Conference - August 2023

David Bentley-Hart

What does it mean to be human?
Sinner, saint or machine?

Join David Bentley Hart, world leading philosopher and theologian and Dr Tony Golsby-Smith the founder of Gospel Conversations as they address the vast landscape of what it means to be human?

A breathtaking vision for the biggest question of our times

David will address the vast landscape of ‘What does it mean to be human?’ in a full day discussion in Sydney on Aug 26th.  Tony will facilitate the dialogue and help us all digest the profundity that David is famous for delivering.
Prior to that David will deliver two evening lectures; one on beauty and one on the problem of suffering and evil. 

David Bentley Hart is one of the world’s leading philosophers and theologians. He has a capacious mind (fed by a library that once held 20,000 books), and a withering command of the English language.  But for all his capabilities, he is not an ivory tower thinker. U2 famously once used his description of wisdom as ‘the recovery of innocence the other side of experience’ as the banner for their concert tour.  He believes that we are images of God, and our finite minds are mirrors of the divine. So, he is an advocate for every ordinary person’s experience as pointing to God. In pursuit of that advocacy, he is a generalist not a specialist academic – his interests masterfully span vast cross-disciplinary fields of human endeavour, from music, to literature, to theology, to philosophy, to cognitive science, artificial intelligence, history and languages – and he would have us include – to baseball which he considers ‘the game they play in heaven’.  

Why it matters today

The question of what it means to be human has become the new frontier of debate in the 21st century. Artificial intelligence (think ChatGPT) has combined with modern secularism to paint a mechanistic picture of humans as large-scale machines – and computers as brains that might one day eclipse us. On the religious side, we sail between a dark view of humans as reprobate sinners (Calvin’s total depravity) and the optimistic view of humans as made in the image of God. This is no merely academic matter. We live in an age where mental health – particularly of our young people – has become a major public health challenge. And nothing feeds that crisis as much as the prevailing sense of nihilism about who we are. 

In the face of this turbulent debate, David is a major voice of hope. His recent book, ‘You are gods” and his upcoming book on the Mind, present a spectacular destiny for what it means to be human. 

“David Bentley Hart is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians in the English-speaking world. His output is prodigious, and his range of intellectual interests is staggering. He’s the sort of scholar who might have sat beside C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien … and not only grasped their exchanges on English literature, Western history, world mythology and Christian theology, but also have taught them a thing or two”.

Michael McClymond for ‘Gospel Coalition’ 

Conference Schedule

David will address the vast landscape of ’What does it mean to be human?’ In our conference on Friday evening 25th August and all day Saturday 26th August. Prior to that David will deliver two evening talks plus a third evening where he will join in a three way conversation with First Nations Pastors

Aug 25th

Is the mind a machine?

Friday evening 7:30pm
PLC Sydney, Meta St Croydon

Aug 26th

What does it mean to be human?
Sinner, saint or machine?

Saturday 9am – 4pm
PLC Sydney, Meta St Croydon




Aug 25th & 26th Tickets

Aug 17th

Indigenous spirituality and the gospel:
a panel discussion with First Nations pastors

Thursday evening 7:30pm
St John's Glebe 

Aug 18th

Does God cause suffering?

Friday evening 7:30pm
PLC Sydney, Meta St Croydon

Aug 21st

What does Beauty tell us about God?

The annual Pamela Nutt lecture
Monday evening 7:30pm
PLC Sydney, Meta St Croydon
This event is open to the public and entry is free and not ticketed.

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