Gloucestershire Philosophical Society Programme. Summer Term


Wednesday 26th April

Connor Bevan (University of Gloucestershire) will talk on The Renewal of Atheism: The Rejection of Scientism

Modern atheism is characterised by a dependence upon science and a rejection of the logical absurdities of religious belief. This has bred a shallow and unconsidered worldview; one that fails to meaningfully respond to existential concerns. Failing to recognise the nature of the non-propositional language of religion it seems intent on defining itself in relation to what it is not. This false view of religion means that a smug and banal complacency now defines atheism and has left the classic God debate in a convoluted ruin. Conversely, we might wish to imagine a new kind of atheism – one that seldom mentions religions or Gods and takes seriously the task of navigating a godless universe with consideration and relevance.

After graduating from the University of Gloucestershire with a first in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics, Connor Bevan is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Philosophy & Religious Thought. He is also the recipient of the Gloucestershire Philosophical Society’s prize. He founded the Herefordshire Humanists, a partner group for the registered charity, The British Humanist Association, which seeks to promote and support non-religious ways of life, He serves as its chairman. He is also student representative for Gloucestershire Philosophical Society, treasurer for the University of Gloucestershire Philosophy Society and course representative for his MA.


Thursday 11th May

Aliyah Saleem and Imtiaz Shams will talk on Faith to Faithless

Faith to Faithless, a community support network for ‘apostates’ and the ex-religious founded in 2015, is now a part of the British Humanist Association (BHA), the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people in the United Kingdom.

Faith to Faithless has already helped hundreds of people raised in religious backgrounds find peer support and community at difficult times in their lives. In partnership with the BHA and its student section, Atheist, Humanist, and Secular Students, it has put on events across the country highlighting the haunting experiences of ex-Muslims, ex-Mormons, ex-Plymouth Brethren, and various others who have suffered after leaving their religion behind.

This is a joint session co-hosted with Gloucestershire Humanists and the Department of Liberal and Performing Arts

Wednesday 24th May

Professor Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University) will talk on We Love Death like You Love Life: Hobbes and Martyrdom

In this talk, Arthur Bradley will discuss Thomas Hobbes’ little-known writings on religious martyrdom as a way of exploring questions of politics, religion and terrorism today.

Arthur Bradly is Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University. In 2009/10, he was a Visiting Professor at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and in 2013 he was a Visiting Fellow at Durham University, UK.  He has published several books and articles in philosophy, literature and political theory. Full details here.

Tuesday 6th June

David Terry (Gloucestershire Philosophical Society and Beacons) will talk on Climate Action and Ethics

Brief history of the science and politics of climate change. Acrimonious disputes.  Lies, half-truths and fudged results; what is ethical and what isn’t.  Is there a scientific consensus?  What do we really know? Reducing carbon emissions; who gains and who loses?  What is ethical?  Who should pay, the current or the historical polluter?   Should poor nations be allowed to pollute while they catch up with the rich nations?  Is reducing emissions of greenhouse gases more or less important than alleviating poverty?   Is research into geo-engineering ethical?

David attended Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester and did National Service commission in the Royal Artillery. He has an Oxford maths degree and was President of the college philosophical society. He has been a Schoolmaster, headmaster, and college principal. He took early retirement in 1994. He set up two companies, both later sold.  He now does educational, HR consultancy work, and various voluntary work, including prison board of visitors.

He is part of BEACONS, an educational charity based in Worcester and author of BEACONS on-line Guides to Climate Change. For more information see their website.

All sessions will be held at the Francis Close Campus of the University of Gloucestershire, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, at 7.15.p.m in room TC002a, except the talk ‘Faith to Faithless’, which will be in the large lecture theatre TC001.

The daytime seminars, known as ‘Piggies’, organised by Neil Richards, will be held at the new venue, The Brown Jug, Bath Road, Cheltenham, Wednesdays, and will now be held every week. All welcome



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