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The Pope's message: Your reaction

08:48 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

Pope Benedict's Christmas message for the UK has been broadcast as Thought For The Day on the Today programme on Radio 4. Do you welcome the Pope's message?

It is the first time that the Pontiff has addressed a Christmas message especially for one of the countries he has visited during the year.

Gwyneth Williams, the controller of BBC Radio 4, has said she is "delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience".

However, the decision has been criticised by Terry Sanderson president of the UK's National Secular Society (NSS). "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it," he said.

Did you listen to the Pope's message? Are you happy the Pope's message was broadcast on Thought for the Day? Do you think the nation is increasingly indifferent to religion?

Listen to the Pope's Thought For The Day

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    I have no time for religion and object to the Pope being given MORE air time by the BBC. We had a belly full when he was here.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I recommend listening to Old Harry's Game last night on R4.

    Andy Hamilton should do Thought For the Day like his interview on Oprah.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'll make a point of not listening.

    I don't think the taxpayer-funded BBC should be providing a platform for religious cults anyway.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    I really think God needs to surprise the Pope - this man is not very Christian in his attitudes which make it horrifying when he is head of one of the major Christian sects, which has lost all of it's moral authority. Well I wish him an insirational Christmas and a revelation of his own.

  • Comment number 7.

    Enough with the sky-pixie people!

  • Comment number 8.

    Like a great many other people, I imagine, I'm indifferent to a message from the Pope. I didn't hear it, so I can't comment on whether it was inherently interesting or not - although somehow I suspect not.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Given that the first few comments are nothing more than an anti-religious diatribe and not worth bothering with, I would say that a good dose of religion is what these people need to teach them a little compassion, humanity and kindness, especially at this time of year where to a great many people here in the UK as well as around the world Christmas is important. The sad fact that religious people (especially Christians) are not free to enjoy their religious festivities without the scorn and vitriol of those lacking in faith is a disgraceful demonstration of how we as a nation no longer value the values of freedom and live and let live.

    I found the Pope's visit in September and his speech to be quite refreshing and provided a reminder that outside the darkened skies of inhumanity, distain, bile, spite and malice that seem to pervade every aspect of British society these days that there is a world where happiness, contentment, hope and a belief in the metaphysical are still practiced and are not achieved through the modern goals of materialism, one-upmanship and competition.

  • Comment number 11.

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

  • Comment number 12.

    I look forward to the tax payer funded BBC giving equal air time for religious messages from the medicine man of the wonga wonga tribe, the voodoo highpriestess and the grand master of the church of satan. Eh, thought not... Why are the BBC giving this horrible man with his narrow views air time without being challenged on important issues such as condom use in africa that would save millions of lives, child sex abuse cover ups and discrimination against women and gay people..

  • Comment number 13.

    I am Church of England and find that the most inspirational comments on Thought for the Day come from the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs.

  • Comment number 14.

    Especially those who protect pedophiles.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mind you, this topic is a big Christmas Present to a lot of you isn't it?

    Come on, tell us you're right and try not to have too big a smug face.

  • Comment number 16.

    Not Christian; not bothered about religious shinnanigans. As a human being though I can't object to messages of 'how about we help people then ....', i can think of worse things for the BBC to broadcast.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm an atheist - that's my belief and that's my choice, other people have differing beliefs to mine to which they're entitled!
    Christmas is the most? important time of the year for Christains. The Roman Catholic Church has significant numbers of believers in the UK, so it is NOT innappropriate that the head of that church is invited to talk on TFTD.
    TFTD represents a wide church of opinion, but when it's on I only half listen, sometimes it grabs my attention but most times not. My interst peaked because of who was on, but what he said was pretty non-controversial.
    I know some would seek an apology for the wrongs that have been committed by members of the RCC, but TFTD was not the time nor the place.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm not a Christian but thought I'd give it a listen anyway. To be honest, I couldn't understand a word he said.

  • Comment number 19.

    Non-plussed. Lot's of people broadcast messages via the BBC. But the pope has never had to live in hardship, never been threatened with redundancy nor had to worry about where the next meal is coming from so I don't see how he has the spiritual nous to say anything useful. He hasn't even been to the Christian danger spots in the world.

    Strikes me he'd do far more good going to Iraq and Egypt pushing to allow Christians to exercise their faith there in peace and quiet.

  • Comment number 20.

    Yet more religous propaganda from the BBC, they seem to have a thing about promoting the catholic cult these days, with unprecedented coverage of his visit, now he's being force fed to us on the BBC's flagship current affairs programme. Keep your preaching about imaginary gods out of serious programming please.

  • Comment number 21.

    Excellent news that BBC was able to persuade the Pope to give the message at a quarter to eight this morning. Why should anyone complain, he is the head of a major church and BBC gives a balanced programme with plenty of air time to others.

  • Comment number 22.

    I was intending to give it a miss, but listened.

    I have to say I was utterly underwhelmed. Coudl barely understand him, and he seemed to say pretty much nothing. Please, where is the wonderful Rabbi Lionel Blue when you really need him!

