When I was in high school one of my classmates whinged to our R. E. teacher about her subject. Why should he have to take it? It was a waste of his time. My teacher's response was one of weariness- she must of been asked this question at least twice a week- she said that learning about religious beliefs helps you to understand people, what they say and why they do the things they do. I couldn't agree more! Which is what is interesting about this excellent radio show from the BBC this time on Shinto. How can you understand the history of Japanese art without any understanding of the country's historic religious practices?