BBC Radio 4's long-running "Thought for the Day" has been in the news this week, as several presenters for the Today Programme have criticised the segment in an interview with Radio Times magazine.
One facet of the criticism was whether the BBC should be broadcasting three minutes of religious content daily when more than half of the population are atheist.
I'm an atheist and in my day-to-day life I have almost zero interaction with people of faith, certainly none where faith is a topic of conversation. However when I was an undergrad at Durham, I was a member of St John's College which has a Christian/Anglican/Evangelical heritage, and I met a lot of religious friends during my time there.
What I find a little disturbing about the lack of faithful people in my day-to-day life, compared to then, is how it shines a light on how disjoint our society is. This has become even more apparent with the advent of the "filter bubble" and how irreconcilable factions are around topics like Brexit, Trump, etc.
For these reasons I appreciate Thought for the Day and hearing voices from communities that I normally have little to do with. I can agree with the complaints about the lack of diversity, and I particularly enjoy hearing Thoughts from Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and such.
Another criticism levelled against the segment was that it can be "preachy". I haven't found that myself. I get the impression that most of the monologues are carefully constructed to be as unpreaching as possible. I can usually appreciate the ethical content of the talks, without having to buy into the faith aspect.
Interestingly the current principal of St John's College, David Wilkinson, has written his own response to the interview for the Radio Times.