Religion in the 21st Century

An event for Year 13 GCE A Level Students of Religious Studies

With Dr Peter Vardy


November 2017

Year 13 students will love this intensive event supporting Year 2 A Level Religious Studies with Dr Peter Vardy. 


Candle’s events offer a rich learning experience. Lectures are pacy, full of current examples, images and film-clips; they are designed to extend and enthuse, building broader subject knowledge and deeper understanding, rather than just rehash the classroom experience or cram for the exam. Because we focus on the core content criteria and OfQual assessment strategy that all GCE courses must now follow in England, our events are absolutely relevant regardless of whether you are working towards exams set by OCR, AQA, Edexcel or Eduqas.


A full colour, printed, 32pg set of high-quality notes will be provided to each student who attends. As well as extensive content to support the lectures, these include check-lists and tips for revision, model essays and advice on how to develop and practice AO2 essay-skills.  At the Year 13 events we encourage students to practice making their own notes during the lectures as well, in preparation for university.


During the day, lectures, a group-discussion and debate will cover the Concept of God, Religious and Ethical Language, Religion, Sex and Gender and the challenge of Secularism.


The Concept of God

This introductory session considers what religious and non-religious people mean by “God” and will consider whether the Thomist God supported by most of the rational arguments for God’s existence is the same and even compatible with the God suggested by Religious Experience and the Bible.  Divine attributes including Eternity, Omnipotence and Omniscience and Benevolence will be introduced and connections made with topics across the specification, including Evil, Free-Will and Moral Responsibility.

Religious and Ethical Language

Building on the first session, this lecture will consider if and how human beings can talk meaningfully about God.  The ideas of Maimonides, St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas and more recent scholars like Tillich, Swinburne and Soskice will all be considered.  The second part of the session will consider the implications of issues arising from Religious Language for Ethics, considering the challenge of Emotivism and radical relativism and asking whether Philosophical responses to this challenge have been adequate.

Group Discussion: Is all discussion of Religion and Ethics meaningless?


Religion, Sex and Gender

This session will start with the thought of St Augustine, considering the impact of his account of human nature on later Western and specifically Christian attitudes.  Traditional Christian responses to questions arising from Sex and Gender will be analysed and contrasted with non-religious responses.  Is it possible to re-imagine Christianity without the patriarchal influence of St Augustine?  Have Feminist, Womanist and LGBTQ thinkers succeeded in developing an inclusive Christian Ethic?  This session will open up these big questions in an engaging way.

The Challenge of Secularism

This final session will consider the position of Religion in the contemporary Western world.  The origins of Secularism will be charted through the ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and the recent work of Richard Dawkins will be considered.  Can Religion withstand the challenges that secular thinkers have posed?  Can and should Religion change, such as by embracing the class-struggle or re-imagining religious truths in Psychological or Sociological terms?  This session is sure to leave students with plenty of burning questions and topics for discussion, some of which they can share during our debate.

Debate:This house believes that Religion should have no place in the 22nd Century world!

Students will be invited to discuss and develop their own reasoned contributions with their peers before the formal proceedings are opened with a brief account of arguments for and against the motion.  The discussion will then be opened to the floor, offering the opportunity for students to present their ideas to a large audience, before we take a final vote.  A Twitter poll will be run alongside the live debate in larger venues, providing another forum for students to contribute their thoughts and vote.



“The day was riveting, the lectures were a joy… and a real challenge to my philosophical assumptions.” Student, Cranleigh School


“These conferences give my students the opportunity to be not only excellent students but, just as importantly, the opportunity to become excellent people. We love them!” Matthew Thomas, Teacher, Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School

Booking Information

Tickets cost £25 each, or £20 each when booked online at least 30 days before the event (NB: a small booking fee applies to online bookings to cover card-processing costs).  Manual bookings are accepted when made via our booking form, but tickets booked this way always cost £25 because of the extra administration that is necessary.


  • We offer one FREE accompanying teacher ticket (including lunch and refreshments) when accompanying 3 or more students.
  • Additional accompanying teachers will be charged at the student rate when the group ratio is lower than 1:10, unless they are needed to support a student with a specific learning need.
  • Participating schools qualify a FREE place at selected Candle teacher CPD events during 2017-18, subject to terms and conditions.  Places at these events normally cost £100.
  • Teachers attending student events alone for CPD purposes will be charged £100.
  • Like at the theatre or cinema, tickets are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled by us.   They may be transferred to another student, of course.
  • Bookings can be made here, either online using a credit or debit card or manually, by requesting an invoice.
  • At each event, doors open for registration at 9.20am (9.50am in London) for a prompt 10am start (10.30am in London).  Events close by 3.15pm (3.30pm in London)
  • Students should bring a packed lunch, snacks and a water-bottle; we cannot guarantee the availability of suitable shops and cafes close enough to the venues.
  • We provide a cash book-stall selling discounted books and resources at most venues.


“The material covered is always cutting-edge and up to the minute discussion of current issues. This really engages the students and helps us teachers to refine our lessons to ensure they are current. The students are always enjoy the conference immensely and take a lot away from it in the form of both notes, enthusiasm for the subject and material for exams.”

Laura Harvey, Head of RS with Psychology, Newstead Wood School


Here is a sample page of our 32 page colour 2014 Philosophy of Religion notes, to give you an idea of the level of detail and quality of what we give to students.

 Books and DVDs