The Case for God? – BBC Documentary

With religion coming under increasing attack from atheists and sceptics, The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, goes into the lion’s den, putting his faith publicly on the line by debating with some of the sharpest critics of his faith. Howard Jacobson believes ritual demeans religion, Alain de Botton doubts that any one faith has the truth, Professor Colin Blakemore thinks science makes religion redundant, and Professor Lisa Jardine questions why God allows evil and suffering in this world (BBC).

Remember to include a summary of each discussion and the most important point. Then try to fit what you heard with what you have learned about this year. Who do you find the best critic of belief in God and why? Try and present both sides and conclude with you opinion and reason. Use internet research to supplement your answer.  Your finished review will be more than 600 words.

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24 thoughts on “The Case for God? – BBC Documentary

  1. The case for god was a documentary done by Jonathan Sacks a Jewish follower. He brought in 4 of the country’s top atheist debaters and put his belief in god on the line. The first person Jonathan interviewed was Howard Jacobson. His views were that there were to many rules and regulations in religion. He said that god is making you do to many things and you do not have much freedom when it comes to certain things such as dieting. Jonathans reply to this was that there has to be rules with everything so why should religion be different
    The next person he interviewed was Alain de Botton. His opinion was there are so many religions so which one do we believe. He also said if we could take the best bits from each religeon we could have a universal one. Mr Sacks replyed to this “well that would be like taking the best bits from different songs and putting them together e.g Mozart and kanye west, it would sound awful.

  2. This was a good documentary to watch because it gave lots of different arguments against religion and it exposed the Rabbi’s true views on religion. Jonathan Sacks was understanding of the atheists’ strong, controversial views and responded well. The four atheists also responded well to Jonathan’s replies and were willing to accept his beliefs. The documentary was very informative and insightful, revealing many people’s views on religion.

  3. Atheist Howard Jacobson belives that rituals ruin religion, Alain de Botton doesn’t believe that any one faith has the truth, colin blakemore thinks that ‘science makes religion redundant’ and Lisa Jardine belives that humans suffering undermines religious beleifs. the most memorable thing that someone said was Lisa Jardine, ‘ i lost faith in humanity’ though ‘ i never lost faith in judism.’ I think the best argument was Lisa Jardine’s how human suffering undermines religious beleifs. Also the person i will most remember most is Lisa Jardine because i agree with her argument. I agree with it because if god or someone is meant to be there then why do so many people suffer for no reason.

  4. each of them had a different argument:

    Howard Jacobson said that God only cares about the big important things

    Alain de Botton asked, why cant i have religion without the best of religion

    Colin Blakemore just believes in science

    Lisa Jardine asked how God tolerates so much suffering in the world

    I think that the most memorable thing somebody said was “religion isn’t easy”

    I feel that the best argument was between Colin Blakemore and Johnathon Sacs about “free will.”

    The person i remembered most was Lisa Jardine because she has a good argument about how God tolerates all the pain,evil and suffering in the world.

  5. I didn’t mind this documentary because there was a lot of pints going around and they were also justifying the points they were making and backing them up with evidence. They were also listening to each others points and responding to them with what they believe. The first person that apposed Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was Howard Jacobsen, he believed that religion has too many rules. The next person is Alain de Botton who believed that there is not one true religion, next was Colin Blakemore, he believed that science proves that religion is un-true.

  6. i thought that the program gave me a better incite into both the reasons why people belive in god and also why otheres dont. i felt that every argumenthad its on strong points. Howard Jacobson said that he didn’t like the rule that one must follow if you are religious i understand that if you are not totaly commeted this would just get in the way of life and if religon isn’t your main focus it unlikly that yoiu will every be able to fully understand why the rules are there. the best quote i thought that was said in the programe was : “faith is living with unsetinty” i thought that this really told one of the key points of faith so simple.

  7. i felt the video gave me a grater understanding of disbelief of faith but I also learnt that faith is living with uncertainty despite it. This explains that if your faith is strong enough no matter how little proof there is. Each atheist had different reasons for disbelieving God and all were valid in their own way. Howard Jacobson felt that the rules of religion are insane, this was defended by Jonathan Sacks explaining how they were set up for a reason and they had to be respected as the had valid belief to them. Alain de Button said that not one religion can be the true one.

