Friday, May 06, 2011

Pulled Punch?

I've been curious about "The Ledge" for awhile now, mostly based on it's killer premise: A Christian Fundamentalist traps an avowed Atheist in a Jigsaw-esque mindgame - if the Atheist doesn't jump to his death from a skyscraper ledge within a certain amount of time, the Fundamentalist will kill someone else in his place; his idea being to "prove" the moral-inferiority of Atheism by showing that said Atheist will be less willing to lay down his life without the promise of an afterlife to reassure him.

Unfortunately, the trailer seems to display a dissapointing though unsurprising dodge on the "bite" of the premise...





So... apparently, what's "really" bugging the bad guy is that the Atheist in question had an affair with his wife.

Sigh. This will live or die by the acting, either way, but it's endlessly frustrating (and I'm NOT an Atheist) that movies about Religion-as-pathology always need to add "something else" to be the "real" reason for the psychosis. How much darker/scarier/edgier a premise would it be to just SAY what a lot of people already know - that "harmless" sincere-to-the-point-of-creepy spiritual faith is NOT all that far removed, psychologically, from a full-on dangerous break with reality and sometimes people's switches just "flip?" The notion that Ned Flanders is one misfired-synapse away from Norman Bates is creepier, to me, than "don't sleep with a crazy guy's wife."

Incidentally, looking at the reaction this around the web, this trailer ALSO provides a handy way to test the "worth-my-time-ness" of your aquaintances: If you show this to someone and their first reaction is along the lines of "Ugh! Always picking on the Christians! Why couldn't it have been a MUSLIM, everyone knows they do more of this stuff!", that person is probably not worth taking very seriously.

69 comments:

R said...

As an atheist, I was definitely interested in the premise. But I agree with you. The romance angle just poos all over the potential. And from the trailer, the acting looks atrocious. It screams straight to video.

Tyler said...

Like the guy above me, I too am an Atheist and I couldn't agree more with you Bob. It would have been a lot more interesting if there wasn't an angle to it. Like how Water for Elephants would have been a lot more interesting if Christophe Waltz's character weren't an asshole, then there would have been a real morale dilemma that would have been much more interesting rather than the, "She's married but he's a jerk so it's ok" angle they pulled. That would have been an award worthy movie.

Rob said...

Hi, Atheist here.
1. Hmmmm, Liv Tyler, maybe not the best actress, but she's usually in pretty good movies.

2. This movie is confusing faith and religion with morality and personal ethics. It's basically just a guy that's pissed at his wife and her boyfriend and calls God as an argument. It seems to have no substance whatsoever.

According to his own bible though, he should stone his wife to death.

Kent said...

I'm sorry but isn't the entire premise just idiotic?

If someone was so keen to prove moral superiority how could you possibly kill someone?

That's like going 'I'm going to prove the moral superiority of the pro life movement by killing this orphan unless her biological parent commits suicide' Your actions completely nullify any pretense that you are sane enough to pass judgment on anyone.

Scott Glasgow said...

@ Rob,
You mean according to Old Testament law he is stone his wife to death, and even then, it's not him, but the entire community, as an act of the physical removal of sin from the village.
But that was all before the sin was able to be separated from the sinner. What a lot of christians don't realize these days is that the Christianity is about redemption, and forgiveness, even when we are unable to forgive ourselves for our actions. The loud mouthed 'burn-in-hell' fire and brimstone speakers have it wrong. Being a christian isn't about judging others doom, but judging your own, and realizing that there is nothing in your power that control it, except for God of course.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

I might have called it a bit insensitive as our culture has been a bit quick to assume violent criminals were right-wing Christians and vice versa lately (Bob's comments up there just adding to that).

However, for it to actually be "insensitive" would imply that that wasn't the whole point. Stupid premise with a couple d-list actors and a has-been says to me that they're just trying to attract attention to the movie that it really doesn't deserve.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Thou Shalt not Kill.

Anyone willing to kill to prove that point isn't really a Christian, just another asshole in a world full of assholes. Frankly, I'd rather watch paint dry.

Avikar said...

this film has not really grabbed my attention. looks like they added the religion angle just to get buzz to a basic revenge for sleeping with my wife flick.

The actors are what will carry this. The actors are far from d-list. Terrance Howard and Liv are far from d-list.

