Theology and Philosophy Society

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The Bede's Theology and Philosophy Society exists to provide academic enrichment and extension; exploring contemporary and relevant questions of ultimate truth and meaning.

Members meet for internal and external lectures, events and trips where the aim is to challenge our thinking, discuss and explore ideas. The chair of the society is the Head of Theology and Philosophy, Mr Stannard, who is supported by a committee of highly able pupils.

The society takes members from across the school, although many of its key members do study the subject at exam level and many go on to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.



The society has an exciting line-up of visiting speakers over the coming months with the highly regarded and widely published John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, speaking on the interface between science, philosophy and religion in January.

We recently welcomed Andrew Wilson, a local published apologist who has theology degrees from Cambridge and London School of Theology, and is currently studying for a PhD at Kings College London. He addressed the society on the subject of what it means if we do accept that God exists, with a lecture entitled ‘If God, then what?’

Visiting speaker events are usually open to all and everyone is welcome to attend.

The society also offers internal lectures by staff and this year will see Mr Stannard lecturing on the consequences of bad arguments and the Headmaster, a Theology graduate himself, speaking on Wittgenstein.

The society also runs many visits to places of interest such as lectures in London, trips to Chichester Cathedral where pupils can be found ‘grilling’ the clergy about morality in today’s society, or local visits to Firle Beacon to experience the concept of the numinous and to undertake practical exercises in philosophical thinking.


Pudding Club

Some events are exclusively for members of the Theology and Philosophy Society, such as the highly popular Pudding Club which consist of an evening meeting where pupils (past and present) take the floor themselves in a series of short lectures on theological and philosophical topics ranging from ethical debates on the status of refugees and the application of utilitarianism, to more abstract talks on the ontological argument.

This is an opportunity for the pupils to become the teachers and, as the title suggests, to eat lots of cake in the process!


Book Club

As Kant said “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries” and so engagement with both fiction and non-fiction which stimulates philosophical thought is a vital part of our society.

The purpose of the book club is to focus on a particular work and to meet up for discussion and comparison of ideas. This will always be a book which we have not read in class and may well be a chance to delve into novels such as Tolstoy’s ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’, Zafon’s ‘Shadow of the Wind’ and to explore the bleak world view of influential contemporary writers such as Ian McEwan.



A regular Theology and Philosophy blog runs within the school MyBedes intranet system, including contributions from staff and pupils alike; these pieces might be reflections upon a currently studied topic or responses to something we have read or seen on the news, in science journals or stumbled upon in conversation.

We encourage our members to feel that anything and everything has the potential to engender philosophical thought.

An annual magazine publication called Veritas will collate the work of the year with articles, reports and reviews; combining all elements of the society into a readable whole. 

So, whether you think the meaning of life is 42 or that we should always look on the bright side of life; whether you agree with Nietzsche that 'God is Dead' or disagree with Dawkins that if there is no God why should we be good; whether you want an impassioned debate because you have much to say, or you wish to reflect upon the words of others, then the Theology and Philosophy Society may be for you!

Neill Stannard
The best part of being a teacher is seeing that ‘Eureka’ moment when a pupil understands something for the first time.

Neill Stannard, Head of Theology and Philosophy, Head of Rugby and Knights House Tutor

Learn more about the Bede's Theology and Philosophy department

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