Cohesive Societies: Faith and Belief
This report explores the different ways in which faith and belief interact with societal cohesion. (2020)
Nick Spencer comments on the British Museum’s exhibition ‘Living With The Gods’ in Christian Today.
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Is Britain trying to become ‘the first society in the world without religious belief at its core’?
According to Neil MacGregor, formerly director of the British Museum and presenter of a new BBC Radio 4 series, Living With The Gods, it is. The 30–part series will trace ‘40,000 years of believing and belonging’ and will feature objects from the museum – showcased in a parallel exhibition – that show how religion has shaped society.
But the Living With The Gods enterprise itself is fascinating. As Nick Spencer, research director at theological think tank Theos, tells Christian Today: ‘There’s not been a society known to history – or pre–history – that hasn’t had some form of religious belief and practice at its heart.’
He welcomes the series and the exhibition. Religion does bind us together, he says, giving us shared values that can turn individuals and family groups into cohering societies. But also: ‘Religion locates us on the canvas of the universe, offering us a sense of identity, purpose and destiny – our own and those of loved ones – that we, uniquely conscious of our mortality and brevity among animals, desperately need. Those societies that have tried, at great cost to eradicate religion, have ended up copying it, for just these reasons. Man does not live by bread, TV or social media alone.’
Mark Woods | Read the full article at Christian Today
The Theos Team
Posted 11 October 2017
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Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.