People We Miss

June’s event was a little bit of a departure for the group.  Rather than a single speaker, we had five! 

As well as Ben giving an update on activities we’ve been involved in (particularly our recent interactions with Gary Streeter over how much atheists contribute to helping the less well off in society), four other members spoke on the topic ‘People we miss’. 

We first heard from Martin about German author Karlheinz Deschner, surely one of Christianity’s most unrelenting modern critics.  His work ‘Christianity’s Criminal History’ stretches to ten volumes yet little of his writing has been translated into English, so he is little known in this country.

Graham spoke about Thomas Paine, the eighteenth century political activist, philosopher, author, political theorist and revolutionary.  Paine was a supporter of both the American French revolutions and wrote some very influential works on human rights and liberty.

Tim P discussed another influential writer on liberty, this time from the nineteenth century – John Stuart Mill.  As well as his promotion of freedom of speech and expression, Mill was also an advocate of women’s rights.  His work wasn’t just confined to writing, but he was also an activist, at one point serving a term in parliament to promote the causes he cared about. (The BHA have produced a short leaflet on Mill's work called 'JS Mill On..'. Richard Reeves' biography of Mill is also recommended)

Finally we heard from Tim H about Norman Borlaug, credited for being the father of the Green Revolution.  His work breeding new varieties of wheat transformed food productivity - he is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation – yet few would recognise his name.  Hopefully Tim went a small way towards rectifying that injustice.