‘Where did I come from? Christianity, Secularism, and the Individual’
The Richard Johnson lecture, an activity of the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX), was delivered on March 14th, 2018. The lecture series ‘seeks to highlight Christianity’s relevance to society and positively contribute to public discourse on key aspects of civil life’.
The 2018 speaker, Nick Spencer, is, among other roles, a research Director at Theos Think Tank in London, and has written for The Guardian, Church Times and The Telegraph, and is the author of several books including The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values (2016) and, most recently, The Political Samaritan: How Power Hijacked a Parable (2017).
The premise of the lecture was that Christianity has been absolutely foundational for understanding the present, let alone the past, though it is not the whole story. He made an argument that ‘we’re all prone to selective amnesia, and offered a provocative assessment of which elements of our culture did – and didn’t – come from Christianity’ (https://www.publicchristianity.org/richard-johnson-lecture 2018).
He believes we must pay proper attention to the complex role of Christianity as an issue of intellectual honesty that is both interesting and important, as these have formed the current Western world view. Democracy, human dignity, rights, the welfare state and the scientific revolution are all issues founded in the Christianity of the West.
As educators we must shape our work with the full story of the powerful, positive Christian contribution of education to the common good. Spencer’s lecture strongly dissuades the naïve idea that we can set aside anything positive from Christianity and reframe the past, simply to appease a minority of anti-theists.
Want to know more?
Read a lecture precis and a review, and listen to the lecture :-
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of EdComm or the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The intent is to promote thinking and discussion.