    To the 'sky pixie' and 'religious cult' brigade: you choose to not have a religious faith. That choice is yours to make. Please respect others who choose differently to you. Being Athiest or Agnostic does not make you better than those of us who have a faith; for that matter having a faith does not make us any better than you.
    Respecting other people's viewpoints, however, makes for a better person, whichever side of the argument you sit on.

    Season's Greetings and a Merry Solstice!

  • Comment number 23.

    The Pope's message was full of love and hope. Thinking of my elderly and sick friends, I was especially touched by his assurance of his prayers for the elderly and those who are approaching the end of their days. I sincerely urge all those who seem to be becoing so intolerant in the name of tolerance, and who are rather over-represented in these comments, to take a break for reflection this Christmas.

  • Comment number 24.

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?


    No, I don't work on Saturdays.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Honestly people if you're not interested in religion then quite simply don't bother watching/listening and then you'll have nothing to moan about.

    I'm not religious but if the pope wants to go on Radio 4 to try and inspire people then good luck to him. In some ways I wish that Christmas was a more religious holiday as I'd rather see religious observance then the secular capitalism we have now.

    I like to think of Christmas as a time or tolerance and good will and judging by some of the comments on here, others could do with a little of both.

    If you're religious then have a good (or have had a good) Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, Bhodi Day, Diwali etc

    If you're not religious, just have a nice day.

  • Comment number 27.

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    I will be, cooking for my family including my grandchildren,these are the people I worship.

  • Comment number 28.

    Typical of the BBC to mention the Pope on the eve of Santa's birthday.

    Give it a rest, will ya? Very few people believe in invisible beings. A small percentage of those people believe in Jebus. Let the minorities have their own website for discussing their mythical beliefs.

  • Comment number 29.

    However, the decision has been criticised by Terry Sanderson president of the UK's National Secular Society (NSS). "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it," he said.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So now the BBC is obsessed with religion? Strange, as I had been led to believe that it was full of PC loonies and Communists by several posters on these boards.

    It's amazing how people can filter the BBC's output through their own prejudices and come to wildly different conclusions.


  • Comment number 30.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 31.

    "God surprises us" says the pope

    what does he do hide behind the pontiff and pop out and shout boo!


    I am sure those who believe in this sort of thing will be interested in what this man has to say for the rest of us it might as well be the Queens speech!

  • Comment number 32.

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?


    No, I will be at home celebrating the birth of Mithra.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    It's very disappointing to read some of the comments above. It's perfectly legitimate to give the Pope some air time. Around 99% of air time on TV is given over to secularist or atheist ways of seeing the world, which to me leave very little room for any hope or purpose in life! Yet still we have people complain about the Pope. Yes, the Catholic church has done wrong, but so has everyone else, including those without any faith. It's quite interesting how those who describe themselves as anti-religious are often needlessly aggressive or belittling in their attitudes, which perhaps suggests more about them than it does about religious people. It shows quite how far Britain has come. 400 years ago the first Bible was written in English. The consequence of us having this was people losing their lives. Today we have a Britain where if you dare to talk about God, offer an alternative way of seeing life or speak about your Christian faith, you are discriminated against once again, as happens across the globe. A recent study found genuine Christians are by far the most persecuted across the world. I genuinely find it really strange. The Christians I know are involved in communities, bringing hope, helping the poor, travelling the globe to stand up for injustice, working with young people, bringing help in prisons, schools and making a hugely positive impact in their communities. A survey found the Welsh church contributed £1 billion a year into the Welsh economy for free. Yet people want to silence a force for good, choosing instead to twist things. Let the Pope have his time and get on with living your own lives to make a difference in the world.

  • Comment number 35.

    coolhandpaul wrote:
    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?


    I suppose all the Christians will attend church, pray to their God and celebrate the birth of their God's son?

    True athiests honestly don't care about your beliefs. They still enjoy the presents, the family get-togethers, the drink, the food and the TV programmes. We don't need mythical beings to enjoy all that.

    And yes, if the Christian social conformance stigma was removed, I would work tomorrow. Stupid time of the year to force me to take time off.

    Merry everyone!

  • Comment number 36.

    Innocuous , if he confines himself to a message of hope for Christians he can do no harm.

    Christians are too inclined to believe in a superman god, a sort of Olympian, a law giver.

  • Comment number 37.

    HYS:"The decision has been criticised by Terry Sanderson president of the UK's National Secular Society (NSS). "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it," he said."
    ----------------------

    Oh Dear! - but then Mr.Sanderson should realise that there are FAR more 'followers' of the Pope and his Religion - than there are for him and his own kind of 'Dogma'. Just because most 'believers' don't force themselves into the limelight too - doesn't mean there are not many believers - they are the Majority...

    IN MY OPINION:
    The PC groups, allied with our last Government have done their best to decry our Christian Religion - while at the same time ignoring any faults that the Muslim and other Religions may have - purely because the Christian-religion is a relatively placid one compared to many others. That's not Governance - that's pure self-interested Dogma - just like Mr.Sandersons.

    The Tenets of the Christain faith are fAR more truly humanist & peaceful than the NSS and their ilk - will EVER be. Merry Christmas...

