which traps and enslaves,
            religion as inspiration and empowerment,
religion as community-building and life-enhancing.

What might be the value of an approach
like that of the Sea of Faith Network?

Speakers and Abstracts:

From Sacrifice to Forgiving

Anthony is a Jewish Quaker (or a Quaker Jew), the descendant of a Priestly family, and therefore entitled to perform the daily sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. Delving into his experience he will describe a change from an outward act performed to an external deity to an inner process guided by an inward divine being, the importance of forgiving.

'Clarifying Uses and Abuses of Religious Faith:
Notes of a social anthropologist from the Muslim world'.
             Mohammad Talib is Fellow in Anthropology of
                          Muslim Societies, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
‘            “Muslims live and express their faith in diverse contexts.
                             Their religious and ritual practices follow from custom,
                             tradition, institution, politics (local national, and
                             international). The multiple expressions of believers'
                          encounters and experiences offer material to examine
                          how Islamic faith in the real world bear prints of the
                             sacred word, the secular world, and the blend of the two in
                             existential encounters. I would draw upon observations and
                             recollections from this background to develop a sense of use
                             and abuse or something beyond the simple dichotomy. 

Sanatan Dharma: The Potency of Religious  Paradox:
Blocks & Boundaries to the Ever-flowing Way

          Sushma Sahajpal is the Founder of Connectar Creative
          Education (www.connectar.co.uk), exploring paradigms
          of belonging, belief & community across School
          Enrichment Days, Teacher’s Conferences & Interfaith
          Events. She is a member of the RE:Online Expert Panel
          and serves on the NASACRE Executive.

Hindu philosophy & practice (Sanatan Dharma) with its multiplicity of paths, practices & paradoxes on the personal, communal & cosmological scales offers rich, accessible material for exploring ‘religiosity’ in all its shades and levels. I hope to use this material to examine the potency of religious paradox (such as the simultaneous need for boundary & transcendence, exploration & faith, etc) and what a powerful force for use and abuse it can be.