Episode 9 The Big Questions

Episode 9

Nicky Campbell presents live debates. Has the time come to phase out local hospitals? Will prenuptial agreements undermine marriage? Are Bible stories the way to teach morality?

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agreements, and moral tales. -- prenup joule.


Good morning, I am Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions, we are


live from Jack Hunt School in Peterborough.


Welcome, everybody, to The Big Questions! Now, on Monday,


Parliament will be asked to vote on whether the Secretary of State for


Health should have the power to close hospitals in England even if


the staff and local communities are opposed. It is a matter of keen


interest here in Peterborough, where the local hospital is in deep


financial trouble. Has the time come to phase out local hospitals?


Welcome to Professor Terence Stephenson, chair of the Academy Of


Medical Royal Colleges. It is great to have you here, how is phasing out


local hospitals putting patients first? It is always couched as


hospital closure, but it is hardly ever that. What the people in this


audience want is the right treatment in the right place at the right


time. I have spent the last week from dawn to dusk looking after a


emergencies, and what is preventing doctors from me giving people like


this the best quality they can is the fact that we are trying to run


20th century hospitals with 21st century medicine. Two things we are


struggling with - one is that all the evidence from strokes, trauma,


cancer, heart attacks, is if anyone in this room is ill, their best


chance of surviving that illness is to be treated somewhere where we do


lots of it. Expertise. Expertise, you know that, if you have a flat


pack, you build a couple of year, they don't fit together. If you are


doing ten a day, you get very good at it. Not talking furniture, we are


talking people. Same principle, the more you do, the better you get. The


second point is that on a Sunday morning, there will be 200 hospitals


open for children's emergencies. About half of those will only add


mid sixth or seven children. In half of those, 50 hospitals, they will be


less than 30 Minutes Drive from another hospital admitting seven


children. Currently we cannot staff them properly. They will be short of


paediatricians and children's nurses, so we cannot staff them, and


we need to have the volume and expertise. So for some people, it


will be a longer journey. For some people, it will be a 30 minute


journey. Does this make sense? You have time this very well, because


last week in the BMJ there was a publication that showed the number


of hospitals we have compared to other countries in the OECD is


extremely low. We have got to few hospitals already in this country.


We have already seen the number of beds cut down to under 150,000 in


the last 20 years. Some of that is due to changes that need to happen,


but we have occupancy rates of more than 90%, when the safe level is


around 85%. Clinically, this could be very dangerous. I will come back


to the point about how the tax and strokes, I'd agree that there is


clear evidence that centralising some services can improve survival.


-- heart attacks. But other conditions, if you close your local


hospital, what happens to acute asthmatics who have to travel


further? What happens to a choking child? What happens to other medical


emergencies? That data does not look at that, so this is dangerous, and


what we have seen in the austerity that is happening at the moment,


this is not about clinical decisions, it is about finance. If


you increase health care spending, this is from the IMF, Stanford


University, if you increase spending, it's the late economic


growth, not having a negative effect because you keep the population


healthier, so we need to go completely against the austerity


agenda, which is damaging the health of the population and decreasing the


number of services, which will lead to increasing privatisation and


medical insurance is outrageous. Outrageous! Julia Manning, this is


outrageous, but you believe that keeping a lot of local hospitals


open, they are not safe. Absolutely, they are not safe, and this is not


about cutting services, it is about changing the way we deliver services


so they are fit for this generation and the next generation. We have


people going to hospitals even though most of us know that you are


not in there, when you have an operation, you might be in for a


week or two. A lot of surgery is day surgery. We need to be using what we


have in terms of resources and people in a much more intelligent


way so that we can meet the needs of the current population, which is


growing. But you are not meeting their needs if they have to travel


further to visit relatives in hospitals will stop that has got to


be bad for anyone recovering in hospital, and that might be a


consequence of this. We need to remember that the majority of health


care takes place in the community already, and that is where the most


patient-professional contact takes place, in primary care. Hospitals


are only a small part of the NHS, but we seem to have a national


hospitals service, instead of a National Health Service. We need to


make it fit for purpose for this century. We are not using technology


the way I should. It is nonsense that I should have to go to a


hospital to see a consultant to have a conversation I could have on the


phone, they then tell me I need to have tests, tests I could have at a


GP's surgery. We are not using technology in new that we should,


whether that is referrals... The evidence base, apart from a few


selective conditions, is, by their own admission, weak. We need to have


these discussions on a case-by-case basis. The public is not


convinced... I am sick of being patronised by experts who tell me


that it is better for my health to close my local hospital, you know,


and I think we need to be having these discussions in our local


community. We were told no decision about me without me, and yet they


are trying to bring in a fast-track... Do you think this is a


circumventing local democracy? Explicitly. As someone who has


campaigned against hospital privatisation, 40 days is no time to


save your local hospital. Let's look at the evidence, these big centres


of excellence, is there concrete statistical evidence that they save


lives, Julia Manning? When there are specialist centres, yes, absolutely.