  • Comment number 38.

    I am sure the Popes message will be of great comfort to those who follow his paricular flavour of religion. I guess it will also anger those who follow other flavours. For myself, all things considered, I am not so sure religion is such a good thing but each to their own.

    Happy holidays one and all, whatever your beliefs.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think there are much more intelligent people we should be listening to rather than this man.

  • Comment number 40.

    I don't see what anyone has to complain about. if you don't want to hear what the pope has to say there is an on/off switch.

  • Comment number 41.

    I fully expect ALL leaders of whatever religion to preach peace at this time of year regardless of leanings!

  • Comment number 42.

    Given that the Pope began his remarks by stating that the Jews got it wrong because Jesus did not match their expectations of what the Messiah would be like, I think the Chief Rabbi should be offered the right to reply.

  • Comment number 43.

    Will I listen to his speech, NO.
    Am I bothered with his comments NO.

    My I question though who is surprised by god, him or the religion, After 30 years working with people who suffer the most, I definatly am not. But am surpirised how much man can tolerate, or quantity man is expected to tolerate.

    Only thing I ask what is the RC religion and it's many thousand deciples doing for the needed during this precious time? Knowing prayer is by far too small an excuse, and physical action/time is probably by far more helpful and a motivational force for man to act in other ways.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's irrelevant.

    And as for the "working tomorrow" post, three points:-
    1. It's a Saturday
    2. Monday is a Bank Holiday
    3. 25th. December is a Pagan Festival hijacked by Christianity.

    And as for the "anti religious diatribe" post - Christians don't have the monopoly on goodness. I always try to do "the right thing" and I've been aetheist for all my adult life. If you want to practice your religion, you go for it, all I ask is that you keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear it, or to have to turn off Radio 4, for five minutes. And I certainly object to my taxes having paid for any of The Pope's visit.

    Whatever their faith, or lack of it, I hope all HYS participants have a nice time over the coming holiday, and for 2011 as well.

  • Comment number 45.

    "I would say that a good dose of religion is what these people need to teach them a little compassion, humanity and kindness"

    Like the compassion, humanity & kindness that the Catholic church shows to homosexuals, the children born with AIDS because their parents follow what the man in the Vatican says & don't use condoms because it makes the baby Jesus cry & the many victims of it's paedophilic priests?

    It's about as relevant as flip-flops.

  • Comment number 46.

    Did I listen to the Pope's message?

    No

    Am I happy the Pope's message was broadcast on Thought for the Day?

    Happy not especially, I suppose it appeals to some amongst us.


    Do I think the nation is increasingly indifferent to religion?

    Yes apart from Islam who demand to be heard and will be as we cowtow more & more.

  • Comment number 47.

    What's the problem? If you are not interested in the Pope's broadcast, don't listen.

  • Comment number 48.

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:
    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    --------------------------
    As an atheist I will be enacting the mid-winter feasting tradition that began in Europe long before Christianity was invented, and long before the Church contrived to give Christian meaning to a Pagan festival.
    OK, I am not a Pagan and I will not argue with any genuine Pagans who take issue with me celebrating their festival. However I do not accept criticism from followers of a religion whose two major festivals have been hijacked from the Pagans that their spiritual ancestors systematically oppressed.

  • Comment number 49.

    I would like to thank the BBC for broadcasting the Holy Father's message. It could not be more appropiate to have such a deep and clear reminder of what Christmas is about. After all the great memories of his recent visit to the UK it was specially nice and refreshing to hear he is praying for all of us here. We should all be thankful for that.

  • Comment number 50.

    Pope shmope.

  • Comment number 51.

    Not interested.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is an absolute disgrace. The BBC should be ashamed of itself. They have no right to use licence payer fees (fees that are more like a tax these days, demanded even if we don't have a television) on such religious nonsense.

    Isn't it about time we had a full separation of Church and National Media? It really makes me wonder what the agenda is of those who pull the strings in the BBC. It's bad enough we still have archaic laws in this country and a state religion, but the media is supposed to be a beacon of reason and freedom. The BBC is a beacon of old-fashioned, religious brown-nosing and stuffy snobbery.

    Months of negotiation? Really? For what? Do you really think a country with over 50% atheists wants its forced national media service to do these things on its behalf? The BBC needs to get with the times and drag itself into the 21st Century. The recent laughable and clueless coverage of Wikileaks (do you not have researchers who can find out what "Anonymous" actually is?!) has been testament to this fact.

  • Comment number 53.

    Switched stations at 07:45. I don't need to listen to the platitudes of a man who represents himself as being annointed by some invisible being. The syncophancy of the BBC towards all organised religions is something that should be addressed by the BBC Trust as a matter of urgency.

  • Comment number 54.

    In response to 10: Sauron the Deciever’s “Diatribe”. Comparing Atheists to Nazis is hardly demonstrating a live and let live attitude.

    As for “compassion, humanity and kindness”, religion is the antonym to all of these. Religion is pretty much the sole inspiration by which humans wage war. The Vatican/Papacy live in extreme extravagance, wholly disconnected from the poor to which they preach. The Vatican libraries rob humanity of the immense knowledge that could contribute to our advancement and aiding the proliferation of Aids with their immature and misguided view of the condom. What wonderful demonstrations of “compassion, humanity and kindness”.

