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Annotated captions of The Root of All Evil? - The Virus of Faith (2 of 2) in English

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epico 00:07
00:10

How do we explain the mysteries of life?

epico 00:13
00:15

Science has steadily overturned

epico 00:15
00:19

old religious myths about how all this came to be.

epico 00:22
00:25

Yet those who adhere to Judaism, Christianity or islam

epico 00:25
00:27

still prefer to ignore reason,

epico 00:28
00:32

and have faith in their forever unprovable, omniscient creator.

epico 00:50
00:53

I had thought science was rolling back religious belief,

epico 00:53
00:55

but I was wrong.

epico 00:56
00:59

Far from being beaten, militant faith is on the march

epico 00:59
01:02

all across the world, with terrifying consequences.

epico 01:08
01:10

As a scientist, I am increasingly worried

epico 01:10
01:13

about how faith is undermining science.

epico 01:14
01:16

It's something we must resist,

epico 01:16
01:18

because irrational faith is feeding

epico 01:18
01:21

murderous intolerance throughout the world.

epico 01:22
01:24

In this programme, I want to examine

epico 01:24
01:26

two further problems with religion.

epico 01:27
01:30

I believe it can lead to a warped and inflexible morality

epico 01:30
01:36

and I'm very concerned about the religious indoctrination of children.

epico 01:37
01:41

I want to show how Faith acts like a virus that attacks the young

epico 01:41
01:44

and infects generation after generation.

epico 01:45
01:48

I believe in a law-giver; a god right there

epico 01:48
01:51

actually not behind it, right imminent here; right now.

epico 01:51
01:54

I want to ask whether ancient mythology

epico 01:54
01:57

should be taught as truth in schools.

epico 01:58
02:01

Professor Dawkins, I'm very impressed that you're the new messiah, and I

epico 02:01
02:05

appreciate your desire to redeem the world, but-

epico 02:06
02:09

It's time to question the abuse of childhood innocence

epico 02:09
02:12

with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation.

epico 02:13
02:16

I would rather for them to understand

epico 02:16
02:19

that hell is a place that they absolutely do not wanna go.

epico 02:24
02:27

And I want to show how the scriptural roots

epico 02:27
02:30

of the Judeo-Christian moral edifice

epico 02:30
02:33

are cruel and brutish.

epico 02:33
02:35

"...thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

epico 02:35
02:37

But thou shalt utterly destroy them..."

epico 02:37
02:38

"DESTROY"

epico 02:39
02:42

What in the 21st century are we doing

epico 02:42
02:45

venerating a book that contains such stuff?

epico 02:47
02:50

Science weighs up evidence and advances.

epico 02:50
02:54

Religion is high-bound belief for belief's sake.

epico 02:54
02:57

It's bad for our children, and it's bad for you.

epico 02:57
03:02

"Root of All Evil?"

epico 03:07
03:09

There is something exceedingly odd

epico 03:09
03:12

about the idea of sectarian religious schools.

epico 03:13
03:16

If we hadn't got used to it over the centuries,

epico 03:16
03:20

we'd find it downright bizarre.

epico 03:20
03:23

"The Virus of Faith"

epico 03:29
03:33

Sectarian education has proved to be deeply damaging.

epico 03:33
03:36

It has left a terrible legacy.

epico 03:41
03:44

When you think about it, isn't it weird the way we automatically

epico 03:44
03:48

label a tiny child with its parents' religion?

epico 03:53
03:55

These are Jewish children.

epico 03:55
03:59

In another part of Jerusalem, we've seen Moslem children.

epico 04:00
04:03

In Northern Ireland we have Catholic children and Protestant children

epico 04:03
04:06

all going to separate schools.

epico 04:07
04:10

But what's so special about religion that it is allowed

epico 04:10
04:14

to label small children 'Catholic' or 'Protestant'; 'Jewish' or 'Moslem'?

epico 04:17
04:20

Nobody would categorise children by the political party their

epico 04:20
04:23

parents support; call them 'Tory' or 'Labour' children.

epico 04:24
04:26

We agree they're too young to know where they stand

epico 04:26
04:28

on questions of politics.

epico 04:28
04:31

So why is not the same for where they stand on the cosmos,

epico 04:31
04:33

and humanity's place in it?

epico 04:34
04:37

In genetic evolution, a species divides into two,

epico 04:37
04:40

initially geographically. There's some initial separation

epico 04:40
04:43

between the two sub-species,

epico 04:44
04:47

and they divide away from each other genetically.

epico 04:47
04:50

There's no longer gene flow between them,

epico 04:50
04:52

and so they can become separate species.

epico 04:52
04:54

It's a divisive force.

epico 04:55
04:58

Sectarian education acts in a similar way.

epico 04:59
05:01

Children are initially isolated from each other

epico 05:01
05:03

because of their parents' Faith.

epico 05:05
05:08

Then their differences are constantly drilled into them

epico 05:08
05:11

and they embark on opposing life trajectories.

epico 05:13
05:17

Such divisions are encouraged, not just in faraway Israel

epico 05:17
05:20

but right on our doorstep, in Northern Ireland for instance

epico 05:20
05:22

or in London.

epico 05:22
05:25

In north London, the Hasidic Jewish community

epico 05:25
05:27

is the largest after Israel and New York.

epico 05:28
05:31

Here, religious division is taken to its extreme.

epico 05:34
05:38

These ultra-orthodox Jews only marry within their sect.

epico 05:38
05:40

Television is frowned upon, and of course

epico 05:40
05:43

children attend exclusive religious schools,

epico 05:43
05:45

cloistered away from external influences

epico 05:45
05:47

which just might persuade them

epico 05:47
05:50

to look outside their community.