I wait to see it before i pass judgment but first impression is a bad indie film trying way to hard to be edgy.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Bob, R, & Tyler

The movie reeks of xenophobia as it is. It would be border-line hate speech with out the romance angle.

argryliberal said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

The reason people are quick to assume violence on the part of right wing Christian is because it plays on our sense of irony. The Corrupt Moralist. It's funny if you think about it. Here, it's basically this comic:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2234#comic

Now, I don't know if it's fair but to most people the hypocrisy is worst than the crime.

@Reverend
Wait... are you suggesting that any church that openly endorses war and murder doesn't speak for God and are just endorsing right-wing candidates that do for the sake political opportunism.

Huh? Go figure...

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ argryliberal

Mocking hypocritical Christians is irony and, yes, usually pretty funny. However, something like... oh, I dunno... assuming the crazed shooter of a congress woman MUST have been a rightwinger despite all evidence to the contrary is something else entirely.

Mechanoid said...

They gave away the twist in the trailer:
0. Wife cheating on fundie husband with, GASP! AN ATHEIST!
1. Fundie says he wanted to break into the room and kill them both.
2. Fundie says if he says something he'll do it.
3. Now he's pulling out a gun? OH BOY! I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT??? ... Not!

The sole reason there's a fundie in the movie at all is because controversy sells tickets.

Green Mile movie quote time because this is a HINT HINT for anyone stupid enough to be confused about who the real villain is, and the last thing i'll say about this movie because i'm hulking out:
"John Coffey: He killed them with their love. With their love for each other."

Adam said...

Yeah the initial premise might have been interesting to see, but the trailer I watched pretty much screamed "Let's do something controversial/condescending to incite Christians to pay attention to a movie they otherwise would have never even hear of", kinda like how I'd never heard of this film until this blog.

I am a Christian and I don't really care if they make fun of fundies or even regular average Joe Christian a lot of the time because I figure everyone is fair game. So I don't find this offensive at all but also not terribly interesting. Psycho husband who happens to invoke God doesn't really say much to me.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Hey Jaxs form Sons Of Anarchy plays the main guy in this. I might end of seeing this movie yet. Speaking of Sons Of Anarchy Ron Perlman is my god.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Funny thought... ya think if most Christians see this for what it is they'll pull an EA and get fake Christians to protest it?

Sarge said...

What do you mean by "bite" Bob?

Follow up question: Why didn't you just WRITE THAT?

argryliberal said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

Not really, Narf but I see what your getting at. I say not really because if you remember correctly the GOP approval rating didn't really falter and any anti-right wing measure made as a response (gun control, law suits) never materialized. The majority of the assumptions came from paranoid liberal conspiracy theorist that were quickly dismissed anyway.

You can't stop the loud and paranoid from spouting out BS so long as it doesn't materialize in any actual grand gesture or legal prosecution. Christianity right now is still the dominate religion in the US, and just as all dominate forces anywhere in the world, is treated like Big Brother.

And Big Brother is always fair game for bile. Just look what happened to Avatar and Titanic.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ argryliberal

My point is that that knee-jerk reaction is still a bit of a sore wound for many Christians. I can't speak for the community at large, but least in my case this trailer offended me on a more personal level than run-of-the-mill racism/xenophobia would. It'd be like making a movie about a bunch of middle-eastern hijacking an airplane... it's just blatantly insensitive.

argryliberal said...

@TheAlmightyNarf

Do you want to think about that simile for a second?

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ argryliberal

In both cases people were associated with and vicariously blamed for violent acts by no fault of their own, solely because of their beliefs... despite the fact that what they believed had absolutely nothing in common with those who actually committed those violent acts.

The only difference being that Al Qaeda actually claimed to hold Islamic beliefs, while Jared Loughner did not, in fact, claim to hold right-wing/Christian beliefs.

Smashmatt202 said...

"Ugh! Always picking on the Christians! Why couldn't it have been a MUSLIM, everyone knows they do more of this stuff!"

Wow. That has GOT to be THE most hypocritical statement I've ever heard! PLEASE don't tell me there are people out there who actually have that mindset!

Display Name said...

Just curious, Bob, would you have had the same initial curiosity if it had of been the atheist trying to kill the Christian in the movie?

kevmon1116 said...

Wow, this is kinda dumb.
Admittedly the premise as you laid it out prior to the jump seems edgy and controversal in a way that would draw attention and make the plot interesting. Its a set-up for the ultimate debate of the morality of the religious versus the morality of the non-theists. The reality of the trailer is a big soggy wet blanket being thrown over the flames of interest and smothering them to death. The plot is is the classic "man goes nuts on cheating wife and her lover" type deal with the supposed hook being that he also happens to be a fundi while his compettition is an atheist. Really, the religious angle just seems thrown in as a cheep way to rev up interest in a tired old plot, and its not even used all that well. Really, the man being an atheist means nothing. If he were another christian or a member of another faith the story wouldn't be that much different. I actually look forward to the day when someone finds a way to translate the raging conflict between fundies and Atheists to film without resorting to cliche plots like this.

