Tuesday, August 21, 2007

CNN Special Looks at 'God's Warriors'

CNN's chief international correspondent, the stalwart Christiane Amanpour, is on the air tonight and for the next two night's with a special report called God's Warriors. The New York Times called it an "ambitious look at three flavors of religious fundamentalism [that is] less than it could be."

We've only seen a bit of tonight's program, so we can't speak for the validity of the Times' review. But based on what we saw tonight, the program merits serious attention. Tonight's program followed "God's Jewish Warriors," while tomorrow night's program focuses on "God's Muslim Warriors." The final program, not surprisingly, looks at "God's Christian Warriors."

The program airs on CNN (Cox Cable Ch. 41 in Tulsa) several times each evening. For more information, there's also a handy website, CNN.com/GODSWARRIORS.


Ed said...

The specifics of each featured religion are different, thus probably not the key to the rise of fundamentalism across the globe. What human developments could play a part?


Science has never provided a worldview congenial to a large majority of humans. But with the increasing success of science, religion's explanation of our universe is reduced to a "God of the (increasingly shrinking) gaps."

The internet and television have allowed religious and political groups more freedom to create their own "narratives" (aka postmodernism), explanations of the world that exclude or distort the troublesome theories and observations of science.

One would presume that the religious right in this country should associate postmodernism with the abhorred moral relativism. But paradoxically, perhaps the most extensive and effective practitioners of po-mo philosophy today would be Bush and the religious right.

Many of these alternate narratives are in play and can easily be given the trappings of authority and respectability.

They compete in a Darwinian way for the affection and allegiance of people. They mutate and adapt to better succeed, and are disseminated faster and more effectively with the new communications.

Science continues to give provisional answers, ones that do not satisfy the longings of the average person for certainty and anthropocentrism.

Ed said...

Science values integration and consistency (and testability) in theories. One would suppose that if you use the technologies that flow from this proven, fruitful approach, you would by necessity develop a respect for the methods and assumptions that lead to such a bounty.

However, this is far from so. A person whose beliefs are consistent with a Middle Ages view of the world can use advanced technology. Yet he need not understand how it works or integrate the logic and methodology that led to it with his primitive belief system. In fact, he may well despise the wellsprings of the modern device he uses to further medieval aims.

All a belief needs to do is satisfy (or frighten or grip) its holder and preferably induce the holder to communicate it to other minds. There is no demerit for a religious belief being illogical or inconsistent, except as that inhibits its spread.

Some Christians often disdain "cafeteria Christianity", selecting the most personally appealing aspects of different denominations without regards to consistency. They should consider that accepting the products of science without integrating the implications into their understanding of the universe is akin to it.

Ed said...

Transcript of the Christian warriors segment: