Excellent news that the BBC is broadcasting The Life of Muhammad in mid-July, on the founder of Islam. Predictably, Iran is afraid the documentary will “ruin Muslims’ sanctity,” even though the BBC is sticking with Islamic tradition and “does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature dramatic reconstructions of Muhammad’s life”.
I’m genuinely interested, atheist that I am, in watching this documentary. Religion and myth are fascinating subjects, and I’ve never underestimated the power of an overarching narrative to help people make sense of their lives. In this category, I’d include the secular faiths, Marxism, communism, fascism and capitalism, because they also embody a surrender to an arbitrary authority, whether it be the dialectic, state, leader or market forces.
There are some insights and effective analytical tools mixed up in the secular faiths, but I prefer to live a la carte rather than table d’hote. Along with religious faiths, they are all open to criticism.
So, good on the BBC for making this documentary and facing up to what no doubt will be a storm of controversy.