LONDON (AFP) -- Britain's public service broadcaster, the BBC, on Wednesday named a self-confessed agnostic as the new head of its religious
programming, the first time a non-Christian has held the post in its 70 year history.
"Although my own journey through life has not so far brought me to embrace a personal faith, I share religion's profound concern with the big questions,"
said Alan Bookbinder, the BBC's new head of religion, faith and ethics programming.
Born of a Jewish father and a Roman Catholic mother, Bookbinder describes himself as a "open-hearted agnostic," and has previously worked in religious
broadcasting during a career as a television director. He joined the BBC in 1980.
He will take up his new position at the end of the month with a brief "to develop an editorial strategy for religion, faith and ethics programming which reflects
spiritual life in Britain today," the BBC said.
"Membership of a particular faith has never been a requirement for the job, " the BBC insisted.
The new head of religious programming described religions' "big questions" as "how to combat human frailty, how to deal with suffering, how to face death,
how to bind as a community, and how to find self-knowledge."