Thursday, September 18, 2014

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics - Open Days at the University of Gloucestershire..

We have three Open Days this term - so if you want to find out more about Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE) here at Gloucestershire (at the FCH Campus in Cheltenham). Find out more at:

And click this image to the right, to enlarge it, to see how Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at Gloucestershire did in the recent National Student Survey... (hint - we scored 100% for Overall Student Satisfaction..)

Monday, September 15, 2014


So - today is probably the most exciting day of the year: we meet the new RPE First Year..

If you are one of these wise people - it's probably worth joining the RPE Facebook group at   You can see more about the staff (so you can remember who is who!) HERE

This week is full of activity - and the Induction schedule can be seen via HERE.

Any questions - just find, or email, one of the tutors - or those helpful Student Ambassador types hanging round campus will be happy to help..

See you in the Welcome meeting, the Course briefing, at the free lunch grill BBQ thing, and - of course - on Twitter at @RPEatGlos  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics gets 100% Overall Student Satisfaction in National Student Survey! (and Clearing 2014)

As A-Level students anxiously await their results, Universities got the equivalent yesterday - in the form of their NSS (National Student Survey) scores. Although there are various scores, the headline one is Overall Student Satisfaction. 

RPE has tended to be in the 80 and 90% area - but this year we can celebrate a result of:
 100% Overall Student Satisfaction

We are quite pleased - so here's a little video to demonstrate the RPE mood here at FCH Campus today..

We also have some places on this 100% Satisfying course left via clearing - so for your last chance to join us on Religion, Philosophy & Ethics here - visit 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Philosophy of Sport - new video interviews

Over at our video blog, we have a series of new video-interviews about the Philosophy of Sport. They involve interview with Dr Emily Ryall, and can be seen at

Topics include sport as morally educational, sport as art, and whether we should regard sporting greats as heroes or role models.

Dr Ryall also wrote one of the (according to our stats) most popular posts on this blog. Back in 2007 she looked at some of the basic issues that impact on the issues of defining what sport is. You can read the post at 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Open Day: September 27th next, plus on-line info about the RPE degree

As you can see from the pictures, the sun (mostly) shone on our June Open Days.
If you missed them, the next big one for Undergraduate courses - including Religion, Philosophy & Ethics, is 27th September 2014.

Visit to book a place

In the meantime - you can follow us at all these on-line locations:

Dr William Large talks to visitors..
 They should provide plenty more info - but the most practical item is probable the map of actual modules that make up the RPE degree. To see them - click HERE, to see the Course Map.

From the (exciting) subject talk..

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wicca, Western Esotericism, UFO religion, Spiritism and more...

In preparation for the module H6502: Emergent Spiritualities - which starts the coming academic year- I've been adding some new material to - such as this video on Wicca, or the one further down of 'Otherkin':

All the ones for the new module are tagged HM6502 if you want to find just this series of videos on this set of topics - click:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Open Days this Summer..

These events have now taken place - but to find out about our other, upcoming, Open Days, see: 


As Summer approaches, we look forward to welcoming Religion, Philosophy & Ethics applicants / guests to Open Days here at our FCH Campus in Cheltenham. There will be events on June 25th and June 28th (and more in September and October).

You can find out more, and book a place by going to: 

In addition to Open Days, you can discover more about the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics undergraduate BA(Hons) degree over at our Facebook Group:

FCH Campus
To see the course map - details of the 'modules' which form the course - click HERE, or to see our Photo Gallery of trips, events and the campus, click HERE.

The tabs at the top of this page also allow you to explore the course via Twitter, find out who we are, and see video materials on topics related to the course.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Satanic Statue in Oklahoma Controversy

You've maybe heard about this? The crowdfunded bid by The Satanic Temple to place a Satanist Statue at the Oklahoma Capitol Building - partly in protest at a public building having a Ten Commandments monument..

Over at I interview an expert - and try to see what issues are behind all the recent headlines..

(In related news - the Harvard 'Black Mass' event has is being reported as having been cancelled: read more HERE..)

Friday, May 02, 2014

Week of victory!

It's been quite a week for RPE..

Firstly - Professor Melissa Raphael's book The Female Face of God in Auschwitz (2003) has been listed by the American website Theology Degrees Online as one of the top 99 most important works of theology: 'Even the most dedicated scholar couldn't read all of the books covering Christian theology, but there are some we feel that every student of theology should read.'  Melissa's book comes in at 69, at the top of the 'Women and Theology' section.

Then we had the University of Gloucestershire Staff Awards event. RPE students came to support us - we had numerous nominations...
In the end - with lights, music, balloons and excitement - we walked away with a armful of awards!

Roy was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship (as was Dr Debby Thacker from English Lit - in the pic too), Will received an award for Most Engaging Module (in the whole Uni, voted for by students, for his module on Spinoza), and Dave won the 'Inspiring Colleague' award.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Age excursion..

One of our RPE first year students visited a New-Age fair - and kindly wrote up her experiences for the blog: thanks SK...  Here is her personal account:

To gain an insight into the ever-changing ‘New Age’ scene I decided to attend a Mind, Body and Spirit event in Manchester earlier this month. Set in a beautiful, historic Monastery located in the middle of an industrial area, I arrived early to find the 500+ car park already full and guarded by men in fluorescent jackets. Finding a side street to park in I followed the crowds to the Monastery and was shocked at the size of the queue to pay on the door. Luckily I’d pre-booked my entry ticket and sidled past the queue to the back door. I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of people who were in attendance were of a certain…caliber; a certain age, gender and societal class, all searching for a similar thing. A coincidence maybe but I wasn’t convinced.  

