The Westminster Faith Debates, organised by academics from Lancaster’s Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, concluded this week with a debate between former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and the former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore.
The series has succeeded in putting religion back onto the agenda of public discussion in the UK, and has attracted extensive media coverage.
This week's debate marked the end of the series of public debates in London which have been organised by Professor Linda Woodhead and Dr Rebecca Catto from Lancaster University together with former Home Office minister the Rt Hon Charles Clarke, who is a Visiting Professor in Politics and Faith.
The debates were funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, and organised with the help of the think tank Theos.
An audience of 450 people watched the final debate, which was also live-streamed. It has attracted worldwide attention and been covered in the Guardian, Times, Huffington Post, and front page and main feature in the Daily Telegraph.
Previous Westminster Faith Debates have included speakers such as PPR’s Professor Kim Knott and public figures such Richard Dawkins and Baroness Julia Neuberger. The series has received extensive media coverage including the BBC Today Programme, Big Questions, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail and Evening Standard.
Andrew Brown of The Guardian said: “The Westminster Faith Debates have been the most interesting and successful attempt I can remember to talk about what all people believe and why this really matters. Essential for anyone who wants to understand Britain today, and tomorrow.”
The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General, said: “This series has been extremely successful in raising the level of public debate about religion, on topics of great importance for our national life.”