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People in the West increasingly identify as ‘nones’ – having no religious commitments. But where does meaning and happiness come from in the absence of God? Is the story of Jesus Christ still relevant to people searching for meaning in a modern world?

Derren Brown is an illusionist and mentalist, famous for his TV and stage shows. He’s also an author of books such as Tricks of the Mind, which both reveal his love of stagecraft and psychology and tell the story of how he lost his faith in Christianity as a young adult. His latest book Happy: Why more or less everything is absolutely fine brings the wisdom of Greek stoic philosophy to bear on how to lead a content, fulfilled and meaningful life.

Rev Richard Coles is a priest in the Church of England and a well-known media figure on radio and TV. He presents Radio 4’s Saturday Live show and has starred programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing. He also had a highly successfully (and often wild) pop career as part of The Communards. He’s told the story of his Christian conversion in books such as Fathomless Riches and Bringing in the Sheaves. He argues that following Christ won’t necessarily bring happiness, but has personally found it to be the path to ultimate meaning.  

Episode 3: The search for happiness: Can we have meaning without God?

Derren Brown and Rev Richard Coles


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