    The only demonstrations of inhumanity, distain, bile, spite and malice that were demonstrated on that day was by the Pope when he attacked secularism.

    Morality or virtues are not the sole preserve of the religious. Also I think you will find that the majority of modern advancement that “saves” humanity was bought about by Atheists and a wonderful secular Britain.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    This is yet another example of how the BBC discriminates against atheists and humanists.
    We aren't we allowed an unchallenged spot to talk about rationality and against these medieval superstitious cults who believe in invisible friends and would bring back the dark ages given half a chance.

    When was the last programme made about atheism? Yet we are fed a weekly diet of superstition. Endless programmes about christians, muslims etc next to zero about atheism. On the rare occasions you let an atheist on to a talk show they are generally outnumbered by the religious.

    Get your act together BBC I'm sick of the bias just because Tony Blair put in a fanatical catholic to head up your organisation and spread superstition by stealth. No coincidence that many of Thompson appointments are highly religious with an agenda to put as much religion on as possible and keep atheists out. What was Thompson doing going to the vatican to grease the popes visit, followed by wall to wall coverage.
    I await with interest his visit to the national secular society to arrange the forthcoming series on the stupidity of belief and the triumph of science over superstition - not.

    Its in your licence to give fair and equal treatment to everyone.....get your act together.

    Is the BBC now Broadcasting By Christians.

  • Comment number 57.

    Re my comment #48... back on topic I have no problem with the Pope doing thought for the day. There are lots of Christians in this country and they are entitled to their share of programming on the BBC. Nobody complains about programmes that portray Santa Claus as real, so we should treat Christians with the same respect we have for children.

    I actually quite like thought for the day, I mostly enjoy the verbal gymnastics employed by some bishop or other shoehorning Jesus into the latest X-factor scandal.

  • Comment number 58.

    the romans invented Catholicism to keep the peace until they came here we had never even heard of it! if rome hadnt conquored britain we would all be pagan?
    also the Church Of England would never have existed (the fact it was made so Henry could get a divorce)

    so you know I'll live in the real world where the facts are.
    if you think it was gods will for us to be murdered over 1.5k years ago or convert to Catholicism then you no different than Muslim extremists isn't that the same ? convert or be wiped out? for over 1000 years that happened and you lot still believe in god ha-ha.


    also heres a thought provoking question and Ive never met a religious person who can answer it!

    why is you religion the right one?
    going of you basis for believe your religion then all religions are equally valid some more than others, so what makes your right?


  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's amazing how people with imaginary friends can get broadcast time these days!

  • Comment number 61.

    10. At 10:03am on 24 Dec 2010, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    I would say that a good dose of religion is what these people need to teach them a little compassion, humanity and kindness....we as a nation no longer value the values of freedom and live and let live.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    OMG thank you for providing me with the laugh of the day! Some of the most narrow minded, smug and selfish people I know profess to be Christians.


    Blessed Yule everyone :-)

  • Comment number 62.

    The BBC mods must be trying to control the ratio of positive to negative posts, this was blocked earlier, can't think why other than the reason already given, so here goes again

    The Pope's message is a load of old tosh!

    Something good happens, it's a gift from god.
    Something bad happens, it's humanity at fault, either individually or collectively.

    Either the Pope's sky fairy has the best set of slopey shoulders in the universe OR what the Pope says is a load of rubbish.

    Neither is much of an advert for organised religion is it?

    What wass offensive about saying that? It's only an opinion after all, I didn't call for the death of the Pope or for religion to be made illegal, I simply stated a couple of reasons (out of many) for why I think organised religion is rubbish and how the Pope's message illustrated that.

    Happy hols to one and all, even the religionists and the BBC mods.

  • Comment number 63.

    My radio has an "off" switch - which I used.
    My only real concern is that other religions, including atheists, agnostics, mormons, Baptists, the Secular Society etc etc. are given equal opportunity to be ignored by a large proportion of the listeners - I understand that the chief fairy at the BBC is Catholic - I am sure that his own religious views are not going to be given inappropriate amounts of air time when compared to all the other points of view ?
    As with Politics, the BBC should be seen to be entirely neutral in Religious matters.

  • Comment number 64.

    37. At 10:39am on 24 Dec 2010, Tez wrote:

    HYS:"The decision has been criticised by Terry Sanderson president of the UK's National Secular Society (NSS). "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it," he said."
    ----------------------

    Oh Dear! - but then Mr.Sanderson should realise that there are FAR more 'followers' of the Pope and his Religion - than there are for him and his own kind of 'Dogma'. Just because most 'believers' don't force themselves into the limelight too - doesn't mean there are not many believers - they are the Majority...

    IN MY OPINION:
    The PC groups, allied with our last Government have done their best to decry our Christian Religion - while at the same time ignoring any faults that the Muslim and other Religions may have - purely because the Christian-religion is a relatively placid one compared to many others. That's not Governance - that's pure self-interested Dogma - just like Mr.Sandersons.

