I've only got 10 minutes into the latest Doctor Who on Iplayer and it's fantastic.
Alongside a brilliant joke about the child support agency there's
- a creation story ('in the beginning God breathed life into creation, and then she sighed...'),
- an army convinced it has God on its side, but which has forgotten the reason it started fighting in the first place - in fact, fighting is their only reason for living. Wonder why they gave the general an Irish accent?
- medical ethics: does a person born created by a machine, using human tissue samples, rather than by natural parents qualify as fully human? (very topical with the embryo research debate currently happening in parliament).
- and 2 people divided with a peacemaker 'doctor' each side of the dividing wall of hostility, one of whom (Dr. Jones), through healing one of the people (fixing a disclocated soldier), becomes accepted and gets the chance to make peace.
Will someone have to die a sacrificial death to sort this all out? Brilliant scripts, and enough issues in 10 minutes to do a homegroup series.
I'm constantly amazed at how this series keeps coming back to religious themes, though in this episode there's a lot of religious scepticism too: the creation story is dismissed as a 'myth', and the Doctor contrasts his intellect with the armies confidence in God and force. Here is the secularist case, as put by Terry Sanderson of the NSS on Simon Mayo's show yesterday (go to 31 minutes in). Religions cause wars, we're better off without them, human reason has all the answers we need. Incidentally, it was good to hear a thoughtful rebuff to the NSS case by the other guests on the show, and one has the sneaking suspicion that the NSS would prefer to have religious voices silenced rather than debate with them.
Later: well well well, we even get a death and resurrection, the episode ends with the 'breath of God' (according to the doctor, just a cocktail of gases which can rejuvenate barren planets) bringing back to life the Doctors daughter, unnaturally born at the start of the episode but killed. Hmm, who does that remind you of? And it finishes in a paradise garden. Etc. etc. I wonder if they just chop up Bibles at random, stir them into a pot, pull bits out at random and build the script around it.
And there's even a gospel: "it can lift you out of these dark dark tunnels, into the light. No more fighting, no more killing. I'm the Doctor, and I declare this war over, " at which point the Doctor releases the forces (the gas cocktail) which will create a new world.