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October 31, 2006

In Search of God

As someone who tends to avoid religion like the plague, I think it was the presence of John Humphrys that made me listen to a programme about the subject tonight.

Humphrys in Search of God is a three-part programme about his personal search for faith, which has been thoroughly shaken by his observations as a journalist. He points to the tragedy of Beslan as the moment he became certain there was no God.

While he may be a tough, uncompromising, and sometimes over-passionate interviewer, he’s also demonstrated both on Radio 4 and in hosting MasterMind that he’s probably a fairly nice bloke on the inside.

And the questions he was asking Dr Rowan Williams tonight were exactly the same ones that I would use to describe my allergic reaction to anything which can only be justified by ‘faith’.

The striking thing – and the thing that made the programme so interesting – was that even the Archbishop of Canterbury could offer few promises or guarantees to Humphrys about God and faith. Perhaps I’ve been warped by seeing too many documentaries about the loony religious Right in the U.S., but I expected Williams to have some answers.

The fact that he didn’t makes finding answers to Humphrys’ questions even harder, but it also makes Williams a far more compelling speaker.


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