DiscoverBeyond Belief
Beyond Belief
Claim Ownership

Beyond Belief

Author: BBC Radio 4

Subscribed: 8,146Played: 59,733
Share

Description

Series exploring the place and nature of faith in today's world
267 Episodes
Reverse
Since Darwin published The Origin of Species, there has been a perceived battle between science and religion. It was not always so. For hundreds of years, science was designed to help people reach a better understanding of God rather than the world. The Enlightenment changed all that. Today schoolchildren are taught science and religion as separate subjects. Are the two incompatible? Would it not be better if science and religion were taught together to help children consider some of the Big Questions of Life? To discuss this subject, Ernie Rea is in debate with Berry Billingsley (Professor in Science Education at Canterbury Christ Church University); Dr Ruth Wareham (Education Campaigns Manager at Humanists UK); and Dr Myles MacBean (National Director at Scripture Union England and Wales). Producer: Helen Lee Editor: Amanda Hancox
The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

2020-12-2827:29

This year, the Dalai Lama celebrated his 85th Birthday. He is one of the world's most prominent religious leaders and is certainly the most famous Buddhist but talk is now turning to who will replace him. In 1959, His Holiness was forced to leave Tibet and since then he has been living in Dharamsala in northern India. In exile, he has become so much more than just the Tibetan spiritual leader but what do we really know about him and what will his legacy be? Discussing the 14th Dalai Lama with Ernie Rea will be Kate Saunders (a writer and independent specialist on Tibet), Professor Robbie Barnett (Former Director of Modern Tibetan Studies at Columbia University and now a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS). the Venerable Lama Losang Samten (Spiritual Director of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Centre of Philadelphia and personal attendant to the Dalai Lama in the 1980s) and Andrew Quintman (Associate Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University who specializes in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet). Producer: Helen Lee Editor: Amanda Hancox
Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary

2020-12-2127:501

Christmas is often a time of celebration and reflection. A time of sitting by the Christmas tree, eating and drinking, spending time with loved ones and for Christians reflecting on the birth of Jesus. His mother Mary is a highly revered figure in both Christianity and Islam. The iconic pose of the Madonna and Child is celebrated in art but we are told very little about her in the Bible. Joining Ernie Rea to discuss the Virgin Mary is Prof Tina Beattie, Director of the Catherine of Sienna College, the University of Roehampton; Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh; and His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Born into a musical family in Bonn towards the end of the 18th century, Ludwig van Beethoven became one of the greatest composers who ever lived. But whilst much is written about his life and music, little attention is paid to his faith and spirituality. To mark the 250th anniversary of his birth, Ernie Rea explores Beethoven's interest in God, Eastern religions and how his spirituality influenced his music with the pianist Stephen Hough; Professor Barry Cooper, editor of the Beethoven Compendium and Professor of Music at the University of Manchester and Birgit Lodes, Professor of Historical Musicology at the University of Vienna. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Grief

Grief

2020-12-0727:35

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on people's lives in so many ways including the way we are able to say goodbye to our loved ones. Funeral ceremonies and burial rites have had to adapt to these challenging times. But what impact has not being able to be with loved ones at their time of death or be at their funeral had on people. Have our feelings of loss intensified? What are the consequences for our ongoing sense of grief and remembrance? Ernie Rea and guests discuss the way in which religions can help people express their grief and remember those they have lost. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Debt

Debt

2020-11-3026:47

Britain is in the midst of a huge Debt Crisis. Recent research by a debt charity has found that household borrowing and arrears have soared 66% since May to £10.3 billion. For many people, there seems to be no way out. Month by month they sink deeper into debt. Desmond Tutu once said: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Ernie Rea discusses religious responses to debit with Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester and Deputy Chairman of the Church Commissioners; Mohammed Kroessin, Head of Islamic Microfinance at Islamic Relief UK; and Jasvir Singh, a family law barrister and chair of City Sikhs which exists to provide a voice for Progressive Sikhs in the UK. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Since the nation was introduced to the likes of Elsie Tanner and Ken Barlow in the northern town of Weatherfield almost 60 years ago, television soap operas have gripped viewers across the networks. Some talk about it as an addiction as the weddings, funerals, rows, murders, love triangles, crashes, affairs and divorces are played out on our screens. As these epic stories draw on our emotions, some have argued that it's easy to see the biblical and other religious parallels in the story-lines. In this addition of Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea discusses the religious influences on the soaps and how they have portrayed religious characters over the years with Dr Katie Edwards, a freelance writer and broadcaster who has researched the Bible in popular culture; Mark Pinsky author of "The Gospel According to the Simpsons", the Right Reverend Dr John Saxbee, retired Bishop of Lincoln and June Brown who played Dot Cotton. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Prayer

