About Symon

Symon-JerusalemI’m Symon Hill. I’m an author and tutor, writing and teaching about current affairs, religion, ethics, sexuality, peace and activism.

I am a tutor for the Workers’ Educational Association, an associate of the Ekklesia thinktank and a member of the steering committee of the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

I am also an activist, which means simply that I seek to act on my beliefs and campaign for a better society. I am a socialist, a Christian and a pacifist.

Welcome to my website. The site includes my blog, links to my writing and information about my teaching work.

My work includes:

Books – My latest book, out in November 2015, is called The Upside-Down Bible: What Jesus really said about money, sex and violence. I have written two other books: The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion and Digital Revolutions: Activism in the internet age, both published by New Internationalist.

Articles for publications including the Guardian, Morning Star, Huffington Post and Christian publications such as Third Way, Reform, The Friend and the Church Times. I also write a regular blog.

Teaching about religion, ethics, politics and aspects of history. This includes being a tutor for the Workers’ Educational Association and the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.

Freelance PR and campaigning work for grassroots campaigning groups and faith-based organisations.

Ekklesia, a Christian political thinktank, of which I am very pleased to be an associate. I am a former associate director.

You are very welcome to contact me at symonhill@gmail.com or to follow me on Twitter.

5 responses to “About Symon

  1. Dear Symon,

    Thank you for your comments in the recent Ekklesia blog (21st January) commenting on the UKIP statement by councillor David Silvester. I do believe though that you are in danger of falling into the same trap as said councillor.

    Your comments that:

    “What we can say with confidence is that the frequency of floods and erratic weather conditions is a result of climate change. That change has been brought about by human beings pursuing the goals of capitalism led by politicians worshipping the idols of “growth” and corporations pursuing short-term profit.”

    We may be able to say that ” the frequency of floods and erratic weather conditions is a result of climate change” but what you say about what brought about this change is injudicious to say the least.

    Climate has changed on the earth since the earth first came into being as a natural consequence of the earth being a “living organism”. There are many things that contribute to this change not least the sun, volcanoes, the sea and many other that we are still trying to understand. Human beings may have added to this change (and that is still not a unanimous conclusion) but to say:

    “. . .that change has been brought about by human beings pursuing the goals of capitalism led by politicians worshipping the idols of “growth” and corporations pursuing short-term profit” . . . is almost on a par, in stretching an interpretive point, as the UKIP councillor, and panders some what to your left wing leanings.

    Hope you don’t mind this comment. I love the Ekklesia output and have subscribed to it for some time.

    Keep up the good work

    Take care

    Brian Rostill (Revd)

    • Many thanks, for your comments, Brian. I really appreciate your taking the time to get in touch and share your thoughts. Constructive challenges help me to develop my own thinking!

      For anyone reading this who hasn’t seen my post on Ekklesia, the post is also on my own blog: https://symonhill.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/ukip-homophobia-and-the-real-sin-behind-the-floods.

      I admit that I rushed the part of my blog post in which I wrote of the causes of climate change and that I could have made this point in a more careful way.

      I do accept that the Earth’s climate has always changed for many reasons. However, when you say that the view that humans have contributed to this is not “unanimous”, I think that 97% of the world’s scientists is as close as we’re ever going to get to unanimous. Carbon levels have shot up since the industrial revolution and the Earth has heated rapidly at the same time. It seems unlikely that this is a coincidence.

      I think your point is stronger when you say that I revealed my own left-wing biases by attributing climate change to capitalism without explaining why.

      Firstly, capitalism fuelled the industrial revolution. I’m not saying that industrialisation has been a bad thing in itself (I’m very aware that I benefit from it hugely) but I think we have to be aware of its downside. Secondly, the failure of governments and corporations to take meaningful action to tackle climate change must to some degree at least be due to the fact that many of the people who have most of the wealth and power in the world are beneffitting from the current economic system and the continued use of fossil fuels.

      I appreciate you may not share all my views, Brian, but I hope this response makes them a bit clearer and puts up a better defence of them than I managed in the original blog post.

      Incidentally, all the blog posts that I post on Ekklesia also appear on this site, so feel free to comment on them here at any time.

      With thanks,

      Symon

      • Hi Symon,

        Thanks for the response.

        Just a clarification on my part.

        I am not doubting for one moment that humans have contributed to climate change, but it is a matter of degree (no pun intended). You have accepted that climate change has many varying (and maybe even some unknown) reasonsbut the science does not seem to indicate to what extent we as human beings have added to the effect.

        The sun is a major contributor to climate change as are volcanoes, the sea and even animals. Where does our contribution to these effects fit into this or any other list of causes? To suggest or even intimate that humanity is the main cause may be disingenuous or at best poor science (at least without the facts). I am not suggesting either that we should not do all we can to minimise the effects of climate change in any ways that we able.

        I think what I am asking is for more scientific and yes, political transparency on a subject that may be vital to the future existence of humanity. If humanity’s contribution to global warming/climate change is 90% then we are in very serious trouble. If it is 5% then we have not only greatly exaggerated the end-game but we have also exaggerated what we can do to minimise the problem.

        Your comment that “Carbon levels have shot up since the industrial revolution and the Earth has heated rapidly at the same time. It seems unlikely that this is a coincidence” is very interesting if looked at scientifically.

        The fact that carbon levels have risen and the earth has heated rapidly is almost certainly not coincidence. We need to ask ourselves though which one is driving the other. If the earth heats up naturally, does that automatically drive up the carbon level, or is it the case that the earth only heats up if the carbon level rises?

        You may view my comments as rather nave in these matters but I am very happy to be educated in any of this.

        Thank you again and keep up the good work.

        Brian

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