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Religious Faith and Human Rights


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Speaker(s): Dr Rowan Williams
Chair: Professor Conor Gearty

Recorded on 1 May 2008 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

The idea of human rights is often traced back to the characteristically religious insight that every individual is unique in the eyes of God. This explanation of why human dignity is important held sway for centuries, but it has lost much of its grip on society in these uncertain, post-modern times. Many adherents of human rights today see no need to root their beliefs in any religious (or specifically Christian) set of beliefs. Indeed some would go so far as to see religion as distinctly hostile to human rights. Are they right to do so? What is the true relationship between religion and human rights? Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in February 2003. Following ordination in 1978 he combined teaching and pastoral work in Cambridge and then Oxford (where he was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity from 1986-92) until his election as Bishop of Monmouth in 1991 and subsequently Archbishop of Wales from 2000.

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