I watched 3 documentaries this week - one was the return visit by Louis Theroux to the American family (America's Most Hated Family) who are the Westboro Baptist Church - the strangely beguiling, utterly offensive extreme right wing "Christian" group who picket the funerals of the soldiers who have died in Afghanistan and elsewhere, saying it is God's punishment for the US army tolerating homosexuality. They walk around with banners decrying gays and thanking God for cancer. Weird and offensive yes, but dangerous? To some degree - especially their views on Islam and wanting to burn Korans. They are bright eyed, dogmatic, convinced they are right and totally strange.
I also watched My Brother the Islamist last night on BBC 3. That was much more scary. Similar in their dogmatic adherence to the God of hate rather than love, they were deeply disturbing in that they have the desire to kill all those who disagree with them and would gladly die for their beliefs. The similarities between the American family - extreme right wing Christians - and the extreme Islamists is obvious when viewed side by side. They make your blood run cold and I am more convinced than ever that evil is real, finds a home and settles in.
The 3rd documentary - 3 part series - was The Big Silence. I caught up with it at last, it was first broadcast in December last year. It was a lovely, thought provoking series following 5 people who chose to go on an 8 day silent retreat to St Beunos in N Wales. For all 5 the days of total silence (apart form the rebellious chats outside!) had a profound effect on them. God speaking through the silence to people who normally never sit quietly and listen.
I was moved the The Big Silence, disgusted by the bizarre views and offensive antics of the Phelpes family in America and scared by the evil of the extreme Islamists. I don't know where the Islamist cause will end but I hope it does and that somehow the hate will be turned to a positive energy because the thought of more and more young men - and it seems to be all men - finding purpose in hatred is a tradgedy and a terrifying prospect.