Monday, April 30, 2012

BBC1 Big Questions again

I will be on BBC1 Big Questions programme again next Sunday 10am (May 6th). This one was prerecorded yesterday. The whole programme was devoted to children and religion.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stephen, as an RE teacher who was in the audience, I felt like your comments were measured, important and fair. I understood your argument that many schools are not providing a critically reflective, engaging and philosophical subject. I should encourage you to observe my lessons, all of which you will see have a a critical and philosophical pupil at their heart.

Thanks

Richard Cooper

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Richard. Yes that was the key point I wanted to make so glad I got it across.

Anonymous said...

In terms of your book, which I have just purchased, it seems from its description and your comments that you share a pedagogical inclination similar to that of Andrew Wright, would that be fair?

Adzcliff said...

Thanks for the heads up Stephen.

On the whole, I found this to be an excellent and overdue episode of the Big Questions, and especially enjoyed yours and Andrew Copson's extremely considered contributions. However, the one point I would like to pick up on is your notion of teflon-coating belief (or non-belief) systems. (A useful metaphor I thought.)

I'm just not sure the late Hitchens (and colleagues) do attempt to teflon-coat the atheist position in response to challenges from history. My understanding is that he/they take issue with the use of Stalin and/or Pol Pot (etc.) as examples of how political systems/leaders fall down without the moral guidance/brakes of religion. If I have this right, Hitchens notes how the Stalinist system (for instance) could almost be considered 'religious' - or at least holds strong parallels - as it too demands unquestioned allegiance to a single (pseudo-divine) patriarch figure, and his moral/political system. It also flourishes on the condemnation of other, competing, belief systems, and discourages/punishes independent-thought/dissent. The cult of personality, and the promise of greater goodness - often illusions - could also be considered similar. In this sense (and only this sense) I see how this might be considered religious (or at least synonymous), albeit without any spiritual component. (To be 'like a religion' or 'religious' about something, doesn't always require literal religious beleif/practice.) I'd therefore argue this is different to an attempt at'teflon-coating'.

In fact, thinking about it now, some of these are parallels you yourself identify in 'Believing Bullshit', only you're perhaps more likely to connect Stalinist and religious systems as 'intellectual black holes', rather than being different versions of each other. Not sure...

Anyway, thanks for your time.

Adzcliff