It is a poorly kept secret that I am deeply skeptical of religious beliefs and institutions. The empirical question of whether their net effect is a boon or a blight upon our wretched species is, one could conceivably argue, still an open one, and I do acknowledge that religion provides a harmless existential anodyne for many people, one that it might indeed be cruel to deny them. But every glance at the news — not only the rivers of blood spilled each day over religious disputes worldwide, but also the cheap and tawdry spectacle of US politicians, their eyes glinting with ambition, elbowing one another out of the spotlight to bray about their “faith” — inclines me toward the view that civilization as a whole would be far, far, better off if we could somehow just be shut of the whole sodding mess once and for all.
A little while back the polymath Jonathan Miller presented on the BBC The Atheism Tapes, a series of interviews with some very intelligent and articulate unbelievers, along with, for balance, a prominent theologian. Like almost every other video clip in existence, these conversations have found their way to YouTube. Below is a list of the people Miller spoke with, and links to the interviews.
– A hat tip to BV for finding these clips.