Popcorn Dave said...

So it's basically Phone Booth, then.


PHONE BOOTH SPOILERS:







It'll probably have the exact same tearful public confession scene at the end as well. "Everyone, I'm so sorry I hurt you, I never realised how much of a dick I was!" etc...

TheAlmightyNarf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Smashmatt202

No one believes that. Bob just has an incredably bizzare (and frankly, somewhat bigoted) view of Christians.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ TheAlmightyNarf

Can you really blame him? They do act kind of... arrogant. Sometimes. Granted, they're not as violent as Muslims, but still, it's not like ALL people act the same way because of their religion.

Not to mention, Bob's said many times that he's NOT an Atheist. He's been to Christian school, and I think it's because of that, and his overly-intelligent nature, that he seems to have a "thing" for them.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Smashmatt202

"Can you really blame him?"

Umm... yes! Absolutely. Bigotry and xenophobia really aren't acceptable behaviors for anyone for whatever reason.

Smashmatt202 said...

I don't know about you, but I think that if you ARE a Christian, you have a right to complain about the people you're associated with. Same way in that he's a gamer, and he says we need to shape up.

And again, it's not xenophobia, because he's stated dozens of times that he IS a Christian. He went to Christian school and everything, so he knows what he's talking about when it comes to Christianity.

argryliberal said...

@Display Named
The answer: No. But then again that movie has already been made and just as I said before there's no irony to that that could make it interesting.

The thing that intrigued Bob about this film was its subject matter of Moral piousness that acts as mirror to a majority of this country that... well... really never consider this point of view about there own religion.

Atheist and Agnostics are always considered morally inferior and when one talks about violent religious extremism one almost always is talking about Islam.

@TheAlmightyNerf

There's a level where insensitivity becomes wrong and this isn't one of them. This is a film. Complaining about this is no better than PC groups complaining about Birth of Nation or Huckleberry Finn. If you believe the film is in the wrong then you have explain how the sentiment behind the film (that Bob wanted) is wrong and, just because it hurt your feelings isn't good enough.

Adam said...

Ummm...has Bob ever actually confirmed that he is a Christian of any sort now? His bio says he's a severely lapsed Catholic which I read as "was one once, but is no longer". Since he's not an atheist wouldn't that make him a deist?

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf

No one believes that. Bob just has an incredably bizzare (and frankly, somewhat bigoted) view of Christians.

And what exactly constitutes bigotry against christians in theis case. I've heard that charge laid against many people, and curiously it their 'bigotry' usually ends up being some variant of "does not want christians to be able to enforce their religion as law" or "does not want to be unfairly treated because they are not a christian."

If you are gonna make a loaded charge like that, back it up.

@ Smashmatt

"Granted, they're not as violent as Muslims"

Seriously? After raising a big fuss about that very mindset you are using it yourself?


Can't we all agree that the abrahamic religions have spawned a shitload of misery as the various parties fight for who is worshiping the same god the right way?

Smashmatt202 said...

Do you WATCH Escape to the Movies and The Big Picture? He's mentioned numerous times... Well, maybe 2 or three times, that he's a "Catholic School survivor". In fact...

Watch this episode to see where he stands on believing in God:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/2601-Nerd-Gods

Also, I'm sorry, but when a religious group gets in a HUGE hissy fit over drawing a simple caricature of their idol (regardless of the intention of the caricature), I can't help but get the impression that they're a bit overly sensitive. Not to mention, isn't the Taliban comprised of Muslims? Perhaps I should do more research. Point is, I said they're not all like that, obviously.

Sarge said...

"Can you really blame him? They do act kind of... arrogant. Sometimes. Granted, they're not as violent as Muslims, but still, it's not like ALL people act the same way because of their religion."

That's the single most ignorant thing said on this blog. And considering this is MovieBob we're talking about, that's quite a statement.

More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other person in history, including Hitler.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Smashmatt202

I don't know what Bob's religious beliefs are or are not, but that's mute.

The presumption that Christians, particularly fundamentalist Christians, are all just a bunch of crazy violent criminals in waiting is a bigoted, xenophobic stance with absolutely no basis in reality. There are no shortage of things one can legitimately be angry with the Christian community about... this is not one of them.

