BBC 2’s series, 'The Bible’s Buried Secrets', offers intriguing thoughts, but perhaps not as controversial as some of the promotional material would have it, says Alison Jasper. The world of biblical scholarship is broad and hospitable to different interpretations. And arguably, it is the essentially unanswerable but fertile questions that remain the Bible’s real buried treasure.
Questioning the coherence of the newly-initiated World Interfaith Harmony Week, Michael Marten says that if neither 'faith' nor 'religion' really serve as useful comparative or relational concepts, it is perhaps intellectually more honest, and practically more fruitful, to abandon the pretence of ‘interfaith’ dialogue in favour of simple ‘interhuman’ dialogue.
Academics at the University of Stirling, and the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia, have teamed up to promote a new research agenda and blog entitled Critical Religion, which aims to put hot topics under a careful spotlight.
With the 'Critical Religion' agenda and blog, says Michael Marten, the intention is to question the category of 'religion' - but then, rather than just holding it to suspicion, or blame, or discredit, or incredulity – a growing tendency among certain public intellectuals, even if against the tide of global demographics – to examine the issues involved from a positive critical standpoint.
Sensible discussion about the role of different beliefs in the public square is frequently skewed by the reluctance or inability of the more ideologically-driven participants to listen properly to what is actually being said.
There is little if anything that is straightforward or indeed ‘natural’ about the body, says Alison Jasper. It is a cultural canvas constructed through metaphors and a physical one preyed on by the idea that ‘more surgery will make me better somehow’.
The assumption that there is some essential distinction between 'religious' and 'non-religious' domains – which is still today a globalising discourse – is an ideological construct which takes on an appearance of naturalness and inevitability, says Timothy Fitzgerald. When such generalised assumptions are taken into the field of international relations they cause further difficulties.