21 Sept 2015: The BBC programme Sea of Faith by Don Cupitt led by Ian

This programme was first broadcast on BBC in 1984 and this long ago was obvious from the film style, background scenes and quality. The latter eventually preventing further viewing of episode 1: The Mechanical Universe. This ran over the history of scientific awakening eg Galileo and the challenges this presented to church orthodox teaching based on Biblical interpretation. Prior to this the world was mythical, magical and filled with religious symbolism eg doors and archways in churches. Priests had knowledge and hence power and therefore political influence.  He suggested that science and religion use different languages (mathematics – v – poetry and imagery) that don’t contradict each other; neither can be dogmatic. Truth is to be found in the quest. Also covered work of Strauss, Pascal and Descartes.

A somewhat surprising claim was made at the start: the rapid decline in church attendance on Sundays was 48% of the UK population in 1850s to just 7% in 1982. We are now experiencing the end game of this trend with smaller and smaller congregations of increasing average age with little energy becoming economically unsustainable.

Ian Harris