I’ve been so preoccupied with moving issues in recent weeks that I’ve not kept up on my blog. Here are a couple notable items from this past week.
A reviewer for Salon explores why the several recent Christian films — Left Behind, God’s Not Dead, etc. — are, in cinematic and storytelling terms, so bad.
You can’t judge Christian films like other movies. Any casual examination shows them to be conventionally terrible without exception. But they are not meant to be good, but rather they are designed to deliver pointed messages, spurring audiences to promote and support established political and religious powers.
Liberals are comically stereotyped as vegetarians or “god-hating” college professors. Serious journalism is suspect, and secular people are all outlandish cardboard cutouts, less human than disembodied twirling mustaches of absolute evil. When religionists reduce critics to banal caricature in order to defeat them on film, it betrays a lack of confidence in their own arguments.
My bold. And:
The people who create and consume Christian film are neither mature nor reflective. They are at their core superstitious, afraid and tribal.
I’ve noticed how often atheist/freethinker bloggers note gay issues, which are not necessarily in their purview, but this very good essay/review response to the previous article, by PZ Myers, takes the opportunity to explain why atheists have a body of values and ethics that is superior to those who rely on holy books… also explains why LGBT issues are in fact within their concern. (Our concern.) I completely endorse this.
As an atheist, you believe that superstitions about gods should not be used to set legal policy for you: you are almost certainly a strong proponent of governmental secularism. That one doesn’t seem to surprise anyone.
You’re probably also a fan of education, and particularly science education. It’s not in the dictionary definition, but the biggest names in atheism have been setting the trend, and you also find that explanations of natural causes reinforce your doubts about supernatural ones.
As the author above notes, stripping away those traditional religious motives also means you support LGBTQ rights — and it’s more than just a lack of authoritarian precepts, but appreciating the values of fairness and equality. Even Libertarian atheists find this to be a potent right to champion.
… in general, that you are godless means you don’t find your ethical rules in a holy book, but in the interactions of human beings and a desire to maximize general happiness and opportunity.
Let’s say that again: “you don’t find your ethical rules in a holy book, but in the interactions of human beings and a desire to maximize general happiness and opportunity.” That’s humanism, and the idea of progress. And it will win out in the end, as superstitions die in the glare of reality.