September 25, 2015

Oct. 17 conference to promote ‘revolutionary’ hope

Special to The Criterion

Christian faith revolutionized the world—and it’s poised to do it again.

That’s the message of authors Mike Aquilina and James Papandrea in their book Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change it Again (Image, 2015). The book will be the theme of a one-day conference in Indianapolis in October.

“Without Christianity, there would be no concept of the equality of all people,” explained Papandrea, who teaches history at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Chicago. “There would be no such thing as human rights.”

His co-author, Aquilina, agreed, adding: “Christianity introduced the ideas into the bloodstream of our civilization. Before Christ, they didn’t exist. Nor did the idea of morality in warfare. Nor did the institution of the hospital. Nor did women’s rights, or children’s rights, or religious liberty.”

Both authors argue that these ideas and institutions are unique products of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and may not be possible apart from it.

The daylong conference will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 at St. Simon the Apostle Parish, 8155 Oaklandon Road, in Indianapolis. It was the inspiration of parishioner Richard Grebenc, who has taught theology at several U.S. universities.

“With issues surrounding life, marriage, and religious freedom being so prominent these days,” Grebenc said, “it seemed to me that the lessons from history that we can learn from Mike and Jim, and how we can apply them today, deserved a wider audience and would be of great value to the faithful in these troubling and confusing times.”

The authors are scheduled to give four talks: “The Invention of Human Dignity: The First Pro-Life Movement”; “A Revolution of Religion: A God Who Is Family”; “The Making of Christian Marriage and the Joy of Sex”; and “A Revolution of the State: The Invention of Religious Liberty.”

There will also be opportunities for discussion and for questioning the authors. Papandrea, who is also a singer-songwriter, will perform his music as well.

Papandrea said the conference will be hopeful and forward-looking.

“The book ends on a hopeful note, with practical advice for what each of us can do to change the world. We have something the world needs—something greater than any one of us, something more ancient and more true than whatever the secular culture is selling at any given moment.”

Evangelization is the job not so much of institutions as of ordinary Christians, Papandrea added. “The Church converted the world, one neighbor at a time, by loving that neighbor.”

Papandrea and Aquilina have written, between them, more than 50 books on Christian history, doctrine and devotion. Papandrea is a noted scholar of the ancient world. Aquilina has hosted nine series on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).
 

(Early bird registration, available through Oct. 4, is $15 per person or $25 per family. After Oct. 4, the cost is $20 per person or $35 per family. For more information on the conference, visit www.saintsimon.org or the Seven Revolutions Conference page on Facebook.)

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