A fascinating discussion and debate centred around the impact of religion in the modern world Posted - 23/10/2017


Mr Swift’s retinue of philosophers and Mrs Trehearn’s entourage of debaters met at the Southbank Centre for what promised to be a fascinating afternoon of discussion and debate centred around the idea of faith and the impacts of religion in the modern world.

First came a panel of experienced political aides and journalists who questioned the true meaning of ‘jihad’, and many thought-provoking opinions were voiced on the broader original connotations of the word, which once simply referred to ‘struggle’, political, social, even emotional, rather than solely Islamic extremism. This subsequently led into a lively conversation about whether understanding of the term has fared better in countries adhering to strict secularism, or to the principle of multi-faith dialogue.

Next came the keynote address of the event with author and columnist, Karen Armstrong, evaluating how much of the violence carried out, ostensibly in the name of religion, had its basis in religion itself, or to what extent was it in fact down to either a misinterpretation of scripture, or other motivations altogether. Naturally, the question at hand raised more debate in the mind of the listener over what constitutes the essence of a religion itself, and whether such an essence can ever be said to be definitive.

Epistemology over the issue of justifying human rights even reared its head at one point. Overall, one did not need to agree with the speakers to enjoy this event and much of the relish lay in the fact one often didn’t, which has always been the best part of both debating and philosophy.  

Sam Hunt, Lower Sixth Form

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