We want to go to a specialist centre. Lives have been saved?


Absolutely! If I had a rare tumour in my eye, I would only go to the


Royal Liverpool Hospital, where they specialise. There is no expertise in


the world better than that, I will take a train to go to that. But the


bigger picture is we have a ?30 billion funding gap in the next


eight years, and that is just book-keeping services as they are.


Where do we get that from? -- just for keeping. We want to take it from


education or raise taxes? You are looking, on the average salary, an


extra ?100 per month. And it is going to get worse as the population


gets older, and part of the problem with these monster mortgages that


the hospitals have as a result of the Private Finance initiative, they


are just frightening! Sorry, they were set in sunnier times, back at a


rate of interest they would never be paying back now. Julie is right


about specialist centres, but we need both, your specialist centres


and smaller hospitals. I am a cancer specialist and a specialist


hospital, but I do peripheral clinics in local hospitals to


deliver a service to the wider community. You cannot afford to have


the equipment in every hospital, it is extremely costly and you need a


lot of expertise. Actually, we need more funding of the health service,


people are saying, where are you going to get it from? We wasting


billions on a health care market, we have this split with GPs buying


supplies from hospitals, and that's just drives up costs. It is wasting


?10 billion a year. We have got huge tax avoidance problems, ?70 billion


a year in tax avoidance, so we need HMRC to focus on the big people,


thousands of people... And we need to... Professor Stevenson, get your


hands ready, I will be coming around the audience, I know this is an


important issue locally. Professor Stevenson, clamping down on tax


avoidance, is that ever going to be enough to pay for what we need in


the future? It is not about pain. I started by giving people the best


quality care we can. -- paying. We like behind Sweden and Norway, where


people realise that the best quality care is not delivered by having 220


hospitals. They have far higher tax rates. There are other differences.


I worked in a centre for 22 years, and I never had a patient or


bulletin saying, I don't want to go by aeroplane to Glasgow or


Newcastle. -- patient or relative. Every time they said, I want to go


where I can get the best treatment possible. Good morning. A quick


point so we can get through them all. We have to see this in the


economy as a whole. The public-private partnership, we have


to see there is an argument that there is no money here, a funding


gap. There is money in the economy here. Take the example of the big


banks which are taking bailouts from the Government. Just last year, RBS


had billions in their profits, paying out 9 billion in bonuses of


executives. That is what is going on in this economy. Why can't this


money be thrown into health services and hospitals? The Professor here.


If you were really ill and had cancer, we have a great new district


hospital in Peterborough which has financial problems because of


Labour's failed private finance initiative, but if you have cancer


here, you would want to go to Adam Brookes, which is a teaching


hospital. -- Addenbrooke's. I think we have to look at what is driving


the proposed laws to the Care Bill, and that was brought in by Jeremy


Hunt tried to insert this clause to give him unprecedented powers to


close local hospitals. Because of the situation in Lewisham. Where he


was deemed to have acted beyond his powers. But what we are seeing with


the closures, a lot of the closures are things like A services. To


give an example of the consequences of that, in Chase Farm Hospital in


London, they closed the A service there. Weeks later, a mother rushed


her young child over to Chase Farm Hospital, not realising that the


servers had closed. As a consequence, she had to rush around


to find another hospital, increasing the travel distance, and there was a


tragic incident where that child sadly died. Is that a trade union


badge? It is, yes. We do not know the individual situation there,


Julia Manning, but are these inevitable consequences of closures?


That is a tragic, tragic story, and our heart obviously goes out, but


that is a failure of publicity and telling the public what is going on


with their health services. That is why this debate is so important,


because the public needs to realise that we have a gap in funding but


that does not take into account rising incidences of diabetes, sight


loss, dementia, and we cannot go on funding buildings and pouring money


into them. We need to put money into people and services. And it is not


about closure, it is about transferring and changing. We are


continually told that our suspicions are wrong, we were told in


Peterborough that the private finance initiative scheme was not an


affordable, that it was conspiracy talk, and then we are told it was an


absolute catastrophe. -- unaffordable. I think our fears are


grounded, and they need to be heard. Where I live, there is a district


general hospital that people have fought to save, and we are now being


told that the services, it is not the best place, the kind of points


you are making, and we will have community-based care, in much the


same way that we were told about mental health care and care in the


community 20 years ago. Those services simply are not there,


district nurses are supposed to be picking up the pieces when little


hospitals closed down, and we have lost a lot of beds. These district


nurses that are supposedly picking up the pieces, their figures have


declined 40% in the last ten years. We still trained doctors and nurses


and hospital when the majority of care takes place in the community.


