The battle cry of antitheists in England is that religions, especially Christianity, have far more influence on our society than they do. This is a lie.

Here is a typical BBC programme about religion which I am looking forward to watching tonight.

The presenter is an atheist. She will be saying stuff about the polytheistic nature of early Judaism which will be, pretty much, exactly what I have said on this blog many times in the past. The difference between us is that her agenda is to destroy faith, whilst mine is to create an informed faith.

We have had quite a few programmes recently by "experts" who have stated openly that their intention is to stop people believing in the divine. The brilliant, poster boy of English science, Professor Brian Cox, wants us to accept that the universe without God is enough. I always watch his programme and I share his passion for the beauty of physics and, especially, cosmology. However, I fear he has completely failed with me. I seem to be able to marvel at the universe without losing my religion. In fact, the more, in depth, stuff I read about the nuts and bolts of the universe, the more certain I become that the scientists are refusing to do the maths and quite deliberately so.

Now let's get a couple of things straight. I do not want the BBC to stop commissioning these documentaries - heck, I enjoy them too much. Furthermore, I don't want balance in the BBC's programming of the sort that simply has some barmy evangelical or stuffy archbishop going on about a Sunday school or Oxbridge common room God. But I would really appreciate a few programmes (in fact, whole series) which are presented by intelligent people of faith with the same level of philosophical integrity as the scientific integrity of the current crop of intellectual, camera friendly, antitheist academics.

Another big lie that people such as Dicky Dorkins and Stephen Fry put out is that people of faith, especially Christians, are, because they believe in God, inherently "dim." Feck that! I could argue Richard Dawkins and Anthony Grayling under the table before breakfast, although I think I would be on a more even playing field if I went head to head with Professor Cox and I could never smarm my way through a discussion with the arrogant panache of the omnipresent, Mr Fry. The BBC seems to be intent on reinforcing this slander by giving us this rich diet of pretty atheists talking about clever stuff on prime time TV. I would love to see really intelligent Christians, such as Professor Andrew Linzey, Stephen Shakespeare and our very own Sam Norton being given the opportunity to show off their intellectual creds for God on the box. One thing is for sure, they would respect the antitheists far more than the antitheists respect believers like them.

In fact, how about some real balance? I suggest a 26 part documentary series about life, the universe, cookery (of course) and everything co-presented by Sam Norton and Tim, the atheist (not, antitheist) who heads up "The Heathen Web" blog. Such a programme might even dispel the third, great antitheist myth that only atheists can be humanists and concerned with the secular, and also the Christian myth that atheists are boring, uncreative people who want to turn the world into 1984 Land without the fun bits.



  1. You continue your ant- atheist campaign. There is no anti-theist agenda in Brian Cox. He referred quite respectfully to the Hindu belief in Shiva but his job is to bring together research and mathematics and give the account according to that.

  2. He states the agenda I mention in a recent Radio Times interview. That is why I wrote what I wrote. I wouldn’t have done if he hadn’t have done. A bit of respect for your fellow scholar wouldn’t go amiss, Adrain, you apologist possum you.

  3. God’s Wife??? The Bible states that man was created in God’s Image.. Male and Female created he them…Therefore God is Male and Female and is his own wife. Probably his own Mother also..I never could figure out how God could have a Mother..

    And by the way he is called Elohim in the First part of Genesis and I understand that to mean “The Gods” which would go along with him being the plural Father-Mother..

    Of Course, I could be wrong. (BTW the word I have to use for verification is ellyahm. Perhaps that is a sign of something….

  4. I could argue Richard Dawkins and Anthony Grayling under the table before breakfast…

    I’m not so sure, MP. Dawkins is rather skilled in waffling on about a point for some time. It could take until elevenses before you could get in a word edgewise.

    As to this Grayling chap, well… arguing with a philosopher? That should take all week before you can pin him down on the colour of an orange.


  5. I told Grayling that he was stuck in a 20th. Century, modernist mindset and that his philosophy was just so yesterday, once. He accused me of being ad hominem or something like that. But they always do when you’re beating them. Bunch of wimps!

  6. I’ve just finished reading Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. I’ve read a few of these books now over the past few years, the Dawkins ones Hitchins etc.

    What I don’t get is how the logic seems to be that if evolution exists then God can’t exist. Why is it one or the other? Do we only envisage a God because of a need to explain our origins?

    We humans are driven by emotions and God comes into every single one of our emotions. I think atheists are just in denial of their own thoughts and feelings when it comes to God. I’d have a hard time proving that though, wouldn’t I?

  7. There are many types of evolution. Scientists speak as if there is only the one, although they all know this isn’t true.

    Personally, my informed and intelligent opinion is that in respect of the type of evolution that grows lungs, wings, big teeth, camouflage, poisonous flesh etc., actually needs some kind of intelligence at work within it to happen just the once, let alone for the billions of occasions that it appears to have done.

