Tag Archives: atheism

Cif Belief: Poland’s faith divide

Ignited by the Smolensk crash, bitter tensions have emerged between Poland’s Catholics and liberal secularists

When 96 Polish dignitaries, including President Lech Kaczyński, were killed in a plane crash near Smolensk in April, the world briefly turned its gaze to Poland and its often tragic history. The victims were travelling to a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre – the murder of some 20,000 Poles by the Soviet secret police in 1940. The two tragedies became fused in the public imagination, reviving old anti-Russian prejudices and seeing the memorials to Katyn across Poland become the focus of fresh mourning. But the events that followed, and their consequences for Poland’s religious culture, have been little-covered in western Europe. The last six months have seen a bitter controversy emerge, raising serious questions about the place of religion in Polish public life…

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Filed under Cultural history, Politics, Religion

Cif Belief: Theology is a crucial academic subject

It’s failing to make a case for its survival as university cuts bite. But theology’s value as an academic discipline is incalculable

Bangor University has announced that its school of theology and religious studies will close in 2013, merging with the theology department at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in a cost-cutting exercise. With university budget cuts of £200m planned, the loss of the department is unlikely to be an isolated case. At the University of Birmingham’s school of philosophy, theology and religion, one of the largest in the UK, up to a third of staff are facing redundancy, while the University of Sheffield’s biblical studies department was also threatened with closure last year. Universities are under pressure to make immediate and drastic savings, and theology seems to be failing to make the case for its survival as a discipline worth studying…

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Filed under Academia, Politics, Religion

Cif Belief: Creationist claims in Northern Ireland

Supporters of creationism in Northern Ireland are abusing the language of rights and equality in order to gain a foothold

Last month Nelson McCausland, DUP assembly member and Northern Ireland culture minister, wrote to the trustees of National Museums Northern Ireland about how “to ensure that museums are reflective of the views, beliefs and cultural traditions” of the region. This included a more specific stipulation – referring explicitly to the Ulster Museum, the letter called for alternative views of the origin of the universe to be accommodated. In other words, creationism was to be incorporated into the museum’s natural history displays. That an elected minister should make such a suggestion is a development that should be taken seriously…

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Filed under Politics, Religion