    The Tenets of the Christain faith are fAR more truly humanist & peaceful than the NSS and their ilk - will EVER be. Merry Christmas...

    ------
    yeah the crusades etc were dead peaceful, in more recent times (last few hundred years) taking over countries and trying to force Christianity on them, oh and the other 1000 years of the same before that!

    Christianity is no better than Islamic extremists just because you aren't allowed to do it anymore doesn't mean you can wipe out the past 2k years of murder and enslavement

  • Comment number 65.


    While the Holy Father's Christmas messege is substantially biblical, the same cannot be said for his position as Holy Father. It is a position created by man for man, and based on a mistranslation of the Greek. Which may go some way to explaining the reluctance of the Holy, or perhaps Unholy Father to address the issue of child abuse. And yes God may well be a God that surprises, but if the Bible is correct, then God is the one and only true Holy Father,and only it would appear to those who accept him in this role. A role that is not for anyone to adopt on his behalf. It would appear from the New Testament, that the position of High Priest was filled by Chtist, so once again who is this Holy Father who kindly remembers us all in his prayers, and prayers to who?

  • Comment number 66.

    As expected the Atheists are out in force rubbishing religion as a whole and the Pope in particular. I take it these people will just have a normal weekend this weekend, won't be stuffing themselves silly, over drinking and not opening presents etc. I didn't hear the Pope's message though I might try and find it on listen again.
    I personally can't abide the "religion" that is football, but I don't go on about it being a waste of time, and the people who go along to see their team and kick seven sorts of s**t outo f each other as being deluded and sad.
    Why do the atheists feel it necessary to be so vocal in their disbelief? Why not just say - "it's not for me, thanks" ?

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    ----------------------------------------------

    It's Saturday mate!

    Don't think now is the right time for religion bashing, either from or to the Christians.

    The spirit of people, whether religious or not, is apparent at this time of year. I've just donated 50% of my pay cheque this month to charity. I'm sure many people, whether atheist like myself or Catholic will be doing similar good deeds up and round the country.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  • Comment number 69.

    BBC: Do you think the nation is increasingly indifferent to religion?

    as if I care!

  • Comment number 70.

    At 10:21am on 24 Dec 2010, iancoady wrote:

    Honestly people if you're not interested in religion then quite simply don't bother watching/listening and then you'll have nothing to moan about.

    -----

    Oh, you must be one of those lucky people who can control where their licence fee goes and makes sure it is always to secular expenses. I suppose you control where your taxes go too. The rest of us poor unfortunates have to worry about these things though.

    If you don't have the ability to form an objective opinion based on facts I suggest you don't read these comments, close your browser, turn off your computer and go and stick your head into the sand until it's all over. (hint: it'll never be over).

  • Comment number 71.

    61. At 10:57am on 24 Dec 2010, annylou wrote:
    OMG thank you for providing me with the laugh of the day! Some of the most narrow minded, smug and selfish people I know profess to be Christians.

    ---------------------------
    You're doing a pretty good job of coming across that way yourself.

  • Comment number 72.

    48. At 10:48am on 24 Dec 2010, Billy wrote:
    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:
    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    --------------------------
    As an atheist I will be enacting the mid-winter feasting tradition that began in Europe long before Christianity was invented, and long before the Church contrived to give Christian meaning to a Pagan festival.
    OK, I am not a Pagan and I will not argue with any genuine Pagans who take issue with me celebrating their festival. However I do not accept criticism from followers of a religion whose two major festivals have been hijacked from the Pagans that their spiritual ancestors systematically oppressed.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Let me get this right...
    You're not a Pagan but will be celebrating their festival.
    Isn't that rather like Atheists celebrating Christmas?
    Isn't that the height of hypocisry?
    Maybe as a Christian I might just celebrate Divali. Just as ludicrous!

  • Comment number 73.

    The Pope's Christmas message was kindly, thoughful and hopeful. It stated simple truths about God working in mysterious ways and keeping to His promises. Of course there will be cynics and sadly they do not realise what Christmas means to billions of believers around the world. The Catholic church has much to be sorry about but our dear Pope is someone of whom we can be proud as a wise theologian and a man of God. His Christmas message will not be tarnished by those who pour scorn on it via HYS postings.

  • Comment number 74.

    Mark Thompson is in most respects an admirable Director General, but his Jesuitical education has left him blinkered in respect of religion. The Pope's 'state' visit was blessed with hideously sycophantic BBC coverage, and the decision to allow this tainted pontiff to address the nation at Christmas via TFTD is an insult to a large percentage of the BBC licence payers who pay Mr Thompson's salary. Why can't we have a non-religious TFTD? And by the way, 'salvation' from what? The medieval fantasy of hellfire?

  • Comment number 75.

    48. At 10:48am on 24 Dec 2010, Billy wrote:

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:
    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    --------------------------
    As an atheist I will be enacting the mid-winter feasting tradition that began in Europe long before Christianity was invented, and long before the Church contrived to give Christian meaning to a Pagan festival.
    OK, I am not a Pagan and I will not argue with any genuine Pagans who take issue with me celebrating their festival. However I do not accept criticism from followers of a religion whose two major festivals have been hijacked from the Pagans that their spiritual ancestors systematically oppressed.

