Charles Sturt University
PACT - Public and Contextual Theology

PaCT Fellows discuss DIY spirituality

Two Muslim scholars who are PaCT Fellows recently participated in a panel discussing the topic “DIY: Spirituality: A growing modern trend?”

Dr Zuleyha Keskin and Assoc Prof Salih Yucel who are both from the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisations at Charles Sturt University participated in the event on the 12 September 2018 at Trinity College in Melbourne.

Dr Keskin was the chair of the panel whilst Associate Professor Salih Yucel was a panel guest along with Bishop Philip Huggins, the Bishop of the Oodthenong area in Melbourne Diocese.

The event was organised by the Australian Intercultural Society and captured on video. You can watch a recording of the panel discussion and Q and A below.

There was also a story about the event in October 2018 edition of The Melbourne Anglican which is republished below with TMA’s permission. The image is also courtesy of TMA.

‘Diy spirituality’ not the real deal, says Bishop Huggins

by Stephen Cauchi

Do-it-yourself spirituality has appeal, but any authentic belief system has to have communal gatherings such as a Church, Bishop Philip Huggins told a conference recently.

Bishop Huggins, Bishop of the Oodthenong area in Melbourne Diocese, was one of the speakers at the “DIY Spirituality: A growing modern trend” conference held at Trinity College on 12 September.

Bishop Huggins said that, often, people started their spiritual journey thinking “give me the space, I want to have my own spirituality”.

However, “if their journey has authenticity, sooner or later it becomes communal and they want to share it”.

“It’s important that they find a healthy place where that can unfold,” he said.

“We pray [for] a healthy Church, a healthy mosque, so people’s lives can flourish.”

Bishop Huggins said he could understand why people were wary of organised religion, because of a perception that it was repressive.

“If people are trying to control who I am and what I choose, well of course people will push back against that.”

But religion “at its best” offered “support and encouragement and belonging… being held in the hard times, being encouraged, being appreciated”.

Bishop Huggins also noted that major religions such as Christianity and Islam had made “many mistakes” which had repelled people from traditional religion.

“In a way it’s an argument for the existence of God that we’re still functioning at all, given the magnitude of some of those mistakes,” he said.

Despite the alienation of people from traditional religion, “God continues to draw people into communion with God. That just continues to happen.”

The other speaker at the conference, Associate Professor Salih Yucel from the Australian Catholic University, said people often failed to believe in a traditional “supreme being” God through lack of contemplation.

“We are addicted to many things and we neglect other, more important, things… we have no time to contemplate,” said Professor Yucel.

A Muslim, Professor Yucel noted that according to the Koran, Abraham found God through contemplation. Such contemplation was a “human responsibility”, even if someone was ignorant about religion.

“Logically, intellectually, they have to believe in a supreme power,” he said. “We can see this even in the Indigenous religion in this country. They believe in a supreme power.”