John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith (1889-1971) was a Scottish broadcasting executive who established the tradition of independent public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom. In 1922 he was employed by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company Ltd.) as its General Manager; in 1923 he became its Managing Director and in 1927 he was employed as the first-ever Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, this was created under a Royal Charter. His concept of broadcasting as a way of educating the masses marked for a long time the BBC and similar organizations around the world. Lord Reith founded an institution strongly based upon Christian principles.
I t is little short of astonishing how many prominent atheists have been given encouragement and support by the BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation) during the last half-century or so, but especially during the last 10-15 years. This criticism mainly applies to BBC television, rather less so to BBC radio. Many of these individuals are freely given their own television series, whereas theists, committed Christians, and especially climate change 'deniers,' are always downgraded by the BBC (climate change deniers are dropped even where they had been 'major players.' A good example here is the formerly hugely popular television personality David Bellamy who had continually featured in BBC TV programming on science, but especially on botanical and ecology issues; Bellamy was quickly dropped by the corporation upon his well-publicised challenge to so-called 'climate change').
Atheists who have been outrageously promoted by BBC television include the truly awful atheistic propagandists Jonathan Miller and Richard Dawkins, but extend to Sir David Attenborough, one of the major controllers of the BBC. Without doubt Attenborough is popular yet - make no mistake - his approach is clearly atheistic (though he is on record in denying this). In fact, some believe that it is the huge influence of Attenborough at the BBC which has restricted Christianity, and even Theism, to the very margins of any serious consideration in TV programming. Sir David, according to the Daily Telegraph, tops a league table of academic honours-receivers, having received at least 29 honorary degrees from British universities, more than any other person. This is according to a table of Britain's most honoured compiled by The Sunday Telegraph. Let us make it plain, in case some misunderstand, that honorary degrees are awarded without study. Attenborough, the tireless promoter of both Darwinism and the equally mythical 'human population explosion' theory, holds, we are reliably informed, a single zoology degree from Cambridge.
It is noticeable that in most any BBC documentary-type programme, whether on history or science, atheism is simply assumed to be the untarnished truth whereas the central tenets of Christianity are assumed to be "purely mythical." Science is not to be challenged even when the principles thereof are frequently expounded in a manner which is plainly 80% speculation.
Here are some more examples of atheists regularly promoted by this broadcasting body:
- A 'leading light' on the BBC at the moment is the young historian Dan Snow, son of Peter Snow, a former TV newsreader and ongoing General Election 'swing' pundit. Dan Snow has been given several series on the trot on BBC television, the current one (at the time of writing) being on the influence of the Normans. Snow is an acknowledged atheist even though he has spoken in glowing terms of the positive educational influence of the early Christian monks on the Celts. In fact, in listening to his commentaries, one feels that this otherwise pleasant young man was probably raised as an atheist (though one cannot be sure), since he appears genuinely interested in Christianity and in old churches but, after making some positive comments about the early Christians, he occasionally seems to conclude a statement with something like, "Of course, I am not a believer."
- Sir David Starkey is a historian repeatedly popping up in BBC programmes who is an avowed atheist. Starkey has been awarded with several series on British history (See Nigel Farndale interviewing David Starkey, Sunday Telegraph, 5 November 2006, Section 7, Pg. 18).
- Joan Bakewell was considered to be at the very centre of religious programming at the BBC for many years. She seemed to represent the most liberal form of Anglicanism but - in my book - she was always an atheist. How interesting, then, that she is now named in a Wikipedia list of atheists. She may still love love certain things about Anglicanism but, without any doubt, Bakewell is an atheist (Also see Joan Bakewell, 'Portrait: Just 70', The Guardian [London], February 20, 2004, G2: Guardian Features Pages, Pg. 7).
