AC Grayling discusses with Selina O’Grady her ground-breaking new book In the Name of God: A History of Christian and Muslim Intolerance. Told through contemporary chronicles, stories and poems, Selina O’Grady explores the intertwined histories of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish persecutors and persecuted.
From Umar, the seventh century Islamic caliph who laid down the rules for the treatment of religious minorities in what was becoming the greatest empire the world has ever known, to Magna Carta John who seriously considered converting to Islam; and from al-Wahaabi, whose own brother thought he was illiterate and fanatical, but who created the religious-military alliance with the house of Saud that still survives today, to Europe’s bloody Thirty Years war that wearied Europe of murderous inter-Christian violence but probably killed God in the process.
Each faith has been thought of as intolerant and inherently violent; ossified religions that can never come to terms with the Enlightenment. How right or wrong are these assumptions? Selina O’Grady and AC Grayling asks how and why our societies came to be as tolerant or intolerant as they are? Whether tolerance can be expected to heal today’s festering wound between Islam and the post-Christian West? Or whether something deeper than tolerance is needed.
Told through contemporary chronicles, stories and poems, Selina O’Grady takes the reader through the intertwined histories of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish persecutors and persecuted. From Umar, the seventh century Islamic caliph who laid down the rules for the treatment of religious minorities in what was becoming the greatest empire the world has ever known, to Magna Carta John who seriously considered converting to Islam; and from al-Wahaabi, whose own brother thought he was illiterate and fanatical, but who created the religious-military alliance with the house of Saud that still survives today, to Europe’s bloody Thirty Years war that wearied Europe of murderous inter-Christian violence but probably killed God in the process.
In the Name of God: A History of Christian and Muslim Intolerance will be available on the night to purchase and have signed.
Plato on Justice
A recurring theme in the dialogues of Plato is the profound relationship between the human self and justice: all ten books of the Republic are dedicated to the examination of this relationship, and although the speakers often turns aside to explore other issues, the central theme is never far away. Towards the end of the dialogue, Socrates says that the most important thing to study is the good life and that, having an eye to the nature of the self, we should comprehend “both the worse and the better life, pronouncing that to be the worse which shall lead the soul to become more unjust, and that to be the better life which shall lead it to become more just, and to dismiss every other consideration.” We notice that the point of focus here is the soul (psyche) – that invisible something that is understood to be the unific seat of selfhood, which gives life to the body, and which has the power to know and to make choices. It is on this understanding that all the important ethical principles of Platonic philosophy are based.
We’ll read an extract from the Gorgias which puts forward profoundly challenging consequences to this soul-centred view of life and its ethical dimensions, and discuss our understanding of the issues raised.
No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.
Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.
A PDF download of the text we will be starting with is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)
The legal approach to witchcraft in England changed considerably over the course of 700 years, reflecting the philosophy, power struggles and politics of each era. At first deprecated as an ignorant superstition, belief in the power of witchcraft eventually became established – even among the most educated.
Deborah Hyde has been Editor-in-Chief of The Skeptic Magazine for over five years. She speaks regularly at conventions, on podcasts and on international broadcast media about why people believe in the supernatural – especially the malign supernatural – using a combination of history and psychology. She thinks that superstition and religion are natural – albeit not ideal – ways of looking at the world.
Talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. We meet in the Star and Garter pub, 60 Old Woolwich Road, London SE10 9NY. The Star and Garter pub is close to many transport links and is approximately 7 minutes walk from Maze Hill Overground Station, or 10 minutes walk from the Cutty Sark DLR Station. Although the pub does not serve food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Greenwich, including several very nearby on Trafalgar Road. Attendance is free (unless otherwise stated) although a small donation to help cover expenses is appreciated. There is no need to book in advance (again, unless otherwise stated).
NB: You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list (run by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London) to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of speaker, etc.).
Established in 1994, The Course offers Art History, Literature, Music and Opera lectures.
In this series of 20 paired lectures and walks, we will look at the ways in which particular groups, often professions, have shaped and been shaped by London. Each theme could provide a course of its own, so we will proceed through a series of snapshots at the activities of those groups and individuals at key moments in the formation of the city.
The law and its execution have provided some of the city’s great dramas. The practitioners of law, with their own enclave of London, preserve the rituals of behaviour (and especially dress) which have lasted centuries.
The week after the lecture (20 November) there will be an accompanying walk near the Royal Courts of Justice.