Religion in Public Life: Levelling the Ground
In this report, sociologist Grace Davie explores religion’s renewed visibility in public life, asking why we have got here and what the future holds.
How the perennially popular story of the Good Samaritan is deployed in supposedly secular politics. (2017)
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The decline of biblical literacy, among politicians and public, has not been as straightforward or complete as is sometimes imagined. There is evidence for decline way back into the nineteenth century and even today politicians not are wholly ignorant of, indifferent to or scared of using biblical stories, phrases and images. A good example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan.
The parable of the Good Samaritan has been used by almost every major British politician over recent years – from Theresa May and Tony Blair to Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn. But they don’t all use it to say the same thing.
In this book, Nick Spencer explains why and how Jesus’ famous parable got mixed up in politics. From abolitionists to warmongers, prime ministers to activists such as Dr Martin Luther King, Spencer uncovers the reasons for the parable’s popularity – and then asks the killer question: who gets it right?
If the Good Samaritan has been dragged on to the political stage, whose side is he on?
Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.
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Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.