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← Atheists have moral reflections too

Atheists have moral reflections too - Comments

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 1 by Stafford Gordon

Oh, what a relief it would be if I didn't have to turn the radio off when TFTD is announced; the one exception is when Rabbi Lional Blu is guest; I wouldn't miss him for the world!

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:10:00 UTC | #297092

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 2 by MarcCountry

Or, just make an atheist version of the show, and call it "Thought, for a change" instead.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:12:00 UTC | #297098

tvictor's Avatar Comment 3 by tvictor


Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:54:00 UTC | #297142's Avatar Comment 4 by

"3. Comment #312025 by tvictor on January 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm


Really? Where is it that you do this? How do I get there? Is it a 'rave'? Will there be E?

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:08:00 UTC | #297146

root2squared's Avatar Comment 5 by root2squared





Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:10:00 UTC | #297149

Ohnhai's Avatar Comment 6 by Ohnhai

..SHock.. ..Horror...

please no burning of churches... at least the architecturally significant ones.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:20:00 UTC | #297160

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 7 by NewEnglandBob


1. It is too cold out to run naked.

2. I have never raped a church.

3. MUAHAHAHA: pre-heat oven to 350 then roast for 20 minutes. Hotter or longer tends to dry the MUAHAHAHA out.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:27:00 UTC | #297166

AshtonBlack's Avatar Comment 9 by AshtonBlack

VERY much doubt it will happen. The BBC tends to err on the side of caution when it comes to the faith heads. I hope I am wrong, of course and that reason will prevail.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:34:00 UTC | #297172

Indridcold's Avatar Comment 8 by Indridcold

"2. I have never raped a church."

Clearly, you're not militant enough...

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:34:00 UTC | #297171

godskesen's Avatar Comment 10 by godskesen

But how are we supposed to contribute moral insights when we don't have the celestial surveillance camera and "carrot and stick" morality to fall back on?

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:44:00 UTC | #297183

tvictor's Avatar Comment 11 by tvictor

@NewEnglandBob comment #7

1- It's definitely not cold where I live
3- hum?


Sun, 04 Jan 2009 15:01:00 UTC | #297199

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins

Sue Blackmore has written a serious and worthwhile article, but has been met on our site with mostly frivolous comments. She deserves better.

It seems to me that two worthwhile things emerge from her article. First, we might all go and sign the pledge, as I shall as soon as I sign off here. And second we might offer topics that a non-religious Thought For The Day could cover. I suppose any kind of moral philosophic question would do, and it's usually possible to find something in the day's news that raises a moral question. It would be a good opportunity to demonstrate to people who think otherwise that there is such as thing as a well thought-out secular morality. And also a good opportunity to raise consciousness about what nice people we are.


Sun, 04 Jan 2009 15:54:00 UTC | #297228

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 13 by PaulJ

I'd be surprised if the BBC changed its policy about TFTD (which should be called Religious Thought For The Day). Inclusion of secular viewpoints has, I understand, been requested several times in the past, without success.

Incidentally, are you folks aware of Platitude of the Day?

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:01:00 UTC | #297234

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 14 by phil rimmer

Comment #312117 by Richard Dawkins

It would be a good opportunity to demonstrate to people who think otherwise that there is such as thing as a well thought-out secular morality.

And indeed, as hugely successful socialised creatures, that we are naturally moral! No thinking out required.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:04:00 UTC | #297238

decius's Avatar Comment 15 by decius

Deadline to sign up by: 31st December 2008
1,660 people signed up (1560 over target)

This pledge has now closed; it was successful!

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:13:00 UTC | #297242

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

I am uncomfortable about keeping TFTD, and having non-religious contributors some of the time. Because it implies parity between the different approaches to morality. The non-religious approach to morality is not just one of many approaches. It is the only fair approach.

However, I am willing to be convinced otherwise.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:13:00 UTC | #297245

Goldy's Avatar Comment 16 by Goldy


It would be a good opportunity to demonstrate to people who think otherwise that there is such as thing as a well thought-out secular morality.

Many people will see that yes, there is such a thing, that atheists and agnostics and the like can be moral. But they will always, surely, claim that the morality comes from them, the religious. We follow their rules, as it were.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:13:00 UTC | #297243

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 18 by Dr. Strangegod

Thank you, Richard.

Much love to Sue Blackmore out there on the frontlines fighting the fight. Very good work. If the BBC listened to Americans, I'd sign that thing in a heartbeat. I would hope that in offering nonbeliever thoughts of the day, the result would be an understanding that the basic morals would be the mostly same as those of believers. Rather than highlighting the differences and hubristically claiming some sort of enlightened perspective, nonbelievers should attempt to demonstrate that, upon removal of god(s) from your worldview, you can retain many of the same basic human morals (aside, of course, from those hateful and violent ideas that stem from particular religions.)