- Stephen Fry is a humourist who is rarely absent from the BBC for long. Of late, he has also been presented as something of an expert on the music of Richard Wagner. Fry is a confessed atheist, although one who has some sort of admiration for religious faith ("Sometimes belief means credulity, sometimes an expression of faith and hope which even the most sceptical atheist such as myself cannot but find inspiring." Stephen Fry, Spectator Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, reprinted as 'Would I live in America? In a heartbeat', The Spectator, 9 May 2009, Pg. 28).
- Sir Alan Sugar has now presented several series of his 'The Apprentice' on BBC TV (this, of course, is a clear copy of the Donald Trump US television series). Without question, the Jewish business tycoon is an interesting personality. His Jewishness is well known, as is his seemingly contradictory support for socialism (Sugar is a millionaire) but less well known is his profession of atheism. (Source: Sam Wollaston interviewing Sugar, 'Sir Alan will see you now', The Guardian (London), 25 March 2009).
- Griff Rhys-Jones, a former comedian who now appears to dabble in various other areas, is rarely off BBC TV for long. Like fellow comedians Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard, he is a self-confessed atheist. In The Independent (a UK newspaper) on April 10, 1999, Rhys-Jones stated, "I have no belief in God."
- Now deceased, Ted Willis (1914–1992), the British television dramatist, who was also an avid supporter of the left-wing of the Labour Party, was often to be seen on BBC TV and he scripted several British television series. Willis was well-known as a committed atheist.
- Jeremy Clarkson has probably become famous as being one of the most rude and arrogant people on television - oh yes, BBC television, of course. He covers their car and motoring area, yet I know many keen motorists who will never watch his 'Top Gear' show until he gets fired! Clarkson also happens to be one of the highest-paid stars of BBC television! Amazing and very typical of the BBC to give huge salaries to their most rude and abusive "stars." It should come as no surprise to anybody that Clarkson is also an atheist, indeed an atheist who makes especially horrid, belittling and dismissive comments about God and Christians (source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jeremy_clarkson/article3107633.ece).
- Nigella Lawson, the writer on food, has become one of BBC television's top chefs in a medium which seems to have become obsessed with the culinary arts. She is a committed atheist and claims that this was how she was brought up - which raises questions about Nigel Lawson her father who was a conservative chancellor of the exchequer in Margaret Thatcher's government.
"I was brought up an atheist and have always remained so..." (Nigella Lawson, We Atheists Know Right from Wrong, The Times, 29 June 1996). Lawson has recently become somewhat controversial in making some outspoken comments on sex (she appears to believe that most women are bisexual).
- Sir Michael Parkinson, long time BBC television presenter and interviewer (now largely retired) is an atheist though he has no wish to be high-profile about the matter (source: Michael Parkinson, 'This much I know', The Observer, 17 May 2009).
- Dame Helen Mirren is one of Britain's most famous actresses; she has had a string of crime series on BBC television spreading back over several years. She is a long-term atheist (source: Helen Mirren interviewed by Simon Garfield, The Independent (London), November 25, 1990, The Sunday Review Pages, Pg 27).
- The next one will surprise many. Sir Terry Wogan, now more or less retired, became a much-loved TV personality during his long career. Perhaps to the surprise of many, the likeable Wogan is a self-confessed atheist; it seems that his Catholic childhood in Ireland put him off God for life. To be fair, he never used his great popularity to promote his atheism, yet an atheist he clearly is (there are several available quotes around). It is very sad, but at least Sir Terry is not belligerent about his beliefs (or, the lack of them).
That is not the total of it. I can think of at least another 25 or so top BBC television personalities whom - I believe - are atheists but I can find no confessions of such by them so I do not name them. These include several among the regiment of sometimes completely shameless "alternative comedians" endlessly promoted by BBC television, and several high-profile homosexual and lesbian presenters (please note: that statement does not contain any criticism of sexuality).
Yet - is it not incredible - that this broadcasting body has so strongly promoted atheists and the view of atheism over so many years? It still remains the case that most opinion polls show that something approaching 70% of Britons are at least loosely in support of Christianity. Rather than being an elitist, leftist and atheistic body, the BBC should more fully represent the views of the British people who pay for its continued existence through the licence fee.
