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    Join us for a Christian Heritage zoom webinar

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    'What a Piece of Work is Man':

    A View from the Outside

     

    with Andrew Fellows

    on

    Friday, October 30th at 7:30pm GMT (3:30pm EDT)

     

    Part 3 of 8 in our 'Humanity Matters: Re-enchanting Homo Sapiens' series of webinars.

     

    The sheer range of human capacities is astonishing, even awe-inspiring. How do we account for them all? Today, we are used to explaining human talents reductively, boiling them down quickly to something more basic. This session will beat a path towards an understanding of our humanity which elevates us, even as it grounds us in created reality.

     

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Articles

Adrian works with Pilgrims & Prophets Christian Heritage Tours and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage to promote interest in the Christian history of Lincs and Notts. His most recent book, Restless Souls, Pilgrim Roots, tells the story of the Christian faith in these two counties. The year 2020 was meant to be the big commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower but Covid had other ideas, and so the mass events and supposed millions of American tourists have never happened. This is not to say that nothing has happened. What has filled the void is a host of people who have used the occasion to float their own ideas with little regard to the motivating issues of Christian faith and worship that caused Carver, Brewster, Bradford et al to set sail in the first place. Various places in England have jostled for the dubious position of being the most ‘significant’ in the story, and various causes have shouted themselves hoarse to turn the Mayflower story to suit their own purposes. Issues like the persecution of Native Americans and Slavery have been thrown into the mix (somewhat illogically, as they came later) whilst in America there is always controversy to be...

  What are we? The answer we give to this question either grounds our nobility as humans or points to what Darwin called our ‘lowly origin’. In this first session of Christian Heritage's 'Humanity Matters' webinar series, Andrew Fellows examines various contemporary accounts of what it means to be human and contrasts them with one that truly ennobles us.   ...

  Isaac Watts lived through a time of collision between traditional Christian faith and the forces of 'Enlightenment'. How he engaged with, critiqued and adapted to the veneration of reason is fascinating and still instructive. In this webinar, Dr Graham Beynon, Watts scholar and pastor, profiles this fascinating man, his thought and his times.   ...

As part of our Cambridge Characters series, Joshua Kellard introduces Beilby Porteus, sometime bishop of London, and vociferous opponent of the Slave Trade. The youngest but one of 19 children, Beilby Porteus grew up in relative wealth and privilege. His parents were natives of the colony of Virginia, and owned a vast tobacco-growing plantation, worked by African slaves. By the time Beilby was born, the family had relocated to York. In those days, Cambridge had something of a reputation for drawing scholars from the northern counties and, aged 17, Beilby was admitted as a sizar (i.e. a student who worked in order to pay tuition fees) of Christ’s College. The 17th Century was marked by intellectual rebellion against Christianity. As the breakers of the European Enlightenment pounded on English shores, and the tide of unbelief swept into the universities, many students found it difficult to stay afloat. Porteus, however, emerged from his studies strong in conviction, was ordained to the ministry, and proceeded to a string of fulfilling church appointments, including Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of Chester and bishop of London.  Two aspects of his ministry as bishop deserve special mention: his pioneering involvement in the movement to abolish...

Ian Cooper recounts a lunch table conversation at the Round Church on Identity Politics.  We have had identity politics before when conflicts in the past have centred on religion, class and nation. Yet there seems to be a renewed obsession with identity today, especially in relation to gender and race. To discuss this trend we used Douglas Murray’s book, The Madness of Crowds. Murray, a journalist and writer, is particularly interesting, as he understands the importance of religion, is gay, and also conservative. In the book he describes how civil discourse has been poisoned, with identity weaponised in an attempt not just to get attention, but also to gain power. All opponents of the ‘correct view’ become hate-filled bigots of one kind and another: sexists, racists, homophobes, transphobes or all at the same time, while the complainants engage in a kind of grievance culture. Mob shaming takes place on social media and jobs and careers are placed at risk. Murray is appalled at how toxic it has all become, especially when he points out how much progress there has been on all the issues involved. Society today is more liberal. He fears for people’s mental health and even worries about a backlash....

Barbarism rarely reveals a bare face. It finds room in our hearts under the generous cover of  ‘modern values’, it spreads with the aid of euphemisms and half-truths, and it covers its tracks with the conscience-numbing virtue of non-judgementalism. But barbarism is with us: quiet, determined, and just occasionally splashed across the opinion pages of national newspapers.   I’m referring here to Rebecca Reid’s defence of the killing of unborn children for any reason whatsoever in the Telegraph last month. The background was the UK Government’s unprecedented move to allow women to obtain pills which would kill their unborn child without the need for an in-person medical consultation. The ‘pills-by-post’ scheme enables women to obtain mifepristone and misoprostol, the two chemical agents used in so-called medical abortions, and to self-administer them at home if they are less than 10 weeks pregnant.  In her article, Reid responded to news that Christian Concern had hired actors to make ‘mystery shopper’ type calls to abortion providers Marie Stopes and Bpas in order to gauge the kinds of reasons for which women were being sent the means to abort. The callers used false names, dates of birth and gestational periods and were, without exception, able to obtain...

A kerfuffle was precipitated this week when it emerged that Chloe Clark, an English professor at Iowa State University, had threatened to dismiss students from her classroom for voicing views contrary to her own on gay marriage, abortion, and the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). This is what her initial syllabus notes for English 250 stipulated:  “GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.” It is, to be sure, a demand for intellectual subjugation far more frank than the usual indirect fare offered in the humanities. The statement also quite plainly contradicts its own call to forsake ‘othering’ as it effectively marginalises and censures any student wishing to express dissident views. To its credit Iowa State University quickly addressed the situation in line with its code on the First Amendment’s provisions...

Kevin Moss is a Christian Heritage trustee and PhD candidate in intellectual history. Earlier this month, I wrote a short piece about the toxic impact of ‘cancel culture’, especially as it is impacting upon higher education.  It is worth noting that the introduction of reductionist ideologies within the secondary school system means that we are churning out undergraduates who are ill-equipped to cope with the free intellectual environment that hitherto characterised our Universities.  Analogically,  ‘Foot-binding‘ was a historical and disfiguring practice conducted in China, only finally abolished in the early 20th century: its victims were no longer able to walk naturally and freely.  It is quite likely that the shackles of reductionism may have a similarly constraining impact upon intellectual development, but labelling academic freedom as the ‘problem’ misses the point by a wide mile.  Academic freedom can only be a ‘problem’ to students who are suffering from a societally-induced pathology, disabling the exercise of critical faculties, and subverting the capacity to tolerate opinions other than their own. Of course, those who have the greatest interest in fostering or supporting cancel culture are the same people most likely to deny that it exists.  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago documents the painstaking lengths to which the Soviet...