@ argryliberal

Well, like I said back in my first comment, I wouldn't even give this film the credit of being sincerely insensitive as it's clearly just trying to stir up controversy and get undeserved attention.

@ Dave from canada

"And what exactly constitutes bigotry against christians in theis case."

I would say Bob's comment from up above:

"How much darker/scarier/edgier a premise would it be to just SAY what a lot of people already know - that 'harmless' sincere-to-the-point-of-creepy spiritual faith is NOT all that far removed, psychologically, from a full-on dangerous break with reality and sometimes people's switches just 'flip?'"

A presumption the Christians must be violent simply because they are Christians is bigoted.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ argryliberal

Ya know, on second thought... no. A film going out of it's way to offend a specific group of people is pretty much insensitivity by definition. Huck Fin and Birth of a Nation use otherwise offensive imagery to make strong social/political points, not to actually offend anyone. The Ledge, if it says anything at all, it's "Beware of those crazy Christians! They'll kill ya if you're not careful!" I don't see how that could be anything other than insensitivity.

Smashmatt202 said...

Look, I might be ignorant, and for that I apologize. I'm just saying what I think based on where I came from. I'd like to know more or wish I didn't sound so insensitive, but from my perspective and what I've seen, that's what I think. Then again, I'm also easily swayed after hearing more information.

And I KNOW people killed in Jesus's name. I know about the Crusades... Wait, HITLER killed in Jesus's name? I didn't know that! In fact, I was almost certain he didn't like Christianity. Or maybe that was just US propaganda.

Benfea said...

@Reverend Allan Ironside:

Thank you for fulfilling my expectations regarding Christians and the use of the No True Scotsman logical fallacy. It appears to be impossible to engage with Christians in debates about morality without that little gem popping up at least once, but at least it is a signpost that one of the debaters is running out of legitimate arguments to make.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Benfea

This is actually an interesting discussion I've gotten into a few times. Religions are in a lot of ways not unlike political ideologies... they're essentially a collection of common beliefs. If you share those beliefs then you're a member of that religion or ideology. If you don't than you're not, regardless of what you want to call yourself.

For example: if someone thinks the government should be larger and have more influence they could call themselves a libertarian all they want, but they are clearly not one. By that same reasoning, anyone who's beliefs and actions directly conflict with the what the New Testament teaches are clearly not a Christian.

I mean, if we considered someone a "Christian" regardless of what they believe simply because they called them self one, then the word would have have no meaning.

CraftyAndy said...

"According to his own bible though, he should stone his wife to death."

Just thought I'd second that comment and add this premise does not seem like it has enough thought put into it.

To me a movie like this should be more like Crash except show how if there is a God he doesn't give a damn about anyone or anything and that we are just a spec in the vast universe right now.

Aiddon said...

meh, as an atheist myself I find this premise to be PRETTY dull.

Chris Cesarano said...

Dammit. Just today I had an argument with my Dad trying to convince him that there was no liberal agenda in Hollywood, and we only notice what we disagree with so sensitively rather than seeing everything else.

Now something like this is going to add more fuel to the fire.

I want a movie where a fundamental Christian gets the verbal smackdown of rationality from another believer rather than science and religion (or whatever) always being in conflict with each other.

Chris Cesarano said...

Sorry for double posting but...

"According to his own bible though, he should stone his wife to death."

Just thought I'd second that comment


I don't want to go off-topic or a religious argument here, but this sort of thing is always a major understanding. A lot of Christians have crap justifications for that, but there's a reason the Bible is "contradictory".

- Jesus in the New Testament comes in to basically correct the old laws and bring them back to the original principles. Basically, the Ten Commandments. If you read his lessons and parables, he basically says "It doesn't matter what anyone else does, you live a good life and treat others better than yourself"

- The Old Testament, after specifying the Ten Commandments, is filled with people whining "What if he does this to me?" and then creating a ton of conditionals. Considering the goings-on at the time with Moses leading everyone into the desert, I'd imagine that was a lot less God's word and a lot more of man making up their own laws.

Old Testament is best taken as a historical text with a lot of symbolism (even if you don't imagine the God stuff as fact it's the remnants of an old culture). The New Testament is a philosophical text and where people should look for lessons on morality.

It's a major nit pick of mine when people bring up the Old Testament. Sure, according to some Jewish guy that was law, but according to Christ it wasn't. Any "Christian" that can't tell the difference has issues actually thinking rationally about what he reads.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Chris Cesarano

"I want a movie where a fundamental Christian gets the verbal smackdown of rationality from another believer"

http://www.hulu.com/watch/177536/lord-save-us-from-your-followers

Martín Cerón said...

