There is a packed programme in the coming weeks:
25 September – Has God become more human(e) over time? From brutal Aztec Huitzilopochtli to the ‘Jealous God’ of Exodus 34:14 and on to ‘God is Love’ in 1 John 4:16. Has our concept of God become more compassionate? Paul Donnelly will introduce the topic.
2 October – Why did Platonism not become a religion? It has a metaphysical explanation of the world and its purpose, it has a great figure in Socrates who died a violent death, it has its scripture in Plato’s work. Why did Christianity and not Platonism become a religion and what does St Paul in particular owe to Plato?
9 October – Abraham. As the father of the faith of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Abraham could be said to be the most influential figure in history. We will look at the commonality of all three religions in Abraham, his conversations with God as recorded in the Old Testament, and the troubling episode in which God demanded that he sacrifice his son Isaac.
23 October – The New Puritans. The new creed of diversity, equity and inclusivity, which most of our institutions now impose, has speech codes, intolerance of dissenters and it is a cultural elite that has gained the moral high ground. It wants to re-write traditions and truth. Is it fair to compare it to Puritanism of old? The New Puritans is a title borrowed from the comedian Andrew Doyle.
30 October – The Problem with Human Rights. We can agree on what they are; we can enforce them. But there will still be moral dilemmas for which there is no solution. Is it only religious ethics that recognise the complexity of human existence.
6 November – Escaping Time. Should we believe that there is an arc of time towards enlightenment, the defeat of evil or some kind of end of history? Or is meaning better to be found in a timeless realm. Buddhists have this, as do Hindus and Taoists. Proust found this.
13 November – “The Bible is not the Word of God in any strong sense.” A discussion on Robin Lane Fox’s book The Unauthorised Version.
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