Religion is a term which is often used in the media and public life without any clarification. However, it is a word that encompasses hundreds of different beliefs. It is a loaded word that has a different meaning for each person. Religion can be seen as a source of war and peace, love and hate, dialogue and narrow-mindedness. The globalisation of communications has made more people aware of religious conversion, with more people than ever before belonging to a different religious community from their parents. This No-Nonsense Guide considers howreligion has shaped culture.
Symon Hill is an activist and writer. He has campaigned for religious freedom, same-sex marriage, economic equality and alternatives to war. He is associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank and an associate tutor at the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.
Through his training work, Symon has trained hundreds of people in campaigning skills and media activism. He has written for the Guardian, Morning Star, Sunday Herald, Church Times, Third Way, Reform and The Friend.
Symon is a founding member of Christianity Uncut, a Christian-based grassroots network campaigning against the UK government's cuts agenda. In 2012, he was dragged by police from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral as he knelt in prayer during the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange. In 2013 he was arrested with four others while peacefully blocking an entrance to the London arms fair. He will face trial in February 2014.
He previously worked for the Campaign Against Arms Trade and was involved in taking the UK government to court in 2007-08 over the cancellation of a criminal investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia. He was nominated as a "Hero of 2007" by the comedian Mark Thomas in the Independent on Sunday.
Symon Hill has long campaigned against corporate tax avoidance. Amazon is a major tax-dodger. Symon therefore encourages you to buy his books through the website of his publisher, New Internationalist (or from a bookshop) rather than from Amazon.