epico 05:53
05:57

I want to find out why these children are being segregated,

epico 05:57
06:01

and whether their culture allows them to open their minds to reality.

epico 06:02
06:03

Hello?

epico 06:03
06:06

- Hello. - Rabbi Gluck. Nice to meet you.

epico 06:06
06:07

- Richard Dawkins. - I'm Richard Dawkins. How do you do?

epico 06:07
06:11

Thanks for coming, nice to meet you. Please come in.

epico 06:11
06:12

Thank you very much.

epico 06:12
06:14

Rabbi Gluck is London born and bred,

epico 06:14
06:17

but you wouldn't necessarily know it.

epico 06:17
06:21

His accent is a testament to the isolation of this religious sect.

epico 06:21
06:24

Why should children be victims of the

epico 06:24
06:27

particular tradition in which they happen to have been born,

epico 06:27
06:29

rather than choosing for themselves

epico 06:29
06:33

by being shown all the evidence that's available?

epico 06:33
06:39

We are all to a certain extent affected by our surroundings.

epico 06:41
06:44

There's no such thing as a person living in a vacuum.

epico 06:44
06:45

No, indeed.

epico 06:45
06:47

We're all affected by our parents, by our families

epico 06:47
06:51

but at the same time we have a choice to stay or otherwise.

epico 06:52
06:54

I think it's important for

epico 06:54
06:58

a minority to be able to have a space

epico 06:58
07:01

where it can express itself; where it can learn about itself.

epico 07:02
07:06

Well couldn't you preserve the customs, the traditions, the history

epico 07:07
07:11

without somehow imposing upon the children

epico 07:11
07:14

views about the universe which modern science would say are simply false?

epico 07:15
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I would say impose upon a Jew anything,

epico 07:18
07:20

I would say that's something which is impossible,

epico 07:20
07:22

I think it's scientifically impossible.

epico 07:22
07:25

We believe that God created the world in six days,

epico 07:25
07:29

we know about evolution - every single Jewish kid knows about evolution

epico 07:29
07:32

and has thought about it and has studied it,

epico 07:32
07:36

and has looked at it, and has thought, "What's going on here?"

epico 07:36
07:39

How many of the children who come up through your system, your school system

epico 07:40
07:43

end up believing in evolution?

epico 07:46
07:51

I'd- I think that- that- that the- the majority don't believe in evolution, they...

epico 07:53
07:56

but at the same time it isn't they don't believe because they don't know about it.

epico 07:57
08:00

You realise they're being taught that the entire world

epico 08:00
08:06

began after what archaeologists would recognise as the agricultural revolution?

epico 08:07
08:11

I mean, these children are being brought up in a very distorted world indeed,

epico 08:11
08:14

and I worry about children being victims

epico 08:14
08:19

of this kind of what I can only describe as mis-education.

epico 08:20
08:25

I find the terms 'distorted' and 'mis-education' rather disturbing.

epico 08:26
08:28

Judaism has its tradition.

epico 08:28
08:32

I think there are various er, scientists who have their tradition.

epico 08:33
08:35

This so-called 'the theory of evolution'-

epico 08:35
08:37

Well it's called that, but that's in a very technical sense.

epico 08:37
08:39

But still, but still it's called that,

epico 08:39
08:42

and it's not called the 'law' of evolution.

epico 08:42
08:45

Well I will call it the 'fact' of evolution, and-

epico 08:45
08:47

Then you're- you're a fundamentalist believer in it.

epico 08:47
08:48

No, no, I'm not a fundamentalist believer.

epico 08:48
08:51

The age of the earth: 5,000 years? I mean that is-

epico 08:51
08:53

I'm sorry, Rabbi, that is ridiculous!

epico 08:55
08:57

Of course, Rabbi Gluck is right that it's important

epico 08:57
09:00

for us to learn about our own background,

epico 09:00
09:03

but what upsets me is that in pursuit of that,

epico 09:03
09:07

these innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods.

epico 09:09
09:12

And this is not just a problem of the Jewish minority.

epico 09:14
09:16

There's pressure from an increasing number

epico 09:16
09:18

of Faith schools of other religions

epico 09:18
09:22

to put scientific fact on a par with primitive creation myths.

epico 09:23
09:26

In science classes, why can't they simply teach science?

epico 09:27
09:31

- You said this is truth 'cos it's based on evidence. - Well no, you don't exactly say that,

epico 09:31
09:33

you say, "We're struggling towards the truth," and

epico 09:33
09:36

as new evidence comes in, we refine it.

epico 09:36
09:40

And in the middle of that, Jesus says, "I am truth."

epico 09:53
09:55

We live in the shadow of a religiously inspired terror

epico 09:56
09:59

And yet it's a strange anomaly that Faith schools are increasing

epico 09:59
10:02

in number and influence in our education system,

epico 10:02
10:06

with active encouragement from Tony Blair's government.

epico 10:07
10:10

There are already 7,000 Faith schools in Britain,

epico 10:10
10:14

but the government's Trust Reforms are encouraging many more.

epico 10:14
10:17

Over half the new City Academies are expected to be sponsored

epico 10:17
10:19

by religious organisations.

epico 10:36
10:40

The most worrying development is a new wave of private evangelical schools

epico 10:40
10:44

that have adopted the American Baptist A.C.E. curriculum:

epico 10:44
10:46

'Accelerated Christian Education'.

epico 10:47
10:49

Have you been to one of these schools before?

epico 10:49
10:50

- No, I never have. - No. Okay.

epico 10:51
10:57

Accelerated Christian Education slips religious superstitions back into science.

epico 10:58
11:01

If you want to be rude, you'd say it's "programmed learning",

epico 11:02
11:05

If you want to be polite, it's "individualised instruction".

