Friday, January 12, 2007


There's been a lot of talk going on in the blogosphere these days about Richard Dawkins, and his recent book, The God Delusion. In it, Dawkins uses his scientifically-directed mind to attack not only the notion that God exists, but to rail against believers (of any stripe) as being not only foolish and stupid, but actively contributing to much of the evil in the world. Make no mistake: Dawkins is not just talking about the admittedly evil acts of some believers in religious faith. Dawkins believes that religious faith is, itself, an evil force.

I've been reading the blog posts of Scot McKnight and Ben Witherington on this subject with great interest. They do more to support the notion that Christians aren't necessarily as misguided as Dawkins wants to think, and that Dawkins' own assertions are founded on assumptions that are not conclusively proven (i.e., acts of faith), than I could ever hope to achieve on my own. But that's not what all this discussion has got me thinking about right at the moment.

I recently found out that Dawkins' wife is one-time Dr. Who actress Lalla Ward, who was the second actress to play Romana during the Tom Baker era (and who was actually married to Baker for a short time after her tenure on the show). For some reason, I found this news very disappointing.

I have no good reason why such a revelation should bother me. It's not like I expect actors or actresses generally to be friendly to people of faith (much less people of faith themselves). And it's not like Doctor Who as a genre is faith-friendly (more often than not, people of devout faith are either actively in opposition to the heroic Doctor, or are the first to be destroyed when they fail to flee from whatever monster threatens them, believing that their faith will protect them). Yet, still, this news saddened me.

Is it perhaps because Ms. Ward's husband is so hostile to the possibility that people can hold religious faith and not be terrible people? Is it because, on some level, I believe that the wife must agree with the opinion of the husband in some measure? Even assuming the answers to both of these questions is "yes," why should it matter? I've long since accepted, for example, that many of the forms of entertainment I enjoy (such as Doctor Who and Transformers) are as likely to be faith-hostile as faith-neutral, and that they attract many fans who are hostile to people of faith (just check out any number of posts in the Allspark's "Politics and Religion" forum to see what I mean).

Perhaps it's because I'd like to believe that, on some level, were I ever in a position to get to know Ms. Ward, that she and I could be friends. I'm certainly able to engage in discussions (even heated disagreements) with many people of differing backgrounds and remain friendly with them afterwards. Yet assuming that Ms. Ward feels at all like her husband about people of faith, this pipe-dream suddenly seems further removed from reality than it used to.

And that makes me sad.


  1. Have you seen this one yet, BW?

  2. I have indeed. (Shortpacked is daily reading for me.)

  3. In fact, I've commented on this one some time ago, and had forgotten until doing some "housecleaning."



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