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Sunday Morning Live

Series 11 Episode 19

BBC One
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59 minutes Available for 7 months First broadcast:
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Sean Fletcher and Sally Phillips explore the ethical and religious issues of the day.

Sean Fletcher and Sally Phillips take a look at the week's talking points and explore the ethical and religious issues of the day.

Sean Fletcher and Sally Phillips take a look at the week's talking points and explore the ethical and religious issues of the day. Alongside lively chat, the show also shines a light on inspiring, unique and occasionally unusual stories and people.

Credits

Presenter
Sally Phillips
Presenter
Sean Fletcher
Series Editor
Neil Dimmock

Beyond Belief

01/06/2009

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Ernie Rea discusses whether Just War Theory is rendered null and void by modern warfare.

As British troops are withdrawn from Iraq, Ernie Rea discusses whether Just War Theory, expounded by St Augustine, is rendered null and void by modern forms of warfare.

Bells on Sunday

St Helen's Church, Lundy Island

BBC Radio 4
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2 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Bells on Sunday comes from St Helen's Church, Lundy Island.

Bells on Sunday comes from St Helen’s Church on Lundy Island. The tower, completed in 1896 has a peal of ten bells with the Tenor, weighing thirteen and a quarter hundredweight, tuned to F sharp. The original peal of eight bells was cast by Charles Carr and Company of Smethwick. They were refurbished in 1994 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, two new trebles being added and the ring of ten rehung in a new frame. We hear them ringing Double Norwich Court Bob Caters.

Bells on Sunday

St Mary the Virgin, Ilminster

BBC Radio 4
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2 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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St Mary the Virgin, Ilminster.

Church bells from St Mary the Virgin, Ilminster.

This week's Bells on Sunday comes from St. Mary the Virgin, Ilminster, Somerset, a large Minster church. There have been five bells in the tower from medieval times, augmented to six in 1861 and to eight in 1907. We hear all eight bells ringing here, Grandsire Triples.

Moral Maze

The moral purpose of tax

BBC Radio 4
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43 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Debate programme that examines the ethical issues behind topical news stories.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the minister of finances for King Louis XIV of France said "The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing". You probably won't be surprised to learn that Colbert's central economic principle was that the wealth and the economy of France should serve the state. When it comes to this equation David Cameron has made it clear that he's firmly on the side of the goose. Our PM wasn't quite as colourful as Colbert when he recently set out his principles on taxation, but he did raise more than just an economic argument. It was, he said, his moral duty, to cut taxes. So this week on the Moral Maze we ask: what is the moral purpose of tax? Is tax a kind of moral mechanism to tackle injustice and inequality on our society? Or is the moral imperative of taxation to create as much wealth as possible in the first place, without which no-one benefits and let individuals decide how they send their cash? Can you just measure the morality of taxation through its utilitarian consequences - the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers? Of course that can be used to justify punishing taxes on the wealthy in the name of redistribution, just as it can to argue that the state should allow as many people as possible the freedom to keep as much of their own money as possible. Or is there some overriding moral virtue in raising and paying tax? When citizens allow the state to take some of their money it is a fundamental part of the democratic contract. If voters were equally willing to support high or low taxes which would be the more moral society? The one with high or low taxes? Is tax an issue of individual freedom versus collective altruism? Moral Maze - Presented by Michael Buerk

Panellists: Michael Portillo, Melanie Phillips, Matthew Taylor and Mehdi Hasan.

Witnesses: Professor David Myddelton, Canon Dr. Angus Ritchie, Frances Coppola and Danny Kruger.

Produced by Phil Pegum.

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Moral Maze
BBC Radio 4
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2 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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The bells of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield in London.

The bells of St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield in London.

Inside the Ethics Committee

Series 6 Episode 1: Mentally Ill and Refusing Surgery

BBC Radio 4
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45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Should a man who believes his life-saving surgery is a conspiracy to kill him be forced?

John needs a life-saving operation, but is refusing it. Patients have the right to refuse treatment, but John is mentally ill. Is his refusal valid? Can he be forced to go ahead?

Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the real life case of John who needs a life-saving operation, but is refusing it.

Patients have the right to refuse treatment, but John is mentally ill. He believes the operation is an elaborate conspiracy to kill him.

Without surgery, John has only a few weeks to live.

Is John's refusal valid? Should the surgeon operate without his consent? It might save John's life, but would it be in his best interests?

Joan Bakewell is joined by her panel of experts to discuss the complex ethical issues arising from this case.

Producer: Beth Eastwood.

Belief

Akram Khan

BBC Radio 3
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Choreographer Akram Khan talks to Joan Bakewell about his Muslim upbringing.

