On our podcast this week, Digital Manager Darren Grimes discussed the relationship between capitalism and Christianity with our Senior Academic Fellow Philip Booth and Father Marcus Walker, Rector of St Bartholomew’s Church in London. Following recent, seemingly anti-capitalist, interventions by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, they assessed the extent to which the Church of England can still be considered the “Conservative Party at Prayer”. They also examined the treatment of markets, free exchange and private property in scripture. Finally, they hypothesised that the decline of religion in our society has coincided with the growth of the State, and a growing sense that the government, not private institutions or families, should take responsibility for societal ills.
For many the thought of living forever is one of science fiction, but it was recently brought to reality with the news of a 14 year-old cancer sufferer whose dying wish was to be cryogenically frozen in the hope a cure would bring her back to life in the future. There has been plenty of debate around the emotional, financial and ethical questions of Cryonics, but where does faith come into it? To answer this, Marc is joined by Reverend Mark Woods and Rabbi Benjy Rickman
The Muslim community has come to the end of its holy month of Ramadan.
As well as a month of fasting the festival also has a big focus on charitable giving, known as Zakat.
But Islam isn't the only faith that puts charity at the centre of its beliefs.
Research commissioned by the BBC in 2014 found that people who have a religious belief are more likely to give to charity than non-believers.
Sikhs and Jews emerged as the most likely to share their wealth with a good cause, just ahead of Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
The study, carried out for the BBC's network of local radio stations found that levels of generosity across the British public are strikingly high, but highest among those with a religious faith.
As many as seven in 10 people in England said they had given money to a charity in the past month. But while just over two thirds of those who professed no religious faith claimed to have done so, among believers the figure rose to almost eight out of 10.
Among those polled, all of the Sikhs and 82 per cent of practising Jews had given money in the past month. Among practising Christians the figure was 78 per cent.
So what is it about religion that makes people so charitable?
Well as one example, in the Jewish faith there is a rule that people should give 10 per cent to charity, known as Tzedakah.
Marc Shoffman spoke to Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum of the Hadley Wood Jewish community to find out more.
All religions would say they welcome anyone who wants to worship. But there can be a lot of challenges, such as access to old religious buildings if you are in a wheelchair, or being able to read the small print of a bible if you are visually impaired. Marc Shoffman looks at the theological teachings behind disability with Naomi Lawson Jacobs, who is researching Disability and Christianity for a PHD. Reverend Bill Braviner and Dave Lucas, both from Disability and Jesus, and Dr Zachariah Duke, Academic Assistant to the Dean Lecturer in Theology and Biblical Studies at the Broken Bay Institute, speak to Marc ahead of Living Fully, a conference in Rome this week that looks at disability and religion.
Naomi Lawson Jacobs, Dr Zachariah Duke, Bill Braviner, Dave Lucas
How does religion fit in the EU Referendum? Lord William Wallace, from Christians for Europe, and Adrian Hilton, Co-chair of Christians for Britain, join Marc Shoffman to discuss what role faith should play throughout the campaign. How big a factor should Christianity play when people come to vote?
Religions such as Judaism and Islam have strict rules on modesty when it comes to men and women in the way they dress and look. This has given rise to a whole industry around modest fashion. Marc Shoffman speaks to Anas Sillwood, who runs modest fashion webstie Shukr Clothing, about the teachings in the Muslim faith about modesty. Rabbi Benjy Rickman and his wife, Emily, also explain how modesty plays in the Jewish faith.
Marc Shoffman focuses on the ongoing issue of tax avoidance after it was revealed that the Church of England is investing in Google. The 2015 annual report from the Church Commissioners, which is the investment arm of the Church of England, revealed Alphabet Inc, parent company of the search engine, was among its top 20 holdings. Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners, Toby Quantrill, Principal Adviser for Economic Justice at Christian Aid, and Mark Harper, Adviser for Trinity Wealth Management, join Marc to discuss this issue.
Marc Shoffman discusses the month of Ramadan with Financial Journalist, Amina Zafar, who explains what challenges Muslims face when fasting. Tufail Hussain, Islamic Relief Deputy Director and Head of Fundraising, looks at the campaign behind the charity’s bus adverts and explains how Muslims work out their Zakat. He also talks about Islamic Relief’s projects and how they are monitored.
As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, Sarah Pennells and her guests look at the legal and financial aspects of funerals and why those arrangements can still be a taboo subject. Poppy Mardall, from Poppy's Funerals, and Gemma O'Driscoll, Funeral Director at G.E O’Driscoll & Daughters, discuss different types of funerals available and how funeral directors can offer help and support. Toby Scott, from the Dying Matters Coalition, explains how you can take part in the debate, and Rod Smith from Stone King Solicitors and part of the Law Society Wills and Equity Committee looks at wills and how to take care of them.
Poppy Mardall, Gemma O'Driscoll, Toby Scott, Rod Smith
A recent campaign, The Wall of Answered Prayer, was launched at the beginning of April to raise £45,000 to build a Christian symbol equivalent to the Angel of the North. Campaign founder Richard Gamble says this will be a national prayer landmark representing a million answered prayers. He tells Marc Shoffman how he came up with the idea, the course of the campaign so far and how the money will be used.