On December 4-5, 2020, Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary held its second Theology for Life Conference. This year the theme of the conference was Explosion of Populism and Leaders of Thought.
The health and safety of the conference participants being a priority, this year conference was characterized with a number of anti-coronavirus precautionary measures, social distancing, and limited offline attendance.
Speakers, including UETS faculty and staff (Denys Kondiuk, Radyslav Tatsiun, Olha Kondiuk) and guest experts (Dmytro Tyshchenko, Roman Sheremeta, Alina Mosends, Denys Dmytrov, Oleksander Dovbush), helped the participants to look at populism from the perspective of Christianity.
The main sessions were followed with panels discussions and master classes. The main issues on their agenda were the following: What is populism? Are thought leaders always populistic? What is the role of thought leaders today? Do believers use populistic methods while sharing the gospel? How not to become a victim of manipulation in the time of post-truth? How to distinguish populism from popularity?
Also, the conference sought to forge right attitude towards numerous fakes, in particular on television and in social media.
“Lack of critical analysis of information provides unlimited possibilities for development of populism. As a matter of fact, populists give simple answers to complicated questions, distorting truth and manipulating emotions in their own interests. To keep ourselves safe from this threat, we have to learn to think critically, analyze information, pay attention to what information appeals (emotions or facts), develop one’s mind, form own thoughts on proved facts…,” Andriy Melnyk, a conference participant from Zhytomyr said.