  8. Howard Jacobson told Jonathon Sacks that God only cares about the big thngs.
    Alain de Botton said ‘‘Why can’t I have religion withought the best of religion?’’
    Colin Blakemore beleived in science.
    Jonathon Sacks and Lisa Jardine had a very interesting conversation about free will
    I think Lisa Jardine had the most important point to me as we looked at free will in class and it was very confusing but also interesting. She gave some good points but Jonathon Sacks also gave some good responses to her arguments.

  9. Howard jackson believes that religions have to many rules and regulations. I understand what he means because some things should be free decisions and what you eat or when you go to bed shouldn’t affect God. Alain de Botton is a philosopher, he wants to put the best parts of different religions together. This sounds like a good idea, because it would bring people of different religions together. Colin Balekmore is a scientist. He thinks that science is taking over religion, he thinks that science is ‘a beautiful process.’ Balekmore is both a scientist and Religious, although some people think that science and religion sometimes give us different/conflicting ideas.

  10. Howard Jackson said that he is not comfortable with any religious practice. He does not like the idea of having a God that judges everything that you do. He dissaproves of religions that do not let you eat pork, as he thinks it’s foolish to want to eat pork but be judged by God for it.

    Alain de Botton says that he would like to take the best aspects from different religions, he calls it to ‘pick and mix.’ He wants the best of religion without the religion. The argument for this could be that some of these aspects do not fit together, such as you can love beethoven and simon and garfunckle, but the two together do not go.

    Colin Blakemore believes that faith in God is abolished by scientific proof. There is scientific proof of the big bang, and of evolution so why would we believe in God when there is reliable and accountable proof that the universe is a spontaneous and scientific event. I believe that this is the best argument because there is explainable proof as to how the universe was created rather than faith alone.

    Lisa Jardine asks why God allows us to have suffering. She says that if God is omnibenevolent then why would he let innocent people die?

  11. Howard Jacobson has the belief that religions have too many rules and regulations. I think this is a fair argument because why does what you eat affect your relationship with God???
    Alain de Botton is a philosopher who wants to take the best from different religions and put them together. This is very choosy which I don’t think would work because sometimes you need some things that you don’t think are quite as good.
    Colin Blakemore is a scientist who think science is replacing religion. I think this is different for different people because of what they believe.
    Lisa Jardine thinks why does God let us suffer especially in the Haulocaust? This is a good argument because God is supposed to be all good and keeping us safe.

  12. Howard Jackson said that he is not comfortable with any religious practice. He does not like the idea of having a God that judges everything that you do. He dissaproves of religions that do not let you eat pork, as he thinks it’s foolish to want to eat pork but be judged by God for it.

    Alain de Botton says that he would like to take the best aspects from different religions, he calls it to ‘pick and mix.’ He wants the best of religion without the religion. The argument for this could be that some of these aspects do not fit together, such as you can love beethoven and simon and garfunckle, but the two together do not go.

    Colin Blakemore believes that faith in God is abolished by scientific proof. There is scientific proof of the big bang, and of evolution so why would we believe in God when there is reliable and accountable proof that the universe is a spontaneous and scientific event. I believe that this is the best argument because there is explainable proof as to how the universe was created rather than faith alone.

    Lisa Jardine asks why God allows us to have suffering. She says that if God is omnibenevolent then why would he let innocent people die?

  13. The Case For God

    The first debater Jonathan Sacks faced was Howard Jacobson. He argued that God should have no interest in the small details in his life, what he eats for breakfast, what sort of clothes he wears, etc. He disagreed with the religious practices in Judaism, thinking that they shouldn’t matter and that God shouldn’t care about such things.

    The second person was Alain de Botton. He thought that every religion has good parts, certain truths, that you should be able/allowed to ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ from various religion, believing in what you choose. He doesn’t like being forced into being a believer, doing what he doesn’t want to be able to do the little he does, or be a complete bystander. Jonathan Sacks argued that taking different musical aspects like Beethoven, Miles Davis and Garfunkel, and putting them all together and it doesn’t work, which he likened to choosing to believe what you want.

