The Year 13 RS students recently travelled into central London for an RS conference, hosted by class celebrity, Peter Vardy. To be more specific, the event was held in Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, a church boasting a forward thinking, inclusive, and seemingly appropriate-for-the-day ethos.
Multiple students from multiple schools came together to fill the church’s lower and higher levels of pews, which only cemented the conference-like atmosphere.
The conference itself revolved mainly around the topics religious language, the attributes of God, and conscience. The thing I found most helpful from all of these topics was Peter Vardy’s wide ranging use of philosophers and scholars, as knowledge of theories and names outside of the specification is only ever going to impress an examiner. I particularly enjoyed Vardy’s inclusion of philosophers of whom were not Christian – namely Muslim ones.
On multiple occasions during the day, Vardy encouraged active thinking from his audience. There were multiple questions and examples that he wanted us to consider then and there, by spending ‘two minutes with the person next to you.’ From finding out who our real friends were via a question on whether they’d be tortured, or torture us, to Peter Vardy causing near-to pandemonium by rejecting the notion that consent was everything in sex (the key word being ‘everything’); there was participation from the students throughout, which only made the day more memorable.
The key debate at the end of the conference (which was open to anyone in the room) was on whether conscience was the most important thing when making any form of moral decision. The general consensus was ‘no’ – everyone’s conscience being subjective leaves too much room for selfishness, for example. However, I was informed of an alternative argument that later swayed my mind after the conference was finished. Considering the Thomist approach, the conscience is something which is given to us by God, and is unchanging in its views i.e. it always follows the synderesis principle; do good and avoid evil. It is our choice whether we follow that or not. Surely the conscience, in this view, is the best thing for making decisions? Fault only arises when we don’t follow it.
In conclusion, it was another successful conference delivered by Peter Vardy (all year 13 students having gone to one in year 12) which explained the aforementioned topics in great detail, as well as adding useful bonus information. In short, it was a highly useful trip that students would be wise to remember.
By Fred, year 13