iai plus banner


Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

Is Religion Dangerous?:

Faith, authority, and power

to get free unlimited access to all videos on iai tv and all articles on iai news, as well as advance notice of the events.
You can watch up to an hour of video per month and 20 mins of any one video without signing up.
You have watched half an hour of our debates and talks on iai tv. To watch more than an hour of video per month or more than 20 mins of any one video you need to join iai+. Joining iai+ is free and gives you free unlimited access to iai tv and iai news.
You have watched your maximum monthly limit of videos. Join iai+ to view an unlimited number of videos on iai tv and articles on iai news. Joining iai+ is free and only takes a minute.

Julian Baggini, Richard Harries, Nicholas Humphrey, Rupert Sheldrake. Shahidha Bari hosts.

Religion presents itself as a haven of peace and goodwill amid the greed and aggression of the secular world. But is this an illusion? Would it be wiser to see religion as a dangerous authoritarian game, or do we require a plurality of belief systems to offset the monolith of scientific knowledge?

The Panel

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake and Bishop Richard Harries debate with philosopher and writer Julian Baggini and psychologist Nicholas Humphrey.

In association with the New Statesman.

Are Doctors Bad For Us?
Sue Bailey, David Healy, Isabel Hilton, Jeremy Taylor
The Science Delusion
Rupert Sheldrake
Enhancing Morality
John Harris, Julian Savulescu
Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • Julian Baggini
    The Pitch
    Atheism is a beneficial belief about the world
  • Rupert Sheldrake
    The Pitch
    Religion has a positive role to play in the world
  • Richard Harries
    The Pitch
    Religion is an approach to social reform and understanding
  • Nicholas Humphrey
    The Pitch
    Religion is simply self-deception
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    Is religion dangerous?
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    Science vs. religion
Join the conversation

to post comments or join now (only takes a moment). Don't have an account? Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Google to get started:

jawoww on 25/10/2013 5:39pm

TSituation you raise a valuable if ill-worded point, but I think what Snooki is trying to say is actually that this never really grows to become the debate it could be as the panellists are all arguing from different definitions. Julian thinks its a chance to talk about the exciting 'danger' of religion which is good will, a bit of a curve ball that definitely doesn't work. Rupert Sheldrake goes off on one about scientists again (see anything he's ever written), Richard Harries and Nicholas Humphrey's do alright, a bit stuck out on their own though because the chair isn't really listening to a word anyone is saying. It's a great question though, and I think many interesting points are raised.

TSituation on 25/10/2013 5:17pm

@Snooki, what do you think the primary definition is then? Is science not the antithesis of religion? And therefore is it not only natural that a debate geared to deplore or defend religion might devolve into what you call the 'same old debate'. Some questions never grow old, particularly ones that are so pertinent today.

snooki on 25/10/2013 12:52pm

I can't help but feel like the panellists all defined 'danger' in such different ways that there was no real constructive debate regarding the primary issue here. This devolved to much into the same old science vs. religion argument, and didn't really deal with whether or not there is something intrinsic to religion itself that has led to centuries of crusades, genocides, the inquisition etc.

Copy and paste the code below to embed or link to this video.

Embed options
  • Video Seek
    Converted to a link which jumps to that point in the video
    Example: 00:34
  • Bold Text
    Example: [b]Bold[/b]
  • Italic Text
    Example: [i]Italics[/i]
  • Underlined Text
    Example: [u]Underlined[/u]
  • Website link
    Link to another website or URL
    Example: [url]http://www.website.com/[/url]

Rate this talk with three clicks. You can choose 3 words, or vote for the same word 3 times.

Why register with the iai?
  • All you can watch
    Unlimited access to hundreds of hours of debates and talks from the world's leading minds, all for free.
  • Have your say
    Join the iai community and engage in conversation and debate around the issues that matter.
  • Hear it first
    Be the first to hear about our video releases, articles and tickets to our festival HowTheLightGetsIn.