Talk at Benenden School

March 24, 2011 · Posted in Blog · Comment 

Many thanks to the students of Benenden school for their hospitality and conversation this evening.

Religious Rights Violations| Reports for 2010

March 21, 2011 · Posted in Blog · Comment 

International Religious Freedom Report The International Religious Freedom report is submitted to Congress annually by the US Department of State. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide.  Also available as a pdf here:

Persecuted and Forgotten Aid to the Church in Need have published their report on persecution against Christians.  Free copies may be ordered from .  Examples of persecution are reported from around the world including Asia Bibi on Death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, the murder of priests in Iraq, restrictions in China and bombings at Churches in Egypt.

Five Year Report: Intolerance against Christians in Europe compiled by the

Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians.

1000 Cranes for Japan

March 19, 2011 · Posted in Blog · Comment 

Dear Reader

I attach a flier which has suggestions for how school children may respond to the Japan emergency.  I taught in Japan for a year many years ago, in a county called Toyama, on the west coast of the central Honshu island. Tragically, a whole class of children from Toyama were killed when they were visiting Christchurch, New Zealand in the earthquake a few weeks ago.  Of course this is now overshadowed by the scale of the greater disaster that has befallen Japan.

My year in Japan was part of a cultural project to bridge our countries and encourage friendship between our peoples, and at the end of it I made a commitment to be a friendly envoy for Toyama county and the people of Japan.  In the light of the disasters that have befallen that people I, and my wife who also taught in Japan,  have decided to try to encourage schools to do something.

The flier has a couple of suggestions, one of which is to encourage the act of making origami cranes, which is a tradition that every Japanese school child learns and participates in.  It is linked with the story of Sadako Sasaki, the girl who wanted to make a thousand cranes as an act of peace after the dropping of the atomic bomb.  In Japanese tradition a crane lived for a thousand years and it was said that if you made a thousand cranes your wish would come true.  Sadako wished for a nuclear free world of peace.  She died of leukemia, from the bomb, before she finished her task so her school friends finished it for her.  Now every school in Japan participates in this act of peace in her memory and in the hope of peace.

I would like to inspire some schools in England to take up this tradition as an act of solidarity with the school children of Japan and in the hope of peace for them and for the world.  If stories were to reach Japan of school children from across the seas making cranes for Japan then it might just give them a little hope.

If you feel you can help, click the link below

Many thanks for your time.

Response to Japan
Bob Bowie

The future of A Level Religious Studies

March 8, 2011 · Posted in Blog · Comment 

So what should A Level Religious Studies look like in future? Currently most students take a religious ethics paper and the next biggest group is Philosophy of Religion. Biblical studies gets fewer students and the specific religious fewer still. Pre -U has a mix of Philosophy, Ethics and Biblical studies. So should we go for 3 areas rather than two? What do want students to get from their A level RS? Answers on a postcard…

David Cameron on Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Islamic extremism

March 6, 2011 · Posted in REOnline Posting · Comment 

British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech on Saturday 5th February 2011 that set out his views on radicalization and Islamic extremism … To read more click here

Read Prof Bob Jackson’s thinking of this here: Share on Facebook

The languages of human life and education

March 6, 2011 · Posted in REOnline Posting · Comment 

In a new book Crisis and Recovery: Ethics, Economics and Justice by Rowan Williams and Larry Elliot, a number of different scholars and politicians reflect on some of the MORAL implications of the recent economic difficulties …  To read more go to

What is Narrative Ethics

December 30, 2010 · Posted in Articles / Papers, Blog · 1 Comment 

I have been hearing about something called narrative
ethics. Essentially this I’d an approach to ethics which is
understood in two ways. One way takes a personalist approach to a
dilemma that is focussed on the story of the moral agent, their
history and situation and relates moral decision making to this
‘narrative’. Another form is to actually use an existing narrative,
such as the Bible, and use it to approach a moral understanding of
what to do. An example of this is the use of Exodus by Liberation
Theology. So narrative ethics is quite different from ethics that
are principle based. It is a kind of combination of personalism,
virtue theory and situation ethics, rooted in historical
experience. How this would work in practice needs teasing out so I
might write a piece for REonline trying to do so. However there are
some obvious problems. It sounds rather relativistic. How can we be
sure we are really doing the right thing and not simply something
that fits our personality? Do moral principles have no place

Education for Post Secular Society

October 7, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Date: Saturday 29th January 2011, Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Canterbury Christ Church University, North Holmes Road campus, Canterbury

Fee: £25 per delegate (only £5 for BERA SIG members, members of the Philosophy of Education society of Great Britain and students)

Come to this conference to explore the meaning, relevance and implications of a post secular society for education with people from a range of disciplines including education, philosophy, theology and religious studies.

The idea of a post secular society raises a number of challenges for all those engaged in understanding the relationship between the sacred and the secular, liberal notions of the secular and the nature of contemporary spirituality in the context of educational practice and theory.

Proposals for papers on the following themes are welcomed:

  • Post secular philosophies and theologies of education
  • Pedagogies and curricula for post secular society
  • Reframing/defending liberal education in a post secular context
  • The nature of objectivity and truth in education
  • The relationship between faith and a secular academy
  • The secularisation and re-sacralisation of knowledge and learning
  • Faith schools and universities in a post secular society
  • The interplay between post modernism and the post secular
  • The relevance of the post secular as a discourse in education


Abstract Proposals of (approx) 200 words 1st December 2010

Confirmation of abstract acceptance 15th December 2010

Conference booking deadline 5th January 2011

conference-flyer abstract-submission

Book your place online:

Telephone: 01227 782744


Profile of Karen Armstrong

October 4, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The Guardian has a profile of Karen Armstrong and her work with the code for compassion by Vanessa Thorpe.

“Karen Armstrong: The compassionate face of religion
The former nun’s writing and theories about God and belief upset some, but she numbers the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu among her fans”

Common/shared values

March 29, 2010 · Posted in Blog · Comment 

I have been thinking about these again. I feel that often people talk about shared values without articulating them very much. Google the phrase and you get some quite different views on what they might be. Some take a more secular approach. Liberty, the human rights group sees human rights themselves as an expression of shared values. Click here to watch some of their short videos on these. The Guardian Newspaper ran a series on something called citizen ethics with contributions from scholars and writers. These took a rather more critical and virtue based approach. Neither of these say very much about religious and philosophical differences however and the perceived sense of civilizational clash. Other approaches seem more inclusive of religious perspectives. Runzo has written something interesting here. There is an interesting Scottish attempt called values in harmony and there is the statement by the Parliament of World Religions called Towards a Global Ethic.

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