Values are the New Religion

CADBURY LECTURES | PROFESSOR LINDA WOODHEAD MBE | 17-21 MAY 2021

'Values are the New Religion'. Professor Linda Woodhead, MBE DD, delivers the Edward Cadbury Lectures for 2021 

Introduction

From organisational ‘value statements’ to ‘Fundamental British Values’, values are everywhere these days. Younger generations articulate their values with conviction and fluency. ‘If you’re not clear in your values, you’ll get lost in someone else’s’ says a popular Instagram post.

Why this new visibility of values and what does it tells us about ourselves, our institutions, our societies?  Addressing these questions, these Cadbury lectures take us to the heart of contemporary struggles to define – or evade – what really matters.

Linda WoodheadThis prestigious lecture series will take place across the week of May 17-21. The lecture series is delivered hosted  the Edward Cadbury Centre and the School of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion. Please see below for further details and how to register.

Linda Woodhead MBE DD, Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University was educated in theology, ethics and religious studies at Cambridge University, and is a sociologist of religion, beliefs and values. 

Monday 17 May, 6-7.30pm

Lecture 1: Personal Values

The Christian ethic of service and self-sacrifice that shaped older generations has given way to a new ‘live your life’ ethic amongst younger ones. In the process, new cardinal sins like ‘abuse’ have emerged, while ‘care’ becomes an ambivalent value that we clap but do not reward. 

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Tuesday 18 May, 6-7.30pm

Lecture 2: Organisational Values  

Organisational value statements offer a window onto the values that are picked out by different types of organisations. Schools, universities, businesses and religious institutions are compared, as is how they go about selecting values – and what it really amounts to in practice. 

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Thursday 20 May, 6-7.30pm

Lecture 3: Political and Economic Values

The political and economic realms buffet us with incompatible values, setting up tensions between global and national ethics, and between traditional bourgeois values and an enterprise culture that values disruption, competition and winning. In the midst of the confusion, individuals try to fulfil their dreams in the context of consumerism. 

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Friday 21 May, 6-7.30pm

Lecture 4: Culture Wars Revisited

The online world brings value conflicts and transgressions into the open as never before.  Values divide as well as unite. Sifting through the evidence, the final lecture draws conclusions about our new religions of values and why we need them, and offers reflections on the difference between empty sloganizing and the genuinely valuable.

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‘You people with hearts have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful.’ ---the Tin Man in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


The Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion was established in 2014 to enhance the public understanding of religion regionally, nationally and internationally through distinctive, strategic and engaged interdisciplinary research. We deliver innovative, interdisciplinary, impact-driven and internationally-excellent research exploring the significance of religious belief and practice for public and professional life, working with faith communities and policy makers to develop informed agendas for social transformation.

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