Talks Available

The central thrust of all these talks is to help audiences, regardless of their beliefs, to understand the pivotal role played in all societies by faith and religion.

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About talks

We are all religious. We all have faith commitments whether we are Jews, Christians, Muslims or Secularists to take only the dominant approaches in the western world.

The first three have significantly different beliefs about a transcendent God and the fourth a belief that we can run society as though there is no God. None can prove that their approach is self–evidently true.

It is however quite clear that there are significant differences between societies espousing each of these beliefs. Some of these differences appear to be incapable of compromise; a theocratic society cannot become democratic by negotiation. Only a fundamental change in thought will do that. Theocrats are not committed by their belief system to accommodating other view points.

Our society, loosely defined as "western" is the product of three ancient streams of thought and one modern. It is the product of Hebrew and Greek thought modified by the Church and over the last four centuries secularized. Only now as the dreams of the enlightenment lie ruined in the bloody twenty-first century are we beginning the difficult critique of the secular society. The Hebrew and Christian views have been rigorously examined for centuries; the Muslim one less so but, following the emergence of terrorism claiming to be inspired by Islam, this is now slowly happening. The liberal, democratic secularists are resisting examination still but this is ultimately futile.

The examples which I discuss are easily grouped under four headings: those to help Christians re-enter the forum of public policy debate without apology for their religious beliefs, those concerned with moral and ethical problems in medicine, those of a more general philosophical and theological nature, and education. These talks can be presented to Christian and Secularist groups. Talks presented to Secularist groups help to show that the rejection of transcendent ideas is in fact without adequate foundation and, necessarily, entails consequences, which no-one wants.

Group 1 - The Necessity of Belief

The starting point is an introduction to what happened at the end of the Middle Ages when we slowly privatized our personal beliefs, without noticing that we had thereby allowed secular beliefs to dominate. We all believe that government ought to be about making society better but we rarely discuss what the ideas of "ought" or "better" mean and where they come from.

  1. Can We be Good without God?
  2. Why is No-one able to Say they are Good?
  3. Is Multiculturalism Viable and True?
  4. Tolerance is Good but We don’t Tolerate Everything: The Role of Legitimate Intolerance.
  5. Irreducible Complexity.
  6. The Myth of Moral Neutrality.
  7. The Myth of Multiculturism.
  8. The Culture of Death.
  9. Secularism is a Belief, Too.

Group 2 - Medical Ethics

The fundamental questions are not new but their current incarnations are. The old approach to medical ethics assumed everyone was primarily concerned for their patients and shared common ideas of good and evil, and that, therefore, it was not necessary to discuss ethics. With the explosion of technical skills and the growth of cultural diversity this no longer suffices. We are now being told how to behave by an elite group of bio-ethicists whose beliefs are shared by only a minority of our patients. Despite this we continue to talk about patient centred ethics!

  1. Much More than a Baby Dies in Abortion: the Logical Consequences of Abortion Legislation.
  2. The Domino Effect of Legalising Abortion.
  3. A Good Death. Physician Assisted Suicide and End of Life Decisions.
  4. Manipulating Human Society; the New Eugenic Consequences of Molecular Biology.
  5. Autonomy, Justice, Beneficence and Non-maleficence. What to do When They Clash.
  6. Every Patient Inhabits a Story: Narrative Ethics and Medicine.
  7. Christian Thought in the Development of Western Scientific Medicine.
  8. Ramifications of the Supposed Right to Choose.
  9. Surviving Medical School with your Faith Intact.
  10. The Sanctity of Life.
  11. Meaning and Purpose in Medicine.
  12. Moral Imperatives in Medical Care.
  13. Faith, Medicine and Health Care.
  14. Why Ethics Courses do not make us Ethical and What does.
  15. What Hippocrates Knew and We have Forgotten.
  16. The Secret of Caring for your Patient is in the Caring.
  17. Limited Resources in Medicine.
  18. The Disabled and Human Dignity.
  19. The Unborn and Human Dignity.
  20. Narrative Ethics.
  21. Conscience Laws and the Christian Doctor.
  22. Technology and the Depersonalization of the Patient.

Group 3 - The Big Questions

The nine Questions: In the beginning what? Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I come to terms with death, particularly my own? How do I make sense of suffering? How can I believe in justice? What can I know? What must I believe? What ought I therefore to do, particularly in raising virtuous children?

  1. The Nine Questions We All have to Answer.
  2. Character and its Formation According to Jesus.
  3. The Sermon on the Mount
  4. Why are there no Hittites on the Streets of New York?
  5. Knowing God - Much More than Conversion.
  6. Why most Physicians Hate Church.
  7. The Four Levels of Happiness.
  8. Mere Christian or Believer?
  9. Conversion and Virtue: Are they the same?
  10. The Dangers of Subjective Faith.
  11. The Formation of Family and Society: Deut 4-6.
  12. Culture and Development
  13. Beauty and Education.
  14. From Ockham to Dawkins: Changing Tacit Assumptions

Group 4 - Wisdom, Knowledge and Information

  1. Loving Children and Loving Books: The Pillars of Education
  2. How Did We Get Here?
  3. Changes in the Meanings of Words after the Enlightenment, especially "Fact" and "Explanation".
  4. Enlightenment Paradigms
  5. The Strange Story of the Word 'Fact'
  6. Recognizing Reductionism in our world, even in our church.
  7. Reductionism and Moral Relativism.