epico 11:05
11:08

- Okay. - So really, each one is teaching themselves.

epico 11:08
11:12

To a certain extent, of course. That has to be modified

epico 11:26
11:29

I had a look at the curriculum booklet that you use for science,

epico 11:29
11:35

and it was very noticeable that God or Jesus did come on just about every page.

epico 11:35
11:38

Yes, yes. We don't have anything like religious instruction in the school

epico 11:38
11:40

- because it is part of the- - I can see you wouldn't need it.

epico 11:40
11:41

No, of course not. Absolutely.

epico 11:42
11:45

In one section of this thing, I suddenly - I was sort of taken aback,

epico 11:45
11:48

because I suddenly started reading about Noah's Ark.

epico 11:48
11:50

I mean, what's that got to do with a science lesson?

epico 11:50
11:55

Well I suppose that depends on your opinion. It could have a lot.

epico 11:55
11:58

If you believe in the story, it could have a lot to do with science.

epico 11:58
12:00

But I mean the stuff that I was taught when I was a kid at school in science

epico 12:00
12:04

now you would laught at and say it was a myth,

epico 12:04
12:06

- But that's what I was taught- - But what were you taught?

epico 12:06
12:09

When I was taught at- one of the things that they told me at school

epico 12:09
12:14

that I've always remembered was that the moon came from the ocean here on earth.

epico 12:14
12:16

and was flung into space, and that's where it came from.

epico 12:17
12:20

Well what you should have been taught, I suppose, is that there is

epico 12:20
12:23

a strong current theory that that's what happened.

epico 12:24
12:25

So what you're really trying to ask me is,

epico 12:25
12:28

"Do you think the Genesis story was true, and that

epico 12:28
12:32

God created the world in seven days?" That's what you'd really like to ask me, right?

epico 12:32
12:34

My answer to that is, "I don't know."

epico 12:35
12:40

Having said that, do I think that if God wanted to do it in seven days he could?

epico 12:40
12:43

- Yeah, I think he could. - He can do anything.

epico 12:43
12:44

- Yeah. - Yes.

epico 12:44
12:46

So it's sort of an academic question,

epico 12:46
12:50

which actually I don't care about the answer very much really.

epico 12:50
12:52

Does that make sense?

epico 12:52
12:54

Kind of, yes. It does make sense. It doesn't make sense to me

epico 12:54
12:55

because I do care about the answer.

epico 12:56
12:57

Why?

epico 12:57
12:58

Because I care about what's true, and I-

epico 13:01
13:05

Well I find Christianity encompasses everything about life.

epico 13:05
13:08

Christianity is life, so it's about everything. It touches

epico 13:08
13:12

education, politics, care, social services, everything.

epico 13:13
13:15

Let me ask about another thing in the booklet, which was

epico 13:15
13:18

about AIDS and HIV. I think somewhere it talks about

epico 13:18
13:21

AIDS being the wages of sin.

epico 13:22
13:26

Is that mixing health education with moralistic preaching?

epico 13:26
13:30

I suppose the flip side of that is that if there is no God and there is no law-giver,

epico 13:30
13:38

why does it matter what I do? Why is rape wrong? Why is paedophilia wrong?

epico 13:38
13:42

Why are any of these things wrong if there is no law-giver?

epico 13:42
13:45

You've just said a very revealing thing. Are you telling me that the only reason

epico 13:45
13:51

why you don't steal and rape and murder is that you're frightened of God?

epico 13:51
13:55

I think that all people, if they think they can get away with something,

epico 13:55
13:59

and it is- there is no consequences, we actually tend to do that.

epico 13:59
14:02

I think that is the reality. Look at the world in which we live.

epico 14:02
14:03

That is the reality.

epico 14:03
14:05

- Okay, well I think better leave it at that. - Okay.

epico 14:06
14:09

Adrian Hawkes, I'm sure, is a well-meaning man.

epico 14:09
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But why should he impose his personal version of reality on children?

epico 14:14
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Not only are they encouraged to consider the weird claims of

epico 14:17
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the bible alongside scientific fact, they are also being indoctrinated

epico 14:22
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into what an objective observer might see as a warped morality.

epico 14:31
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Let me explain why, when it comes to children, I think of religion as a dangerous virus.

epico 14:38
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It is a virus which is transmitted partly through teachers and clergy

epico 14:42
14:46

but also down the generations, from parent to child to grandchild.

epico 14:49
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Children are especially vulnerable to infection by the virus of religion.

epico 14:54
14:58

A child is genetically pre-programmed to accumulate knowledge

epico 14:58
15:00

from figures of authority.

epico 15:13
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The child brain, for very good Darwinian reasons, has to be set up

epico 15:18
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in such a way that it believes what it's told by its elders,

epico 15:24
15:29

because there just isn't time for the child to experiment with warnings

epico 15:29
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like: "Don't go too near the cliff edge," or "Don't swim in the river; there are crocodiles."

epico 15:35
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Any child who applied a scientific, sceptical, questioning attitude to that would be dead.

epico 15:44
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No wonder the Jesuit said, "Give me the child for his first seven years and I'll give you the man."

epico 15:55
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The child brain will automatically believe what it's told, even if

epico 15:59
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what it's told is nonsense.

epico 16:03
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And then, when the child grows up, it will tend to pass on

epico 16:06
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that same nonsense to its children.

epico 16:15
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And so religion goes on, from generation to generation.

epico 16:27
16:31

For many people, part of growing up is killing off the virus of Faith

epico 16:31
16:34

with a good strong dose of rational thinking.

epico 16:35
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But if an individual doesn't succeed in shaking it off,

epico 16:38
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his mind is stuck in a permanent state of infancy,

epico 16:41
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and there is a real danger that he will infect the next generation.

