How is it that two people can share the same experiences and events and it have such different effects on their faith?
Jane Little meets two men who both answered the call after 9/11 to join the War on Terror, but who came out of it with very different ideas about their relationship with God.
Rory Fanning and Jesse Bowman both served in the US Army and witnessed the worst that war could throw up. One of them lost his previously unshakeable Catholicism, the other found comfort from the psychological trauma in God
They both share candidly with Jane their experiences and how its shaped their lives since
A year and a day
When Colin Brazier lost his wife Jo to cancer last summer, he felt pressure to put his grief on show, to make her funeral a celebration.
Friends expected him to give the eulogy at her funeral, and some wanted to wear bright colours to celebrate her life. But that felt completely wrong, and though one mourner turned up in shorts and flip flops, the service was a traditional one with hymns and mourners dressed in black. As a Catholic, the ritual of the Requiem Mass felt cleansing and appropriate.
As much of Europe and the US becomes more secular, Colin explores the modern funeral and the growth of the personalised, celebratory service, in contrast to the service he organised for Jo. With pall bearers dressed as super-heroes and wakes at McDonalds, is death being given its true state, and should it be a time to celebrate?
In a highly personal programme, Colin talks to non-believers too, and asks how they navigate death without the framework of religion to guide them.
Presenter: Colin Brazier
Producer: Henrietta Harrison
Picture: Jo Brazier. Credit: Colin Brazier
American Judaism after the Tree of Life
It was the response of Jewish organisations that was possibly most telling the day after last year's Tree of Life shooting. President Trump wasn’t welcome in Pittsburgh unless, that is, he denounced the language of white nationalism.
The attack on the synagogue, according to The Washington Post, ‘wasn’t unimaginable but inevitable’, and anecdotally the build-up of anti-Semitic attacks in the US may just back that up. The Anti-Defamation League logged a 57 percent rise in incidents in 2017.
The Tree of Life synagogue sits in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, and has been described as an urban shtetl; we meet the Jews who share this small section of the city.
David McGuire asks Rabbi Jeffrey Myers how the shooting of 11 of its members affected the Squirrel Hill community.
Under the provocative #jewishresistance, liberal Jews have challenged other Jews to stand up for their faith, but the reality is that they aren’t united, they are split religiously and politically. The accusation is that Orthodox and Conservative Jews are remaining silent when it comes to the rise of anti-Semitic language.
Jews across the USA say they now feel as threatened as they have done for many years, and as they face external intimidation, there is a growing gap between the two sides of the faith in the USA.
Producer and Presenter: David McGuire
Picture: A shop front in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, USA. Credit BBC
Kenya’s Quakers: Best of Friends
Kenya is home to the majority of the world's Quakers and it is vibrant and noisy, much different from the quiet, contemplative religion most of us know.
Audrey Brown has been to the spiritual home of the Quaker faith, Kaimosi to learn how it landed, spread and flourished.
The faith is growing at rapid rate across East Africa, fighting for converts with other Christian faiths and Quakers in Europe have recently been debating whether God has a place in its worship, but that's not the case here in Kenya, God is at the front and centre of their boisterous services. there aren't many moments of silence here.
Audrey meets the Kenyan worshippers as well some visiting German Quakers and listens in as they debate the importance, or not, of God.
Picture: A Quaker in Kenya Credit: BBC
Making friends with the KKK
Daryl Davis collects Ku Klux Klan memorabilia – KKK robes, hoods and masks. He says they are given to him by those leaving the white supremacist organisation, after he has spent time befriending them and persuading them to change their views. Heart and Soul hears from Daryl about what drives him, his Christian faith and concerns about racial division within the church, and from Scott Shepherd, one of those he helped to leave the KKK.
Mike Wooldridge asks if Daryl is doing ‘the right thing’. His critics complain that his testifying in court in defence of violent extremists is a step too far, and that he would be better joining with others in calling for political change. But Daryl maintains that the sometimes risky meetings he initiates, for which he calls upon God’s protection, are a good way of changing people’s minds.
(Photo: Daryl Davis, 59, poses with a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe in the foreground, 2017. Credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post/Getty Images)