    /////////////////////

    Hey - delighted you want to celebrate with us!
    Cool with us, whatever you want to believe, so long as you respect our beliefs.

  • Comment number 76.

    If I wanted to suffer the blasphamous teachings of the head of a church that is responsible for more corruption, suffering and death through the centuries than any other body of people I would go to Italy.
    I certainly do not want the pope invading these sheres through visits or any other means especially at the expense of this country.
    This country is Church of England and has been for centuries.
    One of the best things Henry the Eight did for this country was to kick out the Roman Catholics and its been that way ever since.

  • Comment number 77.

    pixies tomorrow and moonies on boxing day I assume?

    The vast majority of licence fee extortees could not give a damn about listening to deluded individuals sprouting about their weird beliefs. Can we make it any more clear?

  • Comment number 78.

    i am a strong believer now that religion should be illegal.

    Ive thought long and hard about it and until your 18 it should not be allowed anywhere near you.
    all religion does is brain wash you when your young into believing in heaven and hell and all sorts of crap!

    i mean kids shouldn't be told this i mean if they will believe in the Easter bunny and Santa Claus, of course they will believe this rubbish about a god.

    the only thing i cant understand is why does everybody figure out that there is no Santa and no Easter bunny yet will still believe in the god crap they were told at the same age?

  • Comment number 79.

    68. At 11:02am on 24 Dec 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    ----------------------------------------------

    It's Saturday mate!

    Don't think now is the right time for religion bashing, either from or to the Christians.

    The spirit of people, whether religious or not, is apparent at this time of year. I've just donated 50% of my pay cheque this month to charity. I'm sure many people, whether atheist like myself or Catholic will be doing similar good deeds up and round the country.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    -----------

    ha! if you can give 50% of your wage away you must be on way to much!
    i dont think you will find many following suit there mate havent you heard were in a recession!!

    or are you one of thoese whos never been better off to quote a certain somebody :)

  • Comment number 80.

    At 10:09am on 24 Dec 2010, imustbeoldiwearacap wrote:

    I'm an atheist - that's my belief and that's my choice, other people have differing beliefs to mine to which they're entitled!

    ---

    No, you're wrong. Atheism is not a choice. You don't choose what you don't believe. You either believe something or you do not. So you're either not an atheist or you don't really understand what that word means (I'm guessing the latter because atheism is not a belief, it is a lack thereof). And yes everybody is entitled to their beliefs. But should a publicly funded body be entitled to use public funds to promote certain, or any, beliefs? Absolutely not.

  • Comment number 81.

    It seems likely that 2011 will be a miserable year for many people as the tide of unemployment sweeps over Europe, driven by the austerity programmes being implemented by its right wing governments.

    The wealthy elite will be glad to see the Pope doing his bit to suppress discontent by telling us that we will be rewarded in heaven if we behave ourselves and just put up with this man-made suffering and do not cause too much trouble.

  • Comment number 82.

    "
    What's the problem? If you are not interested in the Pope's broadcast, don't listen.
    "

    Two problems really. Firstly I get the bill for it and secondly It displaced something that may have been more wothwhile and worth the money that ghosts and goblins.

  • Comment number 83.

    45. At 10:45am on 24 Dec 2010, SteveDave wrote:
    "I would say that a good dose of religion is what these people need to teach them a little compassion, humanity and kindness"

    Like the compassion, humanity & kindness that the Catholic church shows to homosexuals, the children born with AIDS because their parents follow what the man in the Vatican says & don't use condoms because it makes the baby Jesus cry & the many victims of it's paedophilic priests?

    It's about as relevant as flip-flops.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh dear! Seems someone can't think for himself!

    If you care to see the wood for the trees, I have the following for you…

    Homosexuality. The Church does not condemn people who are gay, but the actual physical practice of gay intercourse. There is a distinction.

    On the issue of AIDs in Africa. The Catholic Church teaches abstinence and monogamy, the only 100% full proof prevention against the spread of HIV through sexual transmission. Espousing the use of condoms is like saying “Here, have your cake and eat it!” Condoms are not full proof that much we all know. Agreed? So which is the better to be teaching people? “Here, have a condom, carry on as usual, fingers crossed the little chap doesn’t split!” or “Build a home and family and stay faithful to them!” Not rocket science isn’t it? And for the record a Harvard professor stated that on the basis of a study that taking the two attempts to deal with AIDs in Africa, it was the Catholic Churches approach that would prove to be more successful and that the Annie Lennox Brigade were actually doing more harm than good with their “business as usual, just wear a jonnie approach!”

    On the issue of the pedophile priest, there is no getting away from the fact that the Church screwed that one up with protecting these monstrous people. But these priests are not truly religious are they? How can you follow and adhere to the teachings of faith when you behave in such away. So these priests are not true practitioners and adherents to Catholicism, given their actions. There is simply no excuse for their actions and the churches attempts to cover it up – utterly disgraceful and all Catholics would agree with you. But these priests are not true Catholics, they are not people of faith, they are people who used faith as a guise and an opportunity to entertain their sick and degrading acts. No man or woman with a religious vocation, a true religious vocation behaves in this way. But that does not take away from the fundamental tenants of religion which is to look are those who are unable to look after themselves and to show kindness, compassion and humanity to one another, regardless.