epico 16:50
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I'm going to meet someone who has experienced religion as child abuse first-hand.

epico 16:55
16:56

- Jill Mytton. - Oh, hello.

epico 16:56
16:59

- I'm Richard Dawkins, how do you do? - Hello, Richard.

epico 16:59
17:02

Jill Mytton was brought up in a strict Christian sect.

epico 17:02
17:05

Today she's a psychologist who rehabilitates young adults

epico 17:05
17:09

similarly scarred by their narrow religious upbringing.

epico 17:10
17:13

They need to be allowed to hear different perspectives on things.

epico 17:13
17:16

They need to be allowed to investigate. They need to be allowed to

epico 17:16
17:22

develop their critical faculties, so that they can take a number of different viewpoints.

epico 17:22
17:25

and weigh them up, and decide which one is for them.

epico 17:26
17:31

They need to find their own pathways; not to be forced into a particular mould as a child.

epico 17:33
17:39

If I think back to my childhood, it's one that's kind of dominated by fear.

epico 17:39
17:46

And it was a fear of disapproval while in the present, but also of eternal damnation.

epico 17:47
17:49

Do they get taught about hell fire and things like that?

epico 17:49
17:54

Absolutely. And to a child, images of hell fire and gnashing of teeth

epico 17:54
17:57

are actually very real; they're not metaphorical at all.

epico 17:57
17:59

- Of course not. - No.

epico 17:59
18:02

If you bring a child up and discourage it from thinking freely and making

epico 18:02
18:11

choices freely, then that's still- to me that is a form of mental abuse or psychological abuse.

epico 18:11
18:15

Or if you tell a child that when it dies it's going to roast forever in hell.

epico 18:15
18:16

In hell. That is abusive, yes.

epico 18:18
18:22

What did they tell you about it? I mean, what happens in hell?

epico 18:25
18:29

It's strange, isn't it. After all this time, it still has the power to

epico 18:29
18:32

affect me when you asked me that question.

epico 18:33
18:38

Hell is a fearful place. It's complete rejection by God.

epico 18:38
18:40

It's complete judgement.

epico 18:41
18:43

There is real fire.

epico 18:44
18:46

There is real torment; real torture,

epico 18:48
18:51

and it goes on forever, so there is no respite from it.

epico 19:14
19:17

It's deeply disturbing to think that there are believers out there

epico 19:17
19:22

who actively use the idea of hell for moral policing.

epico 19:30
19:34

In the United States, Christian obsession with sin has spawned a national craze

epico 19:34
19:39

for 'hell houses' - morality plays-cum-Halloween freak-shows,

epico 19:39
19:44

in which the evangelical hobby-horses of abortion and homosexuality

epico 19:44
19:47

are literally demonised.

epico 19:55
20:00

Pastor Keenan Roberts is rehearsing a new production of his Colorado-based hell-house,

epico 20:00
20:03

which he's written and staged for almost fifteen years.

epico 20:04
20:09

He fervently believes that you have to scare people into being good.

epico 20:10
20:16

The call upon my life as a pastor, as a minister, is to tell people what the book says,

epico 20:16
20:20

and what I, and we in our church, and hundreds of churches

epico 20:20
20:24

across this country and around the world are doing is, we have found

epico 20:24
20:31

a very creative, effective tool that is getting people's attention

epico 20:31
20:34

- to consider the message. - I believe it. I believe it.

epico 20:41
20:50

We want to leave an indelible impression upon their life that sin destroys.

epico 20:52
20:58

Every scene preaches the truth that either sin destroys or Jesus saves.

epico 21:18
21:23

If this is a rehearsal, think how horrific the full production must be.

epico 21:23
21:28

I presume you have a cut-off age for the tour, I mean no children below an age of-

epico 21:31
21:35

Well over the years of having audiences and people go through this,

epico 21:35
21:43

we have come to the decision that the best age for young people is really at twelve.

epico 21:49
21:53

Would it worry you if a child of twelve coming to see your performance

epico 21:53
21:57

had nightmares afterwards? Or would you like that?

epico 21:57
22:02

I would like them... I would like for their life to be changed.

epico 22:02
22:03

No matter what.

epico 22:04
22:09

I would rather for them to understand that hell is a place that they

epico 22:09
22:14

absolutely do not wanna go. I would rather reach them with that message at twelve,

epico 22:14
22:18

than to not reach them with that message, and have them live a life

epico 22:18
22:20

of sin and to never find the lord Jesus Christ.

epico 22:31
22:35

In the case of homosexual marriage, what harm does that do?

epico 22:35
22:38

Why would you be so passionately against that?

epico 22:40
22:42

That's your opinion. But it's nothing to do with you, is it. It's their decision.

epico 22:42
22:45

It's not my opinion. I'm telling you what the bible says.

epico 22:45
22:48

It's the bible's opinion. But these are two people who want to live together.

epico 22:48
22:52

Isn't it their own business? What right have you to interfere?

epico 23:17
23:20

I want them to know homosexuality is sin.

epico 23:20
23:25

But you believe it presumably on the basis of scriptural authority.

epico 23:26
23:29

- Unapologetically. - Yes, unapologetically. But why are you

epico 23:29
23:33

so sure that's right? I mean if you think about where the scriptures come from,

epico 23:33
23:35

I mean, who wrote them, and when?

epico 23:35
23:37

What makes you so confident they're right?

epico 23:37
23:39

- It's what I believe. - I know you believe it, but why?

epico 23:39
23:43

It is a Faith issue with me. Why do you not believe it?

epico 23:48
23:53

Hell House is the brash end of a much bigger problem with the way religious belief works.

epico 23:53
23:57

Taken to its extremes, as by American evangelists, the bible

epico 23:57
24:03

is scanned for passages to justify right- wing views on abortion and 'family values'.