Another interesting point here is how things have changed at the BBC. If one could go back to the 1950s it is very unlikely that a single atheist would be discovered among British television's leading personalities and pundits, then, perhaps by the early 70s, a few would indeed be found but not many. Now, in the year of 2010, atheists are probably very close to being in the majority of BBC personalities. What does this tell us? It illustrates how the BBC has mirrored changes in British society and it is not good news. The proliferation of social liberals - many of them atheists - into almost every area of our life has coincided with the amazing drop in moral standards and in the moral fibre of the British people. Why should we be shocked at the level of crime among our young, a level which has turned London into the stabbings capital of the western world! Why should we be shocked at the dreadful level of abortions, or of divorce? Instead of being taught the rudiments of the Christian Faith from an early age, our children are now only being taught the rudiments of godless Darwinism with it's utterly hopeless message that 'the survival of the fittest' is all that matters in life. The appalling decline in standards of the BBC simply mirrors those things - at least to a degree.
However, while the BBC could be said to be mirroring a depressing decline in British moral standards, the decline among ordinary Britons is not quite as dramatic as the BBC example might lead one to believe. As already stated, it remains the case that a majority of the British continue to identify with Christianity whereas a majority at the BBC seem to identify with atheism. The BBC more closely mirrors that wooly, insipid, anti-supernaturalist, leftist liberalism that has grown among the British intelligentsia. This woeful philosophy, wrapped up in a spirit of watery appeasement, only believes in standing up for anything which is suitably immoral (such liberals don't believe in morality) or vulgar (liberals always seem to have a great love of vulgarity), or offensive (especially where people of high moral character can be belittled or upset - how they love that!) Of course, this all came out of the 1960's British universities which, as though obeying some perverse demonic voice, suddenly developed a love affair for Nietzsche and Marx, the former clearly insane, the latter a philosopher of evil, if ever there was one. Generously sprinkled with the absurdities of the Frankfurt School, this eventually led to modern British liberalism. This brand pretends to care even while it seeks to destroy. This is the sort of pathetic liberalism that has led to the curse of political-correctness and to the idiocy of threatening to fire nurses who offer to pray for very sick patients and threatening to fire air hostesses who wear crosses around their necks (in case it offends people who are not Christian). The BBC now appear to be led by people who don't really believe in anything (excepting leftist Darwinistic liberalism and in a determination to hold onto their own jobs, come what may!) Very strangely, only Islam is afforded respect as a religion, as the BBC (like the British government) continue to hold on to the notion that most Islamics are very good and kind people who should be separated from the "Islamic fundamentalists." They think this way because they simply don't understand the teachings of the major religions. Neither does anybody gainfully employed by the BBC seem to understand philosophy. Arch-atheist Richard Dawkins, continually promoted by both the BBC and Channel 4, understands neither religion nor philosophy. Like a child who is an undisciplined spoiled brat, he rants against something which is obviously beyond his grasp, not realising (for instance) that his rants only demonstrate his own adherence to a particularly uncompromising religious faith, that of Darwinism.
But, the question could be asked, why does the spread of atheism even matter? It matters because many of us believe that the acceptance of atheism immediately impairs one's discretion, wisdom and judgment in many areas of life. Let us offer just one brief example:
If you were accused of a serious crime which you did not commit, would you prefer to be in the hands of a God-believing judge who believed that we will all be judged someday in the superior court of heaven? Or, would you prefer to be in the hands of a committed atheistic Darwinist, one who has no firm foundation for a sense of morality and who believed that everything on this earth is an accident with the 'survival of the fittest' all that really matters?? I know which sort of judge I would prefer: I would prefer the Theist who believed that there is a God in Heaven who will hold him accountable for getting my judgment wrong.
Robin A. Brace, August, 2010.