2019 One Day Conference

Where should we look now for moral guidance?
Saturday 15 June, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Queensland Art Gallery Lecture Theatre
South Bank, Brisbane


How should we live nowadays? Where can we look for moral guidance? Our once most trusted institutions (e.g. churches, councils, parliaments, banks and sporting bodies) have let us down.

To boot, many in our society are struggling with social media and other addictions/abuses. We seem to be all at sea.

Is advancing secularisation a cause of these problems, or a ray of hope? Arguably, popular culture looms increasingly large in contemporary moral guidance, from Harry Potter (e.g. the Harry Potter Alliance) to superhero films.

Can traditional religions or civil society claw back their moral authority? What other options are there?


Registration is free; all welcome.
Lunch is available for purchase at several cafes nearby.
Enquiries: Rachel Matthews 0408 193 872



10.00    Registration/Welcome

10.30    Speakers

12.15    Lunch (available at several nearby cafes/restaurants in the cultural precinct)

1.30      Panel session with Q&A

2.30      SoFiA AGM


(1)     Rodney Eivers: Can a completely neutral stance towards ethics replace the unifying function of religion?

Perhaps from the influence of his mother and an early association with Christianity, Rodney started life with an aim to make the world a better place. In his teenage years he concluded that the prime need of human beings was food, which led him to became an agricultural adviser in Papua New Guinea. However he soon came to realise that a more urgent factor than food for human beings, especially in Australian society, was personal relationships. For 30 years he instructed in Parent Effectiveness Training, a democratic approach to child-raising, which reignited Rodney’s interest in Christianity as a social binding force. With the collapse of a common institutional Christianity in Western society – to which, ironically, Rodney contributes with his espousal of ‘progressive’ Christianity – he has become uneasy about where people today imbibe those values which contribute to building a harmonious community. Rodney is currently President of Sea of Faith in Australia.

(2)     Gail Parataz: Religion as Culture – how Judaism has different strands of observance within an overall religious culture

Gail was born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time) and emigrated with her family to Melbourne when she was a very young child. She lived there for 30 years before moving to Brisbane. Gail is married to David and has 2 sons – Benjamin 26 years and Jonathon 24 years. She has been a high school Art teacher and her last teaching post was at Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School. Nowadays Gail is the Interfaith Chair on the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) and is also the Chair of the Queensland Faith Communities Council (QFCC).

(3)     Professor Sarva Daam Singh: Pursuit of peace and happiness in a world riven by intolerance

Sarva Daman Singh stresses the indivisibility of humanity and its cultural diversity as a natural expression of its bountiful creativity. Professor Sarva Daman Singh, BA(Hons), M.A., PhD (University of London), PhD (University of Queensland, Australia), F.R.A.S., was born at Angai, in District Mathura of Uttar Pradesh, India and migrated to Australia in 1974.He won many awards and five gold medals during the course of a distinguished educational career at the universities of Lucknow and London. He has taught at the University of Lucknow; National Academy of Administration, Government of India, Mussoorie; Vikram University, Ujjain; and the University of Queensland, Australia; and held chairs of Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He is at present Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane. He was the Honorary Consul of India in Queensland from 2003 to 2011.

Panel moderator  

Neil Davidson is a community activator, catalyst and keynote listener who listens deeply, empathizes, synthesizes, and reflects back to diverse groups: interfaith gatherings, organizations, not-for-profits, NGOs and rural communities in ways that reveal patterns, weave threads and lift those present by unlocking hidden/ignored potentials. Neil takes photographs, writes poetry, and sometimes finds himself seeing/channeling the multiple wisdoms present in ways that surprises him and transforms those present. His academic background was Marine Biology and Geology.



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