epico 24:07
24:10

I'm about to meet a believer who uses the word of God

epico 24:10
24:13

to fight against centuries of human progress.

epico 24:15
24:19

I think execution for adultery is not rejected.

epico 24:21
24:23

- No. By the New Testament. - What about you? Do you

epico 24:25
24:30

I think that's fair to say; that that's still a proper punishment that

epico 24:33
24:36

It's not so bad, surely, to believe in moral codes

epico 24:36
24:39

handed down to us from the good book.

epico 24:39
24:42

Doesn't the bible give us a moral framework in which to live?

epico 24:44
24:48

Well no. The holy texts are of dubious origin and veracity,

epico 24:48
24:50

and they're internally contradictory.

epico 24:50
24:54

And when we look closely, we find a system of morals

epico 24:54
25:01

which any civilised person today should surely find poisonous.

epico 25:02
25:06

The Old Testament is in every church and synagogue throughout the world,

epico 25:06
25:10

and is the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

epico 25:15
25:22

If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter,

epico 25:22
25:26

or the spouse whom you embrace tries to secretly seduce you,

epico 25:26
25:31

saying, "Let us go and serve other gods"...

epico 25:31
25:35

This is God's advice on what to do to a friend or family member

epico 25:35
25:38

who suggests you believe in another deity:

epico 25:38
25:44

...you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death...

epico 25:44
25:46

...and the hands of the rest of the people following.

epico 25:46
25:55

You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God...

epico 25:55
26:00

The god of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction.

epico 26:01
26:06

Jealous and proud of it. Petty. Vindictive. Unjust. Unforgiving. Racist.

epico 26:06
26:12

An ethnic cleanser, urging his people on to acts of genocide.

epico 26:13
26:17

If God doesn't set a good moral example, who does?

epico 26:17
26:22

Abraham, the founding father of all three great monotheistic religions?

epico 26:22
26:26

The man who would willingly make a burnt offering of his son Isaac?

epico 26:26
26:28

Maybe not.

epico 26:29
26:34

How about Moses, he of the tablets which said, "Thou shalt not kill"?

epico 26:34
26:38

Well the same man, it says in the book of Numbers, was incensed by the Israelites'

epico 26:38
26:42

merciful retraint towards the conquered Midianite people.

epico 26:43
26:47

He gave orders to kill all male prisoners and older women.

epico 26:47
26:52

But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him,

epico 26:52
26:54

keep alive for yourselves.

epico 26:55
26:58

How is this story of Moses morally distinguishable

epico 26:58
27:02

from Hitler's rape of Poland, or Saddam Hussein's massacre

epico 27:02
27:06

of the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs?

epico 27:07
27:09

So let's leave Moses out of it.

epico 27:10
27:15

But there are lesser characters facing somewhat more everyday moral dilemmas.

epico 27:15
27:18

Maybe they provide a better role model.

epico 27:18
27:23

In the book of Judges, a priest was traveling with his wife in Gibiah.

epico 27:23
27:26

They spent the night in the house of an old man.

epico 27:26
27:28

But during supper, a mob came to demand

epico 27:28
27:31

that the host hand over his male guest.

epico 27:32
27:35

"so that we may know him..."

epico 27:35
27:37

Yes, in the biblical sense.

epico 27:37
27:39

Well, the old man replied:

epico 27:41
27:44

Nay, my brethren. Nay, I pray you. Do not so wickedly.

epico 27:44
27:50

Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine;

epico 27:50
27:59

them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you;

epico 27:59
28:04

but unto this man do not so vile a thing.

epico 28:05
28:08

So enjoy yourselves by raping and humiliating my daughter,

epico 28:08
28:12

but show a proper respect for my guest who is, after all, male.

epico 28:13
28:16

Whatever else this strange story might mean,

epico 28:16
28:19

it surely tells us something about the status of women

epico 28:19
28:21

in this religious society.

epico 28:24
28:28

Now of course, nice Christians will be protesting, "Everyone knows the

epico 28:28
28:30

the Old Testament is deeply unpleasant."

epico 28:31
28:36

The New Testament of Jesus, they claim, undoes the damage and makes it alright.

epico 28:37
28:40

Yes, there's no doubt that, from a moral point of view,

epico 28:40
28:46

Jesus is a huge improvement, because Jesus - or whoever wrote his lines - was not content

epico 28:46
28:50

to derive his ethics from the scriptures with which he'd been brought up.

epico 28:51
28:53

But then it all goes wrong.

epico 28:55
29:00

The heart of New Testament theology - invented after Jesus's death - is

epico 29:00
29:05

St Paul's nasty sadomasochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin.

epico 29:09
29:13

The idea is that God had himself incarnated as a man - Jesus -

epico 29:13
29:16

in order that he should be hideously tortured

epico 29:16
29:19

and executed to redeem all our sins.

epico 29:19
29:24

Not just the original sin of Adam and Eve; future sins as well,

epico 29:24
29:27

whether we decide to commit them or not.

epico 29:32
29:37

If God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them?

epico 29:37
29:38

Who's God trying to impress?

epico 29:38
29:44

Presumably himself, since he's judge and jury - as well as execution victim.

epico 29:46
29:49

To cap it all, according to scientific views of prehistory,

epico 29:49
29:52

Adam - the supposed perpetrator of the original sin -

epico 29:52
29:57

never existed in the first place; an awkward fact which undermines

epico 29:57
30:01

the premise of Paul's whole tortuously nasty theory.

epico 30:01
30:05

Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn't it.

epico 30:05
30:06

Symbolic?!

epico 30:07
30:11

So Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin

epico 30:11
30:12

by a non-existent individual?