  • Comment number 84.

    66. At 11:02am on 24 Dec 2010, Jeff Martin wrote:

    As expected the Atheists are out in force rubbishing religion as a whole and the Pope in particular. I take it these people will just have a normal weekend this weekend, won't be stuffing themselves silly, over drinking and not opening presents etc. I didn't hear the Pope's message though I might try and find it on listen again.
    I personally can't abide the "religion" that is football, but I don't go on about it being a waste of time, and the people who go along to see their team and kick seven sorts of s**t outo f each other as being deluded and sad.
    Why do the atheists feel it necessary to be so vocal in their disbelief? Why not just say - "it's not for me, thanks" ?

    ----------------------
    because religion is a waste of time and money? the ATHIESTS money aswell as yours so we have every right to be vocal.

    i assume your pagan? otherwise your comment about athiests celebrating with presents etc tomorrow is beyond hypacritical.

    if i had to make alist right now of the top 3 religions thats are so baseless its unbelivable its

    1.scientology
    2.COE
    3.catholosism

    there's blatent proof there all made up

  • Comment number 85.

    who do the so called secular society think they are?if he dosen't want to listen.then don't!they are becoming as dogmatic and biggoted as the catholic church this ersatz is in danger of demanding that people of faith be burned at the stake.we are all seekers of knowledge,the gnosis of life mysteries.science as not got all the answers,it only thinks it as. i myself love science especially the field of quantum physics,fantastic,that alone must be a warning that there is still a lot to discover,in all the fields of science and being human.give and take is the way forward,evovle...ps it appears we have another ancestor to consider???

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    70. At 11:04am on 24 Dec 2010, Zincy wrote:
    At 10:21am on 24 Dec 2010, iancoady wrote:

    Honestly people if you're not interested in religion then quite simply don't bother watching/listening and then you'll have nothing to moan about.

    -----

    Oh, you must be one of those lucky people who can control where their licence fee goes and makes sure it is always to secular expenses. I suppose you control where your taxes go too. The rest of us poor unfortunates have to worry about these things though.

    If you don't have the ability to form an objective opinion based on facts I suggest you don't read these comments, close your browser, turn off your computer and go and stick your head into the sand until it's all over. (hint: it'll never be over).
    ------------------------------------------
    I don't need to control where my license fee goes. The BBC offers a wide range of channels, radio stations and programming to ensure that should you not like something that is on, you just turn over and watch something else. Or have you not figured out how to work the dial on your radio yet?

    Exactly what 'facts' am I supposed to form an 'objective' opinion about? - oh which by the way is impossible. All science is subjective as it is always undertaken with the intention of a particular result in mind.

    Don't get on your high horse and criticise me for wanting tolerance of people's beliefs whether they are religious or secular. Your view is nor more or less valid than anyone elses. There are more Catholics in this country (that's Catholics - not including CoE) than Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish put together or would you rather the BBC produced programming only for you and you alone.

  • Comment number 88.

    'The Pope's message: Your reaction'

    I don't care.

    And you can keep your 'god'.

  • Comment number 89.

    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?


    Actually yes I will!

    I take it you won't be using any services - gas, electricity, TV, radio, internet etc. etc. tomorrow in order to give other Christians to celebrate Christmas? Or do you rely on the atheists to do all the work for you?

  • Comment number 90.

    Why should we have the pope broadcasting to the nation? We got rid of his lot nearly 400 years ago. We should not give this person airtime before the Queen's speech. We will no doubt also get his St Peter's Square pushed down throats as well. THe BBC seem obsessed by this priest.

  • Comment number 91.

    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    No, I will be at home celebrating the birth of Mithra.
    -----------
    Why because Christians hijacked Saturnalia?

  • Comment number 92.

    it is amazing just how many people make adverse comments about Christianity around Christmas .. It is certainly an important time for christians and most are not too bothered about the "knockers " thats fine BUT i wish the same people wouldn't try to High-jack Christmas and turn it into something it is not .. Why do these people even reconised Christmas. Surely they could drink and eat too much etc: without using the excuse of Christmas ..

    As for the Pope being given time on Radio 4 . No problem with that what so ever just as i don't have a problem with any True followers of Islam ,Hebrews , Buddhists and so on . All should have access the media ..

    At Christmas time it is only fitting that the Pope addresses the most practiced religion in the UK.. If only to remind ALL Christians regards the important of the birth of Christ , Christians Morals Also to remind followers just how easy it is to stray or take other path away from "the Tried and Tested Rule book " aka the Bible

    It might not be every belief, and each to they own God . I doubt whether you would hear the Pope knocking humanists and any other religion ...Maybe the C.of E but that church has lapsed into something else Speaking has a C of E. which seems to conflict with virtually every part of the "Rule Book "..

    again why do these "knockers " follow Father Christmas,
    Why don't they tell their children that there is no Father Christmas and explain Christmas a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ son of GOD but seeing that there is no GOD etc Then there is no Father Christmas .. Christianity is not a "pick and mix " although we all may think it is most of the time... If i.m around when the Pope his on the radio I shall not turn it off .. Why because I am not likely to get upset or bothered by what he is likely to say

  • Comment number 93.

