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TANSA 2014: Perspectives on Human Nature

The contemplation of human nature and personhood has occupied theologians, philosophers, scientists, poets, painters and writers, not mention the everyday person, throughout history. Developments in both natural and social sciences continue to redefine how we might thing of ourselves as human – resulting in what one scholar calls ‘conflicting ontologies of the person’ making themselves felt in the everyday world. At one level, reductionist outlooks reduce the human person to a complex relationship of organic material – the flesh is all we are – while other approaches recognise human qualities and dimensions – seen in cultures, in our communities and in our minds – that transcend reductionist approaches.

The 2014 TANSA seminar series will explore the ongoing questions of what it means to be human. From theological perspectives such as human beings made in the image of God, the increasing colonisation of human and non-human life by technology, debates over human rights, and through to philosophical and scientific portraits of human existence, the seminar series will bring theological reflection into dialogue with these various understandings of human nature in order to aid us in understanding our place in the world.

For a schedule of talks, see Events, or download the flyer (note change mentioned below).

Note: As Dr Bulbulia has had to re-schedule, there will be no meeting in August.

The next event is on THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 11 at 7pm at Laidlaw College's Auckland campus.

Dr. Joseph Bulbulia, Victoria University of Wellington.

A Study of Religion and Charity in New Zealand

Joseph Bulbulia, Geoff Troughton, Danny Osborne, Chris Sibley.

Charity counts among the defining features of our species, yet its psychological underpinnings remain unclear. We assessed the relationship between Charity, Political Affiliation, and Religious Identification in a large and diverse sample of New Zealanders (n=6518). In contrast to previous research, our models rigorously control for a host of demographic variables, for zero-inflation in charitable outcomes, and for social desirability biases.   Our rigorously controlled findings indicate that (1) religious identification predicts charitable donations and volunteering (2) differences between religious people and non-religious people in life-satisfaction can be entirely accounted for by the positive association between life-satisfaction and charity. Results suggest that religious people may be happier because they give more to charity and are more likely to volunteer, and that religion’s effects on subjective flourishing arise because religion fosters good deeds.

For additional names and e-mail addresses to be added to the TANSA information list please advise Christina Partridge of Laidlaw College, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Our new book!

Taking Rational Trouble flyer

Taking Rational Trouble Over the Mysteries

Reactions to Atheism

Pickwick Publications, 2013

Edited by Nicola Hoggard Creegan and Andrew Shepherd, this volume collects essays by New Zealand writers engaging "new atheists" and continuing themes. Most of these essays have come out of TANSA seminars and conferences.