In London, they claimed five district nurses only in the last


year, and this is supposedly the big new home. Why aren't we looking


fundamentally at the way, not just the way the public views services,


but the way we plan them, the way be trained staff, we need to make it


fit for the next generation. My daughter got the certainty of having


her children on the NHS, in a place which is safe, and secure, where


she's going to get the best possible outcomes for the above is not going


to happen if we don't fundamentally change the way we deliver the


majority of services. Is there evidence that people are dying?


There is evidence from Newark hospital. That was the AMD closure a


couple of years ago, subject to an ongoing investigation, but the


mortality rate of people within that region, emergency admissions has


gone up by 30% and that needs to be looked at to be confirmed but that's


just an example -- A People have to travel further. Ambulance


journeys take longer. It has to do come with funding. This government


is clear, there's a clear agenda to cut the amount of public spending


across the board, not just the health but across the board. Because


we don't have the money. Health insurance is coming our way. I'm


worried about this but I've co-founded a political party... Who


are you standing against? I'm going to stand against David Cameron in


Witney on an NHS ticket for 2015, general election, and the people of


Witney will have the opportunity to give the NHS they want. If we carry


on the way we are, we will lose the NHS. Professor Stevenson, we have


debated privatisation on The Big Questions. This leads us to the


conclusion that we've heard from Clive, we are losing our National


Health Service. Are we? It's not about privatisation. It's not about


hospital closure for the Peter Bratt has 184,000 people, 39 miles from


Cambridge, not much further from Leicester, two huge centres. If you


have a condition which can be treated at home, the best place for


it to be treated is at home. If you have something complex that needs


more technical expertise, better to go to a centre where the do lots of


it. It's not either or. It is misleading the public. There is


hardly hospitals closing in the country and there's nothing. They


moved to a service where you have immediate urgent care, and if you're


seeing in a category which needs help, paramedics transfer you. It's


a difficult sell, though. And MPs can't do it. MPs say it will cost


them 10,000 votes for that they know that. When someone presented with an


illness cover you don't know how old they are until they been assessed.


If someone comes another headache and B meningitis or a migraine. They


they need to be assessed. They can go an hour down the road. They need


to be seen and assessed by expert medical nursing staff of having done


that, they need to be triage. That is the modern 21st-century way. It's


not about everybody doing everything immediately. Whilst been hearing


what individual examples, and there are tragedies, let's not be


complacent about the fact that, today, the outcomes of survival of


people in this country is worse than France, worse than Germany, Holland,


many compatible countries. We want to get up to that standard of care


for the Wii won't do that by dwelling on this. If we were


starting again, with a blank sheet of paper, wouldn't we be designing a


National Health Service rather like the vision that the professor has?


Julia Manning is agreeing. I thought she would. Local health centres


dealing with those. There's a 12 point blank on upper body funded


provided... Rather than your 12 point plan which am sure we will be


reading about. Caroline, medical centres and big centres of


expertise... No one is arguing for nothing to change, but it's


important to remember, in 2010, though independent studies by the


Commonwealth fund, the OECD, the NHS, in terms of pounds spent in


terms of lives saved, it is one of the most efficient systems and the


whole world. APPLAUSE


And that's why people are so proud of it in this country.


And we hear about the new technologies which can come in. I


mean, we heard this message about the 111 service. I hear people


laughing. It's a classic example, technology was rolled out, you don't


need to go and clog up the hospitals and beds, just call this number for


the that's an example of a promise which did not materialise. The last


word from the audience. A quick comment. On the terms of saying that


these are tragic stories, and they are really sad and can't be helped,


and we shouldn't focus on them too much, if I hadn't got to hospital


within three minutes of when I had anaphylactic shock, I want to be in


the seat, C can't just ignore the tragic stories. If I couldn't get to


a hospital, and I had anaphylactic shock now, and the hospital was too


far away, I wouldn't survive. What is your name? Ruth. Her situation,


she might not be here today. I have worked in the NHS all my life and


I've never seen a patient... I believe in the NHS free at the


moment of delivery for the I'm asking for an NHS which can deliver


21st-century Quay, comparable to other countries, and for you, three


minutes coming on the paramedics to come to your home if you're that


sick, and get there within three minutes for them don't rely on you


somewhere else. The modern world is the medicine comes to you. It takes


you to the facility which can best to deliver high-quality care which


hopefully will get you to survive. Thank you all very much indeed.


