Wednesday 21st September 2011
City Talk by Dr Wilf Wilde: Libya, Elusive Revolutions and the Empire of Oil
We were delighted to welcome Wilf Wilde for a wide-ranging and challenging lecture in which he argued that the desire to control oil was at the root of the UK and US interventions in Libya as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. He covered much of the geo-politics, history and contemporary situation of the whole MENA region; find out more by downloading his lecture notes here.
Wednesday 14th September 2011: JustShare Christian Social and Political Thought Lecture: 'The influence of the Bible on British Politics' by Nick Spencer, Research Director of Theos
We began our Autumn season with a fascinating lecture from Nick Spencer in which he argued that whilst the influence of the Bible on our language, literature and culture had long been recognised, its influence on our politics, political system and thought had been overlooked. He noted that its influence had not always been benign, and that there were of course many other influences on our politics, but with these caveats he identified 3 key areas in which the Bible has influenced British political life.
The first was the emergence of Britain as a political entity founded upon concepts of tolerance and rights, rather than simply an ethnic or geographical identity. This foundation he traced to the Christian thinkers of Protestantism in the time of William and Mary, arguing that British identity was forged at that time by thinkers of Protestant background discoursing upon rights and responsibilities in the political or public sphere. Secondly, he suggested that the questions: 'What is power?' and 'What gives our rulers legitimacy?' were answered by the Biblical concept that the role of leaders is to use their power to do justice, to protect the weak, to secure peace and to defend faith. He posited that these questions were just as relevant today.Thirdly, he argued that the notion of equality, so deeply ingrained in our political system (one vote per person), is rooted in the Bible's teaching that all are created as equals before God. This became particularly evident in the Reformation era which declared that the Bible belonged to anyone and everyone.
Questions from the audience ranged from why we sought to impose democracy on other countries when the EU resists referenda; whether the monarchy is justifiable when the majority do not believe in divine authority and what other Biblical metanarratives we invoke unconsciously. Discussions continued over Fairtrade wine generously given by La Riojana.