Archbishop of Canterbury champions TV religion

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THE Archbishop of Canterbury has warned of “dangerous” consequences if religion was dropped from TV schedules.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that snubbing such programming would “cultivate ignorance”.

He described religious formats as “the real reality shows” and cited programmes such as ITV’s Strictly Kosher and Channel 4’s controversial show Islam: The Untold Story as examples of good religious programming.

Referring to the growth of reality TV shows the Archbishop said: “Over the past decade, a little word has become synonymous with broadcasting that puts ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances: ‘reality’.

“In this context, reality can often mean people putting their lives on hold, flying off to a desert island, and taking part in bewildering challenges.

“But there is another kind of reality broadcasting – one that I think delves far deeper into the questions of who we are, what we are, and why we are.”

He said that for adults who received little in the way of religious education at school – especially of an inter-faith variety – religious broadcasting is likely to be their best guide.

He said: “Some people these days firmly believe that faith and religious life should be kept behind closed doors. But if broadcasters were also to adopt the view that religion is something separate and private, rather than stitched into our public life, then we could set off down a dangerous road.

“We would be cultivating ignorance where what we need is insight, and prejudice where we most badly need open minds.”