Thank you. APPLAUSE


If you have something to say about that debate, logon to


bbc.co.uk/thebigque stions, and follow the link to where you can


join in the discussion online. Or contribute on Twitter. We're also


debating live this morning from Peterborough, will pre-nuptial


agreements undermine marriage? And are bible stories the way to teach


morality? So get tweeting or emailing on those topics now or send


us any other ideas or thoughts you may have about the show. On


Thursday, the Law Commission recommended that pre-nuptial


agreements should be enforceable in the event of a divorce, provided


both parties had received legal advice, had disclosed all their


assets and the agreement was signed at least four weeks before the


ceremony. So there's just about time to pop into your solicitor's, if you


are planning an Easter wedding. Will pre-nuptial agreements undermine


marriage? What do you think? Certainly. Yes, definitely. Ron,


you'd be married a few times. Eight times. I'm on my last. Did you not


think every single one of those marriages was going to be forever? I


did, you know. It takes two, doesn't it? I've never even thought of


prenup tales. In retrospect? -- pre-nuptials to me, it's like


saying, you have the fork and I'll have a nice, and then you have a


fight about the spoon. LAUGHTER


It's pushing people to think about divorce before they even married.


You have a lot of faith, which is the appropriate word to use on a


Sunday morning. The last woman you married was in Thailand. The latest


woman, you thought you were going to be with forever, was from the


Philippines. The woman from Thailand, she grabbed and seven


going to marry you. She planned the wedding while I was away for that I


had no choice. She was going to jump off the balcony. Something was in it


for her. She wanted a passport, gold, she wanted everything. Not


with me, though. If you had gone to the solicitor and said, you get that


no more in the event of our splitting up, would it not


approved, if she'd signed it, her genuine devotion to you? No,


because, actually, we just went in the registry office, it took five


minutes, when it came to the divorce, we we saw the same lady who


married us, and she divorced us within five minutes. How romantic!


It's so true. No, I mean, I've never believed that. I think it's up to


the couple themselves. Francine, you believed it, but isn't it turning


marriage into a cold transaction? This is a triumph of cynicism, isn't


it? I love those words. No, totally the opposite. This is not a career


move. I'm marrying you because I love you, not for any other reason.


So whenever you come into the relationship with something, that's


what we had, beforehand. And we will keep it, I respect that. I'm


marrying you, I love you, but we not having that if we split up. You


might have inherited something, there could be family obligations.


You could be third time around and you want to leave a legacy for your


children having lost a lot in your relationship previously. But I'm


marrying you. The first point is, if you have a prenup, you're getting


out at the beginning who we are in this relationship. But the most


important point is, because I love you, I want to look after you. Even


though I want to hold on to what I'm coming in with, for other reasons I


might have, when I marry you, you're going to be looked after and we both


become... So it's romantic? Yes, because beforehand, I'm saying I'm


going to look after you, take these vows of marriage seriously. If we do


divorce, what's going to happen afterwards if you're going to be


taking care of dollar Ade Omooba does not like this. Just let me


finish from moment. If you do it properly, and the couple sit down


together, you can make provision for afterwards, you don't wait until the


will to see what's happening at that point. You don't wait until the will


to see what's happening at that point. The it sets out sensibly


about how it should be for the. Marriage is no longer mine, it's


ours. If you don't understand the concept of marriage commits to


individual people come together and say, we want to stay together for a


lifetime. It's a lifetime commitment. Totally agree. You bring


it together and becomes ours. If you're so much in love with what you


had, before you but the person you are going to marry, going to marry


what you had before. Marriage, we speak about it as if it's something


which is extremely disabled and requires crutches. If you bring


arrangement into it, it only do value set. I think you're valuing it


more. Love, selfless, for one another. The moment you bring an


arrangement into it, you nullify that and it makes it easy for people


to walk away from it. In fact, it's harder for people to walk away from


it because of having to walk away from. If I have agreed to marry you


knowing that I have what I have and you have what you have, I've made a


choice. I've made a choice to be with you, not with what you have, so


I'm now... APPLAUSE


When you go into married to somebody, you go into it with


everything they have and you commit everything together.


