Dr Elizabeth Harris, Honorary Research Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham

Follow your heart, says Lauren, an apprentice motor mechanic. But enough about her, let’s talk about me. I tried being just a Christian, but brilliant as Christianity is, I decided to be a brilliant Buddhist as well. Oh, this caused such trauma, but I had to follow my heart, as the Big Book of Magic Stuff told me to. It was right for me. Me, me, me. You too can have courage like ME, to study Buddhism, like ME.You could be just like ME.



6 thoughts on “Dr Elizabeth Harris, Honorary Research Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham

  1. “Follow your heart”. And in the next sentence she’s quoting scripture. Well which is it; follow your heart or follow scripture?


  2. On a day when the C of E Synod is due to discuss (a) blessing of same-sex married couples and (b) gender neutral terminology for the IMF, all Harris has to stimulate ‘thought’ in her listeners, was ‘follow your heart’ and do your own thing. Not even another attempt to shift blame for the earthquake away from her omnipotent IMF.

    I watched ITV’s morning programme, where a particularly rabid and poisonous Evangelical cleric insisted that he had the right to call homosexuality a sin, and same-sex marriage not in accordance with his BBOMS. One of the panel of commentators hit the nail on the head, however, when he pointed out that if the national church persists in rejecting the country’s lawful right of all people to marry the same or opposite sex, it was time to disestablish the Church. On the question of ‘a gender neutral god, he simply dismissed the C of E as an irrelevance – and he represented the Daily Mail!


  3. Just a reminder of Sandi Toksvig’s petition. Whilst disestablishment is a huge mountain to climb [what happens to schools, what happens to Charles as head of C of E etc etc] we can make a good start by at least defenestrating the bishops from the House of Lords. A step in the right direction, should be quite straight forward to accomplish and could be a prelude to complete disestablishment [despite the antidisestablishmentarians]



  4. Dr Harris insists that we must follow our “hearts” because “that is how we make sense of and know things”. Oh no it isn’t. One of the more pernicious assertions of religious apologists is that there are “other ways of knowing” that are superior to evidence and reason. On the contrary: we may have plenty of bright ideas and gut instincts, but unless we test them critically against the evidence, they are useless, and even dangerous.

    The outcome of this week’s Synod debates might be quite amusing. Already some MPs – and loyal Christians at that – are talking about repealing the Act of 1919 that gave the CofE the power to draft laws to be rubber-stamped by Parliament, or even about removing the Church’s exemptions from the Human Rights Act of 1998. If the Synod ends up with a wishy-washy compromise on gay marriage that satisfies nobody, we can expect those voices to grow. The first step, as Graham says, could be the removal of the Bishops from the HoL, with disestablishment, hopefully, to follow.


  5. All very good and wise points above.
    If you read the whole of that quoted section of Hebrews, there is no mention of god; it is titled “A father’s wise instruction”. Perhaps the writer is suggesting that the speaker of the instruction might be his god, but it is the sort of instruction that any father in any society anywhere in the world in the last few thousand years might have given to a child.
    In the same action is the advice, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom and whatever you get, get insight.” Harris loves to push her “I’ve studied Buddhism and Christianity and therefore I have lots more wisdom than you ordinary folk out there” schtik, but having studied both, surely the wisdom you would have learnt is that neither religion provides a universal truth.
    I’m sure she has some theological arguments that have drawn her back to the faith she was inculcated with by her father as a child, but a persistent restating of something that is nonsense doesn’t turn it into wisdom.


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