Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Atheist Authors at the Movies

The plan worked perfectly!!! BWAHAHAHA!

Though Im not part of the 'Media Control' division of the EAC, I am proud of their sneakiness. Check this out-- they threw out 'The Golden Compass' as an easy target for the Biblos, got em all worked up in a froth, put 'OMG AN ATHEIST MOVIE THUR GONNA EAT UR KIDS'! on every news station. And while all this was going on, they snuck 'Atonement' in the back door! Though we wont get to see the 'Golden Globes' this year, 'Atonement' has the most nominations, and it was written by... AN ATHEIST!

Like, a REAL atheist!

I just read a quote of yours, "Atheists have as much conscience, possibly more, than people with deep religious convictions," and I have noticed that recently you have been talking a little more about atheism. You also contributed an essay to a new book called The Portable Atheist. What are your thoughts on the "New Atheist" movement, which has gotten so much publicity and sold so many books in the last year or so. Do you think it differs from strains of atheism in the past?

I am a little baffled as to why it is called the "New Atheism." There is a very long tradition of free thinking, and the arguments made against religion tend to be the same but made over and over again. But I think what has happened is that there have been a number of good, articulate books--Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, Sam Harris, and so on. What they have discovered to their own great surprise is that in the United States, and right across the South too, there are an enormous number of people who also think this way. I don't think they have suddenly been persuaded by this rash of books--the feelings were there anyway--but they didn't have a voice, they didn't have a focus. When Hitchens took his book across the Bible Belt and debated with Baptist ministers in churches, there were huge audiences, most of whom, it seems, from when they spoke to him afterwards, were somewhat irritated that the place in the United States that they lived in was called the Bible Belt. I think there was something there that people had not taken into account. Quite heartening really, given that America is meant to be a secular republic with a strong tradition of upholding all freedom of thought.

Sweet!

Unfortunately, 'The New Republic' evidently doesnt like to be associated with those dirty atheist types. Here is an after-interview comment from the TNR 'deputy editor', Greg Veis:
But my questions are these: Why can't atheists make their case without too often resorting to absolutism like McEwan's here? Why can't Hitchens stand up for godlessness without telling people that they're thick to believe otherwise? As authors, they should know that people are more interesting than that.
He also referrs everyone to an 'excellent' piece by Damon Linker. Ya, excellent. **rolleyes**

Anyway, props to the 'Media Control Division', bonus points for getting TNR to print awesome pro-reason comments!!

6 comments:

Mister DNA said...

"Why can't atheists make their case without too often resorting to absolutism like McEwan's?"

Christ... damned if we do, damned if we don't. Just when I've gotten accustomed to being thought of as a "relativist" by religionists, now we're "resorting to absolutism"?

Torbjörn Larsson said...


I think it is important that people with no religious beliefs speak up and speak for what they value. It is a bit of a problem, the title "Atheist"--no one really wants to be defined by what they do not believe in. We haven't yet settled on a name, but you wouldn't expect a Baptist minister to go around calling himself a Darwinist. But it is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever. [My emphasis.]


We can blame the philosophers. Every time someone comes up with a perfectly sensible positive term, like "naturalist", the philosophers insert their god into the gap between todays theories and complete (minimal) theories.

"Bright" is the latest attempt to make the transition from "homosexual" (atheist) to "gay", but this reminiscence of the Enlightenment hasn't caught on.

absolutism

That is a strong judgment, considering McEvan elsewhere is quoted as saying "Atheists have as much conscience, possibly more, than people with deep religious convictions" [my emphasis] in a similar argument. As Veis himself notes, authors "should know that people are more interesting than that", and reciprocating he shouldn't make the same mistake he accuses McEvan of.

Wingnut said...

"Why can't Hitchens stand up for godlessness without telling people that they're thick to believe otherwise?"

Perhaps that will start to happen when ministers and their minions stop telling people that atheists have no morals are evil, prone to bestiality, and generally the scum of the earth.

In other words, Xtians in this country seem to be able to dish it out, but they cure can't take it.

Tatarize said...

"Why can't atheists make their case without too often resorting to absolutism like McEwan's?"

Absolutism? Like, if your beliefs differ from my beliefs in the slightest degree rather than spend eternity in paradise you will be tortured for an eternity.

Reynold said...

Hey, Abbie. Want to see what good, god-fearing evangelicals think of this?

Look no further than the first letter on this page of a Canadian paper.


To Kevin Williamson

RE 'All joking aside' (ENT, Jan. 6, year in preview in movies): In the Jan. 6 issue of ENT, you wrote that the "collapse of The Golden Compass indicates fantasy-film fatigue". I would suggest that it is nothing of the kind. The fact is, moviegoers are not interested in "fantasy" films, which portray organized religion as the "bad guy." In this case, Christ Our Lord would also be the "bad guy" for setting up organized religion for the ordered return of souls to God. I write this letter not only to tell you of these things, but also to gloat over the future success of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. This movie will completely crush The Golden Compass and other atheist-inspired garbage. Because people in the West want to see "good" movies inspired by the writings of Christians such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, not atheistic garbage such as The Golden Compass.

Michael Sutka



I love how some people can't help but whine and gloat in the same paragraph, eh?

Tyler DiPietro said...

"I love how some people can't help but whine and gloat in the same paragraph, eh?"

Especially since the film only "collapsed" if doing less than stellar numbers in one region of the world is a "collapse". The movie was a hit in overseas markets, primarily because Pullman's work is more well known and popular over there than over here. I love how Americans always assume that the entire universe revolves around them.

And hey, you can't say Christian bitching did anything to hurt The Da Vinci Code. $500 million worldwide says no. ;-)