epico 30:14
30:16

Nobody not brought up in the Faith

epico 30:16
30:20

could reach any verdict other than 'barking mad'.

epico 30:25
30:28

The strange theology and questionable texts wouldn't matter,

epico 30:28
30:31

but for the unfortunate fact that there are people out there

epico 30:31
30:36

who really believe this stuff is the word of God, and act on it;

epico 30:36
30:40

challenging progressive values - and the rule of law.

epico 30:42
30:46

If you take the 'good book' to its literal extreme - and some people do -

epico 30:46
30:48

you can justify murder.

epico 30:49
30:53

In 1994, the reverend Paul Hill shot and killed Dr John Britton

epico 30:53
30:56

outside his abortion clinic in Florida.

epico 30:57
31:00

In 2003, Hill was executed for murder.

epico 31:00
31:04

But he went to his death claiming his actions were backed by holy scripture.

epico 31:08
31:13

I'm going to meet the Paul Hill's friend and defender, the reverend Michael Bray.

epico 31:14
31:16

- Mr Bray? - Yes, sir.

epico 31:16
31:17

- Hello. - Hello.

epico 31:18
31:21

- I'm Richard Dawkins. - It's good to meet you, sir. Michael Bray.

epico 31:21
31:26

On what moral basis can he, as a Christian, defend a self-professed, cold-blooded killer?

epico 31:27
31:31

Your friend Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering a doctor,

epico 31:32
31:34

he took the law into his own hands, didn't he.

epico 31:35
31:36

No.

epico 31:37
31:41

Paul Hill, by his own testimony, acted defensively,

epico 31:42
31:44

not in retribution.

epico 31:44
31:46

That's the job of the law.

epico 31:46
31:48

- The job of the law is to punish. - No.

epico 31:49
31:55

The job of citizens is to - is indeed, out of love - to protect one another.

epico 31:56
31:59

Does it ever occur to you that that doctor had a wife to grieve for him?

epico 32:00
32:01

Paul Hill killed him!

epico 32:01
32:04

Now the embryos that Paul Hill was 'defending',

epico 32:04
32:09

they were tiny little things without any knowledge, without any memory,

epico 32:09
32:15

without any fears, without all the things that a full-grown adult doctor had.

epico 32:15
32:18

Doesn't that give your conscience a little bit of a twinge?

epico 32:18
32:23

Well I don't think we measure the value of someone by their cognizance of their

epico 32:23
32:26

surroundings or their- or even of their relationships.

epico 32:27
32:30

The value that we give human beings historically - and thankfully

epico 32:30
32:36

from the scriptures - is that they are created in God's image, and they are-

epico 32:36
32:40

they have a certain sanctity because of that.

epico 32:40
32:41

So whether they be imbeciles or...

epico 32:42
32:46

To most sensible people, Bray's fellow clergyman Paul Hill

epico 32:46
32:50

looks like a dangerous psychopath, righting what he perceived as wrong

epico 32:50
32:53

by committing another, more terrible wrong.

epico 32:54
32:57

Yet people like Hill and Bray don't see the world that way.

epico 32:59
33:02

They declare that their justification is in the bible,

epico 33:02
33:06

and by re-declaring the bible as the absolute word of God

epico 33:06
33:08

they give their actions validity.

epico 33:10
33:14

Many of us who don't subscribe to any particular holy book

epico 33:14
33:18

worry about suffering. We actually worry about whether the victim

epico 33:18
33:21

of a murder, whether it's the murder of a - in your terms - of

epico 33:21
33:26

an embryo, or of an adult doctor. I mean, can you not see

epico 33:26
33:30

that there's a big imbalance there between those two deaths.

epico 33:31
33:35

Well I couldn't take into account - because I'm not omniscient -

epico 33:35
33:38

to know all the sufferings that various people suffer.

epico 33:38
33:40

Where do you think he is? Paul Hill.

epico 33:41
33:45

Oh, I have high hopes that he's doing well.

epico 33:46
33:47

-You think he's in heaven. -Yes.

epico 33:47
33:49

You think Jesus approves of murdering doctors.

epico 33:49
33:52

I think that, uh... he said that, uh...

epico 33:55
33:59

he said that we're to love the children just as we love others.

epico 33:59
34:01

Suffer the little children to come to me.

epico 34:01
34:05

I reckon I have a fairly strong moral conviction as well, but I'm not that confident.

epico 34:05
34:08

I wouldn't like to go and kill somebody

epico 34:08
34:09

for the sake of my morality.

epico 34:09
34:11

How can you be that confident?

epico 34:13
34:18

I think, uh... my own confidence, I guess, has come with time.

epico 34:18
34:26

The more I- I think the scriptures- the more I live, the more satisfied I am intellectually

epico 34:26
34:27

that they interpret reality for me.

epico 34:30
34:33

It was curious. I quite liked him. I thought he was sincere.

epico 34:33
34:38

I thought he wasn't really an evil person.

epico 34:39
34:44

And I was reminded of a quotation by the famous American physicist

epico 34:44
34:47

Stephen Weinberg - the Nobel prize- winning theoretical physicist -

epico 34:48
34:52

Weinberg said, "Religion is an insult to human dignity.

epico 34:52
34:56

Without it, you'd have good people doing good things

epico 34:56
34:59

and evil people doing evil things,

epico 34:59
35:03

but for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."

epico 35:06
35:10

People like Michael Bray are a big problem for Christian morality.

epico 35:10
35:14

Not all Christians are as rooted in the spoil of scripture,

epico 35:14
35:18

but they do all take inspiration from the same holy text.

epico 35:21
35:22

But who is right?

epico 35:23
35:27

The established Church of England is being painfully torn apart

epico 35:27
35:30

by these differences of opinion over the scriptures.