@Tyler:

Isn't "She's married but he's not an asshole" what makes "The Bridges of Madison County"?

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf.


"A presumption the Christians must be violent simply because they are Christians is bigoted."

It sure would be...if that was even close to what he said.

-He wasn't singling out christians, he was talking about faith in general.
-at no point is he saying that religious people MUST be violent, nor is he saying that it is because they are religious.

NONE of what you said applied to his statement.
What he is saying (I’m paraphrasing) is that the nonviolent people of faith still possess a mindset of believing things without proof (and in some cases, in the face of proof to the contrary) that is far more similar to the minds of religious fanatics than anyone would like to believe. Once you start believing in things without evidence, it becomes much easier to engage in irrational, violent behaviour.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Dave from canada

Fair enough that that particular comment didn't single out Christians. That was more inferred by Bob's history of contempt for Christians. Bigotry toward faith in general, then.

"Once you start believing in things without evidence, it becomes much easier to engage in irrational, violent behaviour."

That's a pretty silly concept on it's face. If there were someone who personally researched every fact they believed and never took anyone else's word for it, I would think that would be the person more likely to go crazy. I mean, does this apply to theoretical physics too? Are people who believe in M-theory or Higgs-theory more likely to snap than people who don't?

Popcorn Dave said...

Bob's history of contempt towards Christians? What are you on about? All I can think of is him being against a creationist theme park and mocking the slightly silly modern conception of the Devil. Don't be so defensive.

Knight The Arsonist said...

Did we really think the idea of "religion as crazy" was going to be in an actual film? I mean, "religion as benevolent lie" was badly recieved enough in The Invention of Lying. It would be interesting to drag out and examine the psychological nuts and bolts of believing that your invisible friend who created the world gave you a book telling you to kill people who work on sundays, sure, but no-one in Hollywood would have the stones.

A shame; A fundamentalist Christian as a psychotic bad guy precisely BECAUSE he's a fundamentalist Christian sounds like an interesting idea. I mean, not being able to talk your assailant down because he believes God wants him to do this terrible thing, maybe including elements of "The crazy-ass Christian Bible: The greatest hits".

Jacob said...

"You have a sexy mouth" HA Like Father like daughter!

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf

Uh, you are claiming bob is bigoted against christians...and your evidence is that you claim he is bigoted againts christians? Do you not see how this doens't quite add up? If you are going to make that claium, be prepared with evidence. The only other time I can think of bob talking about christianity is that Soul Surfer trailer....where he chews the ad company out for not showing the bible. That seems to completely contradict what you are saying.


"That's a pretty silly concept on it's face. If there were someone who personally researched every fact they believed and never took anyone else's word for it, I would think that would be the person more likely to go crazy."

False dichotomy. True we can't research EVERYTHING. But we have other options. We have trust, we have inductive reasoning. Where we can't always personally verify something, we can trust those who have verified it.

More specifically I trust the scientific method, which works on the principle of TRYING to find out when it is wrong.

I don't know exactly how nuclear fission works. But i know there are people who do, so I can trust the until I am given evidence to the contrary.

Faith does not require any of this. Faith boils down to "Believe in this because I said so. Never ask for proof. EVER."

The second you have an actual logical reason to believe something, it stops being faith. Faith by its very nature is irrational. And it is not a stretch to imagine that if rational people can on occasion do irrational things, irrational people could do irrational things even easier.

I'm not even sure it is possible to be bigoted towards faith. Can one be bigoted against superstition? The miserly? And even if it were, if you are going to call bob a bigot, you DAMN well better be able to back that shit up.

Chris Evans said...

When did Seth MacFarlane and Christopher Hitchens start writing movie scripts?

Chris Evans said...

On your last point Bob, can you think of another group that gets as negative a portrayal as Christians do in movies?

I understand why. Christians are the safe group to go after, which I think is actually a point in their favor.

I am a little surprised. You have this obvious straw-man portrayal and yet you work to defend it as if it were the 'gospel' truth. If you replaced fundamentalist Christian with a Hardcore Gamer would you still feel the movie was making valid points? Gamers and Chrsitians are portrayed very similarly in media.

I guess since it's not your group you don't care.

Dave from canada said...

@ Chris

The victim schtick would be a bit more believable if you guys weren't the most populous religion on the planet, and ridiculously, disproportionaltely powerful in global politics.