Marriage is to become one. -- two becomes one. You can have children


if you wanted, and the whole family, it's for the better of that one


family. You could save money, though. The lawyers fees. They cut


back on legal aid for family situations and so, if you get it


sorted out beforehand and know who is going to get what, say we were


going to get marriage, same-sex marriage, I predict you're not a


good fan of that, Francine is talking about pre-nups,


I think they undermine the nature of marriage, which is what has already


been talked about. And in the Church of England marriage service, the


couple say to each other, all that I am, I give to you. All that I have,


I share with you. Now, I know that the ideal fulsome and,


unfortunately, reality shows a lot of marriages don't last. But when


you get pregnant, and you have a baby, you plan the baby shower, the


christening, you don't plan the sad eventuality that does happen, the


baby dies for the budget don't need to do that with children... Not with


the pre-nups as they are now. That brings it down to loss and profit,


materialistic view of assets. When, really, pre-nups can be reconfigured


and more the way Francine is talking, putting in goals and hope


that couple, their expectations, not just reduce it to finance and


possessions. You are a lawyer, and you? Yeah. You have dealt with


divorce, a divorce lawyer, in fact. In America, it is seen as a business


relationship, isn't it, marriage? We have been reading about these stars


over the years, and many of us reading with some horror about the


clinical nature of the situation, and get all that stuff is coming


here. Does it work internationally? It works. Marriage is a partnership,


and it is about trust and respect and all that, and it is not just


when you look at the prenup, it is how you divide assets, it is more


than that, because at that stage the couple are still talking to each


other, they trust each other, they want to have a future together. And


when you look at, for example, Germany, they have been floods for a


long time, not only in America. We hear about actors and rich people,


but that is not the reality. When we have them in Germany, it helps the


marriage, because at that time, when you consider a prenup or not, you


have the choice to do that, and you give security for the future. In


Germany, how long is a marriage in Germany, when you get divorced? We


have 15 years on average when you actually get divorced. In England we


have a very high divorce rate, and it is too high, and I think we need


to give the couple the security back, if they want a prenup, fine.


You do not like it, do you? You are from the Christadelphians, a


Christian group. I agree with Andy, it is a contract between man and


woman for life in front of God, not a contract with solicitors, not a


contract with lawyers. Jesus was asked about marriage, anti-sense, it


is not how God is designed it. One man, one woman together for life,


but he said divorce came in because of the hardness of your hearts.


People want to do what ever they like. The dowry is a business


transaction, a prenup agreement of sorts between families. The Bible is


littered with examples of dowries. Rebecca in Genesis, I wrote that


stand last night, there are many more. What is the difference? That


is true, and the traditions of the time were that. The Bible does not


say that you should provide a dowry, they just work, that is an


historical account, an accurate historical account. What it says is


that marriage is between man and woman for life. The challenge with


that is that people died in childbirth, so these days you can


have two or three marriages, this gentleman has had eight, there is


enough time to do that. When women were giving birth and dying, yes, it


was till death do us part, but the couples I am working with, who do


have marriages 15, 20, 25 years, the number one thing they argue about


when they divorced - money, money, money. And this is what really costs


them a lot of money with lawyers. If that had been sorted out, we


wouldn't have this problem. Have you got a prenup? I do, I do, and the


reason for that is that this is my second marriage, and my first


marriage ended very badly, we were very young, and I wish we had have


protected our assets. We didn't have any children, and I was taken to the


cleaners financially. And therefore with my second marriage, I wanted to


make sure that what I had build up again... Was it an easy sell to your


partner? I don't want you to take me to the cleaners, like my previous


partner? I think he understood where I was coming from, and I don't want


to say he was 100% keen on the idea, but certainly he could understand


where I was coming from. The situation has changed. You can


reaffirm your vows. Yes, we had a clause written into it, were in the


event of children, I would revisit it, or we would take steps to do a


prenup again. At the moment we have not done anything about it, and it


is null and void. There is some steam coming out of 's years!


AdeYou do not like this, do you? I do not like it, you have gone into


marriage, and you know it is not a bed of roses, we all know that. I


have been married for 22 years, I have got three kids, I love my wife


and kids to bits. We don't agree all the time on things, but we know that


we are committed to its together. Where we disagree, we disagree to


agree at the end of the day. We live with the consequences, that is life.


