2017 AASR Conference, Notre Dame University, Sydney

DATES: 7-8 December 2017 – (speaking on 8 December)

VENUE: Institute for Ethics and Society, University of Notre Dame, Broadway, Sydney.

ABSTRACT: Transcending Religious Differences

Janis Lander, PhD

Traditionally religions have exercised authority because they are inextricably linked to specific cultures and tied to socio/political structures. However, in a time of mass migration, a global economic collapse, an unfair labor market, discreet cultural structures are crumbling. Most significantly, the Internet has created the first global culture and people from all cultures are able to engage in an ongoing dialogue that challenges many traditional belief systems. In the wake of a global social transformation and a technological revolution, it is to be expected that old paradigms will shift.

This paper argues that it is precisely the willingness to relax the grip on the “traditional authority” of established religions that will pave the way to a new and transcendent understanding of the way to God. We are in the midst of a 21st century version of the Reformation, and no religion will emerge unaffected. It may well be that in managing religious pluralism domestically and internationally, the attachment to divisive cultural theories of God will be regarded as sentimental and disruptive. This paper argues that it is precisely in the transcendent nature of the mystical experience that we are able to transcend cultural conflict and contentious interpretations of the Divine. In accepting this intersection of religious and social transformation as an opportunity for reevaluation, and understanding that it is necessary to let go of historical belief systems that no longer serve these times, it is possible that we will find the way to a peaceful future for our troubled species.