epico 35:31
35:36

The battleground is not so much abortion, but homosexuality and gay clergy.

epico 35:37
35:40

On one side are vociferous scriptural purists;

epico 35:40
35:45

on the other: more moderate believers who interpret the bible selectively.

epico 35:48
35:52

You're on the liberal wing of the Anglican church.

epico 35:52
35:56

Maybe the other side are the ones who are being true to their scriptures

epico 35:56
36:00

in a way that you're not. I mean you, who are liberal and much closer to what

epico 36:00
36:06

I would think, are the one who's departing from the- certainly from the scriptural,

epico 36:06
36:09

and perhaps from the fundamentals.

epico 36:10
36:13

Um, well if you take the issue of homosexuality there's no doubt about it,

epico 36:13
36:17

there are a number of texts - not as many as people think, but a few texts - which

epico 36:17
36:21

clearly regard homosexuality as wrong, both

epico 36:21
36:24

in the Old Testament very strongly, but they're also there

epico 36:24
36:29

in the New Testament. But of course it's a question of how you interpret the bible;

epico 36:29
36:35

whether it's really right to just simply extract a few isolated texts

epico 36:36
36:40

rather than seeing the whole message of the bible; the whole message of Jesus.

epico 36:40
36:43

But I think there's another, perhaps even more fundamental one which links in

epico 36:43
36:48

to your fundamental interest in evolution. Our understanding of what it is to be a gay or

epico 36:48
36:54

lesbian now is very very different from what it was, let us say in the Roman world,

epico 36:54
36:55

when the New Testament was written.

epico 36:55
36:56

Therefore it's purely a matter of choice.

epico 36:56
37:01

We now actually know that a significant percentage of people

epico 37:01
37:04

are predominantly attracted to members of their own sex.

epico 37:04
37:09

So it's a question of the changing facts, as well as a changing understanding of how

epico 37:09
37:11

the bible should be interpreted.

epico 37:11
37:15

This of course is all music to my ears, but I'm kind of left wondering

epico 37:15
37:18

why you stick with Christianity at all therefore.

epico 37:19
37:23

And maybe some of the fundamentalists might say just that to you.

epico 37:23
37:27

I think that moderates need to be passionate, both about their religious beliefs, and

epico 37:27
37:32

about rationality, and it's possible to be a passionate moderate. It's much more difficult...

epico 37:33
37:37

Some say that while religious fundamentalists betray reason, moderate believers

epico 37:37
37:40

betray reason and Faith equally.

epico 37:41
37:43

The moderates' position seems to me to be fence-sitting.

epico 37:43
37:49

They half-believe in the bible. But how do they decide which parts to believe literally

epico 37:49
37:51

and which parts are just allegorical?

epico 37:51
37:55

I take it that as an Anglican bishop you wouldn't deny miracles,

epico 37:55
37:59

and I think you ought to, to be consistent with what you've just been saying.

epico 37:59
38:03

I think if God was doing miracles the whole time, then we would live in

epico 38:03
38:05

an Alice in Wonderland-type world.

epico 38:05
38:07

- Yeah. - It would be unpredictable.

epico 38:07
38:09

And you and I wouldn't be able to have a rational conversation.

epico 38:09
38:11

It's almost as though you think there's a kind of 'ration' of miracles,

epico 38:11
38:14

which mustn't be exceeded, or we get into 'Looking Glass' territory.

epico 38:14
38:18

We can't say what that 'ration' is. If miracles were happening all the time,

epico 38:18
38:23

whenever we wanted them to happen, then human life as we know it couldn't exist.

epico 38:23
38:26

And what about the sort of really big miracles, like the virgin birth?

epico 38:26
38:27

What do you think about that?

epico 38:28
38:31

I don't think that it's on a par with the resurrection, for example.

epico 38:31
38:35

I mean, I actually do believe that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead

epico 38:35
38:38

is absolutely fundamental to Christianity,

epico 38:38
38:41

in a way that I don't believe the virgin birth is.

epico 38:42
38:46

It seems to me an odd proposition that we should adhere to some parts

epico 38:46
38:50

of the bible story but not to others. After all, when it comes to

epico 38:50
38:54

important moral questions, by what standards do we cherry-pick the bible?

epico 38:55
39:00

Why bother with the bible at all, if we have the ability to pick and choose from it

epico 39:00
39:03

what is right and what is wrong for today's society?

epico 39:07
39:12

I suspect that religion is simply a parasite on a much older moral sense.

epico 39:13
39:19

I want to examine how science reveals the true roots of human morality.

epico 39:20
39:24

Morality stems not from some fictional deity and his texts,

epico 39:24
39:30

but from altruistic genes that have been naturally selected in our evolutionary past.

epico 39:31
39:35

Humans have much more sophisticated versions of the kinds of social

epico 39:35
39:37

instincts you see in chimps and other creatures.

epico 39:37
39:42

But really there's no great leap. It's just... If you can think of chimps as MS-DOS,

epico 39:42
39:43

and humans as Windows 2000.

epico 39:45
39:49

Religious believers like to claim that their god and ancient texts

epico 39:49
39:54

provide them with an inside track to defining what is good and what is bad.

epico 39:55
40:00

But it is surely far more moral to do good things for their own sake,

epico 40:00
40:03

rather than as a way of sucking up to God.

epico 40:03
40:08

Our true sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with religion.

epico 40:08
40:13

I believe there is kindness, charity and generosity in human nature.

epico 40:14
40:18

And I think there is a Darwinian explanation for this.

epico 40:21
40:27

Through much of our prehistory, humans lived under conditions that favoured altruistic genes.

epico 40:27
40:31

Gene survival depended on nurturing our family

epico 40:31
40:33

and on doing deals with our peers.