As everyone is here today, we don't know what is going to happen


tomorrow. That is the ideal, and as a Christian, and I have been married


for a very long time myself to the same man, but we know that marriage


is not a healthy place for a lot of people, particularly for a lot of


women and children. And I like the more creative, flexible approach


that you were talking about, and we have to understand divorce, even


though Jesus was against it. Luke is right, it is about the hardness of


our hearts, but also people having our human nature. If we didn't have


an exit route from relationships that were damaging people and


destroying people, it would be worse than if they had to stay in them. So


we have to deal with it, and the way to do it is, I think, marriage is


too easy, divorce is too difficult. Let's make marriage more difficult


so you cannot run in and get married to someone you do not know! The way


to make marriage... You acknowledge that divorce is necessary


sometimes? It is necessary at times, but the problems start before


marriage. That is what I am saying. You might love somebody but then


they start beating you up! Many people do not understand what love


is before they get into marriage. What is love? In 30 years, I have


counselled so many people, and I just have two young people in front


of me getting married, and I said, do you love each other? Tell me what


love is. They don't understand it! What is going to happen once they


get into it? I said, are you ready to lay everything you have down for


this management she looked at herself and said, yeah. And are you


ready to do the same for the? And they both paused. Yes, they were


Christians in church! This is the reason I want to sit with you first


and talk about love and understanding. Did they get married?


I married them, but I spent three months showing them the challenges


of marriage to minimise the problem of divorce. Francine. This is where


I agree with you, I spoke to a religious leader, and I said I


totally believe in marriage and would like to eliminate divorce, and


if I could get rid of that word, I would only call at completion


anyway. I spoke to a religious leader and I said to him, I know


exactly how to take young couples and show them what they are going


into, it is like they both have a banner over their heads, a


preconception from their upbringing, they started you that they are


running. If they knew that they were bringing that strategy into the


relationship, when they trigger each other and there is an upset, they


will know it is coming from the past. Now, I can show them how to do


that so that we can eliminate divorce and we want to get divorced.


So we said to me, what you are saying... You could eliminate


divorce? I could if I had speak to a couple before they got married. Wait


a minute, I said to the sky, we could do that, he said, Francine, so


what you are saying to me is you want to take two young people who


say they are in love and do not see any fault in each other and you want


to show them where they could get triggered? I see what you are


saying, but I am not going to do that. Why would I do that to them


and take away their dreams? Frank is a divorce lawyer, he does not like


the idea of divorce being taken away! Divorce happens, like it or


not, OK? It is real. Deal with it, make a deal. That is the way I see


it. Ultimately, if you put your plans upfront, you cannot dispute


that. By the time it gets to a divorce, people have stopped


communicating, there is hate and all sorts. Divorce is not a pleasant


place to be. And therefore, if you take steps to protect what you have


got up front, it resolves all of that nastiness and hate that


happens. We will end with you. If you have an argument, does that crop


up at all? Never. It has never cropped up. We discussed it very


heavily upfront. For you, it is for ever. It is for ever, yes, and that


is definite. Listen... Have some faith and respect! Ten years ago, I


was not a Christian. I am now a born Christian, and it has changed my


life completely, God has saved me. For the first time in this debate,


Ade is looking happy! Thank you. A round of applause for Ron. Thank you


very much indeed. You can join the debates by logging onto the BBC


website and following the links to the online discussion, or you can


tweet using the hashtag #bbctbq. And tell us what you think of our last


big question, our Bible stories the way to teach morality? If you would


like to be in the audience at a future show, e-mail us. Next week,


we are in Cardiff, Newcastle at the 16th, and one week after that


Southampton! Well, a recent YouGov poll for the


Bible Society found that over 60% of children had never heard, read or


seen popular Bible stories like the good Samaritan, or Daniel in the


line's den, but the same survey found that parents illustrate good


values that children should learn. Our baby way to teach morality? Look


from the Christadelphians, good morning again. -- Luke. You teach


children the story of Noah. Absolutely. Do you teach them the


bit about God deciding to wipe every one of the earth for being wicked?


We teach them everything, we teach them the whole Bible, every part. So


it is a bit indiscriminate, God killing everybody. If one of the


children says, that is a bit cruel, babies and children being killed


because some of them have been wicked, what do you say to them?


When people say that, and they do, what they forget is that God warned


those people for 120 years, and that is in there, and he warned them


again and again and again, and he told them that was going to happen.


They didn't listen, and finally when it happened, it was regrettable,


really regrettable. God did not want it to happen, but he warned them for


120 years, and when it did happen, it was on their own head. Well...