Prayer

2020-10-0527:261

There is evidence that, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people are turning to prayer. Is this a last desperate resort on our part to divert an existential threat? Do we really expect God to intervene? If not, what are we hoping to achieve? Prayer is a vital part of any religion. The ritualising of prayer is one of the things that makes each religion distinctive whilst private, personal prayer seems to sustain the spiritual life of the believer. How does prayer impact on us as individuals and on the world around us? To discuss the importance of prayer, Ernie is joined by Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies; Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh: and by Douglas Davies, Professor in the Study of Religion at Durham University. Producer: Helen Lee
Hong Kong

Hong Kong

2020-09-2826:231

In 1997 Britain handed sovereignty of Hong Kong to the Chinese and for the first few years, the Basic Law that came into effect at the handover meant that, the people of Hong Kong enjoyed religious freedom. But now religious freedom is under threat. Again this summer, pro-democracy demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest against a new National Security law and a number of Christian Churches have been involved in these demonstrations. Joining Ernie Rea from their homes to discuss religion in Hong Kong are Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes who served as the Last Governor of Hong Kong; Professor Steve Tsang, the Director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London; and the Rev Dr Kim Kwong Chan, an Honorary Research Fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Producer: Helen Lee
There is no doubt that religion plays a large part in US Presidential Elections. Donald Trump is supported by the religious right which includes white evangelicals and conservative Catholics, whilst Joe Biden appeals to more liberal Catholics and Protestants and to the majority of black voters. Which raises two interesting questions. Why do white evangelical Christians vote for a man whose lifestyle is at odds with their moral principles? And how is Joe Biden going to persuade fellow Catholics to vote for him when his pro-choice views in the abortion debate clash with the teachings of his Church? To unpick the intricacies of the religious vote in the upcoming Presidential Election, Ernie Rea is joined by four experts: Sarah Posner, whose most recent book is ‘Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump’; Jane Little, a former Religious Affairs Correspondent for the BBC who now commentates on Religion and Politics in the United States; Christopher White; the National Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter; and Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Producer: Helen Lee
Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

2020-09-1427:20

Later this week, from Friday to Sunday, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a time for reflection and repentance and for coming together to share delicious food as well as special services at the synagogue. But it will be a different Rosh Hashanah in this Covid-19 year. How will the essence of the Festival be maintained? And, as this is a period of reflection, what specific issues have given British Jews cause for concern since the last Rosh Hashanah? To discuss these questions and to take a look at the festival itself, Ernie Rea is joined by Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Community Rabbi at the Manchester Reform Synagogue; Alby Chait, Orthodox Rabbi at the United Hebrew Congregation in Leeds; and by journalist Justin Cohen who is News Editor of the Jewish News. Producer: Helen Lee
The Mayflower

The Mayflower

2020-09-0727:37

Four hundred years ago, a group of 102 passengers and 30 crew set sail from Plymouth for the New World. Their journey on the Mayflower is one of the foundation stories of the United States and today, more than 30 million Americans claim descent from the Pilgrim Fathers. So how important were these Puritans? Why did they feel the need to go to America? And what is their lasting legacy? To answer these questions, Ernie Rea is joined by Dr Kathryn Gray, Associate Professor in Early American Literature at the University of Plymouth; Professor Peter Mancall who teaches history at the University of Southern California; and Paula Peters, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Producer: Helen Lee
The Face

The Face

2020-08-3127:26

Because of Covid-19, we now have to cover our faces with masks which means that we are becoming more anonymous. In this edition of Beyond Belief, Ernie takes a look at the importance of the face to people of different faiths. Jews and Muslims don’t have images of God in their places of worship. However, if you go into a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist Temple you will see many images or statues of their Gods. Christian art has long depicted the face of Christ, usually showing a blue eyed, blonde Jesus far removed from that of a Jew from the Middle East 2000 years ago. As for the human face, some Muslim women cover theirs in public; Hindus adorn their faces with colourful marks which signify their status; while many Christians have a cross of ash placed on their faces during Lent. Joining Ernie to discuss The Face are Dr Jessica Frazier, a Fellow at the Centre for Hindu studies and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford; Joanna Moorhead, a freelance writer and Arts Editor for The Tablet; and Rania Hafez, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Greenwich and a Fellow of the Muslim Institute. Producer: Helen Lee
Bathing

Bathing

2020-08-2427:35

If you are a follower of one the main religions, it is more than likely that you will have undergone a bathing ritual. Cleansing with water is an integral part of Christian Baptism, Muslim Prayer and Jewish purification. Hindus aspire to bathe in the waters of the River Ganges. Why are rituals in water important to so many faiths? What do they mean? And how do they differ from religion to religion? Joining Ernie to discuss ritual bathing are Dr Diana Lipton (teaching fellow in the department of biblical studies at Tel Aviv University), Sudipta Sen (professor of history at the University of California, Davis and author of 'Ganges: the Many Pasts of an Indian River') and the Very Reverend Peter Robinson (Dean of Derby, whose doctoral thesis was on Christian Initiation focusing on Baptism). Producer: Helen Lee
Animal Farm

