Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophesies, ethics, or organizations, that claims to relate humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

Links To Peel

An influential figure in Peel's upbringing was his housemaster at Shrewsbury School, Richard Hubert John Brooke, an Anglican clergyman. His wife Sheila came from a working-class Roman Catholic family of Irish descent. During his years in America he lived in Texas and Oklahoma, states which are part of the so-called "Bible Belt" where Christianity is a major influence in public life. He didn't attend church while living in the USA, but religion was an influence on much of the music he liked, including that of many black blues and soul artists.

Religion also played a significant role in the hippy culture of the 1960s and 1970s, which saw a proliferation of gurus, cults and self-styled prophets, some of whom attracted a following among musicians. Peel steered clear of them, putting his faith in musicians rather than mystics, but was an influential figure on the late 1960s hippy scene and became somewhat uneasy when listeners and fans treated him as a guru. He was happy to put this role behind him in the 1970s, but various kinds of religion continued to influence musicians he admired. In response to the popularity of strange cults and quasi-religious groups during the '70s (sometimes known as the "Me Decade" due to this), he and John Walters invented a deity of their own, named "Snibri", described as "the god of small coincidences which work to your advantage"[1].[1] At other times Peel drew parallels between religion and football, especially his support of Liverpool FC.

In an article from Offbeat Magazine published in December 1988, Peel was asked to give his opinions of religion:

"Well I try to live my life without shitting on people. What seems to be what religion should be about. Shouldn't it? I like the idea of old fashioned religion in the sense that one could participate in a medieval activity. You can look at the paintings, you can look at the clothing and the furniture, and the fact that you can take part in a historical ritual seems incredibly interesting." [2]

His opinion on Churches and cathedrals:

"I like churches and cathedrals and places like that, because even I don't believe in it myself, I like the belief of the people who built it, which you can feel radiating out from the stones." [3]

Thoughts of God:

"I prefer the idea of an vengeful and capricious God, lurking up in the roof of these old cathedrals, who zaps you for wanking, rather than the Cliff Richard type of God, who's a bloke who lets you beat him at table tennis." [4]

Views of Christianity:

"Problem with Christianity is that it all seems to be about suffering and being miserable and the best thing that could happen to you is to be pushed through a bacon slicer in the name of the Lord. I don't really want any part of that. I do find many of the sermons by reverend CL Franklin, who is Aretha Franklin's dad, incredibly stirring though... about 50 or 60 of them are committed to vinyl too." [5]


  1. A similar idea underlies Peel's favourite literary work, Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time, in which coincidences and hidden patterns shape the course of events and the fates of Powell's characters.

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