FFS the catholic church has been coveriing up mass child rape for how many decades, and the current pope was instrumental in said coverup. You think he'll ever stand trial?

I'll see your 'having character of the most popular religion in history occasionally pop up as villains in a tv show or movie'

and raise you a "being threatened with physical violence and or death for having the gall to not want your civil rights infringed on." Nearly every main character in modern fiction is christian by default, and is assumed to be that way unless proven otherwise. Stop crying because on very rare occasions someone runs out of acceptable minority targets and needs a christian villain.

In fact, outside of star trek, I challenge you to find a positive, non stereotypical portrayal of an atheist as a main character in any movie or tv show.

Chris Evans said...

First off, I'm not particularly religious my self. I'm more of an interested observer. I use to be an atheist, right up until I heard some prominent Atheist say something along the lines of: "We should no longer tolerate religious tolerance."

Way to stay classy and jump to child molestation. Funny, I didn't think the movie was about that, but ok I'll bite. If you look at the statistics, there's no higher percentage of child abusers in the Priest hood than in any other profession. Granted they didn't deal with it very well, but if you want to bring the Pope up on charges then you should also be calling for the heads of Teachers Unions to be charged since they do exactly the same thing. Just try to fire a teacher, even one suspected of child abuse.

Chris Evans said...

Hold on, you can't just make a vague claim like that against Christians, what civil rights are being infringed on and what church is threatening "physical violence and or death" over it? Any church doing so would have massive legal issues to deal with. You can't over state an argument like that and expect to gain points over it.

I can't help that you project Christianity onto every main character. 90% of the time they never touch on the main characters religion, just leaving it open. Usually your only hint to a characters religion is the holidays they celebrate. Even then it’s usually Christmas and it’s usually the secular Santa and Christmas Tree version and not the Manger and Church Service version. They don't leave that kind of subtlety when it comes to a Christian villain, no, they'll be the one wearing the giant cross or even wearing a priests uniform.

Chris Evans said...

The title of Bob's article says it all really "Pulled Punch?" As if Christianity deserved the punch and it's some how wrong not to hit them. If Christianity were how Bob puts it ((How much darker/scarier/edgier a premise would it be to just SAY what a lot of people already know - that "harmless" sincere-to-the-point-of-creepy spiritual faith is NOT all that far removed, psychologically, from a full-on dangerous break with reality and sometimes people's switches just "flip?")) and it is as you say the ((most populous religion on the planet, and ridiculously, disproportionaltely powerful in global politics.)) Then how is the world not one giant ball of chaos? There should be hundreds of people killing in the name of Jesus every day. Yet, when the killing in the name of religion happens, he's not the religious figure that tends to pop up.

Chris Evans said...

You want Atheists in popular tv and movies? How about Gregory House, Bones Brennan, Dexter Morgan, Malcolm Reynolds. Then there's pretty much everything Seth MacFarlen creates which is both pro Atheist and anti-christian.

Why don't you try this simple exercise. Look up the number of murders caused by Christianity, then look up the number of deaths caused by alcohol. Or even the number of people killed because their Christian compared to Christians killing in the name of it.

Dave from canada said...

“The title of Bob's article says it all really "Pulled Punch?" As if Christianity deserved the punch and it's some how wrong not to hit them.”
Now who is reading into things? The phrase pulled punch refers to someone going easier on someone intentionally. There was no implication regarding what should actually happen.
“Then how is the world not one giant ball of chaos? There should be hundreds of people killing in the name of Jesus every day. Yet, when the killing in the name of religion happens, he's not the religious figure that tends to pop up.”
I’m sorry, are you under the impression this isn’t the case? Shall we go over the last hundred years of atrocities commited by Christians in Europe alone? Hell, in Africa today Christians are killing children on suspicion of being witches. When you take away the secularizing influence of modern society, your average Christina is just as backwards and savage as any muslim extremist you’d care to see plastered across fox news.
“You want Atheists in popular tv and movies? How about Gregory House, Bones Brennan, Dexter Morgan, Malcolm Reynolds.”
So a sociopathic drug addicted misanthrope who hates his father and can’t cope in normal society, a socially awkward doctor with social ineptness that borders on aspergers, a SERIAL KILLER, and a criminal whose creator explicitly says still believes in God but is just mad at him.
Yeah that’s a really nice collection of stereotypes there. Of the 4 characters you mentioned, you have 3 who are actually atheists and not a single one with decent social skills, and two which are openly criminal and lack basic moral reasoning. Thank you for making my point for me. The number of well adjusted atheist characters in media is borderline nonexistent. And when the media does go and have a truly villainous atheist character, they never bother justifying it. Hell, Mr Rictus in wanted is evil BECAUSE he’s an atheist.
You bring up Seth Macfarlane but in all honesty he has 1 atheist character across 3 programs.
“Why don't you try this simple exercise. Look up the number of murders caused by Christianity, then look up the number of deaths caused by alcohol. Or even the number of people killed because their Christian compared to Christians killing in the name of it”
Lost count after the holocaust. Now you try a simple exercise. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVbLbweVWN8
Watch that vide and tell me what other religious or minority group could you have replaced the word atheist with that wouldn’t result in everyone there being fired.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Dave from canada

