Richard Dawkins – The Root of All Evil Part 1

The root of all evil Dawkins is referring to here is religion. Between the Muslim fundamentalists from abroad and the Christinaists at home, it’s nearly impossible for a rational person to not feel deeply threatened by these crusading whackos.
Let me know if you find this video as disturbing as I did. Also check out the previous e-Sutra post of Dawkins’ wonderful piece “Good and Bad Reasons for Believing.”

1 thought on “Richard Dawkins – The Root of All Evil Part 1”

  1. Watching Richard Dawkins video, “The Root of All Evil – Part One” was a dispiriting experience. Minister Ted Haggard’s response to disagreement was to attack Dawkins as being intellectually arrogant – an attack which itself defined arrogance.

    It left me wondering how one can dialogue with fundamentalists when their point of view borders on fascism that stands opposed to reason? I wouldn’t normally seek out such a dialogue except that the fundamentalist viewpoint has come to influence if not dominate the political arena, claiming an indisputable moral high ground that eviscerates compassion, elevates American economic greed and ignores our global ecological suicide.

    This last point is particularly concerns me. It will matter little whether the Christian or Muslim fundamentalist values dominate Iraq in 100 years when global warming recreates the sinking of Atlantis through the melting of the ice caps and thermal expansion of seawater. It is postulated that both Bangladesh and New York City will be underwater. I assume Iraq will be dry, but perhaps too dry – will Iraqis have any water to drink?

    In considering how to deal with fundamentalists my thoughts first turned to Yoga Sutra I:33 that advises mental tranquility will be achieved through a mindset of indifference towards those who actions are non-virtuous. Alas I had already watched the video and had my reaction!

    Inner peace (citta prasadanam) is not to be confused with peace in the world. I’ve long been dissatisfied with the limits of yoga practice as a path to inner peace. Yes, yoga does create mental peace and I’m grateful for that, but what good is inner peace if it doesn’t create a better world? Nero was content playing the fiddle (or was it a lyre?) while Rome burned.

    I’ve read articles in yoga magazines that advise that when we each reach nirvana then peace will be universal. Call me impatient but I think the millennia that must pass before we all reach nirvana will last a bit too long – I doubt we will achieve collective nirvana in human form since we are more engaged in creating karmic conditions for our own extinction.

    It was a relief from my gloomy thoughts to read the September issue of Shambala Sun themed “Mindful Politics.” In an article title “Who Does God Vote For?” Barry Boyce gave a report on the Spiritual Activism Conference that took place in Washington, D.C. in May 2006. Among others he profiled Reverend Deborah Johnson, author of “The Sacred Yes.”

    Johnson’s assertion that we need to eliminate the “illusion that we are separated from God, our sense of our own goodness, other people, or even our own selves” harmonizes nicely with a yogic point of view. I’d like to add that we ought to eliminate the illusion that we are separated from nature – an illusion that has made the crisis of climate change possible.

    I wish I had been at her conference workshop titled “Moving the Movable Middle: Compassion for the Challenges of Change.” It sounds like the antidote to watching “The Root of All Evil.”

    The idea that we are most able to change when we seek the middle ground sounds right to me. Engaging fundamentalists in a battle of ideologies is more likely to push us to unproductive extremes – such as the name calling that Dawkins stoops to when he characterizes Haggard as a “swaggering authority.” Leslie Kaminoff does the same in his blog, characterizing fundamentalist Christians of Haggard’s mien as “crusading whackos.”

    I may privately resonate with those reactionary stances but I believe that one of the aims of yoga is to minimize reaction and promote intelligent action. One of Johnson’s ideas behind “The Sacred Yes” is that if we come from a point of view of “No” (anti-fundamentalism) we will burn out in the fire of antagonism.

    I look forward to reading her book to understand more about what it means to view the world from a “Yes” standpoint. I suspect it has to do with being pulled toward the future with a vision of all life as sacred and working to manifest the vision.

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