Religious Values and Social Change SophiaEuropa
Centre for Culture, Technology, and Values
Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
Core members of this initiative from fields of theology, media and communication studies, politics, philosophy, and sociology join together to explore the connection between current social changes and traditional religious values in contemporary society, drawing specifically on the data of the European Value Society. Members seek to engage a wide variety of ordinary persons in a new debate on this important topic, aiming to examine what is gained and/or lost in the current shift, and to identify future trends and potential pitfalls and suggest ways in which such social change can exist in harmony with religious values. The program will have three phases: 1) an investigation of the apparent decline of subjective religious values and the parallel rise of objective science in the Irish context as an example of what is happening on a Europe-wide basis; 2) an examination of the effects of such change on Irish society in terms of the increase of marginalization and poverty, as traditional charity becomes the sole resource for those on the margins; and 3) the design, production, and dissemination of practical resources for inspiring discussion on these topics in schools, workplaces, and selected public bodies. In addition to regular member meetings for dialogue and exploration, the group will host open roundtable discussions inviting academics, teachers, pastors, scientists, theologians, policy makers, and other interested citizens for informed critique and comment. They will also sponsor a refereed paper competition, with special consideration given to student and new scholar submissions, culminating in an exploratory conference, hosted by the Centre for Culture, Technology, and Values. Efforts are enhanced through a website with an unmoderated message board and discussion list; a resource library; a bi-monthly newsletter; and the production of radio interviews with Wired FM, the student radio station for Limerick City. Plans also include a pilot project to provide “resource packs” for teachers in selected local high schools. The Centre for Culture, technology and Values at Mary Immaculate College provides matching funds.