Colloquium explores world increasingly hostile to Christianity

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Colloquium explores world increasingly hostile to Christianity

The fourth annual Dawson Centre Colloquium attracted more than 60 people when it was held in South Hobart last month.

From Friday, June 29 to Saturday, June 30, thirteen national and international presenters explored the theme ‘A World without Christianity’.

Over the two days, presenters spoke on topics such as ‘How Christianity has made Sense of Human Suffering’, ‘History in a Post-Christian World’ and ‘Christianity and the Liberation of Women’.

Speakers included Hobart Presbyterian pastor Campbell Markham, Fr Pius Mary Noonan OSB of Rhyndaston’s Notre Dame Priory and Professor Margaret Somerville of the University of Notre Dame Australia.

On the Friday night, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the Colloquium dinner and reflected on the decline of Christian knowledge in Australian society.

Mr Abbott said that Christians, including himself, must admit fault in failing to speak up in Australian public life. In giving reasons for this silence, he cited shame at the Church’s scandals in recent decades, a lack of faith in Jesus Christ, worship of “false gods” such as “money, position and fame” and an overemphasis on prudence at the expense of courage.

“All too often on the grounds of prudence we fail to say what needs to be said because if we say it we might lose this position, or if we say it we might be discredited with this audience,” Mr Abbott said.

Attendee Peter Imlach of Lindisfarne said that there had been a participatory feeling at the Colloquium, and noted that the attendees engaged well throughout the two days.

“You could tell that they all wanted to listen, and they positively took part,” Mr Imlach said.

Director of The Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies Dr David Daintree believes the community nature of the Colloquium was a positive aspect of the event.

Referencing the Colloquium’s single-stream schedule, he said that one of the Colloquium’s strengths has been “bringing people who are not necessarily like-minded together and making them listen to each other”.