From Carol Palfrey
Sir, — In his letter on religious broadcasting (31 July), Nigel Holmes refers to Mark Thompson’s comment that there is prejudice inside broadcasting based on the presumption that “religion is boring”. Of course, every subject has the potential to be boring if it is approached without imagination and creativity. In 1984, the BBC took the courageous decision to broadcast The Sea of Faith, a six-part series in which the philosopher, theologian, and Anglican priest the Revd Don Cupitt surveyed Western thinking about religion, and charted the transition from traditional realist religion to the 20th-century view that religion is simply a human creation.
The series was very well received, and Mr Cupitt received a deluge of correspondence from viewers, many of them thanking him for providing them with a way in which they could continue to practise their religion in the modern age.
Inspired by the positive response to the TV series, a small group of radical Christian clergy and laity began meeting to explore how they might promote this new understanding of religious faith. This initiative led ultimately to the creation of the Sea of Faith Network, an organisation whose members wish to share in the mission to explore and promote religion as a human creation.
In recent years, the Network has endeavoured to broaden its field of interest to faiths other than Christianity. Last month, the Network held its 29th annual conference. In September, it will publish its 117th quarterly journal.
Surely it is time for the BBC once again to take the lead and to produce controversial and ground-breaking programmes that give new insights into religion today, and prove once and for all that religion, far from being boring, is one of the most interesting topics known to humanity.
Norwich NR12 0QU