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Review: The Root of all evil, Channel 4
Scaring children into believing in Jesus
Richard Dawkins' two-part programme on religion on Channel 4, The Root of All Evil has provoked a massive over-reaction from the religious right. They show no sign of turning the other cheek and forgiving him!
Marxists support the right of people to practise their religion without imposing it on others, but that would include the right of scientists like Dawkins to put a contrary view.
Dawkins does not confine his strictures to the soft targets of right-wing political Islam. He draws attention to its mirror images on the fringes of Judaism and in the religious right in the United States.
"Hellhouse movies" as they are called are a new growth industry in the USA today. Graphically filmed, they literally demonise abortion and homosexuality with the explicit aim of scaring the viewers. Pastor Keenan Roberts explains that the aim is "to leave an indelible impression on their lives that sin destroys and Jesus saves". He is quite happy for children to have nightmares after watching because otherwise they might commit sins like homosexuality.
The result, says Dawkins, is a mindset which can justify the murder of a doctor like Dr. Barnett Slepian who carries out abortions on the grounds that he is destroying a being created in God's image! There are websites in the USA which openly advocate the murder of doctors who carry out abortions.
It is easy for a British audience to ridicule this kind of thing in the US but the government's proposals for education will include the takeover of swathes of the education service by organisations of the religious right. Many of New Labour's City Academies are to be run by far-right evangelists
Evolution will be out. The "one-sided cult of Darwin" will be replaced with a more rounded view in which the creation of the Earth in six days is taught as an equivalent theory.
Presumably, the biblical view in 2 Chronicles, chapter 4 that pi is equal to 3, will be given equal prominence with the godless mathematical view, which just happens to correspond with reality!
Physicist and Nobel prize winner Stephen Weinberg describes religion as an insult to human dignity. "Without it," he says, "you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."
The Root of All Evil is a valuable contribution to the debate and very timely in the light of the crusade against science being mounted by the religious right.
In The Socialist 26 January 2006: