The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Oxford awaits


I got some good news today. A few months ago I told you that there was a conference coming up this year that I’d like to take part in. Well, I’ve been chosen to present a paper at Merton College at the University of Oxford, as part of the 18th Conference of the European Society of the Philosophy of Religion.

The only reason I know this is that I bugged them about it. The official notifictions are about to be sent out, so I’m told.

The theme of the conference is Religion in the Public Square, one of my special interests, and the keynote speaker will be Nicholas Wolterstorff. My paper will present an argument that I’ve addressed in other formats, namely the question of whether or not religious convictions and by extension the policies that they might be used to support could meet any standard of “public justification.”

It’s a great opportunity for me. It is a way of getting exactly the right kind of exposure in the international academic arena, and for professional academic roles it’s a great addition to my C.V. It would, in theory, push me one step closer to that elusive big time. There’s one problem. The keynote speaker, as well as the other speakers on the schedule, along with virtually everyone presenting a paper, will be from university departments that provide funding for travel to conferences. I on the other hand am not, and will need to meet the expenses myself. I’ve been crunching the numbers and it’s pretty painful. Flights, conference registration and accommodation will cost around $4,400 New Zealand dollars (using today’s exchange rate, that’s about $3,136.02 US).

I’m putting the word out there: If you are able to and you would like to assist me in meeting these costs, I would warmly welcome and appreciate it. The “donate” button on the right, or the “buy me a beer” button at the bottom of each post is an easy way to do this via Paypal. If you’re in New Zealand and you think you might be able to assist, feel free to get in touch with me (Paypal is convenient for overseas payments, but there is a small fee involved). If you’re a blogger, I’d appreciate you putting the word out there and asking people if they’d be interested in supporting me with this.


2 Corinthians 12 – an “out of body” experience?


The right to protest


  1. Good News Glenn,

    It is the sort of encouraging news that I am sure you are stoked to receive!

    Once I get back home (I am in Auckland at the moment), I will give your news my blog-cred… for what that is worth!

    It might also be time for a cunning plan!

  2. James Rea

    Tried to send some air miles via a beer but paypal is playing hard to get. I’ll keep trying.

  3. Derek

    I gave what I could afford at the moment. I see from the other post you still have a few months, though, so I’ll try to put a little more aside by then. Your participation in a professional discussion on religion in the public square is a very, very worthy cause I think, given what I’ve seen of your writing on the subject thus far. Good luck.

  4. Dan

    I’ll donate (after my summer research stipend comes), but how do I know you’re not going to buy a beer with the cash? I’m conflicted and confused about which donation option to click.

    Seriously, though, congratulations. What’s the drop dead date on getting you the money?

  5. Wow! GLENN! Congratulations! I’m so proud of you!!!! This is such a great opportunity for you, and it would really suck if finances were the mold in your bowl of green jello!

    What’s your time frame for this?

    I’ll definitely give a shout out on my blog.

    I’m so, so proud of you. 😀

  6. Mrs Glenn

    We’re really thrilled that Glenn has been given this opportunity. While it’s not a job, it is an exciting step.

    We really believe God has opened this door and he will provide! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and gracious support. It’s truly appreciated.

  7. Yahoo! Great job, Glenn.

  8. Thanks folks, I appreciate the encouragement and assistance.

    As for deadlines, there isn’t one. The deadline to pay for the conference itself is… I’m not sure actually, not far off. That’s the smallest expense, so that’s no trouble. The big expense – travel – has a vague deadline probably in early July, before it would start to get more expensive. It’s probably inevitable that I’ll be going into a little more debt to make this happen, and then offsetting that with the generous support that people offer.

    Thanks again. Now I have to prepare to make this the best presentation ever!

  9. Hey,

    Congrats! I mentioned your need on my last podcast. I hope it helps!


  10. Thanks Phil 🙂

  11. OK, I have just registered for the conference. Step one completed!

  12. Deb - big sister

    I don’t really have the words to express how proud I am of my brother. Havnt seen him in nearly 10 years, only via the web and email and he has blown me away with what he is doing and what he has done and what he has to offer to the world. Congratulations Glenn.

  13. Rob R

    You should probably add one of those thermometers to your blog indicating where you are at with funds and your goal. You should probably note that the goal is floats until you have enough money to pay for the trip (given when you purchase the ticket affects it’s price).

  14. Rob, that’s a very good idea – I’m doing it as I type this. 🙂

  15. Tim Wikiriwhi

    Hi Glen,
    Please email me your postal address so that I may send you a conrtibution for your Oxford trip. [email address removed by admin]

  16. Thanks very much Tim – done. I’ve removed your email address to prevent spam.

  17. too late I already sold it to the spammers for the price of a trip to england 😛


  18. Dante

    Sorry I can’t be of any help to you financially. Will just pray that you might be able to attend that conference.

  19. Well, halfway there!

  20. Pat

    Has praying helped you?

  21. Pat, unfortunately the only way to know a thing like that would be to have access to two possible worlds for the sake of comparison: A world in which nobody prayed regarding this, and the actual world, in which some people have. Since I only have access to one world (namely, the actual world), I’m afraid I can’t help.

  22. Pat

    Maybe you could pray for one week, then not pray for another week and compare the amount of money collected in either of the two weeks? It is this kind of of objective scrutiny that your old pal Dicko Dawkins is trying to get believers using, and we would be all the better if we did so.

  23. If that counts as objective testing to Dicko Dawkins, then it’s no wonder that his books on religion are so widely regarded as rubbish.

  24. Pat

    You going to catch up with him in Oxford?

  25. If you can send a bank account # to the email addy which I assume you can see, as a student I can afford a handful of dollars, since what you’re dong is Awesome and your thermometer is a bit low. Incidentally, I saw your Plantinga photoshop effort. Nice.

    As I understand it, Dicko D ain’t at Oxford anymore; more’s the pity – I’m sure Glenn could have given him a short intro to the Phil of Religion or the like.

  26. Pat, it’s funny how things play out when people make oddball challenges. On Sunday last week, there was no public prayer at our church for my fundraising venture. This Sunday there was, and yesterday I had an offer for a significant contribution towards the trip from a person or group who have no knowledge of the church I go to and no knowledge of the prayer.

    Now, I wouldn’t normally say “ha – see, payer always works in the way we hope it does.” But given the specific challenge you set out, and the implications about what you would accept as confirmation, I thought you’d like to know.

    Now that this short trial is over, what will you take from it? And what would you have taken from it if there was no difference in terms of funds raised between “prayered for” periods and “not prayed for” periods?

  27. Rob R

    Hey, where’s the cashometer.

    I’m considering giving. There is still a need I presume?

  28. Actually Rob, I’ll let you know in a couple of days whether or not there’s a need. I took the thermometer thingy down because some people have told me that they are about to donate – some have told me how much but one in particular has not, so while I’m not there yet I am about to be closer to having enough but I’m not sure by how much.

  29. I am still working my way through your podcasts and enjoying them immensely.

    I found this thread relating to prayer quite amusing. If you’re looking for podcast suggestions, perhaps you’d like to deconstruct these “proofs”:

    Best, TAM.

  30. This thread doesn’t relate to prayer.

  31. Pat

    Hmmm… what would I take from it? I could argue that there is another god that has evil motives and is trying to trick you into believing that there really is a god of the Christian conception (which does not actually exist) and that this little pray experiment was one of these tricks. Other tricks of his could be producing the Bible and other associated pilars of Chrisitian belief. This other god is actually producing a ‘god delusion’ for you and other Christians.

    How could you argue against me? Come on give it a go, I’m waiting for your reply…:)

  32. Ah, so the challenge was meaningless. If nothing happened, you would have explained it in terms of a failure of my God. If something happened, you would explain it in terms of something other than my God.

    May I ask what the point of the challenge was, then Pat? I continue to want to know this.

  33. Pat

    Challenging myself to see how stupid I can sound. Think I did ok.

  34. OK all, those donations that I wasn’t sure about? Well now I know how much they are, so I have updated the thermometer and put it back up.

  35. Pat

    You going to be giving any money to your friend Matt over at MandM for his upcoming trip?

  36. Well Pat, we’re both in the same position (i.e. lacking sufficient funds for upcoming trips), so no – unless I can meet the full cost of this one first. I don’t know that it’s really a polite question to ask though…

  37. Pat

    As I am an atheist I don’t need to be polite or undertake any ethical practices-that is for the religious only.

    Good luck for your fundraising though, you seem to be progressing. Say hello to Stephen Law for me as I am a fan of his evil god theory.

  38. For the religious only? Well… you’d be the first person ever to say THAT!

  39. Pat

    Speaking of ethics, money and Christianity have a look at this video;

    Its a new idea I am working on and will hopefully get the article published in the next 18 months.

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