epico 40:34
40:37

The 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' principle.

epico 40:39
40:42

I don't think we need religion to explain morality.

epico 40:42
40:44

And if anything, it just gets in the way.

epico 40:44
40:49

Morality is a lot older than religion. Humans have an innate moral sense,

epico 40:50
40:52

or a range of moral senses that you could think of as

epico 40:52
40:55

sophisticated versions of the kind of social instincts you see

epico 40:55
40:57

in chimps and other social species.

epico 40:58
41:02

What sort of morality or proto- morality would you expect

epico 41:02
41:05

to find in a chimpanzee troupe?

epico 41:05
41:09

We find that they live in family groups, the mothers look after their kids,

epico 41:09
41:13

they work in teams, and also chimps are particularly good at

epico 41:13
41:17

competing for status through what's been called public service.

epico 41:17
41:20

So they compete for status not just through brute force, but

epico 41:20
41:25

by being good leaders, by intervening to settle disputes...

epico 41:25
41:30

What are the main evolutionary reasons for cooperating and being altruistic?

epico 41:30
41:35

Working together often produces mutual benefits for those that are involved, so

epico 41:35
41:40

you can often just do better by working in a team than you can by working by yourself.

epico 41:45
41:49

Perhaps it is our genetic inheritance that explains why those of us with

epico 41:49
41:53

no allegiance to a holy book or a pope or an ayatollah to tell us what is good

epico 41:53
42:00

still manage to ground ourselves in a moral consensus which is surprisingly widely agreed.

epico 42:05
42:10

As social animals, we've worked out that we wouldn't want to live in a society

epico 42:10
42:14

where it was acceptable to rape, murder or steal.

epico 42:14
42:17

We have a moral conscience and a mutual empathy,

epico 42:18
42:20

and it is constantly evolving.

epico 42:24
42:27

Religious or not, we have changed in unison,

epico 42:27
42:32

and continue to change in our attitude to what is right and what is wrong.

epico 42:33
42:38

Fifty years ago, just about everybody in Britain was somewhat racist.

epico 42:38
42:40

Now only a few people are.

epico 42:41
42:46

Fifty years ago, it was impossible for gay people to walk along the street

epico 42:46
42:49

hand in hand. Now it's easy.

epico 42:52
42:55

Some of us lag behind the advancing wave of moral standards,

epico 42:56
42:58

and some of us are ahead.

epico 42:59
43:03

But all of us in the 21st century are ahead of our counterparts from the time of

epico 43:03
43:06

Abraham, Mohammed or St Paul.

epico 43:11
43:14

But progressive shift often emerges in opposition to religion.

epico 43:15
43:19

It's driven by improved education, and then expressed by newspaper editorials,

epico 43:21
43:22

television soap operas,

epico 43:23
43:24

parliamentary speeches,

epico 43:25
43:26

judicial rulings

epico 43:27
43:28

and novels.

epico 43:30
43:34

I guess my starting point would be: The brain is responsible for consciousness,

epico 43:34
43:38

and we could be reasonably sure that when that brain ceases to be,

epico 43:39
43:42

when it falls apart and decomposes, that'll be the end of us.

epico 43:42
43:46

From that, quite a lot of things follow, I think especially morally.

epico 43:46
43:52

We are the very priveleged owners of a brief spark of consciousness,

epico 43:52
43:54

and we therefore have to take responsibility for it.

epico 43:55
44:00

You cannot rely - as Christians or Moslems do - on a world elsewhere;

epico 44:00
44:04

a paradise to which one can work towards and maybe make sacrifices - and crucially,

epico 44:04
44:07

make sacrifices of other people.

epico 44:07
44:12

We have a marvellous gift - and you see it develop in children - this ability to

epico 44:12
44:16

become aware that other people have minds just like your own.

epico 44:16
44:19

and feelings that are just as important as your own.

epico 44:19
44:24

And this gift of empathy seems to me to be the building block of our moral system.

epico 44:24
44:28

I profoundly agree with you, and I've always felt that one of the things

epico 44:28
44:32

that's wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied

epico 44:32
44:36

with answers which are not really answers at all.

epico 44:36
44:40

And if you have a sacred text that tells you how the world began,

epico 44:40
44:44

or what the relationship is between this sky-god and you,

epico 44:46
44:50

it does curtail your curiosity. It cuts off a source of wonder.

epico 44:50
44:54

The loveliness of the world in its wondrousness is not apparent

epico 44:54
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to me in Islam or Christianity and all the other major religions.

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To an atheist like Ian McEwan, there is no all-seeing, all-loving God

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who keeps us free from harm.

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But atheism is not a recipe for despair. I think the opposite.

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By disclaiming the idea of a next life, we can take more excitement in this one.

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The here and now is not something to be endured

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before eternal bliss or damnation.

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The here and now is all we have; an inspiration to make the most of it.

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So atheism is life-affirming, in a way religion can never be.

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Look around you. Nature demands our attention; begs us to explore; to question.

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Religion can provide only facile, ultimately unsatisfying answers.

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Science, in constantly seeking real explanations,

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reveals the true majesty of our world in all its complexity.

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People sometimes say, "There must be more than just this world; than just this life."

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But how much more do you want?

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We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.

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Most people are never going to die because they're never going to be born.

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The number of people who could be here in my place

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outnumber the sand grains of Sahara.

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If you think about all the different ways in which our genes could be permuted,

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you and I are quite grotesquely lucky to be here.

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The number of events that had to happen in order for you to exist;

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in order for me to exist.

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We are priveleged to be alive,

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and we should make the most of our time on this world.

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SUBTITLES BY DAVID ([email protected])

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Small corrections for translators:) [email protected]