Would you teach them that the archive every single animal on


earth? We do. Kangaroos, polar bears, penguins? We take the Bible


literally. What about the sermon on the Mount? Yes. It is remarkable and


beautiful. This is one of the puppets reuse. If you have got... If


you have got puppets of any other prophets, kindly not show them! We


use them for two things, for public preaching, so out in the centre of


Peterborough, some people may have seen these. Anyone seen them? And we


also use them in Sunday schools, I teach Sunday school on a regular


basis and have done for 20 years or so, and I know from my own personal


experience, not just from teaching Sunday school, but from myself the


morals in the Bible are absolutely fundamental to me, to who I am, to


how I act, and I have seen it in children as well that I teach in


Sunday school, from the once 20 years ago and the ones I was


teaching last Sunday. We use the Bible, we base everything we believe


on the Bible, and there is a fantastic thing, stories in the


Bible, historical accounts. How does it work? I was hoping you would not


do this to me! Have you got a bench early quest act as well enter by I


have not, I normally leave the property is to it. -- have you got a


ventriloquist's act as well? These are wonderful stories, and they? The


bigger question is about stories and morale at ease, and stories are a


really important way to encourage moral development, they do things


that other things cannot not, adding warmth and colour and lessons and


engaging children. And we are lucky right now to have access to millions


of amazing stories, stories with incredible characters, with


incredible lessons, which adds deep, in the way I have described,


children's stories like Harry Potter... Is Harry Potter better


than the Bible? Harry Potter has people cooperating, behaving


Waverly. Able combining against evil in the world. And I think stories


like that, stories of Philip Pullman, are a really good way of


encouraging children to think about moral issues and become better


people and to want to be better people because they see those


examples in stories. In comparison, the stories in the Bible aren't good


enough to be morally instructive. APPLAUSE


I think that lots reasons. Which ones are not good enough? What


about the stuff about Noah warning people? You said there's a lot of


nasty violence and amorality in the Bible like wiping out the entire


population of the Earth, because they're not doing what you told them


to do. Also a lot of other very superficial stories. I mean, even


stories that might be useful as a one-off lesson, like the good


Samaritan for example, is a good example of someone reaching out


across the cultural boundary to help somebody. But in the stories, it's


not something they engaged something immediately like modern fiction they


can get into straightaway. They have got the puppets. The fact you need


the puppets to make the story useful as an indication of not a good


story. It doesn't need explaining. A man was lying beaten, robbed on the


floor, and a complete stranger came along and showed him compassion. And


you say it superficial? It's wonderful. It's a nice moment, it's


a nice moment. We don't need to go any further. My grandfather lived to


120 years. He had this Bible story, the missionaries brought the stories


of Jesus explaining divinity and humanity, and he was saved, he


passed on to my father and my children. Do we get our morals from


the Bible? Of course we do. Where did the ancient peoples, 50,000


years ago, where did they get their morals from? The Bible talks about


human beings. Where did they get their morals? God is an aid in us,


goodness. As we leave our lives, and communicate, the moment we make


decisions in our lives, we live with the consequences. So it's not from


the Bible, it's innate? The Bible traitorous as people, and gives us


guidance on how to live our lives and that's fantastic fulsome but


millions of people live before the Bible. I'm saying, yes, I'm talking


about God, who was before the Bible. The point I would make, innate


goodness. I would say we are made in the image of God, and we can choose


to follow a la innate goodness or not. I think, I love the stories.


You are talking about Harry Potter etc. The stories in the Bible are


absolutely brilliant for teaching morality. Think of the prodigal son,


he goes off, makes a mess of his life, comes back and the moral of


the story is, when you have blown it, say you're sorry, and God is a


God of forgiveness, you can start again. But it has to be retold in


every single generation. And the problem I would have with keeping it


only in this century, is it is so remote fulsome children can't


understand it. Stories have to be completely retold, re-dressed,


reconfigured for each generation, but the Bible is filled with such


incredible truth, but... There's another story here, which occurred


to me. What marriage is there in the story of Abraham being on the brink


of sacrificing his son because God told him to sacrifice his son? Now,


these days, it's a job for social services. What is the point about?


What is the merit of that story? Didn't ultimately go through with


it. The merit is all about a person 's relationship to God. It's about


who do you put first in your life? We would have to really tell that


story differently because that would be totally unacceptable now. It has


to be retold because no parent these days would ever get that far to


plunge a knife to sacrifice their child for the do you think Abraham


got that far? It is a story. It's not. It's a historical account. Did


that happen? I don't think so. It talks about radical BDM is to God.


If you started missing part of the Bible as being just stories... Of


course we don't think the Bible literally. It stands as a complete


book. Historical? It's not a bug, it's a library. It's fundamentally


moral. I think it's extraordinary that Christians seem to think they


invented morality. But it is innate. The higher cognitive species,


gravity. If you look at the birds feeding is young, you don't think at


the expense of the zone life, you don't think that is being moral. If


you look at a fish which gives 10,000 eggs, which deaths, it's not


a bad thing. Let's get back to the stories in the Bible. What is your


favourite? I think the Bible is an interesting document. It's part of


the social fabric of Great Britain. I think, in terms of offering moral


guidance, I think it's pretty much zero. Not at all. The sermon on the


Mount? Do unto others? That is the golden thread that runs through all


the great religions of all time. Christians didn't invent gravity.


