The Faith Delusion

On this page are the materials that will help you get the most out of the Radio/CDs version of the ‘Faith Delusion’ talks.  It will help you greatly if you have someone to listen with and discuss with – especially for the part-two exercises each day.

Day One: Faith and Reason: Friend or Foe?

Part One Slides : WLT day one part one

Matching names (see slide 7): Can you match up the names with the pictures?

Part Two Slides : WLT day one part two

Part two of day two is a series of exercises, with some explanation.  Instructions will be given and you – and your conversation partner(s) – can work on the exercises together.  You will need to download the following:

Worksheet for Day One Session Two revised

DIY Pythagoras Part One, DIY Pythagoras 2

To do the Pythagoras exercise, you will need to print off  two copies of Pythagoras One and two copies of Pythagoras two – fear not!  All will be revealed.  And you’ll need scissors to do a bit of cutting up…

You will also need to have modelling clay and/or Prestik (Blu-tak) for the giraffe and Trinity exercises.  I promise it’ll make sense when you hear it.  Well sort of.

Day One Part Three Slides : WLT day one part three

For this section you will need a pen(cil) and paper, something to help you draw a right-angled ‘v’ (a book will do), a kitchen table and six cups of tea.  Mugs will do.  If you’ve got any oranges, that would be excellent as well, as a visual aid.  You can eat them afterwards if you want.

Day Two: Arguing about God

For this section you will need pen, paper, lego – I got that that large lego lookalike stuff from PnA and that will do the job.  You will also need balloons, three would do, preferably yellow, orange or white and a marker pen – best black permanent marker. 

Day Two Part One Slides: WLT Day two part one

Follow up article by Christian de Duve in The American Scientist on the biochemical origins of life: The Beginnings of Life on Earth

Day Two Part Two – discussion

This is where you and the people you’ve been listening to the talks with get together and work through your answers to the challenge of Dawkins and others.  Give yourselves plenty of time.  You might want to look at the questions at the end of the part one slides, but these are the arguments to look at: the first, a summary of Dawkins’ argument, the remainder arguments of the great Scottish philosopher David Hume.

Day Two Part Two discussion texts: WLT Worksheet Day two

Day Two Part Three Slides: WLT Day two part three

Day Three: Practical Reason, Religion and the Quest for Value

For ancient philosophers and for Christianity the most important part of our reasoning is how we use it to live well together.  Part one looks at a couple of controversial issues as a way of exploring the Catholic tradition’s deep understanding of moral reasoning.

Day Three Part One Slides: WLT Day two part one

In the second part you explore with your conversation partner how you would go about solving a range of moral dilemmas as a mature moral reasoner, with a deep understanding of justice.  On what basis do you balance the different rules and maxims?  What are the key values you protect, what can stand in the way of our ‘seeing’ the right thing to do?  What can stand in the way of our doing the right thing we see?  What matters most deeply – for Church and world – in our time?

Day Three Worksheet: WLT day three exercises

Day Three Part Two slides: WLT Day three part three

UFS Theology Faculty Lecture (Tuesday 13th August)

UFS Lecture: Beyond Reason?  The problem of solving the meaning of life

This is a condensation/elaboration of some of the themes from day two.

Accompanying slides: Presentation for UFS


The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins (Black Swan, 2007).
The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (Bantam, 2010)
The Dawkins Delusion, Alister McGrath, Joanna Collicutt McGrath (Intervarsity Press, 2007)
Quantum Theory: A very short introduction, John Polkinghorne (Oxford, 2002)
The Sovereignty of the Good, Iris Murdoch (Routledge, 2001).
Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE – 66 CE, E.P.Sanders (London: SCM, 1992).
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English Geza Vermes  (Penguin, 2011)
Mere Christianity, C.S.Lewis (Harper-Collins, 2009)
A History of Christianity, Diarmuid MacCulloch (Penguin, 2009)
A History of Catholic Moral theology in the 20th Century, James F. Keenan (London Continuum, 2010)
The Master and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist (Yale University Press, 2009) seems to be developing into an interesting Catholic science and religion website.

From yours truly

Letting the Porcupine Out of the Bottle – available on this website
Beyond the Catechism – available on and Amazon.
The Philosopher’s Friend and Tales of Detection – available on Lulu and Amazon
The Resurrection of the Word = a substantial rewrite of Beyond the Catechism forthcoming, (not yet available) from The Way books.  Watch this space.