An insult by an X Factor judge inspired a lecture at a religious education conference last week. Dr Julia Stern, from Hull university, titled her lecture after a comment made by the music mogul Simon Cowell to Louis Walsh (below), a fellow judge on the television talent show. Dr Stern suggested that the phrase, "Why are you being so obnoxious, Louis?" raised broader philosophical questions about people's motives. More than 40 RE teachers from across the UK met at the conference which was devised by the Professional Council for RE and the Westhill Trust, a Christian charity, and designed to explore how philosophy could be brought into the subject.
Kerry Meek, who leads an RE department in Derbyshire, said: "I felt intellectually stretched, but richer for it. It's been inspiring and provocative, and made me feel like a student in the middle of a mixed-ability class."