Earlier this month, Britain’s Channel 4 aired The Root of All Evil?,
a two-part exploration of religious faith hosted and narrated by
Richard Dawkins, the eminent Oxford ethologist and author who is one of
the world’s most outspoken proponents of the theory of evolution.
He’s also an aggressive critic of religion. The Root of All Evil?
follows Dawkins as he travels to some of the world’s religious
centers—among them Jerusalem, Lourdes, and Colorado Springs—to observe
services and to interview leaders and followers of various faiths.
Tipped off by a thread on Echo, I bittorrented
both episodes a few days ago. From the vantage point of the United
States, the program is remarkable: You simply would never encounter
such a brazen denunciation of religious faith on this country’s
airwaves, because the outcry from the religious right would be
deafening. Dawkins’s narration drips with contempt; as he goes about
his rounds, it’s as if he can hardly restrain himself from shouting,
"I’m surrounded by IDIOTS!" The smoke coming out of his ears leaves a
trail behind him wherever he goes.
In the seven-and-a-half minute clip linked through the image below,
Dawkins visits Colorado Springs to attend a sermon by an influential
but proudly ignorant pastor. In a conversation with Dawkins after the
sermon, the pastor likens the event to a rock concert. Dawkins suggests
that it was more akin to a Nuremberg rally—a comparison that the pastor
appears to be too uneducated and ignorant to be offended by.
By Andrew Hearst