Wednesday 11 June, 6.30 – 8pm, Memorial Hall, Albert Square Chop House, Albert Square, M2 5PF.
This should be a cracking debate on whether religion is a force for good. The key to this event lies with the guests, featuring two top calibre polemicists with Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and David Walker the Bishop of Manchester. Also along for the ride will be theologian Philip Blond and Ian Abbott from Lancashire Secular Humanists.
Calls for Britain to embrace its secular core are growing.
On the one side...
Polly ToynbeeThe number of people who declared themselves to be ‘of no religion’ in the 2011 census had doubled over the preceding decade. The public are breaking with religion. The debate over gay marriage has shown how out of touch with public opinion most faith groups are. It is anachronistic that religious groups enjoy such privilege. The harm that many religious doctrines still do to people out weigh any good. Is there a case to rid ourselves of religious education in the diverse UK of 2014?
On the other side...
But this drift to secularism brings risks. Religion – both the Christian traditions and the faiths of immigrant communities are the glue that hold society together. The churches provide valuable social services, food banks, education, as well as a moral hand on the tiller. It is this ever-growing religious apathy and militant atheism among Brits that is leading to the downfall of the values that make a society strong and sustainable. It is this that will destroy Britain faster than any fundamentalist threat.
Philip Blond, political thinker and Anglican theologian
Right Revd David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester
Speakers against the motion:
Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
Ian Abbott, Lancashire Secular Humanists
Tickets available here.
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