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Living with No Gods

Neil MacGregor considers the attempts of post-revolutionary France and the USSR to exist without religion - and asks if one set of shared beliefs needs to be replaced by another.

Neil MacGregor focuses on societies which aimed to live without religious beliefs.

Neil examines a revolutionary clock, from around 1795, created in the wake of the French Revolution, and designed to mark a new way of living: in an age of reason, there would no longer be royalism or religion in France.

A poster from the Soviet Union celebrates the apparent triumph of scientific progress: the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin floats in space, looks out and proclaims 'There is no God!'. It seems that the heavens are empty of divine beings, but full, instead, of starry promise.

Producer Paul Kobrak

Produced in partnership with the British Museum
Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

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15 minutes


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Neil MacGregor tells the stories of some of the key objects in the series.