Sunday, May 25, 2008

In God's Name

I was prompted by Simon Sarmiento to comment on the recent dispatches programme In God's Name - it's still on catch up or a bit if you're on Virgin Media and I don't know if gets repeated.

You can also see it on youtube (divided into 5 sections).

It's a very important documentary and well worth watching.

As you can see from my post below - this has prompted a letter from Joel Edwards which I can only read as Joel saying to evangelicals "If you're going to go nuts don't do it in front of a camera crew".

The most tragic point was of children in a "science" lesson in which a young girl answers Bible questions as well as young children being told about God turning people into pillars of salt before the coming of Jesus. A truly horrible and malevolent view of God that is being inculcated into young children.

It had its counterpoint when Andrea Williams was asked about the age of the earth and asked for the filming to stop and the headteacher when asked about the age of the earth said that he didn't know as he wasn't a scientist...

The programme features a evangelicals with a lot of aggression which seems to find its release in some of the campaigns that they undertake. They did not appear to psychologically balanced and anger appears to be a key concern.

Also very frightening how intertwined all of this with the Tory Party underneath Cameron's gloss of modernity, similar to the US religious right.

And please do not forget how powerful this lobby is - as well as connections to the Conservative Party the patron is a former Lord Chancellor and the President is a sitting High Court Judge.

As to the point about fundamentalist (and politicised) anger see this perceptive quote by Spong:

A major function of fundamentalist religion is to bolster deeply insecure and fearful people. This is done by justifying a way of life with all of its defining prejudices. It thereby provides an appropriate and legitimate outlet for one's anger. The authority of an inerrant Bible that can be readily quoted to buttress this point of view becomes an essential ingredient to such a life. When that Bible is challenged, or relativized, the resulting anger proves the point categorically. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, (San Fransisco: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 5.]

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