    70. At 11:04am on 24 Dec 2010, Zincy wrote:
    At 10:21am on 24 Dec 2010, iancoady wrote:

    Honestly people if you're not interested in religion then quite simply don't bother watching/listening and then you'll have nothing to moan about.

    -----

    Oh, you must be one of those lucky people who can control where their licence fee goes and makes sure it is always to secular expenses. I suppose you control where your taxes go too. The rest of us poor unfortunates have to worry about these things though.

    If you don't have the ability to form an objective opinion based on facts I suggest you don't read these comments, close your browser, turn off your computer and go and stick your head into the sand until it's all over. (hint: it'll never be over).

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I object to my licence fee being used to screen endless football, soaps, reality TV and the like. In fact most TV output. However I accept that millions of others watch these programmes and wouldn't be so arrogant as to suggest only MY desired programming be broadcast.
    I suggest others start to accept the same. After all as a percentage of the total TV output religious programming is a microscopic proportion.

  • Comment number 94.

    Oh come on! You know what the majority of people think of "the pope" and his sick cult - this is just an easy option.
    Can we have real topics to debate relevant to the real uk situation?
    Bent politics bent business and bent uk?

  • Comment number 95.

    I really do not think that someone who effectively believes in “Fairies’ at the bottom of the garden” should be given airtime! Religion should NOT be encouraged!

  • Comment number 96.

    Theoldgoat writes: "To the 'sky pixie' and 'religious cult' brigade: you choose to not have a religious faith. That choice is yours to make. Please respect others who choose differently to (sic) you."

    No.

    If they kept their absurd views out of the public square, I'd agree with you. But they don't. And they do significant damage. (I need not list their many faults, need I?)

    Consequently, they should be challenged. As one cannot reasonably challenge them on the evidence--because they have none--all that is left is mockery.

  • Comment number 97.

    72. At 11:05am on 24 Dec 2010, Jeff Martin wrote:

    48. At 10:48am on 24 Dec 2010, Billy wrote:
    11. At 10:04am on 24 Dec 2010, coolhandpaul wrote:
    I suppose all those that are athiests will be in work tomorrow?

    --------------------------
    As an atheist I will be enacting the mid-winter feasting tradition that began in Europe long before Christianity was invented, and long before the Church contrived to give Christian meaning to a Pagan festival.
    OK, I am not a Pagan and I will not argue with any genuine Pagans who take issue with me celebrating their festival. However I do not accept criticism from followers of a religion whose two major festivals have been hijacked from the Pagans that their spiritual ancestors systematically oppressed.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Let me get this right...
    You're not a Pagan but will be celebrating their festival.
    Isn't that rather like Atheists celebrating Christmas?
    Isn't that the height of hypocisry?
    Maybe as a Christian I might just celebrate Divali. Just as ludicrous!


    ------------

    its about as ludicrous as a christian celebrating Christmas (you know because it was actually a pagan festival you stole last time i checked Christians aren't pagans)

    i however celebrate Christmas buy buying presents spending time with my family that i only get to see once a year. and guess what i dont need a god to tell me that once a year we should let off some steam and spend time with my family. and considering christmas is a BANK HOLIDAY means that you dont need to be religious to be off work!

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Is he going to mention the cheese-makers?

  • Comment number 100.

    54. At 10:51am on 24 Dec 2010, C Man wrote:
    In response to 10: Sauron the Deciever’s “Diatribe”. Comparing Atheists to Nazis is hardly demonstrating a live and let live attitude.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Where in my statement do I make a comparison between Atheists and Nazis? I would never say such a thing.

    That is a similar pathetic excuse or rhetorical attack as some of the crap issued from atheists against the religious and vise versa

    The irony is, that I am not particularly religious, but I dislike this modern sinister twist being invoked and the ensuing propaganda that seeks to undermine and demonize an organization (religious or otherwise) for personal gain, power and influence. This is the current stand of the NSS. The Catholic Church is a force for good, I have lived all over the world and have seen its people in action and I can attest to the good work that they do. But here in the UK, the Catholic Church is demonized and its adherents treated with contempt and scorn and this I will stand against.

    Atheists are not Nazis, for the most part; they are people just trying to get from cradle to the grave with the least amount of trouble along the way. But like within religion, there are those within who use these organizations and what they stand for as a path way to influence and power, regardless of the people they hurt along the way.

    The vast majority of comments condemning religion so far are not comments grounded in fact, but is the same tired old propaganda spouted by those who rail against religion. Mocking, degrading comments espousing their! I don’t care about religion” attitude is somewhat hypocritical given the obvious thought gone into some of the vitriolic comments – that doesn’t strike you as sinister? Come on! Why comment if you really don’t care.

    It’s a simple as that.

 

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