Alright, how 'bout his comments here:

"...you don't need to be a partisan to see what a cancer the "Religious Right" and "Social Conservatives" are on this country..."

"The only substantial difference between the nutters HERE and the nutters in the desert is the size of the body-count."

(http://moviebob.blogspot.com/2010/09/rare-specimen-of-democrat-politician.html)


I think you and I have very different understandings of what faith is. I really don't see that "trust" and "faith" are different things (and dictionary.com would agree with me). And I certainly don't think people should never question their faith... I recall the Bible saying that you should test God. I don't recall the exact verse, though. I'll try to find it.

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf

Disliking a political party and believing them to be detrimental to the health of their nation is not bigotry.

Especially considering that that post also tacitly skewered the other party at the same time.

And again, he's not attacking all christians, or even christians specifically. He's going after a particularly fanatical religious political movement...one that most fo teh christians I know continually reassure me aren't 'real christians'.

Regardless of the individual specific definition of trust, the one I was using (believing in something due to evidence or precedent without necessarily having proof.) still stands. We are not trapped between absolute faith without evidence and absolute kwoledge. It is possible to trust things with limited evidence based on inductive reasoning.

My sister says she'll pick me up at the subway station. i have no proof of this, but she's done so in the past and I have no reason to think this will be any different.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Dave from canada

Perhaps I'm reading too much into a few off comments of Bob's. But, it's still an impression I've pretty much consistently gotten from him, and he really hasn't done any to change it.

"My sister says she'll pick me up at the subway station. i have no proof of this, but she's done so in the past and I have no reason to think this will be any different."

I would suggest that most Christians have similar relationships with God.

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf

So you are willing to call a guy a bigot over a FEELING?


"I would suggest that most Christians have similar relationships with God."

Except I can prove my sister picked me up. I can prove she exists, I can prove she can drive, and that cars exist.

Noone can prove god exists. Or that if one did it could talk to people. Or even perceive them. Or that if it could, it would want to. Or if it had before, it would again.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Dave from canada

"So you are willing to call a guy a bigot over a FEELING?"

I conceded that I was probably reading too much into it. Was that not enough for you?

At the very least Bob has made comments insensitive to how Christians might interpret them... obviously. I'm not going to apologize for calling that out.

I agree with your point a few posts back that there's a wide spectrum between blind faith and absolute knowledge. The catch is that what someone can take on faith and what they requires more evidence to believe is entirely subjective to the person based on their life experiencing. People believe in the existence of God or whatever, not in the face of a complete lack of evidence, but because they've found enough evidence to convince them personally. That's not a detachment from reality... it's how reality has been playing out for them so far.

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf


“I conceded that I was probably reading too much into it. Was that not enough for you?”
Not when you say things like ‘probably’. You either believe a thing or you don’t. If you do, then show the evidence if not...

“At the very least Bob has made comments insensitive to how Christians might interpret them... obviously. I'm not going to apologize for calling that out.”
He made comments critical of a specific subset of christianity that a great deal of Christians refuse to acknowledge and you called him a bigot. If that isn’t a perfect example of exactly how easy it is to offend Christians then I don’t know what is.
Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from criticism of same. You are free to believe anything you want, and everyone else is free to disagree. You’d think that for a group that is perpetually claiming to be under vicious media attack, the lot of you would have developed a thicker skin by now.
“People believe in the existence of God or whatever, not in the face of a complete lack of evidence, but because they've found enough evidence to convince them personally.”
Yeah I don’t buy any of that. I’ve never met a religious person who actively looked around and had good evidence for their beliefs. The best explanation I’ve ever heard was someone who readily admitted its irrational, but said that was the point. There’s little can really pick apart there. But evidence? What evidence?
“ That's not a detachment from reality... it's how reality has been playing out for them so far.”
Reality is not subjective. A thing exists or it does not. There is no ‘it is true for me”. Everything we know about how the universe works suggests time and time again a hugely complicated but static set of rules regarding existence. Those don’t change just because people want them to.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@Dave from canada

"I’ve never met a religious person who actively looked around and had good evidence for their beliefs."

