Thursday, January 20, 2011

Events at Oxford Literary Festival

Here are the CFI Events I have arranged at Oxford Literary Festival

A.C. GRAYLING - THE GOOD BOOK: A SECULAR BIBLE

Grayling, one of Britain’s most prominent intellectuals, launches his latest book in the glorious Sheldonian Theatre. Grayling has created a secular bible. Designed to be read as narrative and also to be dipped into for inspiration, encouragement and consolation, The Good Book offers a thoughtful, non-religious alternative to the many people who do not follow one of the world's great religions. Instead, going back to traditions older than Christianity, and far richer and more various, including the non-theistic philosophical and literary schools of the great civilisations of both West and East, from the Greek philosophy of classical antiquity and its contemporaneous Confucian, Mencian and Mohist schools in China, down through classical Rome, the flourishing of Indian and Arab worlds, the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, the worldwide scientific discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries to the present, Grayling collects, edits, rearranges and organises the collective secular wisdom of the world in one highly readable volume.

NATHAN PENLINGTON – URI AND ME

Nathan Penlington is a magician, poet, writer and skeptic who performs at Festivals across UK, Europe and the USA. His shows fuse magic, comedy and story-telling This presentation is based on his much praised show Uri and Me, about Uri Geller. Famed magician and debunker of paranormal claims James Randi says about Penlington: “Nathan Penlington encourages us to think twice before accepting the ridiculous claims of mystical pretenders.” Geller says,

“Wow, I just discovered Nathan Penlington! He is skilled, talented, mastering a tangible force of visionary mind power. His latest show is simply supernatural! and Nathan delivers it with mystical sensitivity.. I highly recommend it!”

Simply supernatural? Decide for yourself!

Penlington is the author of Almost Nearly, a collection of graphic poems and Roadkill on the Digital Highway, which was shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Prize.

PROF JUSTIN BARRETT – BORN BELIEVERS

Justin Barrett, Prof. of Psychology at University of Oxford and author of Why Would Anyone Believe in God? explains why he believes we have an innate tendency to religious belief. Barrett told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, "The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children's minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose. If we threw a handful on an island and they raised themselves I think they would believe in God.” Come and find out about the experimental evidence on which these extraordinary and controversial claims are based.

DOES GOD EXIST?

Alister McGrath and Stephen Law

CFI UK Provost Stephen Law (philosopher at Heythrop Colleg, University of London, and author of books including Very Short Introduction to Humanism, The Philosophy Gym) debates the existence of God with Prof Alister McGrath (Professor of Theology, Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College, London, and author of books including both The Dawkins Delusion and A Fine-Tuned Universe – The Quest For God in Science and Theology.) McGrath believes the universe points suggestively in the direction of God. Law, by contrast, insists that the empirical evidence establishes beyond reasonable doubt that there is no God. Is belief in God entirely a faith position, beyond the ability of science and or reason to settle? Or might observation of the world around us give us fairly good grounds for supposing that there is, or isn’t, any such being?

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE PAPACY AND THE HOLOCAUST

John Cornwell and David Ranan

The Catholic Church, according to its critics, sided with the most pernicious right-wing leaders of the 20th Century. During World War II, moreover, the wartime Pope, Pius XII, failed to speak out against the Holocaust despite detailed knowledge of it from 1942. Does history, from the perspective of the 21st century, and recent access to appropriate Vatican archives, endorse or repudiate these criticisms? John Cornwell and David Ranan debate the evidence concerning the relationship between the Church, the Papacy and Holocaust. Cornwell is Director of the Science and Human Dimension Project at Jesus College, Cambridge. His books on Catholicism include Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, Breaking Faith: the Fate and Future of the Catholic Church and A Thief in the Night: The Mysterious Death of John Paul I. David Ranan is a social critic and author of the books Double Cross: The Code of The Catholic Church, and God Bless America – A Visitor’s Diary.

NEWMAN’S UNQUIET GRAVE: THE RELUCTANT SAINT

John Cornwell

“This present work has ruffled feathers among conservative Catholics, but it's an achievement ... [it] avoids hagiography and is squarely aimed at agnostics as well as admirers.” The Evening Standard

John Cornwell is a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge and author of what Anthony Kenny has praised as a “heroically written biography” of the Oxford-based Cardinal John Henry Newman. A problematic campaign to canonise Newman started fifty years ago. After many delays John Paul II declared Newman a 'Venerable'. Then Pope Benedict XVI, a keen student of Newman s works, pressed for his beatification. But was Newman a 'Saint'? In Newman's Unquiet Grave, Cornwell (author of A Thief in the Night and Hitler s Pope) tells the story of the chequered attempts to establish Newman's sanctity against the background of major developments within Catholicism. His life was marked by personal feuds, self-absorption, accusations of professional and artistic narcissism, hypochondria, and same-sex friendships that at times bordered on the apparent homo-erotic. Cornwell investigates the process of Newman's elevation to sainthood, presenting a highly original and controversial new portrait of the great man's life and genius for a new generation of religious and non-religious readers alike.


Times

A.C. GRAYLING - THE GOOD BOOK: A SECULAR BIBLE
Sunday 3rd April, 12pm.
NATHAN PENLINGTON – URI AND ME
Sunday 3rd April 10am. Venue TBA.
PROF JUSTIN BARRETT – BORN BELIEVERS
4pm Wed. April 6th.
MCGRATH AND LAW - DOES GOD EXIST?
Thursday 7th April, 6.30pm Venue TBA.
CORNWELL AND RANAN - THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE PAPACY AND THE HOLOCAUST
Friday 8th April 2pm
JOHN CORNWELL - NEWMAN’S UNQUIET GRAVE
10.00am Friday 8th

2 comments:

wombat said...

Noticing that the "Fine Tuning" theme is likely to arise with McGrath, perhaps you might like to add this to your arsenal.

"Evidence Emerges That Laws of Physics Are Not Fine-Tuned For Life"

Caleb O said...

It would be quite nice to see/listen to you debate with Alistar Mcgrath, will there video or audio be uploaded after the event?