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Beyond Belief

A weekly Religion and Spirituality podcast featuring Ernie Rea
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Episodes of Beyond Belief

In the new Scottish Parliament, a majority of MSPs want independence for Scotland but recent opinion polls suggest that only half the population is in favour. In all the debates, the religious voice has been very muted. That may be because, rel
Ernie Rea takes a look at a religion that emerged on the Caribbean island of Haiti about 500 years ago when the traditional religions of enslaved West Africans merged with the Catholicism of the French colonialists. Here in the West we call it
On February 1st, the government in Myanmar was overthrown in a military coup. Aung San Suu Kyi is now being held in prison and hundreds of protestors have been shot on the streets. For many decades, Christians and Muslims have been at the hard
This year marks the 700th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. He is best known as the author of 'The Divine Comedy' which describes his journey through Hell and Purgatory, until he finally reaches Paradise. But it is '
The rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme has been the envy of much of the world but there is concern about the reluctance of people from black and minority ethnic communities to take the vaccine. Ernie Rea asks why this is the case. He als
In all the tributes to Prince Philip, one of the things that surprised many people was that he was a man of deep, personal faith. We knew of his passion for science and technology, his commitment to the environment and his strong sense of duty
In the first of a new series of Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea is joined by three beekeepers. Bees have been important to humans for thousands of years. Honey was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, Aristotle and Virgil wrote about beekeeping and bees and
Since Darwin published The Origin of Species, there has been a perceived battle between science and religion. It was not always so. For hundreds of years, science was designed to help people reach a better understanding of God rather than the w
This year, the Dalai Lama celebrated his 85th Birthday. He is one of the world's most prominent religious leaders and is certainly the most famous Buddhist but talk is now turning to who will replace him. In 1959, His Holiness was forced to lea
Christmas is often a time of celebration and reflection. A time of sitting by the Christmas tree, eating and drinking, spending time with loved ones and for Christians reflecting on the birth of Jesus. His mother Mary is a highly revered figu
Born into a musical family in Bonn towards the end of the 18th century, Ludwig van Beethoven became one of the greatest composers who ever lived. But whilst much is written about his life and music, little attention is paid to his faith and sp
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on people's lives in so many ways including the way we are able to say goodbye to our loved ones. Funeral ceremonies and burial rites have had to adapt to these challenging times. But what impact has no
Britain is in the midst of a huge Debt Crisis. Recent research by a debt charity has found that household borrowing and arrears have soared 66% since May to £10.3 billion. For many people, there seems to be no way out. Month by month they si
Since the nation was introduced to the likes of Elsie Tanner and Ken Barlow in the northern town of Weatherfield almost 60 years ago, television soap operas have gripped viewers across the networks. Some talk about it as an addiction as the wed
There is evidence that, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people are turning to prayer. Is this a last desperate resort on our part to divert an existential threat? Do we really expect God to intervene? If not, what are we hopin
In 1997 Britain handed sovereignty of Hong Kong to the Chinese and for the first few years, the Basic Law that came into effect at the handover meant that, the people of Hong Kong enjoyed religious freedom. But now religious freedom is under th
There is no doubt that religion plays a large part in US Presidential Elections. Donald Trump is supported by the religious right which includes white evangelicals and conservative Catholics, whilst Joe Biden appeals to more liberal Catholics a
Later this week, from Friday to Sunday, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a time for reflection and repentance and for coming together to share delicious food as well as special services at the synag
Four hundred years ago, a group of 102 passengers and 30 crew set sail from Plymouth for the New World. Their journey on the Mayflower is one of the foundation stories of the United States and today, more than 30 million Americans claim descent
Because of Covid-19, we now have to cover our faces with masks which means that we are becoming more anonymous. In this edition of Beyond Belief, Ernie takes a look at the importance of the face to people of different faiths. Jews and Muslims d
If you are a follower of one the main religions, it is more than likely that you will have undergone a bathing ritual. Cleansing with water is an integral part of Christian Baptism, Muslim Prayer and Jewish purification. Hindus aspire to bathe
George Orwell’s allegorical novel ‘Animal Farm’ was first published on 17th August 1945 and has never been out of print. It tells the story of a group of exploited animals who take over their farm and attempt to create an ideal society. On the
There are growing reports of couples opting for private wedding ceremonies or even resorting to marrying online during lockdown. On a less celebratory note, the divorce rates in China are said to have rocketed after their lockdown ended. There
During the lockdown, with gyms shut and exercise outdoors restricted, social media is littered with anecdotes of people putting on weight or turning to diet plans. Most religious traditions have some kind of rules when it comes to what we eat.
2020 marks 250 years since the birth of William Wordsworth, one of England's most celebrated poets. Wordsworth and his friend and colleague Samuel Taylor Coleridge were pioneers of English Romanticism and they produced works including The Excur
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