I'm not suggesting there's necessarily any scientific evidence, just evidence enough to convince them. Frankly, most people do not apply the scientific method to their every day lives. I can't say whether or not people should, just that not doing so doesn't necessarily make them crazy.

"Reality is not subjective."

But, perception of reality is. For instance, if you show 2 scientists the same set of facts, they absolutely can make 2 completely different and possibly even contradictory conclusions from them.

Dave from canada said...

@Narf

"just evidence enough to convince them"

which is entirely subjective and usually no more than 'my parents told me so' or 'i saw something i couldn't be bothered to get explained'

". For instance, if you show 2 scientists the same set of facts, they absolutely can make 2 completely different and possibly even contradictory conclusions from them. "

You have a grossly warped view of how science works. Yes they can have contradictory conclusions, but they usually don't. because science requires investigation. New (valid) conclusions are usually the result new evidence.

Looking at a frozen waterfall and saying GODDIDIT!! is not as valid as say, understanding what happens to water when it drops below zero celsius.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Dave from canada

"which is entirely subjective"

That's the point I was getting at.

"You have a grossly warped view of how science works."

That was just an example. The point isn't what "science" does, it's what people do. People can draw different conclusions from the same evidence.

To paraphrase these 2 points:

A) People have different ideas of what constitutes evidence. And most people don't really care if the evidence is scientific or not.
B) People can and often do interpret even the same evidence differently.

So, bringing this all the way back...

"...the nonviolent people of faith still possess a mindset of believing things without proof (and in some cases, in the face of proof to the contrary) that is far more similar to the minds of religious fanatics than anyone would like to believe. Once you start believing in things without evidence, it becomes much easier to engage in irrational, violent behaviour."

... is completely fucking absurd. People have different ideas of what constitutes "proof" than you do. People interpret the evidence differently than you do. It doesn't make them potentially crazy... it just means they see things differently than you.

Dave from canada said...

@ Narf

“That's the point I was getting at.”

I don’t think you get it. Subjective evidence is useless. Evidence only has value if there is some kind of standard, otherwise it is just someone arbitrarily deciding what is sufficient for belief...and it conveniently allows people to ignore evidence that doens’t agrere with their preconceptions. No system on earth works like that.

“That was just an example. The point isn't what "science" does, it's what people do. People can draw different conclusions from the same evidence.”
Yes they can, but you are implying that one conclusion has equal validity with another just because people can disagree. As it stands, science is the only reliable tool for understanding the universe. Differences may exist in interpretations of data, but there are rules to govern how these are resolved. Rules specifically designed to come to the right answer. And none would ever accept a person’s arbitrary opinion as evidence.

“A) People have different ideas of what constitutes evidence. And most people don't really care if the evidence is scientific or not.”
Yes, and they are WRONG. Evidence is not whatever you want it to be. You don’t get to just decide that something is evidence because it is convenient. Some people may not care for how the justice system works, but that doesn’t change whether it works or not.You don’t get to throw out the single best analytical toolin human history because it doesn’t tell you what you want. In fact, said tool only works because part of it is designed around FINDING the outcomes you don’t want.
“... is completely fucking absurd. People have different ideas of what constitutes "proof" than you do. People interpret the evidence differently than you do. It doesn't make them potentially crazy... it just means they see things differently than you. “here is a difference between having a different opinion, and being willing to divorce yourself from reality. I can agree to disagree with someone over whether Seinfeld was ever funny. But I can’t with someone who thinks the world is 6000 years old and a book with numerous blatant contradictions is perfect and unerring. That’s just wrong. Now I know you are prepping to say that not everyone belives that, but that is the point. By your logic their demonstrably wrong beliefs are exactly as valid as any other. Because while the bible saying so might not be enough for anyone with a decent education, its enough for them. And if all religions are equally valid despite nearly all of them claiming to be the only true one, then NONE of them are. There HAS to be some kind of reasonably objective standard for judging what is real and what isn’t or nothing makes any logical sense.

Bringing it back to the beginning: someone willing to make a leap where real evidence doesn’t mean anything and the only real model for what is or is not true is what they WANT to be, then that person has essentially, conscious of it or not, granted themselves a lisence to do whatever the hell they want.