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Sunday, 1 June 2008

Beeb backs a loser

In spite of not being religious – or maybe because of it – I listen to Sunday, BBC Radio 4's religious-affairs programme on Sunday mornings at 7.10. Some of the items are interesting, if only for arguments, or excuses for arguments, put up by the religious to justify their belief in this or that.

The interviewing, by the likes of Roger Bolton, Edward Stourton, Alan Little and the odd other locum presenter, is never robust enough, and interviewees are rarely if ever truly challenged.

This morning, an entire item concerned whether people believed God smiled on them and their betting slips when they were at the races, and a former jockey, now a racing journalist with questionable grammar (if this morning's report was anything to go by) on Radio Five Live, went to the races and spoke to people – people who seriously prayed for a win.

My thoughts immediately went to those who pray to God to save them from a disaster, say, and then crow that he did just that; or they failed to get on a plane and it crashed, and it was God who saved them by keeping them off the plane. My question is, Why didn't he save the other people? What had they done to deserve to die?

So why should God bless a betting slip, when he's just causing other people to lose? Why wasn't this question put to one of the punters?

OK, we know, or assume, that there is no God, and so it's a silly question. But why do believers think God would choose them over someone else? And why do radio programmes that see themselves as serious outlets for religious discussion allow a piece like this to go out without posing these pertinent questions? It's not the "and finally" on a news bulletin, after all: it's a programme about and for God botherers.

Silly season, I suspect – although there's enough stuff out there in the minds of the muddled to create programme items from. Bloggers do it every day!

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