About Me

John Baxter b. 1941

This site is written mainly with friends in mind with whom I enjoy exchanging views and as a way of setting out my ideas. This makes it more of an anthology of articles than a blog, except that during COVID -19 I did carry out a daily blog for the duration of the lock-down.  

It is also a site for storing and commenting on  meetings of ANVIL, the structured discussion group that has taken on tough subjects for the last eight years, In 2021 we met five times on Zoom and once with both Zoom and Face to Face.  I wish to continue organising discussions in 2022, particularly with topics related to Climate Change since from the scientific (what do we know is and is likely to happen) and the practical/political (what policies, plans and values are needed) the whole subject raises so many  crucial issues.

 I start writing simply to try and sort out my own thoughts, but if this leads you to comment – for or against – I am delighted to discuss with you, so please send me an email to johnbaxte119@nullgmail.com  I will reply and add your comments to the site. ( preserving your anonymity if you wish)                

As well as enjoying writing I have a separate site concentrating on my drawing, painting and photography. (www.getshot.co.uk  I hope you will visit that too.

C.V. For seventeen years (until 2010) I worked as a  professional photographer,  qualifying in 96 with a Licentiate from the British Institute of Professional Photography.  I am now retired but remain available for portrait photos and portrait drawings and paintings and local photo journalism.

For 25 before that I taught about religion and ethical issues in schools. (RE) and I studied Theology, Religious Studies, Education and Philosophy at Rhodes University (SA), Oxford and Bristol Universities.  I  have also studied Art and Art History,  and have held photographic and painting exhibitions of my work in North Devon, in Somerset and as a member of the Bruton Art Society.

I have also written and photographed for local papers and some specialist journals.  I started up and edited for two years our local community web magazine the Wincanton Window until October 2011.

in 2017 after two and a half years of research and writing I wrote SURVIVING NAPOLEON, The Clockmaker’s Tale, a novelised history of the life of Alberto Bioletti, an Italian soldier of Napoleon who after fighting in four campaigns and spending time as a prisoner in both England and Russia, ended living in Wincanton for 45years.

I was born in South Africa  (11-9-41) and went to Bishop’s  (Diocesan College) in Cape Town. Attracted to the liberal High Anglican tradition,  I found the Church’s witness against apartheid inspiring.  However in the end after ordaining as a non-stipendiary Anglican priest, I found belief in God increasingly problematic when studying the philosophy of belief systems at Bristol University. Then, after a period of doubt and some confusion I was drawn to the Buddhist tradition (Theravada) in1985.

Today I would describe myself as a post-theist, non-supernaturalist or secular Buddhist humanist. As regards religion and the religions they continue to fascinate for  I think they often embody and demonstrate valuable insights into the human condition which deserve examination and respect.

As a specialist teacher of Religious Education I was for some years on the National RE Teachers Commitee and then became a member of the Devon SACRE which developed the RE curriculum for Devon schools.  I am committed to an open approach to Religious Education which includes providing accurate understanding and respect for all the main religions and secular humanism and the opportunity to examine and discuss important religious and ethical issues. (I am a member of Humanists UK)

Personally I find I am unable to stop constantly re-examining the views I am inclined to hold.  If you wish to label me you will need to read what I have written. Politically I have been an active supporter of the Liberal Democrats.

Degrees and Qualifications: I hold a BA in Religious Studies from Rhodes University SA, an MA in Theology from Trinity College, Oxford, an Advanced Diploma and an MEd in the Philosophy of Education from Bristol University. and a Licentiate from the British Institute of Professional Photography.