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Pilgrimage Moments: The Lack of Faith

Length - 05:02
Published - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to the Scottish Isles.

At the end of Will’s first day on the Pilgrimage, he is invited to share his personal beliefs with the group after dinner. Will opens up about his journey away from church attendance after his grandfather’s death, and his own battle with non-Hodgkin’s blood cancer as a child. He fondly recalls the comforting prayers he received during his hospital stay, highlighting the role of faith during times of hardship.

The discussion moves on to experiences of faith, not only during life’s trials but also during moments of joy and contentment.

Monty challenges Laurence about his lack of faith, despite his remarkable knowledge of religion. Laurence defends his position, saying he is happy with his “mechanical universe”, but willing to take part in religious ceremonies for his own non-religious reasons.

Shazia also reflects on her upbringing as the only Muslim and person of colour in a Roman Catholic school.

Together, these conversations help the Pilgrims to deepen their respect for each other’s faiths and personal beliefs.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Clip: The Lack of Faith - Pilgrimage S4 Ep 2 - Clip1

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S1 00:00:24:02

Over dinner. The group are keen to learn more about their

newest pilgrim.

S2 00:00:30:16

Well, you've been parachuted in to join us, and it's wonderful to

have you here, but we have all declared where we stand in terms

of our personal beliefs, our faiths. Which religious fence do you

sit on?

S3 00:00:44:02

I'm pretty much on the fence. When my grandad died, my mum

moved away and then we never went to church or anything. It

was like one extreme to the other.

S4 00:00:52:18

If you were drowning, would you pray to God?

S3 00:00:55:06

Probably. I've never been in that position. You know where I've

literally been fighting for my life or anything like that, apart from

when I was like seven years old. And it's different when you're at

that age, isn't it? You don't really know what's going on.

S5 00:01:06:12

What happened when you were seven years old?

S3 00:01:07:06

Well, I had non-Hodgkin's blood cancer. I was in Great Ormond

Street, so that's when I had people in coming in praying and stuff

like that. It was kind of comforting to know that they were like,

they cared so much for me, and I'd like that.

S4 00:01:20:00

Did they work?

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S3 00:01:21:10

Well? Yeah, I'm still here. So I guess it's strange, isn't it? Like

when you're in desperate need you. I think you do need a faith.

Or you need something like a god like. Because without sounding

too morbid. But when you're when someone your son's on death's

door or something, you want to hope that they go somewhere or

that it's not the end.

S6 00:01:38:21


S7 00:01:40:05

I've never been in a situation where I've had to pray to God for

something negative. I have only ever like, thank you for what,

you know.

S2 00:01:49:23

That's so powerful because so many people don't do that. When it

goes well, they just take it for granted. Mhm.

S8 00:01:55:23

Yeah. But Lawrence, I wanted to ask you a question. Since you've

been here, you've been very theoretical. Right. Whenever I'm

speaking to you about faith it doesn't come from your heart. It

doesn't, it comes from the mind.

S9 00:02:07:12

But I completely get that. You intellectualise everything.

S8 00:02:09:19

I do intellucatualise everything. It's all coming from the books.

It's not coming from your personal experience and heart. When

you had a successful time, did you ever pray to God? Did you

ever say to God, thank you for that great deal or something like


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S2 00:02:22:18

Uh, no.

S8 00:02:25:15

I think you can have a very great understanding of faith without

having faith.

S10 00:02:26:19

Absolutely, absolutely.

S10 00:02:31:08

I think you can read as many books as you like, and I'm sure that

Lawrence has read most of them, but he hasn't got faith.

S8 00:02:37:10

No, I think you have strong faith within you, but you just don't

know it.

S2 00:02:41:06

Monty, Monty. But the thing is that, you know, as I said right from

the outset, I'm really happy with my mechanical universe.

S7 00:02:47:01

Tell me something. You christened your children. Yes. For the

purpose that it would be easy for them to. Administratively much

easier. Okay. You got married yourself in a church. I did, yes. You

did. Why?

S2 00:02:57:06

You know, the the mise en scene of getting married, the, you

know, the kind of the art direction of getting married for me had

to happen in the church.

S10 00:03:06:19

I think your your Christianity really is sort of the English middle

class is a prayer.

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S2 00:03:12:15

It is rather.

S10 00:03:13:14

It's a social thing.

S2 00:03:14:13

It is. We know absolutely everybody in our village and we meet at

church. I mean, not every Sunday.

S8 00:03:21:14

So why do you go to church?

S2 00:03:22:19

Because we are all there together.

S7 00:03:25:18

We are all together.

S7 00:03:27:09

A certain type of religion is, as I said.

S9 00:03:29:22


S2 00:03:30:14

It's community.

S8 00:03:32:03

I don't believe that. I believe you have inside you. You have

strong faith. As we stripping away the hat, the scarf and


S9 00:03:39:21

You can't lose the scarf.

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S4 00:03:41:05

What he says. He's really happy the way he is. And I think you.

S2 00:03:43:13

Need to watch out slightly. I mean, I'm so fond of you, but one of

the big things that we've almost really, really, you know, decided

on as a family now is that we all respect each other's faiths, but

we're not evangelizing. No one is trying to sell their faith to

anybody else, I think. So, I mean, I love you to death, but you're

not going to find a faith in me.

S10 00:04:04:11

I think there's a difference. And I think Monty grew up with a

distinct community, and so did you.

S4 00:04:11:06

But the thing is, I went to a Roman Catholic school. I was the

only Muslim in the whole school.

S10 00:04:15:08

But you stuck to the culture that you grew up.

S7 00:04:17:03

Can I ask you something? Were you the only person of color?

S4 00:04:20:16


S7 00:04:21:11

So there was no Hindus? There was no. No, I was the only


S4 00:04:24:17

And I was the only brown girl in the whole school. And I had to

go up every Friday and do mass, take Holy Communion. Did you

feel different? Yeah.

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S9 00:04:34:12

Did you feel different? Is it?

S4 00:04:36:03

And the thing with me is I'm used to being an outsider. Yeah,


S2 00:04:41:07

Um. Well, welcome to the merry band.

S3 00:04:45:21

Cheers, guys. Thanks for having me.

S9 00:04:47:06

Very good. Well.

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