Written by Fantasma el Rey
Bill Moyers: On Faith & Reason is a wonderful three-disc set containing the seven episodes from his PBS show of the same title that aired in 2006. Moyers conducts interviews with various authors from Salman Rushdie to Will Power and Margaret Atwood to Pema Chodron about their thoughts on the topic of faith and reason. It comes together well and works marvelously, holding the viewers interest with each episode and person interviewed.
Bill Moyers is a journalist, analyst, news correspondent, and he even spent some time in politics as Press Secretary for L.B.J. His 1988 interview/ documentary with the legendary wiseman Joseph Campbell is something amazing in its own right and let’s not forget Moyer's other grand project, Genesis: A Living Conversation. On Faith & Reason fits in perfectly with these great works. Working with twelve different authors the questions of faith and reason are pondered over and looked at from very different perspectives and points of view.
Episode One has Salman Rushdie for an hour of his own discussing the politicization of religion and its affects on artist. We also get to hear his thoughts on his book The Satanic Verses and all the years of living in hiding that the backlash from it forced upon him. He also reads a bit from his novel Shalimar The Clown, and we see his sense of humor shine through, not only in the reading but in the hour he has with Moyers.
Episode Two features novelist Mary Gordon and British Philosopher Colin McGinn. Gordon discusses her strong belief, how it led her to nearly becoming a nun and the way it affects her writing. On the other hand McGinn tells us of how he came to be an unbeliever. McGinn makes good points on reason and points out that criticizing someone’s faith doesn’t have be a persecution of their faith.
Episode Three features Jeanette Winterson and Will Power as they discuss myth in modern day and how it influences their writing. Winterson discuses how as a girl of 12 she was heavy into the Bible and by 16 she was an outcast from church and home because she fell in love with another girl. She explains how that experience helped her to be able to look at religion and myths and see them in a different light. The influence of myth and growing up in the inner city led Will Powers to think of a new way to present a classic myth, Seven Against Thebes, and flip it into The Seven, a hip, streetwise, rap interpretation that did well and brings the myths and heroes of old to the modern city and mixes them with their street equivalent.