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An atheist goes on a Christian pilgrimage. What’s the point?

6 July 2018

5:25 PM

6 July 2018

5:25 PM

The young writer Guy Stagg threw in his job a few years ago to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem via Rome – choosing a hazardous medieval route across the Alps. It nearly killed him: at one stage, trying to cross a broken bridge in Switzerland, he ended up partially submerged in the water, held up only by his rucksack.


His new book The Crossway grippingly describes his solitary journey. He was a pilgrim, not just a traveller, he insists – despite still being an atheist at the end of it.

On this week’s Holy Smoke podcast, Guy explains why that makes sense to him. And I also take the opportunity to ask Harry Mount, editor of The Oldie, why he’s irresistibly drawn to church buildings while remaining an unbeliever – albeit an agnostic rather than an atheist.

Do Guy and Harry fall into the dreaded category of people who describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’? Their answers are truly enlightening. Don’t miss this one!


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