Apparently it’s not enough to have invented the World Wide Web, but Tim Berners-Lee also has to infect the airwaves of the United Kingdom with his godless propaganda.
For some time now, nonbelievers have been clamoring for representation on BBC radio’s “Thought for the Day” segment, which is always presented from a religious viewpoint. But in a stint as guest-editor for BBC 4’s Today, which hosts the segment, Berners-Lee was able to at least get an “alternative thought” for Boxing Day an hour earlier in the show, but notably, still wasn’t able to co-opt the “Thought for the Day” segment itself on behalf of atheism.
Said Berners-Lee, “It was worth trying to point out that somebody who doesn’t believe in God can still think.”
The alternative-thought was presented by Unitarian minister (and atheist) Andrew Pakula. According to The Guardian:
Pakula explained how he celebrated Christmas as an atheist minister of a Unitarian church in north London. “To me there is no inconsistency in being an atheist and celebrating Christmas,” he said.
“While I don’t literally believe the stories underlying Christmas, I do very much believe in its most important messages. Christmas reminds us that hope can come at the darkest times. It reminds us of the sacredness and innocence and possibility of children – that any child, however humble their circumstances, could change the world for the better.”
For a culture as secular as the UK’s, it’s interesting that institutionally, religion remains rather untouchable in so many circumstances. At least they got at much as they did.
Richard Dawkins managed a similar compromise on BBC radio in 2002, long before “New Atheism” was a thing. There, he said:
The adult response is to rejoice in the amazing privilege we enjoy. We have been born, and we are going to die. But before we die we have time to understand why we were ever born in the first place. Time to understand the universe into which we have been born. And with that understanding, we finally grow up and realise that there is no help for us outside our own efforts.
Humanity can leave the crybaby phase, and finally come of age.