About Dawkins’ “The Root of All Evil?”. I based my opinion on his encounter with Ted Haggard and the first minutes of part 1 of the two part series. After watching Jonathan Miller, I felt obliged to see if my initial impression of “The Root of All Evil?” were correct. A glass of wine prior to watching diminished the revulsion I felt the first time I tried to watch the first episode. I do think that Dawkins lost his cool with Haggard, and as much as I abhored Haggard, I think he, not Dawkins, got the best of the encounter. That said, Haggard is frightening to look at: there is a mealy-mouthed surface hiding a self-righteous rage - there did not appear to be any Christian love in his heart.
Where Miller was informative, Dawkins in this series is more about raising awareness of the threat posed by religious fundamentalism. At least the first part underscores the need for general education in comparative religion: the secular version of “teaching the controversy”.
It’s a valuable overview of atheistic thought, albeit from the England-centered universe of Jonathan Miller. right down to the rumours of lingusitic philosophy (belief e.g.) , which I despised when subjected to it as a philosophy major in the ‘60’s.
Watching his attempt at being literally atheistic - i.e. “without gods” - it’s notable that he takes care not to be areligious per se. There’s an important difference.
I for one believe that the “edifice” of “the Church” should be recaptured from the theists in the name of humanism. A humanist crusade to take back the Churches, swapping out the books.
My compliments for a wonderful forum.
“. . . that they rise up and become the wakeful guardians of the quick and dead.”
I recently attended an advance screening of “A Brief History of Disbelief,” the 3-part documentary series now airing on PBS stations around the U.S. It is scheduled to air in New York City beginning Sunday, July 15.
If others have seen it, I’d love to hear your impressions.
Of course, I haven’t the cultural background to know if Miller makes a historical mistake, but I agreed with almost all what he says. I am reluctant to call myself ‘atheistic’, because for me, religion is not a natural thing. I didn’t have to abandon a religion, I just never share my parents religion, I felt the religion as something strange and distant, but, on the other hands, I always wondered what is exactly this thing called faith, and way religion emerges.
I liked the diferentiation Millers does between the french atheism and the british ‘weak theism’. I helped me to understand a couple of thing about my country’s history.
I just never share my parents religion, I felt the religion as something strange and distant, but, on the other hands, I always wondered what is exactly this thing called faith, and way religion emerges.
Like you, I never shared my family’s religion. I never wondered what faith was though. In the context of religion, faith to me was always just a mixture of gullible idiocy and putting your hands over your ears and saying “ner ner ner can’t hear you, can’t hear you. I had a great uncle who was an elderly priest and he used to say mass for himself on sundays before saying mass for the congregation. My family recount stories of me trying to get out of going to mass by saying mass in my room and handing out polo mints to my teddies as communion wafers and how annoyed I got when told I still had to go to mass.
I wouldnt be so hard. I believe some believers are idiots, but some arent. What leads to the believers to do what you say ( choose not to hear rational arguments ) is a mistery to me. Moreover, they really believe, or they just believe they believe?. I always wonder this on funeral… why do them cry? they don’t believe in eternal life at the end?
Excellent series btw and I will write to our national broadcaster. the ABC, to see if they will scene it on their Compass segment. Although this primarily deals with religious matters they have screened The God Delusion and Robert Winston’s excellent religion doco in the past.
Thanks for the links guys. I’ve been wanting to see this so badly. At least I can view some clips of it until the PBS channel here airs it, if it ever does.
I like what he said at the end of Part 1 about atheism and willing to articulate his disbelief. I sort of understand his reluctance about calling himself an atheist too. I’ll have to view part 2 to see what else he says on that, if anything, to actually say I do understand it for sure. I came about my disbelief via a different route (through exploration and educating myself), but, for reasons I’m not even sure of, I am reluctant to call myself an atheist, though by definition, I am.
