Rev Jules Gomes will be among the speakers at the coming conference. His talk title will be, “Singing in the ruins: How feminists have destroyed the Church of England beyond repair”.
A piece in today’s Times by Oliver Moody, Science Correspondent:
The first woman to become a senior Anglican bishop has questioned whether people can really have love or hope if they do not believe in God.
The Right Rev Rachel Treweek shattered the so-called “stained-glass ceiling” when she was made Bishop of Gloucester in 2015, less than a year after the Church of England had voted to allow women to join its House of Bishops.
At the time, she said that she would encourage British Christians to “speak out with confidence about their faith” after years of reticence over mounting robust public defences of Anglican belief.
Last weekend the bishop, 55, made good on that pledge with an unusually muscular account of her Christian values. At a Cheltenham science festival event on the role of communities in an increasingly secular age, she argued that the church still occupied a crucial position in British society.
“Provocatively, I want to question whether you can truly have love and hope without faith,” she said. “Real love and hope for me come from knowing that I am loved and I can have hope because I’m loved, that my shame and my guilt are dealt with.”
She added: “The only place where there is really unconditional love is in God.”
Her remarks drew a strong response from Alom Shaha, author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook. He said that he had become a father last year and loved his baby daughter unconditionally in spite of having no religious faith. “I find it deeply worrying when people say you can’t experience love with their fellow human beings,” Mr Shaha said.
After the event, the bishop told The Times that she did not mean atheists and agnostics could not have love or hope at all, but that there was an ever-present danger that these emotions would be mixed with others, such as the fear of being left on one’s own.
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