Animal Farm

2020-08-1727:58

George Orwell’s allegorical novel ‘Animal Farm’ was first published on 17th August 1945 and has never been out of print. It tells the story of a group of exploited animals who take over their farm and attempt to create an ideal society. On the face of it, ‘Animal Farm’ is not a religious book – it is a criticism of Stalin and his totalitarian regime - and Orwell is often described as an atheist. However in this edition of Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea discusses the influence of religion on Orwell and his writing. He is joined by Jean Seaton (Director of the Orwell Foundation and Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster), Michael Brennan (author of the book ‘George Orwell and Religion’ and Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leeds) and the priest and author the Rev Marie-Elsa Bragg. Producer: Helen Lee
Marriage

Marriage

2020-05-1826:451

There are growing reports of couples opting for private wedding ceremonies or even resorting to marrying online during lockdown. On a less celebratory note, the divorce rates in China are said to have rocketed after their lockdown ended. There are concerns that the same will happen in the UK after weeks of couples living in isolation together. Is it time to accept that marriage has had its day? Or has marriage simply acquired a different meaning in the 21st century? Dr Katie Edwards discusses marriage with Imam Ajmal Masroor, who's also a marriage counsellor, Hannah Brock Womack, a Quaker and civil justice campaigner and the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry. Producer: Rajeev Gupta
Dieting

Dieting

2020-05-1127:55

During the lockdown, with gyms shut and exercise outdoors restricted, social media is littered with anecdotes of people putting on weight or turning to diet plans. Most religious traditions have some kind of rules when it comes to what we eat. From Lent to Yom Kippur, from Karva Chauth, to Ramadan many religious followers observe days of abstinence. So why is the relationship between food, fasting and faith so meaningful for so many? Dr Katie Edwards discusses faith, food and fasting with Dr Hannah Bacon, Associate Professor in Feminist Theology and Acting head of Theology and Religious studies at the University of Chester, Dr Hina Shahid, General Practitioner and Chairperson of the Muslim Doctors Association and Geeta Vara, Ayurvedic Practioner and author of Ayurveda: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellbeing Producer: Rajeev Gupta Series Producer: Amanda Hancox
Wordsworth

Wordsworth

2020-05-0427:25

2020 marks 250 years since the birth of William Wordsworth, one of England's most celebrated poets. Wordsworth and his friend and colleague Samuel Taylor Coleridge were pioneers of English Romanticism and they produced works including The Excursion, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Prelude. Religion and nature were great sources of inspiration and debate for both men. Wordsworth's childhood home, The English Lake District, was alive with different and often 'dissenting' ideas about Christianity but what influence did these ideas have on his work? Did Wordsworth and Coleridge share a common idea of the nature of God and what resonance does their work have today? Joining Dr Katie Edwards to discuss the influence of faith on the life of Wordsworth, is Rev Marie-Elsa Bragg, priest and writer; Seamus Perry, Professor of English Literature at The University of Oxford and Heidi Snow, Professor of English Literature and holder of the Edith and Lewis White Distinguished Professorship at Principia College, Illinois, USA. Producer: Dan Jackson
Religion Online

Religion Online

2020-04-2726:49

Covid-19 has had us all scrambling to adapt to life in lockdown. But the period of lockdown also coincided with a number of key religious festivals from Easter to Passover, Vaisakhi to Ramadan. This in turn has led to a flourishing of new and inventive ways for religious communities to mark their holy days. But religion online is not a new phenomenon and virtual spaces, live streaming and words of wisdom have been available on the internet for many years. So what should our relationship be with religion on the internet and where does its future lie post lockdown? Joining Dr Katie Edwards to discuss this is Dr Beth Singler, Junior Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence at Homerton College, University of Cambridge; Swami Ambikananda, a Hindu monastic and founder of the Traditional Yoga Association; Adrian Harris, Head of Digital at the Church of England and Abid Khan, Imam at Cheadle Mosque in Manchester. Producer: Amanda Hancox
Reincarnation

Reincarnation

2020-04-2027:46

At some point in our lives, most of us will have wondered about what happens after death: is there an afterlife or is there nothingness? For many religions in the East the answer is found in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that the human spirit inhabits new lives over and over, each time a person dies. Reincarnation is supported by Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. But all these traditions have different views on how and why reincarnation takes places. Today we want to have a deep dive into what reincarnation really means within these faith traditions. Joining Ernie Rea to discuss reincarnation is Dr Chakravarti Ram-Prasad, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion at Lancaster University; Dr Saeko Yazaki, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow and Dr Douglas Davies, Professor in Theology and Religion at the University of Durham Producer: Rajeev Gupta Series Producer: Amanda Hancox
loading
Comments 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store