My problem is when I see what have been called militant or Fundamentalist atheists pound even liberal believers with their ideas. It’s almost as bad as Religious Extremists. One liberal Christian, who says they are more of a deist than a theist, came to me asked if I thought the same way as other atheists on said blog about any religious teachings being abusive and that she was abused. This person parents who were liberal Catholics allowed her to explore other religions and even Evolution. My reply to her was that when one person forces another to do or believe something in any way and confining them within that venue without any questions asked, it then becomes abuse, but if one is allowed to explore outside the box without being degraded or forced back “into the box” then it is not abuse. Religion becomes abusive when one is not allowed to think for themselves, told what to think without question, and/or are not allowed explore to find the answers to their questions.
For me, disbelief came about when I was an adult who moved out of my mother’s home and was able to explore and find the answers to my questions. As I said before, the more I studied and researched the more I disbelieved, if I ever truly believed. I truly believe free inquiry is best and if done thoroughly and not one sidedly can lead to disbelief. Fundies do not allow for free inquiry because they some how know that if one goes exploring they will not believe, so much like a cult, they keep people confined and tell them what to think and believe.
I’m rambling now, but anyway, I like what this guy says and can’t wait to listen to more. I’m up to 3 now.
I saw this series on British TV in October 2004, and then taped it, unfortunately, I inadvertantly taped over it, and have been kicking myself ever since.
I have been trying to get a copy of it ever since. The BBC don’t seem interested in putting it back on. Considering how many repeats they have, this is surprising. Maybe too many Theists on the board?
Similarly, I missed the first part, but taped the second and third parts. I was bored by the second part and found the third part mildly interesting, however, I was told by a friend who had the same opinion, that the first part was excellent. Oh, well. I’ll keep watching for reruns.
I understand that with YOU TUBE you have to upload it to a camcorder? I may be wrong, but I don’t see how else it can be loaded. I don’t have one, so that way is out for me.
Thanks for the tip anyway. Let me know if I am wrong.
A “Brief History of Disbelief” was surprisingly broadcast here in Reno as part of a pledge drive on Sunday 26 August.
PBS stations might be encouraged to broadcast this program and others like it if the programs are “packaged” for pledge
drives. A minimum package would be the program, a DVD set of the program, and a book of the program.
If the programs generate enough pledges, PBS stations will be disposed to rebroadcast them various times in the future.
This is free air time that must not be allowed to escape.
I wanted to thank the Center for Inquiry for supporting the presentation of the BBC production of “A Brief History of Disbelief” and for the effort that got it shown on PBS. This should have generated much more interest in CFI and humanism in general. It would be interesting to know if there was an increase in correspondence as a result. This exposure seems very positive.
Thanks to this forum, I was able to watch all parts of the Series “Brief History of Disbelief.” I was stunned to learn that England passed a law sending all blasphemists to their death in the 16th century. After looking at the Evangelicals in America I fear for the future of our U.S. Constitution even more than before I saw the truth in the Bush 43rd Administration. Will he be the activator of Armageddon and bring the end of times under his watch? He is crazy enough to try to pull this off.
I came out strongly against his election in 1999 but was thrown off many discussion forums for my words. Apparently most Americans want our government to prohibit the sins that have been discussed since the 1980s. His father has been quoted as saying that Atheists should not be American Citizens and in one of my last meetings with the Phoenix Republicans I explained that I could no longer support the party as I was not a Christian. I was told that I should not be a Republican under those conditions. I walked out and never returned. Why is there no room in a supposedly active group who wants to support and protect the US Constitution? Has this group been the core of American Christians and no longer the core of Individual Freedoms? Nothing has hit me any harder.
I’ve watched Dawkins DVD “The Root of All Evil” and believe it. I even met and heard him speak at the Atheist Alliance but it was Edward Kabash who brought home to me the problems with political Christians changing the laws of freedoms in our Constitution. I am so glad I found this group and this site.
I also loved the discussion of Thomas Paine by Jonathan Miller as the great Paine has been my idol for many years and often felt I was alone in this love of his intelligence. I’m just learning about real freedoms folks, be patient with me. I am a walking model that you CAN teach old dogs, new tricks. I’ve been called a bitch for many years, AMEN!