Saturday, 15 June 2013

melvyn bragg on dismissive atheists

One characteristic of this morning's programme was the scholarly calm with which the three contributors discussed what, for many people in many parts of the world, is an explosive subject. Religion. A new factor in our programme is that people tweet us as we go along, and Tom Morris can somehow produce the programme in the adjoining booth and bring in tweets at quarter to ten. A couple of these tweets were from self-described atheists who asked us why were we discussing this subject? Why bother? It was all so irrelevant. It is almost impossible to think of a subject more relevant to so many aspects of life on the planet at the moment than religions. The Islamic movement in its most extreme form is driven by extreme reactions to, and interpretations of, the Qur'an. Issues such as gay marriage are being challenged by reference to the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament plays a major part in the current tension in the Middle East. It bewilders me that people who call themselves atheist - for wholly understandable reasons of not believing in a God, a Resurrection, a Virgin Birth, a Trinity - think that this gives them the right to dismiss a massive body of knowledge which has informed people for almost two thousand years, led to some of the greatest artefacts mankind has ever seen and, for better and for worse, has to be taken into account if we think at all of the past in terms of morality, history and art.
- from Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time email of last week, relating to the programme on prophecy