274 episodes

Series exploring the place and nature of faith in today's world

Beyond Belief BBC

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.5 • 88 Ratings

Series exploring the place and nature of faith in today's world

    Scottish Independence

    Scottish Independence

    In the new Scottish Parliament, a majority of MSPs want independence for Scotland but recent opinion polls suggest that only half the population is in favour. In all the debates, the religious voice has been very muted. That may be because, religious observance in Scotland has plummeted. Over half of people surveyed recently, said that they had no religion. The rise of the independence movement has coincided with a decline in the social significance of religion. So, is nationalism filling the vacuum?

    To discuss the religious dimensions in the Scottish independence debate, Ernie Rea is joined by the Rev Doug Gay, who is a minister of the Church of Scotland and lectures in Practical Theology at the University of Glasgow; Peter Kearney is Spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland; the Very Rev Kevin Holdsworth is Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow and as such, a senior figure in the Scottish Episcopal Church; and the Rev Kathy Galloway is a Church of Scotland minister and former Leader of the Iona Community.

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 27 min
    Vodou

    Vodou

    Ernie Rea takes a look at a religion that emerged on the Caribbean island of Haiti about 500 years ago when the traditional religions of enslaved West Africans merged with the Catholicism of the French colonialists. Here in the West we call it Voodoo; but the correct term is Vodou. 60 million people worldwide practice Vodou. It is thought to have originated in the West African country of Benin where the word ‘Vodou’ means “Spirit” in one of the indigenous languages and the ‘Lwa’ (the Vodou name for Spirits) are central to the religion's belief and practice.

    Ernie is joined by Her Majesty Queen Mother Dr Dowoti Desir (a Mambo Asogwe - Vodou High Priestess) from her Royal Palace in the city of Ouidah in Benin. Also taking part in the discussion are Dr Louise Fenton (a Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies at the University of Wolverhampton) and Dr Kyrah Malika Daniels (Assistant Professor of Art History, Africana Studies and Theology at Boston College in the United States).

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 27 min
    Myanmar

    Myanmar

    On February 1st, the government in Myanmar was overthrown in a military coup. Aung San Suu Kyi is now being held in prison and hundreds of protestors have been shot on the streets. For many decades, Christians and Muslims have been at the hard end of military oppression. Now the Buddhist majority are feeling the crack of the whip. To discuss Myanmar’s turbulent history and the current crisis, Ernie Rea is joined by Soe Win Than (Editor of the BBC Burmese Service), Khin Ohmar (a democracy and human rights activist noted for her leadership in the 1988 uprising in Myanmar) and by Benedict Rogers (Senior Analyst for East Asia at Christian Solidarity Worldwide).

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 26 min
    Dante's Inferno

    Dante's Inferno

    This year marks the 700th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. He is best known as the author of 'The Divine Comedy' which describes his journey through Hell and Purgatory, until he finally reaches Paradise. But it is 'Inferno', containing gruesome descriptions of Hell, that has captured the popular imagination and it is this first part of 'The Divine Comedy' that Ernie Rea discusses with Professor Akash Kumar and Dr Paula Nasti.

    Ernie also interviews jazz saxophonist and composer Sherman Irby about his jazz ballet score based on Dante's Inferno.

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 27 min
    The Vaccine

    The Vaccine

    The rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme has been the envy of much of the world but there is concern about the reluctance of people from black and minority ethnic communities to take the vaccine. Ernie Rea asks why this is the case. He also takes a look at the religious reasons contributing to vaccine hesitancy and asks some of the wider ethical questions posed by the vaccine rollout. Who should receive the vaccine first? And how do we address the problem of ‘vaccine nationalism’?

    Panel:
    Dr Hina Shahid (GP and Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association)
    Dr Rosemarie Mallet (Archdeacon of Croydon)
    Dr Mark Pickering (Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship)

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 27 min
    Prince Philip

    Prince Philip

    In all the tributes to Prince Philip, one of the things that surprised many people was that he was a man of deep, personal faith. We knew of his passion for science and technology, his commitment to the environment and his strong sense of duty to Queen and country. We also knew that Christian faith is the driving force in the life of the Queen, but the fact that her husband shared that faith commitment seems to have passed under the radar. To discuss Prince Philip's spiritual life, Ernie Rea is joined by a multi-faith panel: Martin Palmer (The Prince's advisor on religion and the environment), Catherine Pepinster (a writer and commentator on religion and a former editor of The Tablet). Mona Siddiqui (Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh) and Rabbi Jonathan Romain (Maidenhead Reform Synagogue).

    Producer: Helen Lee

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
88 Ratings

88 Ratings

Naz11809 ,

Please can you correct your pronunciation☹️

Hi,
I really enjoy listening to your podcast and thoroughly enjoyed the show on Myanmar 🇲🇲, thank you for giving the Rohingya a voice! But can I make a few points: Muslim is not pronounced Muzlim, it is pronounced Musslim with an emphasis on the s sound. Also I find it disgusting that one of the guest saying “we didn’t even know there was Muslims in the country” or whatever. How can you not know that there is another ethnic group living in your country being raped, tortured, killed etc.
Kind Regards
Naima (Nyeemah)

katemulroy ,

Love this programme!

This programme is a great source for learning as all the different topics discussed really make me think and reconsider my views. I am currently in A2 and I would totally recommend this podcast to other students who are studying religion, politics or philosophy.

Calculaddy ,

Rarely a balanced debate

They hardly ever have people of no faith or a scientist to challenge religious “facts”.

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