Three debates in early 2008 interrogate the state of secularism today. Taking inspiration from Bishopsgate Institute’s renowned collection on free-thought and secularism, the debates continue in the long tradition of critical inquiry of religion and of its opponents.
Get out of my head!
Education, indoctrination and the battle over faith schools
Thu 7 Feb 2008, 7pm @ Bishopsgate Institute
The government thinks faith schools are the way forward for education, and even non-religious parents often believe their children will benefit from a religious ‘ethos’. Does education have more to offer than instilling kids with values?
Speakers: David Perks
(Head of Physics, Graveney School; lead author, What Is Science Education For), Andrew Copson
(Education and Public Affairs, British Humanist Association) and Dr Austen Ivereigh
(Catholic journalist, commentator and campaigner).
Chair: Claire Fox
(Director, Institute of Ideas).
Still the opium of the masses?
Religion and radicalism
Thu 6 Mar 2008, 7pm @ Bishopsgate Institute
Islamic extremists, evangelical fundamentalists, Catholic militants – religion seems to pose an aggressive threat to secular society. But while atheists and humanists used to criticise religion for its conservatism – today it’s because faith is too radical. Has secular society just become conservative?
Speakers: Rashad Ali
(director, Quilliam Foundation (think tank of former Islamists); Dolan Cummings (Research and Editorial Director, Institute of Ideas; Editor, Debating Humanism); Maryam Namazie
(Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; National Secular Society's 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner); Andrew Scott
(Student Christian Movement www.movement.org.uk)
Chair: Alex Hochuli
(Web Editor, Institute of Ideas; postgraduate student, King’s College London).
Flogging a dead horse:
Can we make a positive case for atheism today?
Thu 3 Apr 2008, 7pm @ Bishopsgate Institute
The past few years have seen the rise of the ‘New Atheists’, such as Hitchens and Dawkins. But what do today’s atheists propose, beyond mere unbelief? Can one make a positive case
Speakers: Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
(GP and author), Mark Vernon
(journalist and author, Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life) and Martin Summers
(corporate affairs advisor).
Chair: Robin Walsh
(science conference producer).
£7 (£5 concessions) from this link
or tel. 020 7392 9220.