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Beyond Belief

Podcast Beyond Belief
Podcast Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief


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  • The 5Ks of Sikhism
    In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Sikh Guru) formed the Sikh Khalsa and announced that its first five members should wear the 5Ks to demonstrate their devotion to their faith. Today the 5Ks are still symbols of Sikh identity: Kesh (uncut hair), Kanga (a wooden comb), Kara (steel bracelet), Kirpan (sword) and Kachera (cotton underwear). To discuss the importance of the 5Ks, Ernie Rea is joined by Dr Jasjit Singh (Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at Leeds University), Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Labour MP for Slough and Shadow Minister for Railways) and by Professor Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh (Crawford Family Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College in the United States). Producer: Helen Lee
  • Satan
    In the popular imagination, Satan is often a figure of evil with horns, hooves, frightening face and wings. But in scripture he does not conform to this stereotype. In Islam (in the form of Iblis) and in Christianity, he is a fallen angel - different to ‘the Satan’ of the Hebrew Bible – but all in sacred writings he is a Tempter and/or Adversary. How has our view of him changed over the centuries and what part does he play in today’s world? Ernie Rea is joined by three people who have given much thought to Satan. Darren Oldridge is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Worcester and the author of “The Devil: A Very Short Introduction.” Roni Tabick is the Rabbi of the New Stoke Newington Shul in Hackney. He has studied ancient Hebrew culture and Rabbinic texts. And Dr Sharihan Al-Akhras is a Digital Journalist at the BBC World Service. Her PhD looked at the links between Milton’s Satan in “Paradise Lost” and the Muslim story of Iblis. Producer: Helen Lee Editor: Helen Grady
  • Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols
    In the spring of 1942, Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears left the United States on board a Swedish cargo ship to cross the perilous waters of the North Atlantic. On a stopover in Nova Scotia, Britten picked up a book of medieval poems and whilst the ship navigated ferocious winds and dodged U boats, he used some of them in the first draft of what was to become 'A Ceremony of Carols'. From the confines of a miserable and airless cabin he created a work of such joy and energy that it has become a Christmas staple for the high clear voices of boy trebles - or women’s choir - and harp. To discuss the enduring appeal of the music and the spiritual meaning of 'A Ceremony of Carols', Ernie Rea is joined by a distinguished trio of musicians. Michael Berkeley is a composer, broadcaster, and crossbench peer. Benjamin Britten was his godfather. Anna Lapwood is a conductor, organist and Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She was a professional harp player. And the Rev Lucy Winkett is Rector of St James Piccadilly in the centre of London. Before becoming a priest, she trained as a singer at the Royal College of Music. Producer: Helen Lee
  • Boxing
    Straight after Oleksandr Usyk dethroned Anthony Joshua on points in a boxing masterclass in London, the new world heavyweight champion told a crowd of 65,000 that: "The only thing I wanted to do with this fight is to give praise to Jesus Christ." A fortnight later, the world's other heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury proclaimed to a global audience of 920,000 that Jesus helped him knock out Deontay Wilder to retain his title. Why have boxing and Christianity become so deeply embedded in each other’s corners? Ernie Rae goes toe to toe with the theology behind the punches with stories of some of the sport’s biggest names and those at its grassroots today. How do Christians in the fight game reconcile love thy neighbour with delivering knockouts? Especially when we know much more about the long term brain damage boxers are exposed to. To answer these questions and more, Ernie is joined by: Pastor Lorraine Jones, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Dwayneamics, a boxing gym in Brixton. Amy Koehlinger, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Oregon State University and author of the upcoming Rosaries and Rope Burns: Boxing and Manhood in American Catholicism from 1880 to 1970. Gordon Marino, former boxer who covered the sport for the Wall Street Journal and HBO. A boxing trainer with 30 years’ experience, professor of Philosophy at St Olaf College, Minnesota and author of The Existentialist's Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age. Plus, as he prepares for his next fight, boxer, Jazza Dickens tells Ernie precisely why he believes God “strengthens his hands” whilst keeping him and his opponent safe no matter what he does in the squared circle. Producer: Julian Paszkiewicz Editor: Helen Grady (Image: Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after being crowned the new World Champion following the Heavyweight Title Fight between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25, 2021 in London, England. Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
  • Young Voices in Northern Ireland
    For this special edition of Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea has been to Northern Ireland to talk to a panel of young adults in their 20s about their views on religion and how their society has changed in the 23 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Ernie was born in Belfast and worked in a youth club on the Shankill Road during some of the worst years of the Troubles. He experienced the visceral hatred felt by some Protestants and Catholics towards each other and although religion was not the cause of the Troubles, it played its part; it largely determined how people voted and where they sent their children to school. Ernie acknowledges that things have changed since the Troubles but he wants to know how much? Does religious affiliation still determine attitudes towards social and moral issues in Northern Ireland? Panel: Andrew Matthews Aoibhin McNeill Chris Clague Shannon Campbell Producer: Helen Lee Editor: Helen Grady

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