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Aubrey

God Is Not Great - The Movie

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Finally! An anti-religion movie not directed by Bill Maher!

Heh

" When Stroumboulopoulos asked if it was going to be an angrier version of the Bill Maher documentary "religulous" Hitches responded with "No, funnier...""

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I gotta say I'm not crazy about a Hitchens atheism movie.

Hitchens and other atheists in the media come with two problems, both of which are very counterproductive:

1. If they try to replace Christian morality with anything, it's the same old materialist angle they've been preaching for years, "altruism for the society's sake, not God's"; and ...

2. They're incredibly RUDE about their atheism.

Anyone who calls religious devotion a "mental disorder" who's not a trained psychologist is issuing that judgment as a tacit insult, and Christians know it. This does nothing to penetrate their deep, multilayered faith, and it makes atheists look smug, arrogant, and outright mean. Those may not be accurate assessments, but when you attack someone's lifelong religious beliefs, they're going to take it personally, and they're going to respond emotionally. Sensitivity and tact are needed, not ballistic insults.

Objectivism demonstrates that atheism is a consequence of accepting a universe that operates on natural law. If Christianity or other forms of religious mysticism are to be defeated as social movements, the discussions need to be focused on those issues which undercut each area of belief, and each mystic is different in this regard. You may find that some -- many, in fact -- don't really believe in all that, but they go along with it because of social pressures. Others may be well-versed in religious thought, and are prepared for any and every atheist argument ever muttered.

But insulting people, or giving what they see as a "different take" on historical events, or taking any kind of attack stance -- all these accomplish is strengthening a mystic's faith; they do little, if anything, not break it.

Edited by Lemuel

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Amen (haha) to that Lemuel. I recently saw Religulous and I didn't care for it all. Bill Maher just came across as a jackass. The only redeeming quality in the movie was the narrative at the beginning and the end; other than that, it wasn't worth the $2.50.

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While the delivery of the message may make a difference, the important thing is the ideas. Hitchens is okay on the ideas, but he's not nearly as effective as an Ayn Rand would be.

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I'd rather see Sam Harris do something like this. More than any of the other "new atheists," he recognizes that "atheism" is not something to be explicitly promoted, but is rather a by-product of accepting the principles of reason. He also discusses the rational basis for a non-theistic morality. He doesn't get everything right, but he is at least right in that his approach is to build up a rational belief system, more than tearing down an irrational one.

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2. They're incredibly RUDE about their atheism.

I think it is important to distinguish Hitchens from the other "new atheists". Sure he's rude from time to time, but I haven't witnessed the same from the rest. Sam Harris is particularly diplomatic (not just for a new atheist, for people in general). I have seen Dawkins lose his cool, but that was before the monumental, and seemingly willful, ignorance presented to him by Ted Haggard.

You may find that some -- many, in fact -- don't really believe in all that, but they go along with it because of social pressures.
If you join a movement because of social pressure, you may be susceptible to rudness from your opposition. But I don't see these types of documentaries as directed toward theists. I think they are primarily a way to excite people who agree with them. I know a lot of people who agreed with Michael Moore before seeing Farenheit 911, but I don't recall meeting anyone who said the movie changed their minds. If movies like this serve only the purpose to give atheists the confidence to speak about their atheism, then such movies have been successful.

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Actually there are 4, and there is already a discussion on them on the board.

Hitchens and Dawkins are my favorites. Dennett is hostile to Rand and is a poor defender of free will. Harris is openly mystic and believes human life as an ideal exists sitting silently in a cave, meditating.

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Harris is openly mystic and believes human life as an ideal exists sitting silently in a cave, meditating.

This has been discussed numerous times. In short, no he doesn't. If you listen to how he actually talks about this subject, there's nothing at all "mystical" about how he views meditation. He is a neurologist by training and is interested in how introspection can affect someone's perception of reality, but he does not ascribe anything mystic or supernatural to the experience. And he clearly doesn't think it is the ideal way to live, or else he'd be doing it. If you have some quote as evidence that he thinks it is "ideal," I'd be interested to see it.

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Wrath, while I agree with your general tack on Harris, even he uses terms like "mystical" and "mystic". While I don't think he means what "real" mystics mean, his redefinitions are needlessly confusing. I have also heard him imply that there may be humans whose lives are best served through introspection - which is, nevertheless, a far cry from Egoist's characterization of his argument that, "human life as an ideal exists sitting silently in a cave, meditating".

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This has been discussed numerous times. In short, no he doesn't. If you listen to how he actually talks about this subject, there's nothing at all "mystical" about how he views meditation. He is a neurologist by training and is interested in how introspection can affect someone's perception of reality, but he does not ascribe anything mystic or supernatural to the experience. And he clearly doesn't think it is the ideal way to live, or else he'd be doing it. If you have some quote as evidence that he thinks it is "ideal," I'd be interested to see it.

My goodness, an academic advocating for something he himself does not practice.

In the thread this conversation originally came up, enough citations were given to damn Harris.

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