Choreographer Akram Khan discusses belief with Joan Bakewell. He tells of how his Muslim upbringing and the spiritual kathak dance he learnt as a boy have been integral to his work.

Choreographer Akram Khan explains how his Muslim upbringing and the spiritual "kathak" dance he learnt as a boy have been integral to his work.

Presenter:Joan Bakewell

Producer:Dawn Bryan.

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Belief
BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Ernie Rea and guests discuss whether or not monogamy is the ideal for human relationships.

Beyond Belief

The Supernatural

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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In the first of a new series, Ernie Rea and guests discuss the supernatural.

In the first of a new series, Ernie Rea and guests discuss the supernatural and ask whether there are always rational explanations for the apparently inexplicable.

Ernie Rea returns with a new series of Radio 4's discussion programme in which guests from different faith and non-faith perspectives debate the challenges of today's world.

Each week a panel is assembled to represent a diversity of views and opinions, which often reveal hidden, complex and sometimes contradictory understandings of the world around us.

In this programme, the first in a new series, Ernie and guests discuss the supernatural and ask whether there are always rational explanations for the apparently inexplicable.

Why does belief in the supernatural appear to have increased in recent years? Can it be explained by an increase in visibility in books, television and the internet or could our fascination with ghosts, spirits and the hereafter be filling a void left by organised religion.

The panellists hear from a medium and paranormal investigator who claims to have daily visions and has helped police forces solve murder cases.

Joining Ernie to discuss the supernatural are Gordon Smith, one of Britain's best known psychic mediums, the Reverend Anthony Delaney, pastor of Ivy Church in Manchester and Professor Christopher French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths College, London.

Producer: Karen Maurice.

Beyond Belief

01/03/2010

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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On St David's Day, Ernie Rea and guests discuss whether patron saints are still important.

For St David's Day, Ernie Rea and guests discuss whether patron saints are still important cultural icons. What do their stories tell us about ourselves and our history?

For St David's Day, Ernie Rea and guests discuss whether patron saints are still important cultural icons. What do their stories tell us about ourselves and our history? Do we have the right saint for each nation and is there a place for a patron saint of the UK?

Moral Maze

Science and morality

BBC Radio 4
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45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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David Aaronovitch asks what can science tells us about our morals?

You wouldn't have thought that a book on the latest discoveries in the science of human behaviour would be high on the reading lists of politicians, but think again. David Brooks' The Social Animal is required reading for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. When he visited the UK a couple of weeks ago he had meetings with both the Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party. Politicians, it seems, are increasingly turning to disciplines like neuroscience and evolutionary anthropology to understand why we do things, so they can better tailor and design policies that will work in the real world. That all sounds very sensible, but how far should we take this new found enthusiasm for scientifically designed political policies? As science increasingly begins to explain our behaviour it is also challenging our assumptions about moral and social values. For millennia our moral reasoning has been guided by first principles - theology and philosophy. Should we embrace rather than fear the knowledge science brings as it helps unravel some of morality's muddles that have so far defeated our greatest thinkers? We almost un-questioningly accept that science can be used to improve our physical wellbeing, but why shouldn't it be used to make us better people? If neuroscience can change our understanding of human behaviour - and misbehaviour - why should it not be used to frame our laws, our ethics, our morality, to make the world a better place?

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by David Aaronovitch with Claire Fox, Clifford Longley, Kenan Malik and Matthew Taylor.

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Moral Maze

Moral Maze

Public figures and public morality

BBC Radio 4
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45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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David Aaronovitch and panel discuss morality in public life.

David Aaronovitch and panel, Claire Fox, Clifford Longley, Melanie Phillips and Matthew Taylor, discuss morality in public life.

There are the sins we know we know; the sins we think we know and the sins we know we don't know, but think we should know. All over the papers and news the rich, powerful and famous are being called to account. It might be Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, mildly mispeaking himself, and thus earning a barrage of demands for his resignation. Or the outrage at Chris Huhne, who - before he was an MP - may have been speeding and may have asked his wife to take his penalty points, a crime which hundreds of thousands of Britons have committed. And that's before we even get to the footballing hero, with his more than wandering eye. We and the media that serve us, are certainly having our moral pound of flesh. Is this the sign of a healthy democracy and a Fifth Estate that knows its moral boundaries and is policing them with commendable vigour? Are we getting more of these stories now because members of the elites in our society are behaving more badly than in the past and therefore need to be brought to book, or is it just our desire to bring down the powerful? Or maybe it's more that our culture is being driven by sanctimony, fear and loathing? Should we be tackling the elite for their moral turpitude, or looking at our own hate fuelled hypocrisy?

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by David Aaronovitch with Claire Fox, Clifford Longley, Melanie Phillips and Matthew Taylor.

Witnesses:

Peter Oborne - Chief Political commentator of the Daily Telegraph and author of The Rise of Political Lying

Rachel Cooke - Writer at The Observer

Steve Clifford - General Director of the Evangelical Alliance

Aric Sigman - Psychologist, biologist, and author.

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Moral Maze

Beyond Belief

08/03/2010

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Ernie Rea examines how Biblical attitudes to childlessness persist in society today.

Ernie Rea and guests examine how Biblical attitudes to childlessness persist in society today.

Beyond Belief

01/02/2010

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Ernie Rea and guests examine the rise of new monastic communities.

Ernie Rea and guests examine the rise of new monastic communities and ask what characteristics they share with traditional orders.

King James Bible

The Story of the King James Bible Episode 1: The Commission

BBC Radio 4
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45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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James Naughtie tells the story of how King James commissioned a new Bible translation.

James Naughtie visits Hampton Court to tell the story of how and why King James commissioned a translation of the Bible that has become our "national epic.".

The King James, or Authorised, Version of the Bible remains the most widely published text in the English language. It has been called the "noblest monument of English prose" and has been recognised for centuries as both a religious and literary classic.

In the first of three programmes marking the 400th anniversary of its publication, James Naughtie tells the story of how and why King James VI of Scotland and I of England decided on a new translation of the Bible.

The programme is recorded at Hampton Court Palace. A conference here in early 1604 led to the commissioning of the King James Version. The Chief Curator at the palace, Lucy Worsley and James Naughtie walk the palace grounds, scene of so much Tudor and Stuart frivolity, and a refuge from the plague. Before the earnestness of the January conference there had been masques and feasting and Shakespearean drama. England was still revelling in its new monarch after the stultifying later years of Elizabeth's reign and breathing a sigh of relief that the accession had been a smooth one.

The Chapel Royal provides a fitting setting for James to discuss the position of the monarchy in Jacobean England with Professor Pauline Croft. The King sat in the Royal Pew, high above his bishops and clergy. James had written about his ideas of divine kingship in "Basilikon Doron," addressed to his young son.

In The Great Watching Chamber we hear about the religious background to James' reign. Elizabeth's death had lifted the lid on the tensions between the godly (Puritans) and the conformists (Anglican bishops). The godly had presented a petition to James on his journey from Scotland to London demanding the end to religious practices they found beyond the pale; wearing vestments, making the sign of the cross, the exchange of wedding rings, the power of the bishops. It was to address these concerns that James had called the conference.

We follow in the footsteps of the conference delegates through the palace and into the Kings state apartments. James Naughtie learns about the key characters at the conference - the pugnacious puritan-basher Bishop of London, Richard Bancroft, the great preacher and conformist Lancelot Andrewes and the leader of the Puritan delegation, John Rainolds. The Puritans had a delicate line to pursue, criticising the establishment and the episcopacy without undermining royal supremacy. But James was having none of it - "No Bishops, no King!" It was an ill tempered conference, with James harrying the protagonists on both sides. He was a brilliant theologian himself, and in him some of the most learned men in the country met their match.

The suggestion for a new translation of the Bible was made by John Rainolds. He was hoping to undermine the authorised Bishops Bible and elevate the Geneva version favoured by Puritans. James acceded to the request because he agreed that all the various translations on offer had their faults. A victory for Rainolds? Not so. James singled out the Geneva Bible, with its controversial marginal notes, as the worst of them all.

After the conference, Bancroft drew up the rules for translation, had them approved by the king, and brought together six companies of translators based in Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster.

Work began at once. Barely a year later the Gunpowder Plot traumatised England. It turned out to be one of James' finest moments as a statesman, and it gave impetus to his vision of a new translation of the Bible that could unite the country's church and people.

Producer: Rosie Dawson.

Beyond Belief

Translating sacred texts

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Ernie Rea and guests discuss whether we should translate Holy books.

Marking the 400th anniversary of the translation of the King James Bible, Ernie Rea and guests discuss how holy books should be translated and what is lost/gained in the process?

Ernie Rea chairs Radio 4's discussion programme in which guests from different faith and non-faith perspectives debate the challenges of today's world.

Each week a panel is assembled to represent a diversity of views and opinions, which often reveal hidden, complex and sometimes contradictory understandings of the world around us.

As 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Ernie Rea and guests discuss how sacred texts, such as the Bible, Koran or Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy book, should be translated. Are translations given equal consideration by followers as the original text? Does it matter whether you understand the language of your Holy book? Is there a place for contemporary interpretations such as the comic book Bible?

Joining Ernie to discuss translating holy books is Jasjit Singh, a doctoral researcher from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds; Dr Sahib Bleher, a professional translator who is currently working on a translation of the Qur'an into English; and the Rev Dr Maggi Dawn Fellow at Robinson College Cambridge and author of "The Writing on the Wall: High Art, Popular Culture and the Bible."

Producer: Karen Maurice.

King James Bible

The Story of the King James Bible Episode 2: The Translation

BBC Radio 4
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45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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James Naughtie on how a committee of Bible translators produced a "national epic.".

James Naughtie tells the story of how a committee of Bible translators produced a great work of English literature.

In the second of two programmes marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, James Naughtie tells the story of how six companies of men produced a new translation of Bible which has come to be regarded as one of the greatest works of English literature ever produced.

The programme opens in the main quadrangle of the Bodleian library. A statue of King James stands high over the courtyard, books in hand. The King loved the Bodleian. In a visit there in 1605 he said that he would love to spend his life chained alongside the library's chained books.

The translators in London, Cambridge and Oxford drew on several earlier translations of the Bible as they went about their work. In the chapel at Hertford college, Oxford, Jim sees a stained glass window of William Tyndale, the first man to translate the Bible into English directly from Hebrew and Greek. The translators drew heavily on his work. Many of the phrases that come to mind when we think of the King James Bible are in fact those of Tyndale. The translators had several other Bible translations at their disposal too. Each had their own agenda; the Great Bible with its frontispiece depicting the idea of Royal Supremacy; the Puritans' Geneva Bible which challenged that very idea.

One of the Oxford companies of translators worked in the Tower room at Corpus Christi college. It looks much as it did in the 17th century with the crests of the Oxford colleges embossed around the ceiling and wooden panelling. This was the room of John Rainolds, the college president and one of the "godly." It was Rainolds who as head of the Puritan faction had initiated the new translation at the Hampton court conference. The company met there because Rainolds suffered from gout. He died in 1607 - but most of his company's work was already complete.

James is shown two extraordinary documents which reveal how the translators worked. One, a 1602 copy of the Bishops Bible, contains annotations made by the scholars suggesting alternative translations. The other is a copy of notes made by one which reveals the mind of the revision committee which met to review the translations of all the companies.

James Naughtie goes to Stationers Hall in London where that revision committee met. It's here that the King James Bible would have been read out loud for the first time. As James hears the opening words from Genesis, he reflects on the achievement of the translators in giving a version of the Bible which has come to be our "national epic.".

Moral Maze

Morality and Principle in Foreign Policy

BBC Radio 4
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43 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Buerk chairs a debate on the role of morality and principle in foreign policy.

How should we balance our moral responsibility to stand up for our principles and beliefs around the world with the forces of pragmatism? Engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk.

The stand-off over Ukraine between Russia and the West looks increasingly threatening and reminiscent of the Cold War. It also demonstrates vividly the limits of the place of morality in foreign policy. We may feel it's our moral duty to defend our commitments to democracy and self-determination in the Ukraine, just as we have done, often loudly and directly, during the Arab Spring. The reality is our principles have come up against the facts on the ground. There will be talk of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, but there's little more we can do. So where does that leave the Western Ukrainians that we've been so assiduously courting? If ultimately we are not willing to risk our own skins to defend Ukraine shouldn't we admit that our policy is driven by self-interest rather than give the Western Ukrainians the illusion that we will do anything brave about it? Aren't we guilty of encouraging people to take risks on the false prospectus that we will be there when they need us? Ultimately, isn't honest real politic more moral than hypocritical internationalism? Or is a foreign policy that has no moral reference points beyond naked self-interest a nihilistic counsel of despair? How should we balance our moral responsibility to stand up for our principles and beliefs around the world with the forces of pragmatism? Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk, with Melanie Phillips, Michael Portillo, Giles Fraser and Matthew Taylor.

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Moral Maze

Beyond Belief

Christianity and the Law

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Ernie Rea and guests discuss the relationship between Christianity and the law.

Ernie Rea in conversation with guests about the place of faith in today's complex world, discussing the relationship between Christianity and the law.

Last year Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, gave a speech in which he said the law of this country is secular, and that Christianity no longer informs its morality or values." Happily for us," he went on, "the days are past when the business of judges was the enforcement of morals or religious beliefs."

Ernie Rea is joined by Sir Mark Hedley, Joshua Rozenberg and David McIlroy to discuss the relationship between Christianity and the Law.

Producer: Rosie Dawson.

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