    The last third person was Colin Blakemore. He thinks that a scientific explanation is enough without the need for God. Jonathan Sacks argued that Beethoven’s music, despite explaining why he wrote it and how, there is something beautiful in it that science cannot explain away. He believes in reductivism, that music is merely soundwaves, paintings are just splashes of paint and that human beings are only electromagnetic brain activity.

    The last person was Lisa Jardine who questioned why God allowed suffering. She asked where God was in the angry mob, and how he could tolerate all the suffering in the world.

    Lisa Jardine’s view was the most memorable to me, I think that how God can allow suffering, if he really exists, is a good point to make. There are lots of points on both sides, like maybe suffering and God not being able to help us is a result of us having free will. On the other hand, if he is All Powerful, then why doesn’t he stop all the pain and suffering?

  14. Howard Jacobson said that he was not comfortable with any religious practice. He doesn’t believe you should follow a God who controls your life and religious practices.

    Alain de Botton says that he doesn’t believe that any one religion can be faith. He isn’t apposed to religious practice but would prefer it if you could take parts from different religions as each religion has a significant amount of wisdom.

    Colin Blakemore said that he didn’t believe in God because of how much evidence there is that the reason the world was created was by science. He doesn’t believe that god created the world because scientists have been able to show that humans have evolved over the years. I believe that this is the best argument because there is evidence from evolution to prove that God may not exist.

    Lisa Jardine doesn’t understand why God allows suffering in the world. She believes that is God is really all powerful then there wouldn’t be any suffering allowed.

  15. Howard Jacobson feels that religion is too ‘bagged down’ by rules and regulations, and that he is not comfortable with any religious act. He is concerned that religion causes cultural differences which consequently can lead to war. Alain de Botton stated that every religion has a certain amount of religion in it and thinks that confession is fascinating. Colin Blakemore believes that the scientific things that have been proved show that God doesn’t exist. Lisa Jardine believes in optimism for the human race. However, she cannot believe that God can tolerate so much suffering in the world. The best argument was Lisa Jardine as she questions something that many people in the world think as they find it impossible to believe in God when there is so much sin and grief in the world. If he is all-seeing and all-loving then how can he watch his people suffer? Some argue that God gave man free will, and with free will people have driven themselves into a state so bad that they do not want to blame themselves for their self-destruction, but turn to God instead.

  16. The program helped me to understand the different views on religion and beliefs.
    Howard Jacobs believed God should only care about the big things, not the small things. I think I agree because if there are 2 things, one big and one small, God should care more about the big thing because it means more and probably effects more people.
    Alain de Botton believed that some religions have more than others and that people should pick to follow the good parts of that religion, like a Pick and Mix. I kind of agree with this but I think that if people were properly dedicated to a religion they would follow it to the full whether it was something they want to do or not, they would have to be prepared to sacrifice something of their time and dedication.
    Colin Blakemore believed that without religion, people can’t be good. I don’t agree with this because just because they don’t follow a certain religion doesn’t mean that their not good. They can still be good even if they don’t follow a religion.
    Lisa Jardine wonders why God allows suffering. I agree because if he created us then he should not hurt us, unless of course he was punishing us, then he can do so.
    I think the best argument came from Howard Jacobson because I agree with the most he said.

  17. I think that the video showed me the different views on religion, and how people almost believe in religion in different ways. Howard Jacobson said that God should only care about the big things in life rather than the smaller things. I don’t really agree with this because sometimes the small things make a big difference, no matter how irrelevant it is. Colin Blakemore mentioned that science makes religion redundant, and also that without religious beliefs people cannot be “good”, which I do not agree with because I am not religious, although I am doing fine in life.
    Lisa Jardine said she wonders why God allows suffering and tolerates it, which is one of the most asked questions. I read a book that said that the reason there is suffering is because before life, each spirit chooses what they would like to experience in their life to make them a stronger spirit, for example one might choose to experience a disease so they know what it feels like to be this way and they become stronger. I understand that many people will disagree with this theory but I believe it. I overall think Lisa Jardines argument was the strongest.

