Radio 4’s Today Programme needs to think again

According to a report in this week’s Radio Times, John Humphrys and Justin Webb do not like Thought for the Day on Radio 4’s Today Programme.

Veteran presenter Humphreys said the slot was often “deeply, deeply boring” and suggested that it was an unnecessary feature in the programme’s schedule. Webb said that they are all roughly the same, saying something like “If everyone was nicer to everyone else, it would be fine.” They also think it does not represent the majority of the population who have no religion at all.

There is of course an unprofessional arrogance in their complaints which assume that a kind of benign atheism is the only thing anyone wants to hear about but nonetheless, many Christians would agree with them about TFTD, although not quite for the same reasons.

Thought for the Day often has no cutting edge because it does not really apply Biblical Christianity to the lives of people today. With a few exceptions, the speaker will mention something about God and a moral lesson that offends no-one but is of interest to very few. At worst, some actually say things that contradict the message of Jesus Christ.

What people really need to hear is a ‘Thought for the Day’ that lifts them from the mundane routine of getting up, turning on the radio and listening to politicians and scientists trying to tell them what to think. People need to hear what God wants to say to them. We don’t need less Christianity on TFTD but more real, life-giving, life-changing Christianity – more about the historical Jesus and the lasting peace and hope that comes through following him. And that’s well worth a lot more than 2 minutes 45 seconds.

For a link to a Premier Christianity blog and radio interview on this topic click here




  1. Interesting that this is posted today when TFTD was with Dr Michael Banner (I think) who at least summed up quite clearly what Luther came to realise and which ‘sparked’ the reformation of the church! Today it may well have offended listeners as ‘people’ in general were described as being sinners!

    • Just missed it this morning. I will try and listen later. I think the point still stands but good that there are some exceptions

  2. Talking about Luther – as opposed to TFTD – I have just read the 95 theses and found them quite conciliatory. The response from the Vatican was extreme and sparked the Reformation.

  3. Now – about TFTD. It would be a shame if they closed down TFTD for being bland. It would be good if it was closed down because it was revolutionary, hard-hitting, authoritative, provocative – in the best sense of those words.

  4. I’m sure the director of affinity will be on there at some point soon!

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