Religion and recession brings together church and academy

By staff writers
July 10, 2009

Religion, the church and the global recession is the focus of an international conference featuring economists, theologians and philosophers at the University of Nottingham.

The gathering (, entitled 'Christian Social Teaching and the Politics of Money' is being hosted by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the English university from 9-10 July.

Speakers include the Catholic Archbishop of Granada, Monsignor Javier Martínez, the Anglican Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev Dr John Inge, Dr Peter Selby (author of the acclaimed Grace and Mortgage, Ann Pettifor (Christian political economist and green-left campaigner), Labour MP John Cruddas, Professor Norman Wirza (Duke Divinity School, USA), Professor Stefano Zamagni (Università di Bologna), Professor Michael Northcott (University of Edinburgh), and Professor John Milbank (University of Nottingham).

Over the past year, fundamental questions have arisen concerning the moral use of money and the potential for alternatives to the prevailing models.

The working hypothesis of the conference is that there is there is a ‘middle’ position between an exclusively religious and a strictly secular perspective: faith can lead to a strong notion of the common good and a belief that human behaviour, when disciplined and directed, can start to act more charitably.

There can also be secular intimations of this, suggest the organisers: the more faith-inspired practices are successful even in secular terms (more equality, more consensus, more human happiness, a better ecology), the easier it will be for secular institutions to adopt such a regulatory framework without having fully to embrace its religious basis.

However, the event is also looking at the sacralization of money and the explicit and implicit theological resonances of modern capitalism and consumer society.

Ekklesia will be involved in follow up to the conference and in reporting its findings.

Also on Ekklesia:

* Towards an economy worth believing in -

* Reporting and comment on economic issues:

* Research papers on economy and politics -

* Where is the Church of England's heart invested? -

* Is God bankrupt? A response to 'Prosperity with a purpose', by Simon Barrow -

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