Brenda Cooper

Worth Watching

Figures that as soon as I mention how I almost never watch TV (so I have time to write), I’d get caught up in a show. I took four hours out of my life to watch “God’s Warrior’s” on CNN, an excellent bit of investigative reporting by Christiane Amanpour. The series was three two-hour shows, one each on the most fundamental viewpoints in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. I missed the first show, so I intend to buy the CD if it becomes available, particularly since the Jewish traditions are the ones I know the least about.
Anyone who’s ever bothered to read a world history book knows that a lot of human blood splashed across this planet has been over the intersection of power structures, cultures, and these three powerful religions. The crusades. The holocaust. The inquistion. Pick-your-war in the middle east.
Ms. Amanpour’s documentary is beautifully done, and illustrates the chilling common ground of all of these beliefs. It also shows the attraction of the far right, I think. A dangerous attraction, to be sure. I, too am dismayed about our shopping society, the amount of media attention given Paris and Brittney, and how hard it is to find school clothes for a ten-year-old that are reasonably modest. In at least the two segments that I saw, on Christianity and Islam, there are echoes of similarity in the messages. They encourage fear of modern pop culture. They want safe societies, order, the surety of a single state religion, “traditional” roles for women…
The last segment, on the far right of Christianity, was scary enough it was hard to sleep. I think because it’s so close to my own roots (My great-grandfather founded Baptist churches, and I was raised in one for at least a while. There was a time when I tried to find something that wasn’t there for me in organized Christian religion). It was as if I could hear messages that spoke to some small and scared part of myself that heard those same messages when I was a little girl and that believed them then.
Anyway, hats off to CNN. The website is still available and has quite a lot of good information on it.