A range of distinguished contributors, including Philip Pullman, Jeanette Winterson, A. S. Byatt, Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong and Rowan Williams examine their own beliefs - religious or not - in this thought-provoking collection, edited by Joan Bakewell, based on her popular BBC Radio 3 show. With the world's major religions now playing a key role in international and political affairs, it is time to examine how many and various are the beliefs people have. Within leading religions we now see the development of dissent and extremism leading to dangerous outcomes for us all. Against this background we are all forced to examine what we each believe and how that fits with the emerging world picture. Each individual - religious or not - has an outlook on matters such as why we are here, what life is for, whether there is a creative force behind it all, and what should guide our personal morality. They may be scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, writers, such as A.S. Byatt and Philip Pullman, or scholars such as Karen Armstrong, but they each have a thoughtful and highly intelligent contribution to make to the growing debate about belief.
These conversations, selected from Joan Bakewell's Radio 3 series of the same name, constitute a broad and surprising insight into what thinking people think.
Joan Bakewell was born in Stockport and educated at Stockport High School and Newnham College, Cambridge. In a broadcasting career spanning four decades, she has made regular and informed contributions to matters of belief and ethics in such series as television's Heart of the Matter, My Generation and Taboo, and Radio 3's on-going series, Belief.