Thought for the Day

The BBC Trust has been discussing Thought for the Day, the slot which appears in the middle of BBC Radio 4’s morning news programme Today. The point at hand is over whether atheists and humanists should have access to the slot.

The thing that has struck me about this debate is how old it all seems.

On the second occasion when I went to be selected for training for the priesthood, the very same topic came up, and that is years ago now. The selection system in those days used to end with an exercise called “10 Minute Topics”. Those being selected had to sit around in a circle and slips of paper would be put in front of the group, face down. When it was your turn, you had to pick up a piece of paper and read out the topic which was written on it. You then had to introduce the topic for 2 minutes, chair a discussion amongst the group members for 7 minutes and then sum up for 1 minute. It was a game I rather enjoyed. Oddly enough, it is one of the things that I most clearly remember from the experience.

Anyway, I turned over my piece of paper to find the topic was “Atheists should be allowed to do Thought for the Day”.

I can also remember the conclusion which the group came to which was quite clear. We agreed that we thought that there would be no great harm done to the Christianity or any other faith if an atheist was allowed to do Thought for the Day, but we thought that Choral Evensong should still be the preserve of believers.

I think that remains my view today.

No discussion of Thought for the Day is complete without directing people to Platitude of the Day:

Trinity Sermon 2008

[audio:Trinity Sermon – 2008.mp3]

Here’s something a little different.

I recorded the sermon this morning and you should be able to hear it if you click on the icon above. The underlying file is quite big (9MB) so this may be only for those who have broadband.

Does it work? Can you hear me? What do you think?


I’ve added the text of the sermon below for any not able to hear. Note that the text that I was preaching from is not the same as what I said. What you see below is the main argument but with the jokes and the conclusion missed out. (A bit like the Bible really….)


Increasingly, we find ourselves talking to atheists. This morning, I want to reflect on the kind of conversations that ensue.

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