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What would you take on a desert island? New poll in Britain shows most would not want a Bible

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/17/16

An interesting shift, via The Guardian:

For almost 75 years it has been a reassuring weekly fixture following an unchanged format, part of the fabric of the nation. But the pace and reach of social change appear to have left Desert Island Discs behind. A new poll suggests that only 31% of people in the UK would like a copy of the Bible to take to a desert island. The Radio 4 programme’s imaginary castaways are given a Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, along with their choice of eight pieces of music, another book and one luxury item. Reflecting the increasing secularity and diversity of British society, the poll found that 56% of respondents would not choose to take a Bible, and another 13% were unsure. Fewer than one in three welcomed the inclusion of a Bible in their musical and literary accompaniments to a solitary existence. There was a noticeable generational difference: 18% of 18-to-24-year-olds would choose a Bible, compared with 39% of over-65s. The first Desert Island Discs was recorded in January 1942 featuring the musical choices of Vic Oliver, an Austrian-born actor and comedian. Since then, more than 3,000 people have agonised over their selections – and millions more have fantasized about their line-up should the BBC ever call. The programme was devised by broadcaster Roy Plomley, who presented it until his death in 1985, apart from a five-year break when it was off-air. He insisted on strict enforcement of the rules. After the death in 2012 of his widow, Diana Wong, who owned full rights to the show, there was speculation that the Bible might be dropped. But a BBC spokesman insisted there were “no plans” to remove it. Some guests have objected. In 2010, Michael Mansfield, the human rights lawyer, requested a bible of vegetarian cooking instead, only to be told by the presenter,Kirsty Young, that he had no choice. In response to a complaint by the National Secular Society, Alice Feinstein, then the programme’s editor, wrote: “Castaways … are not forced to take a religious text – many choose not to take any religious book at all. Others do take one, but make the point they would read it simply as a piece of literature.”

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