Greeted by a man thrusting leaflets into my hands whilst explaining an itinerary of the numerous workshops taking place, I followed the herd into the main part of the Monastery. The room was filled with exhibitors and stalls promoting ‘New Age’ therapies, products and techniques and I found myself overwhelmed. Without any expectations I wandered aimlessly and moved with the flow looking at the beautiful ornaments, jewellery and sparkly things for sale.

There were different types of massages on offer, including Reiki (which was the only one I’d previously heard of), claiming to reduce stress and make for a calmer, less hectic life. One masseuse said that he was a ‘Guru’ and the price for a 20-minute massage with him was noticeably more than others who offered what looked like the same service.
A therapy that centered around hundreds of coloured bottles standing on a shelf baffled me and was told that whichever one I was drawn to was the ‘special one’. Why it was special I had no idea and I doubt I was ‘drawn’ to it, I merely liked the pink colour.
Crystal healing stalls were popular amongst the crowds alongside little knick-knacks and keepsakes including pocket-angels to keep you safe and worry dolls to disperse your worries.

There was a heavy Eastern influence and I saw many Buddha figures and singing bowls for sale which seemed to enforce the idea that ‘New Age’ was a mixture of established religions as opposed to a new concept. I felt slightly uncomfortable with this and was disheartened by the amount of Pagan tokens that were amongst it all. There was a fine line between ‘New Age’ and Paganism and I couldn’t help but feel the line was getting very blurred. I consider Paganism an actual religion and ‘New Age’ appeared to be a ‘counterfeit’ version of it, almost disregarding its’ validity.

Stereotypical Mediums, psychics, tarot readers, astrologers, palm readers flooded the Monastery, all glammed up looking like Z-list celebs. For a small fee (note: emphasis on ‘small’) you could have a reading. The cheapest I saw was £40 for a 30-minute session. Need I say more? Whilst walking past one particular woman, I heard her say to her customer, “you know a woman with a cat, possibly black”. At this point, my inner-cynicism was outwardly shown with a shake of my head in dismay.
Posters and banners were all over the place all saying where a particular psychic or medium had been featured, for example, “As seen on TV” or “Featured in ‘Take a Break’ magazine”. This raised my suspicions once again because it was as though they had to justify themselves for being there before anyone could question their validity.

It was a brilliant experience and I had a wonderful time but I must admit instead of enforcing the ‘New Age’ concept as a religion or certified, genuine way of life, I saw it to be a moneymaking idea, preying on the same type of vulnerable person who is searching for something more in their unsatisfactory life. As a placebo though I believe that what ‘New Age’ offers can and does work, positive thinking and all that jazz. However it’s slightly depressing to think that the whole business focuses on the negative side of life; everything is rubbish, why is my life like this, where can I get the answers, by doing this my life will be better. The lack of originality annoyed me slightly as everything was a mash up of Paganism, Hinduism and Buddhism mixed with 1960’s hippy-culture and a dash of Mystic Meg.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 RPE Essay Competition - Win an iPad..

It's back! The 2014 


First prize: a new iPad
Four Runners-up receive a £20 Amazon voucher

The winning essay will be published in RE Today magazine

Following the success of last year, the Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE) course  is pleased to announce the return of the RPE Essay Competition

The competition is open to all those currently studying for any AS or A2-level examinations (or equivalent) in the UK. The first prize is a new iPad, and there will be four runners-up prizes of £20 Amazon vouchers.

Entries must be no longer than 1500 words including footnotes but excluding references and can take any form e.g. essay, dialogue, etc. All sources must be referenced.

The deadline for the 1500 word essay is 5pm on 24st October 2014 and will be judged by RPE lecturers. The winner will be announced on the RPE Blog on 1st December 2014

To enter please choose one of the titles below and email your entry to (please note you may only submit one entry to the competition).

Entries must be written in as a Microsoft Word document. Entries will normally be acknowledged within 5 days. In your email, please put your name, the Sixth Form / FE college you attend, and the title you have chosen to answer. The subject of your email should be 'essay competition'.

Choose one of the following titles:

Q1: What is the proper role of religion in a modern, secular society?

Q2: If you had a time machine, would it be wrong to travel back and kill Hitler?

Q3: Does science give us an accurate picture of 'how the world is'?

·       1500 words maximum
·       Your essay must include the title/your name/contact email at the top of the page
·       The essay must be an attachment to the email as a Microsoft Word document
Any essay that does not satisfy these three conditions will not be considered by the judging panel.

The panel decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.


Course Facebook Group:        (open to all

Video Interview / Revision blog:

Much Madness, Such Sanity: Growing in the Garden of Humanities, 14th April Lecture

Click to enlarge..

May interest students - a free event, 14th May:
Much Madness, 
Such Sanity: 
Growing in the Garden of Humanities

Professor Shelley Saguaro

 Admission free, but booking essential
Tel: 01242 714582
University of Gloucestershire, 
The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2RH

Click to enlarge..


THIS EVENT HAS NOW TAKEN PLACE: see for more events.. 

7.45 p.m. Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Future of Ecumenism in the UK

Speaker: Revd. Dr. David Cornick (General Secretary of Churches Together in England and Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge)

Main Lecture Theatre, Elwes Building, The Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 2RH


For more information, contact Professor Robert Daniels or Revd. Dr. Alison Evans,