The Root of All Evil?
I recently watched Richard Dawkins's two-part series from a couple of years ago "The Root Of All Evil?" about religion and its place in society.
I'm afraid that, while I think Dawkins was right about just about everything, it wasn't very satisfying. There was very much a feeling of "preaching to the choir". There's no way that it would convince a critical viewer who wasn't already an atheist. Dawkins made sure that except for one brief segment all (and I mean all) the religious people he interviewed were from the, umm, lunatic fringe of their faiths, and really obviously so. None of them tried (presumably because they couldn't) to justify why they reject various bits of the scriptures - eg, the ones who thought killing doctors and adulterers and shunning homosexuals was good obviously rejected "love your neighbour", but didn't say why. That one brief segment was mostly Dawkins agreeing with the bishop of Oxford, while still legitimately pointing out that the bishop was rejecting scripture selectively, and not giving the bishop much time to expand on his thoughts about why he rejected the bits of scripture about stoning unbelievers while keeping "love your neighbour".
Without fair interviews with main-stream thinkers in proper churches, the piece comes across as being in places smug, and in others a strident propagandist attack, and I'm afraid that people these days are far too cynical to simply swallow propaganda from a smug bastard. If Dawkins is so sure of himself, presumably he thinks he can out-argue the mainstream, so why didn't he? The obvious answer, of course, is that it wouldn't be as visceral as the loonies - it would be more Open University than Channel 4.
Of all the people in the programme, the one I'd most want to have a drink with is the bishop of Oxford. It's a toss-up which one I'd most want to punch in the face, whether it's Dawkins or Ted Haggard.
Update: on further reflection, it would be Haggard. Dawkins is an old man and it would be about as much of a challenge as mugging a five year old, whereas Haggard could fight back with those teeth.