The Saturday Forum provides space for dialogue around issues of identity, where people can engage with each other in an exchange of ideas, points of view and personal experiences. Our purpose is not to decide who is right and who is wrong, but rather to move forward together in a more nuanced understanding of complex issues.
Among the big questions of the 21st century are those around identity. How do we decide who we are and who we want to be? In a complex world we belong to multiple communities and take on multiple roles, identity can be difficult and we are can so easily become lost.
We meet on the third Saturday of every month in Islington.
Next Forum 18/1/14: Religion and identity
Britain is a largely secular society. Religious believers are a minority and most who are religious accept that laws must be based upon common values and not religious dogmas.
Social cohesion is strengthened when we celebrate diversity and work towards the inclusion of all, but does religious freedom enhance social cohesion or inhibit it?
Recent stories in the news include the Muslim M&S employee refusing to serve a customer who wanted to purchase alcohol and pork. How should we accommodate such religious convictions? Most Muslim employees would not take the same strong stand, but what if all did?
In a completely different twist, very recently an atheist minister of the Unitarian Church – our own Andy Pakula – was denied the opportunity to present Thought for the Day because the BBC have designated this slot for theists only. Yet the BBC is a public service funded by the taxpayer.
So, what is the importance of religious identity? What are the limits of accommodation to religious sensitivities? How secular should Britain be? And does secularism lead to repression of religion?
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