Dawkins lays into Brandon Flowers over Mormon faith
Musician Brandon Flowers of the rock band The Killers had an unexpected and tense conversation about his Mormon faith with famed atheist Richard Dawkins on the Swedish talk show "Skavlan" in early September.
The host of the talk show, Fredrik Skavlan, asked Flowers, a devout Mormon, to describe the "beauty of [his] faith".
Flowers responded positively to Skavlan's request, saying that some of the things he loves about his Mormon faith are "my mother teaching me to pray, and that I have that communication with my heavenly Father. That's something I turn to on a daily basis".
"There are answers to questions that my church has that also are very...it's a beautiful thing to me, and I'm happy," the musician added.
Flowers went on to say that he believes Mormonism is a "misunderstood" religion and that people are unfamiliar with it.
Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, joined the interview later on, and directly addressed Flowers.
"I have to say that when I read the book of Mormon recently, what impressed me was that this was an obvious fake. This was a 19th century book written in 16th century English. That's not the way people talked in the 19th century – it's a fake. So it's not beautiful, it's a work of charlatanry," Dawkins told the 31-year-old musician.
Flowers, evidently uneasy with the direction of the interview, responded to Dawkins, "These are all falsehoods – you should do your research."
"The book has been studied and torn apart and looked at but I'm not one of the professors that have done it. To call this man a charlatan – I take offense to it," he added, referencing the Mormon Church's founder Joseph Smith.
Flowers was not able to respond further to the comments of Dawkins before the program cut the interview short in order for Flowers to give a live performance with his band, "The Killers."
Several viewers took their opinion of the interview to Twitter. Many agreed that Flowers, who does not often publicly discuss his Mormon faith, was ambushed in the interview.
"The waylaying of Brandon Flowers, being unfairly ambushed on the subject [of Mormonism]," wrote one Twitter follower.
Others supported Flowers for maintaining his composure during the tense interview.
"Listening to Brandon Flowers' interview. He's defending the Book of Mormon. Love this guy," tweeted Stephanie Nielson, author of the popular blog "Nie Nie Dialogues."
Also on the show were Ulrika Jonsson, a Swedish-British television personality, and Björn Ulvaeus, former Abba member and a well-known atheist.