Spir­i­tual Hunger

The Church of England - - ENGLAND -

When BBC TV screened a three-part se­ries on West­min­ster Abbey hardly any men­tion was made about the Abbey’s lec­ture se­ries. At­ten­tion fo­cussed on the choir. But any­one who doubts the large mar­ket for lec­tures and sem­i­nars on re­li­gious and mo­ral topics should take note of the fact that the cur­rent se­ries of West­min­ster Faith De­bates is booked out, even though the event has been moved from last year’s lo­ca­tion to a larger new venue in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The first de­bate saw speak­ers who in­cluded John Har­ris of Manch­ester Univer­sity and con­ser­va­tive Catholic David Al­bert Jones go head-to-head on abor­tion and stem cell re­search. Fu­ture de­bates are planned on whether there is too much sex th­ese days, equal treat­ment of men and women, the tra­di­tional fam­ily, same-sex mar­riage and as­sisted dy­ing.

Promised speak­ers in­clude Polly Toyn­bee (on the fam­ily), John Milbank (on gay mar­riage) and Giles Fraser (on as­sisted dy­ing). Full credit to the Hon Charles Clarke and Pro­fes­sor Linda Wood­head, both of Lan­caster Univer­sity, for ar­rang­ing the course. Full credit as well to Theos which had a big turn-out for a very lively de­bate on re­li­gious free­dom the think tank or­gan­ised in Portcullis House, to mark the publi­ca­tion of its new book Re­li­gion and Law. Can churches and cathe­drals please note this in­ter­est in in­tel­li­gent de­bate?

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