There is a reason why morality has evolved. Partly because human beings


take so long to develop in the womb, nine months, so the human


brain is the most complex thing known to man. Youngsters take 15


years to develop. Parents have to devote a huge amount of their life


to their children. That is the crucible in which Varanasi evolves.


It is inevitable otherwise they wouldn't survive. Let's hear from


the audience. The word story has been mentioned a lot and if you add


the word theory before it, that basically is what all those stories


are about. -- fairy. Goldilocks and the three Bears, Harry Potter, Lord


of rings, I don't read the Bible and I don't think children need the


Bible be taught good morals. Parents need to teach their children good


morals, not a book. I think the Bible is great, full of some super


stuff, a simple line of Scripture, I try to live by it. I think there are


dangers women look at other stories by other authors like Harry Potter


for the BS, there are some great points about Harry Potter,


friendship and standing up, Shakespeare, that an element of


people, the occult, dangerous. The dangers of the occult. The Bible is


a good reference but it surely isn't the only reference. You should


reference many aspects for philosophy, etc. We're not claim


exclusivity on gravity. We've never claimed that, but a lot of people


are talking about children. -- morality. We have children all over


the country coming to have fun, make their friends and learn at the


Bible, so I ask this question yesterday, 13 and 14-year-old


children, they said real people, real emotions, real lessons. And


what they said as the Bible is not old, it's not old-fashioned, it is


absolutely relevant for them today. These are young people who are


facing the world and the problems of this world, and it's not an easy


place to live. The Bible as the advantage over Shakespeare and


Dickens and JK Rowling? Because it's true? Absolutely. If one of those


pupils asked you about something in Saint Paul's gospel, what does it


mean when it says a wife should submit her husband? What does that


mean? Explain that to a child. Yes, I believe you can explain the whole


of the Bible to a child. I have an 18-month-old daughter and I read her


Bible stories as she grows older full I will explain the Bible


stories to her. The Bible puts it, and I don't want to get into


verbatim doctrine, but the Bible has principles in place and there is a


principle of authority from God, through Jesus, to husband, to the


wife. That doesn't mean a husband has control over the wife. It is a


biblical principle. Hierarchy. You won't be surprised to hear me say


that Christians hold a different interpretation of the Scriptures


and, looking at the Bible, you can't look at it as a set piece. You have


to look at who wrote it, in what context, what was their worldview


and interpret it for us now. And that's why we need theologians. This


is what is confusing. You like the cuddly bits. He likes it all. I


don't just like the cuddly bits for the we have to face Noah and the


flood, Abraham and Isaac, Lott 's wife turning into a pillar of salt.


The radical things. We have to distinguish what is teaching about


proof and reality and humanity fraught time, and what is culturally


different. The wheat from the chaff for the discernment and wisdom for


that that's why we have brains. This is one of the problems we have with


using Bible stories as a way of trying to encourage moral develop


went for the they are all the things I said before, they are narrower


than other fiction. But it's also the case that some people believe


they are actually true and for them, it's a religious matter. And so, the


discussion about those stories becomes extremely intense,


conflicted, volatile, and it's difficult to use them as fictional


examples with which to develop empathy and so on for them at least


a Harry Potter, very few people actually believe it's real. And you


could use those stories in a proper way. The example you said about the


wives submitting to their husbands... We don't have time for


that. It's very important about family thought of the same chapter


says a husband must not be harsh to their wives. And it doesn't say or


husband controls you. In any environment, there is leadership for


the shared leadership, either for one another, love one another. You


get the children are held context so they take it. That is


interpretation. Yes, it's interpretation. It has to be


interpreted. It's not interpretation for Luke. God wrote it. No no no no


no. Not at all for top human beings about it. Wonderful human beings


wrote it. Inspired by God's holy spirit. It's up to us to interpret


it. We believe them to it. Mayhem. Thank you all very much for taking


part this morning. As always, the debates will continue online and on


Twitter. Next week we're in Cardiff, so join us then. But for now it's


goodbye and have a great Sunday. Thank you for watching The Big




Nicky Campbell presents live moral, ethical and religious debates from Jack Hunt School in Peterborough.

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Are Bible stories the way to teach morality?

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