Disquiet over the prevalence of social and economic individualism has a long history. In a world of mobile Capital and increasingly mobile people, communities of common tradition and locality appear to be under threat from the advent of a fragmented market society. Are these complaints against individualism justified? And crucially, how should Christians respond to them? Digging down into the substance of these questions, this project will consider the theological, liturgical and scriptural resources Christians have for understanding the notion of individualism in relation to issues of education, public life and the formation of democratic citizenship.

The University of Manchester
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Samuel Alexander Building, WG16
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Phone: +44 (0)161 275 3064

The University of Manchester
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Samuel Alexander Building, WG8
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Phone: +44 (0)161 306 1663


F. Gerald Downing: Formation For Knowing God

New publication by former Lincoln Theological College Tutor.

Read an excerpt from this new publication here





LTI's REFLECTION on #GE2015: "thick" and "thin" choices

Immediate reactions to the UK General Election result have focused on inaccurate polls, shy voters, the rise of nationalism in the UK (SNP, UKIP), the UK’s wider relationships with continental Europe (including the EU), and the implications for mainstream political parties. Additionally, electoral reform seems to be in the air once more.

In this post, we try something different. It seems to us that “choice” was one of the key themes of the election. For example, the party leaders argued that we, the electorate, were confronted by an important choice at this election: between market forces vs the state, between the union and the nation, between economic stability and social justice. Here we make a strategic distinction between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ choices. We argue that too often we are presented with 'thin' choices and that we need to uncover 'thick' choices.

To read the full post, click here [opens in new window].


Religion and the Secular State: When Religion Challenges the Constitution

Public Panel Discussion:

  • Should there be room for Religion within a Secular State? 
  • Is Religion a Curse or a Cure for Society Today?
  • What are the current legal and political challenges Religion poses to Democratic Culture?

A panel of internationally renowned experts in Theology, Political Science, Sociology and Asian Studies will discuss these and related issues with the audience.  Everyone is welcome.

The Public Discussion will be preluded by a welcome reception reception on behalf of The Department of Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester and the Department for Globalisation Studies at the University of Groningen.

Date: 16th May 2015

Venue: Samuel Alexander Building Room A113


Welcome Reception: 17.00-17.30

Panel Discussion: 17.30-19.00.


Religion on Trial


The conference and network meeting of the International Research Network on Religion and Democracy will focus on ‘state of emergency provisions’ and their religious and theological background. The key question is: What are the criteria to legitimately deviate from the normal state of affairs and to make an exception normative? A legitimate deviation from law or the existing order entails at least three elements:

a) The existing order is under threat and therefore swift action is needed;

b) Who is authorised to declare a state of emergency and what are the moral prerequisites?

In a situation when such deviation from the norm or existing law is required, ethical issues arise. Who is entitled to legitimately breach the existing norm/law, which civil rights might be suspended in order to successfully encounter the threat; and finally:

c) What defines the threat, which legitimises extraordinary measures?

In Constitutional Law and Political Theory the ‘state of emergency’ is a well-known paradox i.e. the concrete circumstance that demands a legitimate breach of an existing order to secure the existence of a lawful order. Given the classic criteria for a state of emergency, this project aims to uncover the theological basis, such as equity, asylum, grace and pardon etc. of the juridical concept of a state of emergency in all its facets.


This will be also the focus of the public lecture on Saturday May 16th 2015 "Can Religion replace the Constitution"?



Research Network for Religion and Political Culture

Globalisation Studies Groningen

International Research Network on Religion and Democracy


For more information see: