Beyond Belief: Tunisia08/24/15
Ernie Rea and guests discuss the role of religion in Tunisian society and government.
The sale of Ouija Boards has soared recently due to a new horror film Ouija. The desire to make or maintain contact with the dead has been a feature of societies down the ages, but for one modern religion, Spiritualism, it continues to play a central...
Plague narratives and Ebola
How are religious plague narratives affecting the responses to the Ebola outbreak? Throughout history, people have sought explanations for such deadly epidemics. Pre scientific societies thought that plagues were a punishment from the gods who were...
The word "Avatar" was not conceived by a Hollywood film producer but comes from the Sanskrit word for "descent". It relates to when a deity manifests in an earthly embodiment. In Christianity "incarnation" describes the coming of the divine in bodily...
Catholic Synod on the family
This week the extraordinary Synod on the family called by Pope Francis takes place in Rome. It is a crucial moment for the church because the notion of what constitutes family and attitudes towards things like contraception, marriage, abortion and...
The belief in Karma is central to many of the religions of the east - the idea that every action has consequences, that what we did in a previous life affects who and what we are in this life. The concept may have originated in the east but it has...
Religion and PR
Should religions have a public relations strategy? Every organisation needs good communicators and religious bodies are no exception. They were once very good at it. Messages that had their origins in fairly obscure corners of the globe changed the...
When it comes to belief how tenable a position is "I don't know"? According to a 2013 You Gov poll, 18% of young people when asked about belief in some "spiritual greater power" answered exactly that. The noisy debate between atheists and religionists...
Religious History of Iraq
Today life for religious minorities in Northern Iraq is perilous as the militant Islamist group, Islamic State, continues to attack a range of diverse groups across the country in its pursuit of establishing a new Caliphate. But in this programme...
The blessing "In the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit" is much used in Christianity. But what do we mean by the term Holy Spirit? Belief in the Holy Spirit is a cardinal tenet of the Christian faith, while Muslims and Jews talk of the "Spirit of...
The current crisis' in Iraq, Gaza and Syria means there is much work for humanitarian relief agencies working to pick up the pieces of these terrible conflicts. Many of these groups are faith based bodies - organisations motivated by a religious...
Seven Deadly Sins
Envy, Pride, Anger, Gluttony and Lust are some of the misdemeanours considered so serious by the Church that they could have a fatal effect on an individual's spiritual health. Early British wall paintings stressed the connection between committing...
Shakespeare and Religion
Was William Shakespeare a closet Catholic? This year sees the 450th anniversary of his birth. He lived through a time of great turmoil, when Elizabeth the First tried to impose uniformity on the country's religious practice. How much is that reflected...
Christianity and Gender Identity
Ernie Rea and guests discuss Christian perspectives on Gender identity. Within the last 40 years it has been possible for people to undergo sex reassignment surgery. British law was changed ten years ago to enable them to change the sex given on their...
Islam and education
What is the purpose of an Islamic education? Faith Schools are popular with parents, but there is also considerable public disquiet about them - particularly when such schools are Islamic. The Al Madinah Free School in Derby has been forced to close...
Ernie Rea and guests discuss the meaning of Apostasy within Islam. The case of Meriam Ibrahim, sentenced to death by a Sudanese court for abandoning Islam, has attracted world wide attention. In the West, the court decision has been almost universally...
Ernie Rea and guests discuss Last Rites in some of the world's major faiths. The one reality of which everyone can be sure is that they will die. Most people say they want to die at home surrounded by their loved ones, but dying in hospital is the...
Ernie Rea and guests discuss mindfulness meditation. It has its roots in religious practice, but can it be adapted to a secular environment?
Ernie Rea and guests discuss the heady mix of football and religion in Brazil in the first of a new series of Beyond Belief. For a month from the 12th June there will be a football match on television just about every evening during the World Cup. The...
India is about to go to the polls. 788 million people are eligible to vote in the world's largest democracy. The role of regional, local and caste-based parties is important in Indian politics where Governments tend to rule by coalition, but this...
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