Several colleagues in British media have expressed surprise at Manuela Hoelterhoff’s direct questions about God in the Holocaust and my equally direct answers in our conversation on Bloomberg Muse.
We were talking about my new novel, The Game of Opposites, and Manuela wanted to know if I agreed with an opinion voiced by one of the characters. So we set about the issue in a few concise lines.
‘Couldn’t happen here,’ said a senior newspaper editor. ‘God only gets dealt with in the God slots’ – the statutory Saturday space for clergymen – ‘or from a Richard Dawkins perspective.’
‘So true,’ said a BBC boss. ‘God is off the agenda here, except for atheists and politicians.’
But why is that? Why can media discuss every human organ and intimacy in clinical detail, but not the issues of faith and doubt that trouble intelligent and sensitive readers? Why does the BBC appoint self-proclaimed agnostics to be head of religion? Why is serious talk about the sorrow and the pity blanked out on British media?