Inform Spring Seminar
Date: Saturday, 21 May 2016; 9.30am - 5.00pm
Location: Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
London School of Economics, 54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ.
New Religious Radicalisms
Religion has a long history of radicalism and teachings and/or practices considered extreme by some, or even most. The point of radicalism is that it is a significant departure from norms or traditions. From the extreme acts of mortification of the self by some ascetics to the theologically and politically radical position of the Protestants protesting against what they considered errors inherent in the then dominant Roman Catholic Church, the history of religion is a history of extremes and opposition. It has always provided commentary on the worldly (as well as the other-worldly).
A recent example is the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by an armed group protesting against the federal management of land, including grazing rights - a political issue. However, the main initiator of the occupation, a Mormon, stated he was compelled to lead this initiative after praying for, and receiving, divine inspiration. Several key figures in this stand-off have cited Mormon scripture as justification for opposing and challenging the federal government. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has strongly condemned the action.)
Usage and understanding of the terms radical and extreme have changed over time, often to reflect the norms and politics of the era. This seminar will explore new religious radicalisms, and new forms of opposition, with the aim of developing new understandings of such world views.
- It is essential to show respect for the convictions of others and to refrain from behaving in ways which cause unnecessary offence
- Genuine dialogue calls for listening as well as speaking
- It is unacceptable to misrepresent or disparage other people's beliefs and practices
- It is not good practice to compare one's own ideals with other people's practices.