First of all, I'm a big Dawkins fan. The guy's great, and I saw the documentary that the clip was excerpted from when it was first shown in England. I enjoyed it immensely.
religion is indeed one
of the major catalysts
of evil both in the world today, and throughout history. Today, people using the excuse of fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Judaism and fundamentalist Islam are basically killing thousands of people weekly throughout the world, and causing massive pain. (Although, perhaps any decrease in the global population isn't in reality... a great evil. The pain is, however.)
Religion by itself however, is merely a static fantasy concept, and without the addition of individual human prejudices and flaws, it can do no harm. The Bible or the Quran left on the bookshelf does no harm. But when interpreted by a fanatic, the nonsense contained within those books can be used as a TOOL, to do harm.
And let us not forget the evil that is done WITHOUT religion. Animal abuse, child abuse, murders for money, murders for lust, rapes, racial genocide... All can be, and have been, committed throughout history without the interference of religion. Scientists have done evil, businessmen have done evil, politicians have done evil, and the average joe has done evil.
The root of all evil is the self interest, lack of empathy and ignorance of people.
Religion is merely a handy excuse for the manipulative. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers... as useful. Let us never ignore the fact that while people like Georgie Bush may use religion as an excuse for a lot of their more dubious decisions, the acquisition or preservation of power and money can often be discerned to be the true reasons behind them.
Let us remember that the major organised religions such as the Catholic church were historically no different than major corporations, with massive financial resources, an ability to apply political pressure and a harshly self-interested business ethic. And while those ancient globalised "companies" are still with us, more modern, "real" corporations are also terrible harbingers of evil. Look at arms dealers, and fossil fuel companies, loggers and property developers.
I have at last come to the conclusion that people are either moral or amoral, and whether they're religious or agnostic, they will do good or commit evil according to their natures, regardless of the belief systems they're involved in. While some psychos are indeed recruited by Jihadi terrorists or employed by Mossad, and though those people take part in religious wars, an equal number of psychos find other, non-religious means to indulge their viscious impulses.
But now we come to the really vital question, what IS good, and what is evil?
Without the handy delusion of religion it becomes a more difficult question. I am a moralist, I believe that the causing of unneccesary pain to any living thing is negative, because I have empathy and am able to put myself in the shoes of the creature I might harm.
I believe that a person is either moral or amoral, and that those who are moral have more intrinsic worth than those who are amoral. Those who are amoral are in fact, dangerous and should be controlled, if not culled.
The first, while spoken by the founder of a religion, is an agnostic advice backed up by good reason.
As Buddhism is a merely a moralistic way of self-improvement and not
a religion (no god nor metaphysical sky-daddy nor flying spaghetti monster, no ritual in true buddhism, etc. etc.) it's somewhat unfair to compare them. I've met good Christians and bad Christians, very pleasant and tolerant Muslims and idiot fanatic Jihadists... I think it would be inaccurate to believe for a moment that religion can MAKE someone "bad". It would be like believing that computer games can cause children to go postal.
The "postal" has to BE THERE FIRST, and then the game may trigger the existing impulse. But without the seed, no amount of sunlight nor water can make a plant sprout up.