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TV | ‘Finding Faith With Stephen Nolan’

Finding Faith With Stephen Nolan

Monday 12 April

BBC One Northern Ireland, 9pm

Also on BBC iPlayer

Stephen Nolan has never been religious and has rarely gone to church but has always been drawn to the serenity and contentment he sees when he encounters people of deep faith.

In a new documentary for BBC One Northern Ireland, Stephen undertakes a sceptic’s journey, talking to people of various religions, including Christian and Muslim faiths, about what he perceives as ‘blind faith’, a belief in an invisible God and what they regard as real presence in their lives.

Stephen’s journey begins at his childhood home on the Shankill Road among the Gospel Halls and Tabernacles. He reflects upon a childhood where religion was present but never really impacted on his life.

Stephen with Fr. Brian Darcy

People who have suffered deep personal tragedy yet still trust in a God of love recount their experiences. Stories of forgiveness and compassion give Stephen much to contemplate and challenge his own feelings, compelling him to ask personal searching questions about his own relationship with religion.

He meets an ex-paramilitary from the same district who chose a different path, committing murder before repenting and being saved, transforming him from UVF killer to a man of faith. Was finding God simply a way of salving guilt or are memories of those he killed never far from his conscience?

When County Down pastor, Mark McClurg tweeted a video of himself struggling to breathe in hospital after contracting coronavirus, the post swept across the world. Now, a year later he reveals how in his darkest hours he believed God spoke to him and assuaged his doubt.

Religion plays a large role in the daily life of many people in Northern Ireland. In this personal documentary, Stephen reflects on whether this journey has had any religious impact on him. Can he countenance a ‘blind faith’ in a God he cannot see or hear or will faith in a ‘supernatural’ being remain an out of reach?

Finding Faith With Stephen Nolan is made by Third Street Studios for BBC Northern Ireland and will be broadcast on Monday 12 April at 9pm on BBC One Northern Ireland and available on BBC iPlayer.


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