ANNUAL SUMMER CONFERENCE
The Summer Conference is IRAS’s flagship event. It is an exceptional opportunity to get away from daily routines long enough to engage in deep and transformative learning; to encounter others with a passion for human well-being; to participate in respectful and informed dialogue illuminated by the best scientific, religious and philosophical insights.
All of this occurs is in a setting that is physically beautiful, ecologically responsible, psychologically safe, intellectually reliable, personally challenging, spiritually uplifting and family/child friendly.
Each Summer Conference explores a focal question that demands the best of science, religion, spirituality and philosophy to map its dimensions. The themes and the Conference Books of all past IRAS conferences are found at Past Conferences.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Who is the IRAS Summer Conference for?
The IRAS Summer Conference is for you, if you:
Q: Do I have to be a member of IRAS?
No. We welcome all persons who are inclined to participate.
Q: Do I have to be an academic?
No. While many members of IRAS are, or have been, academic faculty, we welcome every person who values dialogue that is authentically informed by the many dimensions that constitute our humanity.
Q: Do I have to be religious?
No. Those who participate in the IRAS Summer Conference are from almost every point on the religious/spiritual compass.
Q: So the IRAS Summer Conference is not just another normal conference?
Yes. We aim for an event that is intellectually sound, psychologically safe, personally challenging, spiritually uplifting, and child/family friendly.
Q: What are the major activities at the conference?
ADULT PROGRAM: Each morning the conference will feature daily plenary dialogues followed by small discussion groups. Selected papers, workshops, informal activities and a social hour ﬁ ll the afternoon. Each evening will feature novel and collaborative ways to engage one another and explore/express what we are feeling, thinking and learning.
YOUTH PROGRAM Children and youth will meet in their age groups each morning from during IRAS theme talks. Activities include island exploration/ beach time, marine lab and island musician visits, art, ﬁeld games, and conference-themed, age-appropriate activities. The afternoon Serendipity Program offers art projects on the porch and lawn games on the front lawn every day except Wednesday, when we’ll hold our annual Intergenerational Olympics. Evening activities include a bonﬁre, theater games, singalong and storytelling evening, art, games, and Candy Bingo.
Q: Would a paper given at an IRAS Summer Conference count as a serious paper given at a serious academic conference?
This has been the case in the past. We assume it will continue.
Q: How can I get papers from previous conferences?
Papers from previous conferences are not available as such. Some have been published in Zygon. Abstracts of presentations for conferences held since 1991 can be obtained by downloading the PDF files from the past conferences page.
Q: How do I get on the mailing list for future IRAS Summer Conferences?
Send an email to Dan Solomon with your request.
Q: How do I submit a proposal for a paper or workshop?
See Call for Papers
Q: Is any financial assistance available?
Yes. See both Fellowships & Scholarships offered by IRAS, and both Discounts and Financial Aid on the Star Island website under Registration.
Q: How do I register?
RELIGIOUS NATURALISM (IRASRN) DISCUSSION GROUP
Co-Conveners: Ursula Goodenough and Philip Hefner
Religious Naturalism places the natural world at the center of religious experience and the search for value and meaning.
Two convictions drive our quest: our sense of nature's richness and spectacular complexity, and the recognition that nature is both the realm in which we live out our lives and that which shapes every dimension of who we are -- our physical bodies and our amazing brains with their capacity for human sensibility and creativity, including our capacity to be religious. Scientific inquiry has revealed a vast emergent panorama of nature, and its findings provide a fundamental and irreplaceable component of the Religious Naturalist perspective. The naturalistic orientation also generates a shared sense of place, gratitude and joy.
The natural world is equally central to the traditional religions of humankind: all have found their different ways to center their concerns on the triad of ultimacy, human beings, and the natural world in which we live. Consequently, every religion has been about nature (humans and the natural world) as much as it has been about ultimacy (God, enlightenment, harmony with nature, right action).
Some who espouse Religious Naturalism walk a path that is empowered primarily by the scientific spirit, perhaps in part because of disappointment with aspects of traditional religion. Others walk a path that is energized by traditional religious beliefs that nature itself rests in ultimacy and is the object of divine concern. Still others walk both paths and regard both as essential to their personal religious commitment.
Religious Naturalists acknowledge a shared set of values and concerns pertaining to peace, justice, dignity, responsible freedom, the richness of ethnic, cultural, and ecological diversity, and planetary sustainability. They are committed to the further realization of these values and are convinced that the naturalistic perspective has much to offer in this process.
IRAS members who wish to be included in the all-IRAS listserv (Irasnet) are asked to contact Ursula Goodenough at firstname.lastname@example.org. IRAS members who wish to be included in Religious Naturalism listserv (IRASRN) are asked to contact Ted Laurenson at email@example.com. IRAS members who wish to be included in the listserv relating to political affairs (Iraspol) are asked to contact Ursula Goodenough firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRAS MINISTRY GROUP
The Ministry Group includes all who are committed to some form of lay or ordained ministry. It meets during the Annual Conference and reflects on the issues raised during the conference by science and religion-theology-spirituality. Participants reflect on the ways that they can take what they have learned (as individuals and in our group discussions) back to those they serve, whether in a religious community or in the wider community. Those who have questions or who wish to participate may contact Edmund Robinson at email@example.com or come to the Interest Group Sessions at the Conference.
Copyright 2013 by The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science