  18. Howard Jacobson wanted to talk to the rabbi because he thought that in religion there was too many rules and he thinks that even though he likes religion he doesn’t want to be forced to do the stuff they do, because it doesn’t make sense. But the rabbi says that in religion you have to commit to it and when you have faith you would want to pray everyday and stuff like that.
    Alain de Botton said that he doesn’t think he should be forced into picking just one religion he wants to pick and mix them, because he likes somethings in one religion but not all of them. The rabbi said that he likes the idea of picking the best bits from the different religions but it would be a very hard thing to do and a lot of people wouldn’t understand it.
    Colin Blackmore says that science means that we don’t need religion because it has given us all the answers and he doesn’t believe in free will, but rabbi says that it cant have the answers for everything.
    Lisa Jardine thinks that all the human suffering in the word make it really hard to believe in god and the rabbi says that god also gave us a brain so we could choose what we wanted to do.
    I think the best argument was Alain de Bottons one because I think what he was saying was the most convincing and the rabbi agreed with him the most.

  19. Howard Jacobson argues that we should believe in religion, he just doesn’t agree with the rituals and believes that God only cares about the ‘big things’. Alian de Botton doesn’t believe in god but, unlike Jacobson, likes the rituals and wants to ‘pic ‘n’ mix’ the best bits of all the world religions. Jonathon Sacks argues that you need to embrace the whole of a religion. Colin Blakemore argues that science ‘explains away’ religion, there is no need for religious beliefs because there is/will be scientific explanations for everything. He says that we don’t need religion, even for moral guidance as we all have a moral compass. Lisa Jardine talks about the hollacaust and the problem of evil and suffering. She asks, how can god tolerate so much suffering? I think Jardine makes the best argument, and Botton the worst. Jardine has very valid points and the chief rabbi doesn’t have much of a reply. Blakemore also makes a good point, saying that we used to need religion to explain stuff but we don’t anymore. Botton cleary hasn’t thought through his argument and I don’t like the idea of pin ‘n’ mix.

  20. In our RE class we watched a BBC documentary called The Case for God? As many religions are coming under attack from sceptics and aithiestis the Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, debates with some of the sharpest critics of his faith.

    ‘Faith, after all, means not being afraid of challenge.’ Rabbi Lord Sacks

    He interviewed the novelist Howard Jacobson, the philosopher Alain de Botton, neuroscientist Colin Blakemore and historian Lisa Jardine. Their challenges were strong and well thought through. Doesnt ritual get in the way of faith? Howard Jacobsen asked. It is too bagged down by rules and regulations he continued. I think to be part of a religion you have to do religious practise and ritual because it is kind of a pay back to God.
    Alain de Botton asked ‘Isnt the idea of one true faith needlessly restrictive?’ He wanted to ‘pick and mix’ with religions so he could choose all the good bits and not the bad bits. This is spoilt and when you enter into a religion you have to accept everything about it not just chose what you like.

  21. again I think Colin Blakemore thinks you can be ‘good’ without religion, google “Blakemore Humanist” for more info

  22. I’m so lucky to have found this webpage . You actually told me exactly what I wished to take heed and then some. Gorgeous composing and many thanks all over again for getting this 100 % free!

  23. Professor Blakemore aknowledged his stark reductivism, agreeing that “electrical impulses in the brain” are there but not “I” or “you”. But as if to sweeten this, he takes exception to Rabbi Sacks’ use of the word “just”, to re-iterate that in using this word Sacks makes of the belief that we are indeed completely causal machines and without free will “trivial”. But if Professor Blakemore also wants to point to – in case we should feel any despair – the beauty (he uses the word “advisedly”, he tells us) we can appreciate in the stupendous complexity and wondrousness that it is in fact the case that “I” and “you” are an illusion, surely it is this very capacity to appreciate beauty that is trivialised? The freedom of claiming that this, and not that, is beautiful is denied to me, because (according to Professor Blakemore’s lights) I am not free. So there can be no beauty.

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