July 26, 2011
from YouTube Website
Life, the Universe and Everything
The series explores the origins of religion. The
documentary focuses on the three Abrahamic faiths, and discusses
belief in God in a scientific age. It a number of interviews with
scientists including Dean Hamer, atheist Richard Dawkins, and members
of the CERN program.
But, he asks, 'why did mankind start believing in God at all?'
He suggests that the answer can be found in many places ultimately in,
Winston goes on to say that,
This relies on the assumption of the first episode that there is a progression in religious ideas through human history.
Starting with animism and moving on to the monist religions of pantheistic Hinduism and later atheistic Buddhism, the suggestion was that spiritual beliefs become more specific over time.
The program finished by introducing a radically different idea which came to a Brahmin (priest) called Zoroaster as he stood knee-deep in icy water.
Zoroastrianism may be a very minor world religion now, but it has been very influential in the past.
By concluding the first episode with this monotheistic religion, Lord Winston seemed to be implying that this was the origin of the three great monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam which are the focus of episode two.
This is a curious comment since
the Bible never makes that claim. It
also fails to allow for the first eleven chapters of Genesis which
refers to such notable characters as Adam, Eve, Enoch and Noah (all
predating Abraham) with the constant assumption that there is only
It is a powerful metaphor of how the common heritage of Jews and Muslims is the very thing which causes so much hostility between them:
This, he tells us, was the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation 450 years ago. The Medieval statues and wall paintings were removed and the congregation "set out to know God directly, with only their Bibles to guide them."
Winston's tone hints that he doesn't see this as progress, and the remainder of the episode confirms this as he laments the problems caused by certainty in the debate between science and faith.
Winston travels to the United States to visit a "Creationalist
Museum" which depicts a history that is only a few thousand years