Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Humanist Thoughts

BBC Radio 4 has a brief slot in the middle of the morning news called Thought For The Day. It's a pleasant diversion from the relentless barrage of information - a two-minute pause to consider a broader perspective on some event or issue that is current.

I really enjoyed listening to them, until I learned that non-religious speakers are excluded from the slot. There are many contributors - Christian ministers, Jewish rabbis, Sikhs, Muslims ... a real cross-section of British worldviews. Except for the 15-40% of British people who identify as non-religious.

Which is odd, because most of the thoughts talk about worldly concerns, and many don't explicitly invoke the religious beliefs of the speaker's particular tradition.

Humanists, some as prominent as Richard Dawkins have protested this completely arbitrary oversight, and have got absolutely no sympathy from the BBC.

As of last year, Humanists here in Scotland have taken matters into their own hands, starting the Thought For The World site (formerly "Think Humanist"). Last year, it was a single week of six podcast Thoughts by prominent British Humanists, broadcast over the week of Darwin Day. (Happy Darwin's birthday by the way. He'd be 199 years old today.)

This year, they've gathered more and are promising three weeks, fifteen Thoughts in all. The first two are already up and are good listening. There are some big names ahead, including AC Grayling (my favorite philosopher at the moment). But it sounds like there will also be some regular folks contributing too. I look forward to seeing if I know any of them, and listening to what they have to say.

And if you're a Humanist in Britain, why not consider contributing? Just jot down a Thought you would like to express (up to 400 words), record it (2 minutes or so), and submit it.

Let your voice be heard.


  1. Hey everybody - guess who today's speaker is?

    Listen and find out.

  2. Good on you, Tim!

    I've listened all the available ones now and Christopher Brookmyre's 'Auntie Joy' (or is that anti-joy?) sticks in my mind...


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