I would write my moral of the day, but I can't think of one. And my chicken is getting cold. That's it: never let your chicken get cold. It is much better warm.

And I highly recommend putting oneself on the Fred Rogers message of the month email list. It keeps one on the straight and narrow so to speak.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:22:00 UTC | #297250

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 19 by Apathy personified

For me, the key point of the whole article is

raise the basic question of what TFTD is for.
Indeed, what is it for - Or rather, what's the point of it?

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:24:00 UTC | #297254

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 20 by phil rimmer

Steve, its a step and

The non-religious approach to morality is not just one of many approaches. It is the only fair approach.

....This, I suspect, will become patently and surprisingly apparent to many who listen in.

All we need is the chance to prove it.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:25:00 UTC | #297255

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Comment #312147 by phil rimmer

I suppose so. After all, it would be the BBC making the assumption of equal points of view, not the contributors.

I guess I am just uneasy about anything that gives the awful Anne Atkins time on air.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:28:00 UTC | #297258

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 22 by phil rimmer

Comment #312150 by Steve Zara

I think you underestimate the power of a vocal audience. I strongly suspect the contents of the Today mailbag might start to shift the balance in favour of the rational if the audience are given a taste for it.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:34:00 UTC | #297261

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 23 by Mark Jones

Comment #312153 by phil rimmer

I tend to agree with this; I think (hope!) that the gradual drip-drip of rational thinking will appeal to more than not. EDIT And Anne Atkins isn't going to go away!

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 17:08:00 UTC | #297286

JuJu's Avatar Comment 24 by JuJu

Juju says: Today and each day after should have this thought attached to it. BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 17:22:00 UTC | #297293

Ed-words's Avatar Comment 25 by Ed-words

Lucas - - After you eat your chicken, there's a response for you on the "Teen Trained to be Suicide Bomber" thread.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 20:02:00 UTC | #297383

j.mills's Avatar Comment 26 by j.mills

This has been tried before, the Beeb has been deaf to it. I heard the TFTD producer 'defending' the policy a few years ago. She 'argued' that changing the format to allow atheists would mean changing the format. I kid you not, that was as good as it got. (And I'm puuuurty sure she was a christian.)

What we really need to do is get the Daily Mail onside! :)

I wonder if a case could be brought under equality laws?

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 20:11:00 UTC | #297393

27513's Avatar Comment 27 by 27513

sorta off topic but i find it odd how there are no articles on israel's attack on gaza here -_-

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 21:45:00 UTC | #297491

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 28 by Dr Doctor

Well, once more unto the breach dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead.

There is no doubt that Radio 4 which I listen to on the internet has become more religious in tone. TFTD should either be named less deceitfully or be opened up.

On the subject of topics, a broad range would be good to appeal to not just atheists and agnostics. Thoughts distilled from the great and terrible moments of history. Thought from science. Thoughts from literature.

If it has to be atheistic in tone, then I'd suggest the "No atheists in foxholes" canard. Ask why, if it were true, it can hardly be seen as a bad thing that atheists are not malleable and easily led, and ask why the military prefer to draw its cannon fodder from the gullible. Then follow up in the second minute with, of course we know this isn't true and separate the idea of duty from the idea of being God fearing.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 21:49:00 UTC | #297496

Peter Hearty's Avatar Comment 29 by Peter Hearty

I don't think previous campaigns go far enough. The aim of getting the occasional non-religious voice on TFTD is simply a mild dilution of the current formula. It will still be dominated by blokes in frocks telling us all that we're responsible for all the recent ills of the world.

I propose that TFTD be retained, but completely reformed. Each day we should have someone who faces genuine moral dilemmas: a nurse in a busy A&E ward, a policeman on a community beat, a primary school teacher with a class that speaks half a dozen languages. There are no end of people with interesting moral and ethical perspectives that we never hear from.

I say make the theologians and holy book specialists an occasional minority. Let's make TFTD the truly inclusive and inspirational slot that it could be.

The BBC will, of course, ignore this suggestion, because the 'Department of Religion and Ethics' is really a 'Department of Religion and More Religion' and is determined to keep its foot in the door on the Today programme.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 22:04:00 UTC | #297506

AForce1's Avatar Comment 30 by AForce1

Someone wrote that the poll is closed. If that is so, I suggest that all UK posters(& family/friends) write to the Today programme asking for the inclusion of people like Sue Blackmore.
The BBC is, after all, a public broadcaster & we atheists pay for the BBC just like believers do. And there are possibly more of us than them.

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 22:48:00 UTC | #297515