Don Cupitt Stephen Batchelor dialogue

Londoners have something to look forward to. In fact we all have something to look forward to – London Insight will be making a recording of the dialogue between radical Christian theologian Don Cupitt and Stephen Batchelor on ‘The Future of Religion’ that’s taking place in London on May 20.

What’s more, it’s going to be streamed online, so if you feel like sitting in front of your computer in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1am until 3:30am on Monday 21 May you’re in for a treat.

Stephen writes, ‘The kind of secular Buddhism I am interested in involves far more than just modifying one of the traditional forms of Asian Buddhism in order to make it more relevant to our times; it entails a rethinking of Buddhism from the ground up. And what emerges from this reconfiguration of core values and ideas might not look anything like the Buddhism we are familiar with today.’

To which Don responded, ‘I have tried to do for Christianity what Stephen Batchelor has tried to do for Buddhism, but my job is harder than his. Most people perceive Christianity as “the Apostolic Faith”, a system of supernatural beliefs held by all members of a disciplined, hierarchical and centralized society, and still fiercely defended. I argue that in recent years we have lost all the old hopes for a Better World hereafter, whether on Earth or in Heaven, and find ourselves already living in the last world we’ll ever know. But this realization brings us close to the original Jesus, whose surprisingly secular message was simply about how one should live in the face of the End of the World.’

In this public dialogue, they’re going to discuss questions such as:

  • what forms of religious practice are possible and appropriate for us today,
  • what might ‘religion’ or ‘spirituality’ mean to those of us whose worldview has been shaped by the scientific discoveries, philosophical currents and social changes of the last two centuries, and
  • what can contemporary Buddhism and Christianity learn from each other?

For more information go to the London Insight website.

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  1. Ted Meissner
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    We’ll be doing our best to stream the event, and are technically prepared on this side of that big blue salty lake. We’re working through some resource constraints with our partners, and hope to get those resolved in a timely fashion!

  2. Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    London Insight were unable to get a playable recording so they’ve worked really hard to create a transcription from what they have. Well worth a read, it’s available here:

    It’s clear from their conversation that Christians with a secular approach and Buddhists with a secular approach will have a lot to say to each other in coming years.

    This conversation is not too dissimilar to the one Batchelor had with Lloyd Geering here in Wellington a couple of years back, which can be seen on the videos page of this website.

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