Linda Woodhead - Director of the Religion and Society Research Programme and Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University - draws from the findings of the Religion and Society research programme to explore the dis-embedding from traditional community relationships to new communities formed from choice rather than inheritance.
In the wake of political and social reactions to the financial crisis, austerity measures and the riots of 2011, debate continues to determine the role of the individual and society. The 2012 Lent Talks consider the relationship between the individual and the collective. Is each person one alone or one of many? Is it the human condition to be self-contained or to belong to the family, the tribe, the congregation, the nation? We live in groups but our most intense experiences are incommunicable. Jesus shared a communal last supper but he died an outcast, abandoned and rejected by his people, his disciples and (apparently) his Father.
Speakers of this year's talks include the journalist and author Martin Wroe, who will explore humanity being at its most divine when working in community; John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, explains how his encounter with God is enhanced through science; Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University, examines the philosophy of the individual and how this is neglected in many areas of Islam; Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, explores the agony of the individual in society.
The Christian season of Lent is traditionally a time for self-examination and reflection on universal human conditions such as temptation, betrayal, abandonment, greed, forgiveness and love.