Sea of Faith in Australia (SoFiA) is a network of Australians who are seeking a radical reappraisal of past religious traditions in order to meet today’s spiritual challenges. The network affirms the continuing importance of religious thought and practice, but sees religion as a field of creative human endeavour which must be ever-changing to remain relevant.
Sea of Faith feels free to draw on the rich spiritual heritage of the past (including the Christian tradition) but is not bound by it. It provides stimulation and fellowship in the common quest for meaning and fulfilment.
The network welcomes people from all faith communities as well as those with no involvement in any organised religion. Many in the network meet regularly in local groups to share ideas and to discuss issues related to the making of meaning.
The SoFiA network was formed in Brisbane in 1998 and incorporated in 2003. (See SoFiA's Constitution). It has members throughout Australia.
SoFiA publishes a regular newsletter (the SoFiA Bulletin) containing information, articles and reviews. Other activities/resources include:
- conferences, occasional public lectures and regional meetings;
- an email discussion list, sofiatalk (contact moderator);
- a facebook page;
- our weblog; and
- a selection of books.
Any who find themselves in sympathy with our aim ('promoting the open exploration of religion, faith and meaning') are most welcome to join us.
The Sea of Faith Network was first formed in the UK in response to a BBC television series in the 1980s entitled "Sea of Faith" which was written and presented by English academic and theologian Don Cupitt. It takes its name from Matthew Arnold’s poem, Dover Beach:
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Don Cupitt on the SoF Network…
Looking ahead in a bad mood, I have sometimes summed up the prospect for humanity in three words: technology, entertainment, fundamentalism. A trash future. All the world's great religions are in decline, and the mainline Christian churches in particular are simply melting away. They are too defensive to allow a truly free internal debate amongst their own members about what's wrong and how it should be put right.
What is the future for the human spirit? What are people going to live by? Sea of Faith gives people of goodwill a chance to join a completely open discussion about the present crisis of religion and what may come of it. Don't just say, 'The status quo will see me out': maybe it will not. Join us!