    Don’t bother arguing. I’ve read all the arguments and this is my conclusion.

  8. I should say, “I’d love to see that because we all know that Jonathan Hagger is a theological HOTTIE!” LOL

    wv: droses

    Is that “Dr. Oses” or “d roses”?

  9. Jonathan Hagger is a theological HOTTIE

    Well, thank you. But, to be honest, it is more to do with Grayling being without imagination and Dorkins being rather stupid when he tries to talk or write about anything other than biology.

  10. “Don’t bother arguing. I’ve read all the arguments and this is my conclusion.”

    Agreed, which makes the study of origins no less important or interesting.

  11. The study of origins is a precondition of making such a definite statement. I will continue to research the matter because it is interesting and it is possible somebody will come up with a new idea that will challenge my conclusion. But it’s really not worth anybody’s time telling me stuff I already know.

  12. Jonathan Hagger is a theological HOTTIE

    Aw man…talk about feeling ontologically inadequate. 🙁

    …Dorkins being rather stupid when he tries to talk or write about anything other than biology.

    Speaking as one who deals with scientists on a regular basis, they are highly trained, highly skilled specialists. Outside their area of expertise…well, they usually have to rely on bluster, raw intellect and academic awe to argue their point. If you are unswayed by the first and last, then the second is found to be sorely lacking with disturbing regularity.

  13. I go further than that, PP. I think that God has to continually interfere with evolution in order to keep it moving in a useful direction.

  14. I think you are right, Tim. I rely 100% on scientists to provide me with the data for my philosophical thinking. I never contradict their discoveries, allowing them to inform me of any changes in scientific discovery and bringing such changes into my thinking. What I do sometimes challenge are the conclusions scientists come to. I think these are often arrived at too quickly and they should check with philosophers before making definite statements about possibilities. Science and philosophy are two separate disciplines. Occasionally a genius comes along who is adept at both, but this is extremely rare. Science would benefit greatly if its practitioners had a greater respect for other academic disciplines and a better understanding of their own limitations in the same way that I accept mine when it comes to science.

  15. Well, mainline Christianity has been very bad about clinging to the Bible as a thing in and of itself, and a great deal of the OT is recorded hazy memories of an early cult that worshipped a god called “Yahweh,” which resembles the gods around them. We even cling to the physical person Jesus as God, which is, largely, a redaction, as Jesus seems to have had very little concern with His physical person, or seeing Himself as even limited to one physical incarnation.

    We tend to rabbit on about the “old familiar story” so much, forgetting that it sounds ludicrous – and rightly so – to the uninitiated, who see that focus on the particular as merely another tribal image; which it is, frankly.

  16. I watched most of the programme. The learned Dr said nothing that wasn’t already known, but made some quite starling unsupported assumptions, prefacing them usually with “In my opinion”. Well, there you have the essence of the whole series.

    It’s certainly not news to anyone who’s actually read the Hebrew Scriptures that the early Jews weren’t monotheistic. It was interesting to see Asherah personalised and made Jahweh’s consort, but that isn’t really faith-shattering news either. It gives a certain understanding to the erection of her poles and trees that are chopped down when a holy king ascends the throne and carries out a pogrom, but little else.

    Froth and bubble and little substance.

  17. I think the problem is that we are making some major assumptions, as well.

    Programs like this one are intended to reach the average viewer. I think that Christians, particularly liberal Christians, assume a degree of theological formation and conversance that simply is not there. The average joe has not read the Hebrew scriptures and couldn’t tell an asherah from an ashtray. Still less is there any longer any real formation for those entering the faith or taking their place through confirmation, no real training in the application of discriminative intellect to Scripture or doctrine.

    The end result is that the public-at-large hears what sounds a fantastic fairy-tale about a big guy who sits in a throne and metes out – rather arbitrarily – punishment and reward. At some point he had a human son who did a few magical things, got murdered as a sacrifice to please his big-guy-on-a-throne dad, and came back to life. Oh, and some letters from people who seemed very interested in controlling everyone else’s lives. They see that we insist this must be true, in spite of . . . well, reality, actually.

    The assumption that people understand that most mainstream Christians have a deeper, or more nuanced understanding of this, is unwarranted. More and more people are being shown to drop out of religion before the adult exposure that would modify their childhood perceptions of a cult of magical-thinking. What’s more, in a longtime sound-bite society, biblical literalists, motivated by fear, greed, power have a higher profile, thus reinforcing the image of a belief based in puerile fantasies.

    It’s hardly surprising that people equally motivated by the passions that drive the literalists – Dawkinses and Frys – are able to use the same p. r. manipulations successfully to misrepresent Christianity.

  18. I think you are spot on, Mark. This is why we desperately need a modern day C. S. Lewis to be given the opportunity to present our faith intelligently on TV. In the UK there is a deliberate policy to promote an understanding of Islam that is not based on stereotypes but no desire by the media to do the same for Christianity.