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Jesting Pilate: The Problem Of Religion And Truth

Religious adherents often claim that their beliefs are ‘true’, sometimes the absolute or only truth. Some hold that particular doctrines or texts are literally true, others that they are true in some other sense. What ‘truth’ is has perplexed philosophers for centuries, and no final answer has emerged. But if one is to examine human thinking and behaviour, some view must be taken, and this applies to the study of religion. This lecture will examine briefly some of the main views of ‘truth’ and see how they apply here. Religion can be regarded as a composite of many different activities, not all of which involve truth claims. A further argument often proposed is that there are different kinds of truth, applicable to different subject matter. A special case is that religion has its own kind of truth with a unique justification. However ‘religion’ as a category does not provide a basis for special treatment, either in considering whether something is true, or in any other way, for example in law.

PROFESSOR JOHN RADFORD has spent his academic career almost entirely at what is now the University of East London, formerly a Polytechnic and before that a College of Technology, where he has established one of the largest departments of Psychology in the UK. He was instrumental in introducing Psychology as a GCE A-level subject, which proved enormously popular, so that now over 100,000 take pre-degree courses in the subject. Professor Radford has produced over twenty books, as joint or sole author (plus two unpublished) and numerous paper covering research in various areas, including higher education, gender differences, child prodigies, the psychology of religion, and on some more general interests such as Sherlock Holmes, London, and popular misconceptions.


Professor John Radford | talks


Date and Time:

2 May 2010 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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