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Episode 2

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 February 2014

In this two-part Sunday Feature, Michael Goldfarb investigates one of history's most remarkable coincidences: the first Greek philosophers, the Buddha and Confucius all lived at precisely the same time, the 6th century BCE. What they had in common was they were the first to create thought systems in which Man, not the Gods, was the measure of all things. It was arguably civilization's greatest leap forward. Yet, despite their teachings these thought systems became faiths anyway.

Why this coincidence? Were these thinkers in touch with one another? How did these teachings become religions?

In part two Michael Goldfarb goes on pilgrimage in India and China to tell the story of how Buddhism and Confucianism, two faiths without God, became religions. He talks to scholars and monks about the human need for faith and how even rationalism is becoming a kind of religion in the West.


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