Polly Toynbee

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Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee is a British journalist and writer. She has been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper since 1998is,

She is also president of the British Humanist Association.

Criticism of Toynbee by The Week

The Week published an article entitled Toynbee: the great comic figure of our age which declared:

None of us," boomed Polly Toynbee the other day, in her now famous attack on the super-rich, "like to feel guilty about our comfortable lives." Like much of what she writes, this is not altogether true. It probably is true of many of the super-rich, but as the Guardian's leading columnist - as the living embodiment, indeed, of the Guardianista spirit, of whom even that paper's editor is said to be terrified - Toynbee knows perfectly well that her painfully liberal readers like nothing better than to feel guilty about their comfortable lives.

One suspects that what she really means by "None of us" - which is properly a singular, by the way - is "I". Thanks to her guilt-inducing journalism and books, she is herself comparatively rich and comfortable, with a house in Clapham and a villa in Italy. And, as a daughter of Philip Toynbee and granddaughter of Arnold, she is also quite posh. But - unless one takes a psychoanalytic approach, and views her entire oeuvre as an act of expiation - she stoutly refuses to feel guilty about it.

There is in this a strong whiff of smugness and hypocrisy which, combined with an almost heroic lack of any sense of humour, has made her widely disliked.

Her enemies are actually legion. As a devout atheist, and President of the British Humanist Association, in 2004 she was voted Most Islamophobic Media Personality by the Islamic Human Rights Commission.[1]

Toynbee pulling out of debate with William Lane Craig

See also: Atheism vs. Christianity debates

In August 19, 2011, Fox News reported:

American Evangelical theologian William Lane Craig is ready to debate the rationality of faith during his U.K tour this fall, but it appears that some atheist philosophers are running shy of the challenge.

This month president of the British Humanist Association, Polly Toynbee, pulled out of an agreed debate at London’s Westminster Central Hall in October, saying she “hadn’t realized the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style.”

Lane Craig, who is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif., and author of 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, is no stranger to the art of debate and has taken on some of the great orators, such as famous atheists Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Harris once described Craig as “the one Christian apologist who has put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”.

Responding to Toynbee’s cancellation, Lane Craig commented: "These folks (atheists) can be very brave when they are alone at the podium and there's no one there to challenge them. But one of the great things about these debates is that, it allows both sides to be heard on a level playing field, and for the students in the audience to make up their own minds about where they think the truth lies."[2]

See also