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Faith debates launched in London

01/26/2012 00:00:00
A team from Lancaster University’s Department of Philosophy, Politics and Religion has just launched a series of high profile faith debates in London.

Featuring influential thinkers such as Richard Dawkins the series of debates will explore the role of religion in society and ask why it is easier to talk about sex than religion in Britain today.

The debates - put together by Professor Linda Woodhead, the Rt Hon Charles Clarke,  visiting Professor in Politics and Faith, and Dr Rebecca Catto of Lancaster University, in partnership with the think tank ‘Theos’ – will:

•        showcase research from the largest ever research initiative on religion in the UK, the ‘Religion and Society
         Programme’ , directed by Professor Linda Woodhead, which involved 240 academics from 38 UK universities carrying
         out new research between 2007-12
•        address the most pressing controversies about religion in public life
•        show how much religion in the UK has changed in the past thirty years
•        give influential public figures the opportunity to respond to the latest research
•        provide space for open public debate with an audience which will include senior civil servants, parliamentarians, 
         policy professionals, media, faith communities and the voluntary sector
•        stimulate wider debate, opinion and media coverage

Speaking at the launch event Charles Clarke said: "Modern politics and government need to understand religion better than they now do. The up-to-date research challenges lazy assumptions and these debates enable us to discuss what it means for our public life."

Linda Woodhead said:  “The recent explosion of research on religion shows how much religion has changed – even though we often talk as if it’s still the 1950s. It’s time to update our ideas and refresh our debates.”

Welcoming the debates, the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks added “this series couldn’t come at a more crucial time”.

The Debates will be held at RUSI, 61 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET, Wednesdays 5.30-7pm.

• Religious identity in ‘superdiverse’ societies : 8 February, Trevor Phillips, Dominic Grieve, Kim Knott, Therese O’Toole 
• What’s the place of faith in schools? : 22 February, Richard Dawkins, John Pritchard, Jim Conroy, Bob Jackson 
• What have we learned about radicalisation? : 7 March,  Mehdi Hasan, Ed Husain, Mark Sedgwick, Marat Shterin, 
  Matthew Francis 
• What role for religious organisations in an era of shrinking welfare?: 21 March, David Blunkett, Peter Smith, Adam Dinham,
   Sarah Johnsen
• What Limits to Religious Freedom?: 18 April, Lisa Appignanesi, Julia Neuberger, Maleiha Malik, Peter Jones
• What are the main trends in religion and values in Britain? : 2 May, Aaqil Ahmed, Cole Moreton,  Grace Davie, 
   Linda Woodhead 

For more information go To register please reply to stating which debate(s) you would like to attend.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.