Today was the last day of the conference, with plenty of good talks, although many of us were tired after last night.
Yesterday evening, we were treated to some traditional Irish music courtesy of Dr Collete O’ Mahony, one of the conference participants and director of the WIT Traditional Music Group. The group played some great music and we even had a full ceilidh, with fear-an-ti showing the visitors the steps (ok not just the visitors!). So much more fun than the usual ‘live entertainment’ of some bloke with a mike playing rock music far too loud. Only the Irish could have a ceilidh at a theology conference…
Today’s talks were very interesting, with one on sin, guilt and forgiveness by Fergus Hogan of WIT. Not your average technical science talk then..
The conference finished with a plenary talk by Professor Eamonn Conway, a well-known theologian from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. This was a serious full-on talk on the role of theology in modern society. From a scientist’s perspective, it’s very interesting to see the difference between these guys, the thinking theologians, and the fundamentalist types, a very different species. I took about 3 pages of notes, but I think the presentation will be on the conference webpage in a few days.
Eamonn in action: I didn’t know theologians used graphs (or blackboards)
One good quote we got from Eamonn arose from a comment of mine to Fergus – I had pointed out that guilt doesn’t need God as a reference point, to which Eamonn responded “something isn’t wrong because the Church says so…the Church says so because it’s wrong”
I was also pleased Eamonn referred to Jim Mackey quite a few times – Mackey is a very good philosopher and his recent book The Critique of Theological Reason has been under attack from some theologians recently…
After lunch, I was sorry to see the conference come to an end. I wouldn’t mind going to a few more of these in the future, not at all what I expected…
Rysiek has a whole bunch of photos of the conference – you can see the whole lot here, they’re very very good. We’re still waiting for the podcast..
Well done Rysiek!