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Forming a Christian Mind, February 2020

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McGrath Centre, St Catherine's College, Cambridge

St Catherine's College

Trumpington St

Cambridge

CB2 1RL

United Kingdom

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This conference explores the relationship between your academic field and the gospel.

About this Event

You are warmly invited to a Forming a Christian Mind (FACM) day conference which will take place on Saturday 22 February, 2020 at the McGrath Centre, St Catherine's College, Cambridge. The theme of our conferences this year is ‘Christ, the Academy and the (Post-) Modern World’. They are intended for anyone doing postgraduate study or postdoctoral research.

Speakers:

  • Prof John Wyatt (Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics & Perinatology, University College London)
  • Prof Glynn Harrison (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Bristol University)
  • Dr Sam Brewitt-Taylor (Fellow and Tutor in History, Oxford University)
  • Kristi Mair (PhD candidate in Epistemology, University of Birmingham, and Research Fellow, Oak Hill College)

Theme 2019-2020

Harry Blamires famously claimed that the 20th Century was a time of historic rupture between Christianity and the major intellectual institutions of Western Culture. As a result, the present generation of scholars and educators have inherited a world in which Christianity is considered either peripheral to the life of the university or antithetical to the pursuit of scholarship.

Our series of conferences this year will explore this supposed rift between Christianity and the life of the mind. What are the occasions of these frictions – and their causes? What distinctive challenges does the modern world provide for Christian scholarship? And what new opportunities? How might Christian vocation and mission be carried out in such an environment? Who are the most important intellectual voices with whom Christian academics should engage today? Join us for a series of conferences where Christian scholars reflect on these questions – helping you situate yourself and your academic vocation in relation to these issues.

Morning plenaries

  • Science, Modernity and the Post-Human (Prof John Wyatt)

Rapid advances in AI, robotics and related technologies are raising profound questions about human nature and the future of humanity. This session will look at some of the deep forces and trends which underlay these developments and show the extraordinary relevance of historic biblical thinking to these challenges, and the opportunities for Christian witness and engagement

  • Identity Politics and the Doctrine of the Image of God (Prof Glynn Harrison)

We are living through a post-modern era marked by campus culture wars and the weaponisation of identity. This session will explore how a confident biblical anthropology, rooted in the doctrine of the image of God can help Christians academics engage more positively with these cultural issues of the day.

Tracks for Subject-Groups

After lunch, we will gather in one of four major subject groups (social sciences; natural sciences; arts and humanities; philosophy and theology).

  • Transgender and the Politicisation of the Social Sciences (Prof Glynn Harrison)
  • Life as a Research Scientist: Opportunities and Challenges in a University Context (Prof John Wyatt)

Prof John Wyatt discusses lessons and experiences from a career as a research scientist in a university context, with opportunity for Q and A.

  • Understanding Western Secularity: Historical Insights on Today's Western Societies (Dr Sam Brewitt-Taylor)

To reach a culture, it is helpful to understand it: but understanding one's own culture is often extremely difficult. This seminar explores how recent historical insights into the nature of today's Western secular societies can help Western Christians understand the cultural context they are called to operate in.

  • Beyond (Post-)Modernity: Michael Polanyi’s Contribution to the Development of a Christian Epistemology (Kristi Mair)

Absolute truth claims within the Academy are often greeted with bemusement, if not outright scorn. Postmodern construals of truth can be devastatingly powerful. Without a robust realism, ontology and epistemology, it is tempting to compromise and follow the status quo. In this session, we will look at reality and knowing through the work of scientist-cum-philosopher Michael Polanyi as we allow him to lead us into a fruitful engagement with the nature of truth and reality which moves beyond the strictures of modernity and the 'me-ism' of late-modernity. We will explore how questions of truth ultimately connect with Christ, thus establishing a greater confidence in our academic disciplines and greater joy our own knowing ventures.

You are warmly invited to join us. Please register to secure your place, and we look forward to seeing you.

Forming a Christian Mind (FACM) equips Christians in the academic world for their double calling: to study excellently from the basis of a biblical worldview, and to use what they study for cultural apologetics and mission.

The conference explores how the Christian faith interacts with personal and academic development. It aims to help postgraduates and post-docs to develop their capacity to think biblically about their discipline and address the tensions between secular and Christian perspectives on their subject, both in the university and in wider society. It is open to academics across the sciences, arts and humanities, demonstrating how Christian worldview is vital to every area of study.

FACM is a movement in Cambridge constituting a partnership between the Jubilee Centre, KLICE, Christian Heritage and UCCF:Research, with support from churches and other local ministries including the Christian Graduate Society.

The event is primarily for postgraduates, post-docs and junior academics; however anyone who is pursuing an academic career in other ways is welcome.

For more information, see formingachristianmind.org

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Date and Time

Location

McGrath Centre, St Catherine's College, Cambridge

St Catherine's College

Trumpington St

Cambridge

CB2 1RL

United Kingdom

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