Thursday, 24 May 2012

Who's Sailing on the Sea of Faith?

The speaker at our June Meeting is Barbara Burfoot who is Secretary to the Trustees of the Sea of Faith Network, which "explores and promotes religious faith as a human creation". Barbara is also a BHA accredited celebrant and has been a member of the BHA and the NSS for many years. Her talk will be in part about the beginnings of the Sea of Faith and how its membership has expanded and changed over the years. This 1999 article from the BBC on The vicars who don't believe in God gives some historical background.

The name of the organisation is taken from the much anthologised poem Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold written around 1851. The poem was set to music by the American composer Samuel Barber who was a baritone, and the link is to a recording by him that can be seen on YouTube. There is also a more recent recording by the late Dietrich Fischer-Diskau.

Barbara has written: "A great deal of human time, energy, thought, emotion and imagination has been invested in religion and while some of it is appalling some of it is beautiful and enlightening. Myths can embody important truths. One of the greatest dangers facing us is the resurgence of fundamentalist religious belief of all kinds. The Sea of Faith can help to provide a counter balance by promoting the view that all religions are made by human beings and can be understood and valued on that basis."

This is a joint meeting for Hastings Humanists and Hastings Inter-Faith Forum and is open to anyone to attend. There will be no entrance fee charged. The meeting is from 7 to 9 pm on Thursday 14 June in the Seafront room at the White Rock Hotel.