I finally got around to watching part three of this four part series. The fact that i have only done so now and that final part has been broadcast reflects my enthusiasm for the series. Again this episode was a real mixed bag. Hunt tried to show how Protestantism was the father or modernity which is an important idea. However I have perhaps two quibbles. The first is that yet again he appears to have little real grasp of how Protestantism is driven by religious ideas. So 16th century iconoclasm was like the actions of the ‘Taleban’, ‘sacrilege’ carried out by ‘Protestant stormtroopers.’ Very little sense here of the religious motivation of these actions. My second issue is that there is little explanation of the cleavage between Protestantism and modernity. Why did the latter outgrow the former? Okay, Hunt makes the point about how Protestantism released a spirit of anti-authoritarianism but there is no real explanation of how modernity broke away from Protestant ideas.
One of the striking things about the programme, perhaps not intended by the makers, is that it illustrates just how irrelevant Protestantism has now become to mainstream public life in Britain. Every time he wants to consider modern Protestantism he heads for the USA.