Tag Archives: Nick Spencer

Theos Think Tank have been polling about religious violence

Theos Think Tank have been asking people whether they regard religions as violent. By their own admission, they didn’t entirely like the results.

Nearly half (47%) agreed that “the world would be a more peaceful place if no one was religious”. Fully 70% said that: “Most of the wars in world history have been caused by religions”.

Faced with that, Theos’s Nick Spencer took some comfort from the fact that “only 32% agreed that religions were inherently violent”. Only? So one-in-three British people thinks that religions are inherently violent and this merits an “only”? Continue reading

On Theos on thinking about religious freedom

The UK-based Theos think tank have published a paper by Nick Spencer on How to think about Religious Freedom.

Theos Director Elizabeth Oldfield says:

This guidebook is unapologetically Christian, meaning its foundation and internal logic rest on a commitment to Christian scripture and theological reflection.

Given that society-wide rights need to have a widely-based foundation (i.e. a secular one, it might be better to develop an approach that could be widely agreed, rather than an “authentically Christian approach to religious freedom”. Still, this paper is well worth reading, and indeed in its 76 pages there is much that non-Christians can agree with. But, first, some notable issues that are nowhere addressed.

In commentary on the work, Jonathan Chaplin (Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics) writes:

British citizens have long taken it for granted that they enjoyed as much religious freedom as they wanted and as much as anyone anywhere the world.

I suggest that this actually means that British Christians have long taken it for granted that they enjoyed as much religious privilege as they wanted. What Christians regard as “infringements” on their “freedoms” are often just a withdrawal of privileges and an insistence that other people matter as much as they do. Continue reading