Thursday, 23 March 2000, 12:00AM

Living with Disagreement

Professor Richard Holloway

Powerful religious systems often try to impose conformity of belief and practice upon their followers; and many of the most effective religious groups have operated from highly centralised structures of discipline and authority. Our era, however, tends to suspect authoritarian and centralising systems, because it believes that disagreement and variety, what we now call pluralist systems, are good for and work to promote healthy, if contentious, human communities. We shall see whether there is a satisfactory theologuical justification for this approach.

This is a part of the lecture series, Living Theology.

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Richard Holloway was the Gresham Professor of Divinity between 1997 and 2001.

Professor Holloway was educated at KelhamTheological College, EdinburghTheological College and the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Between 1959 and 1986 he was a curate, vicar and rector at various parishes in England, Scotland and the United States. He was Bishop of Edinburgh from 1986 and was elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1992.

Professor Holloway is renowned for his support of progressive causes, including campaigning on human rights for gay and lesbian people in both Church and State. He is a patron of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to the inclusion of LGBT young people in the life of Scotland. He has questioned and addressed complex ethical issues in the areas of sexuality, drugs and bio-ethics. He has written extensively on these topics, being the author of many books exploring their relationship with modern religion.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, from 1990 to 1997, Professor Holloway was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and held the position of chair of the BMA Steering Group on Ethics and Genetics. He was also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and is currently chair of the Scottish Arts Council and of Sistema Scotland.

During his time was Gresham Professor of Divinity, he resigned from his position in the Church in 2000 and has since established himself as one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in the Church.

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