Monday, October 12, 2009

I don't believe that...

Religulous has been out for almost a year and, admittedly, it is a funny movie but with a really serious message (which, in hindsight, takes a lot of the fun out of it). I recently had a discussion with a "believer" about the film and, as it often does, apparently nobody believes what so many people believe. Odd statement, but let me explain.

In Religulous, Bill Maher lets people state their beliefs and, unfortunately, didn't confront much of the absurdity. He did, however, enable them to expand on their absurd statements which added to the hilarity. (I think he should have tackled some of the claims - many are easily countered but, I suspect, for the sake of comedy, they weren't.)

This particular gentleman and most "believers" that I've spoken with about the film will claim something along the lines of "Bill just taped the wackos or the fringe, most people don't believe that stuff". Unfortunately that is not at all true.

I like to then ask questions like "Do you believe in a talking snake?" or "Do you believe that a man (Jonah) lived in a giant fish (or a whale) for 3 days?" or "Do you believe that man lived to be hundreds of years old?"

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then hearing simply the question and that answer would elicit laughter by most thinking people. This is pretty much what Bill Maher did in some of the movie. These people aren't "odd" or on the fringe - these same answers would be given by many mainstream believers. (That doesn't and shouldn't make them any less absurd, though.)

Having said all that, there are many believers who don't believe in the literal interpretation of the flood story, the creation story or the talking snake. Often I'm told, when I point out absurdities, that "I don't believe that" or "Most christians don't believe that". It just goes to make my point in my "Not Your God" posting from last year.


NathanColquhoun said...

It was funny, a very one-sided, michael moorish style of film, but funny none-the-less. The parts with the truckers at the stop was my favourite.

Maybe one day someone will make a film interviewing all atheists out there who don't know what they are talking about but believe it because well that's just the way it is, or it's common sense :)

Anonymous said...

A movie about atheists??? Pretty boring that would be since we just do not believe in any gawds! Any movie like "Exposed" is a joke full of lies. I couldn't watch it all because it was sooooooo badly made and full of lies.

Michael Moore goes to church so he wouldn't make a movie like Religulous!

Nathan, you should go to the next atheist convention - you make learn something. Next year, the AAI will be in Montreal. Unlikely Dawkins will be there again but you never know.

NathanColquhoun said...

I'll go to the next atheist convention if Skeptic reveals himself and I can go along with him :)

Anonymous said...

Skeptic reveal himself to you or the world? Don't you know him?

Unlike religious delusionals publishing with their real names without fear of reprisals, most of us Atheists need to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation whether it is in our careers or personal belongings. One day when our numbers grow, things may reverse and you delusionals will fear in publishing or spewing your BS.

Ah, we can only dream of that day.

"Imagine No Religion"

NathanColquhoun said...

No I don't know him.
I'd go to the conference, but I'd rather go with him without a paper bag over his head.

sarniaskeptic said...

First off, atheists aren't wrong :)

My favourite part of the movie (my wife and I were just discussing it the other day) is when Bill Maher is in Hyde Park (London, England) preaching the story of Scientology. Mind you, the "I think it is interesting that you're a christian now, you were a muslim and when you get your clothes you buy them like a jew" is pretty witty, too.

As for the next convention - AAI's next (in this hemisphere) will be held in Montreal.

I would suspect that 95% of what is presented at the convention is information that you (Nathan) would likely agree with.

As for "coming out", that probably won't happen publicly. I'm quite happy with the latest in paper bag fashion, too. The fall collection is wonderful.

The single "tag" of atheist is absurd but people in this community would happily use it against me/my family. Closed-minded people are dangerous.