Dr Jonathan Chaplin | The Illusion of Neutrality

March 04, 2013

Dr Jonathan Chaplin


The public square is not a neutral space. New Zealand’s current climate of pragmatic politics is suffocating our national debate. With the expression of diverse worldviews discouraged, we have an emaciated public discourse, deaf to our deeper convictions.

In this lecture, Dr Jonathan Chaplin confronts the fallacy that political ideas can ever be completely detached from foundational worldviews, cultures or religions. He presents a vision of a dynamic public square in which true diversity is respected, and argues that democracy will be strengthened, not weakened, by openly expressing the deep commitments underlying our political debates.



Dr Jonathan Chaplin is Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Cambridge, UK (www.klice.co.uk) and a member of the Cambridge Divinity Faculty. He has taught political theory at institutions in the UK, the Netherlands and Canada and from 2004-2006 he held the Dooyeweerd Chair in Social and Political Philosophy at the ICS, Toronto. He is Senior Fellow of the Canadian think tank Cardus, for which he writes regularly, and has written and co- edited numerous publications. Dr Chaplin writes on religion and secularism for Guardian CiF Belief, and is currently working on a book entitled Faith in Democracy? Towards a Post-secularist Settlement.

Watch his Lecture below:

Click here to read the 2013 Sir John Graham Lecture & Q+A monograph.

Sir John Graham

Since 2008, the annual Sir John Graham has provided a unique opportunity to hear leading experts contribute to public debate in New Zealand.

Sir John Graham was an exemplary New Zealander who throughout his life displayed the consistency of character and care for others we hope for in the best of our leaders. Along with his well-known leadership roles as Captain of the All Blacks, Headmaster of Auckland Grammar, and Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Sir John inspired and led many organisations, including Maxim Institute.

Appropriately, he was recognised with a CBE in 1994 for his services to education and the community, and was further honoured when he was knighted in 2011. As a Founding Trustee of Maxim, Sir John Graham’s deep love for New Zealand, his passion for education, and concern for those on the margins of life remain at the heart of our work, and we are honoured to be able to hold this annual lecture in his name.

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