I was honoured to be featured by the fantastic Gloucester-based artist Russell Haines in his current Faith exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral. He had decided early in the project that an atheist voice/faith was going to be part of the mosaic of ideas and beliefs that his project explores.
The project attracted some controversy, after part of the opening involved a Muslim call to prayer (in a side area, that is not considered part of the Cathedral Sacred worship area), with most outraged commentators ignoring the fact that there was also an atheist Pagan blessing as well (and a Christian one). The Dean of Cathedral made a statement. I have nothing to add, and don’t think the objections deserve any further amplification here.
What I will say is that although I am usually a bit sceptical of some inter-faith activities, as “why can’t we all just be nice to each other” events of little impact, others seem very urgent serious and important. This falls into the latter category. The project also involved debates in a variety of locations, an invite to participants (which I was happy to accept) for an Iftar (إفطار) meal, with discussions, from the local Muslim community. The University of Gloucestershire had staff and students involved (not just me and my good friend the Pagan tattooed librarian David Thompson) making films that formed part of exhibition. It was not a cosy echo chamber, but an attempt by a sceptical artist to work out just what lies under people’s stated beliefs, behaviours and successes and failures at getting along. Is it a success on these artistic terms? I’m too biassed to answer: go find out for yourself.