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God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:59 pm
by crayzz
So, this movie has come out this past weekend. I'm somewhat giddy at the thought of watching it. I love this stuff. So, 2 points:

1) I'm really going to like Professor Radisson as a character. Sure, he's meant to represent me, and he's supposed to be a totally elitist asshat, but all the same, I'm going to enjoy his character.

2) I put this in Serious Business rather than unrelated in case some actual discussion happens.

What do you think?

EDIT:

Just for fun, there's also this campy trailer: Heaven is for Real. I can vouch for the "based on a true story" bit; the trailer matches a news report I'd heard a while back. Basically, a young boy at a hospital knew some things he shouldn't (his parents position, that his mother had a miscarriage), and said he'd seen heaven. In the report I saw, the boy also claimed to have seen Jesus, and described him as white with blue eyes. Take from that what you will.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:35 am
by JustinReilly
Two hours of watching Christians beat Straw Atheists to death while moaning on about how they're SO OPPRESSED? Yeah, I'll pass.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:26 pm
by crayzz
Yeah, I recognize that my enjoyment of such is a symptom of my masochism.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:47 am
by RyukaTana
JustinReilly wrote:Two hours of watching Christians beat Straw Atheists to death while moaning on about how they're SO OPPRESSED? Yeah, I'll pass.


<Ranted a little, thought about it, reconsidered my position edited it out>

I'd note that while I definitely see where in some aspects it is very much a 'Straw Man', I think there's a subtle, but very important, aspect of the fact that assholes like the supposed atheists they are portraying do exist. They are not constructs of nothing. The real problem is not so subtly using them to represent the whole.

I imagine some people would say that's what a Straw Man really is, but generally the definition I've seen implies the target is wholly fabricated and isn't really based on anything.

So... What I'm saying, is that it's the difference between saying: 'Fuck Christians because you're all <insert completely unreasonable stereotype here>' or 'Fuck Christians because Fred Phelps'. The latter exists (or existed, if you believe death is the end of one's existence, good fucking riddance either way), but is definitely not representative of the whole.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:14 am
by JustinReilly
To begin with, I should point out that when I say Christian here I'm talking about the kind of small-minded, big-mouthed, self-righteous twats that do things like produce this film. I'm an atheist, but I'm also a practicing Unitarian Universalist. I don't have anything against people of faith, just people who use their faith to be dicks. So maybe from here on out I should at least put scare quotes around 'Christian' thusly when I'm speaking of the douchebag variety.

The guy I saw in the trailer very much is a "Straw Man". He's pretty much the go-to atheist caricature for 'Christians' to abuse. Whereas every atheist I've known simply fails to believe in God, this dude is pissed at him. God failed him at some point, and he's denying his existence and attacking the faithful out of spite. We atheists can get a bit tetchy when the faithful use our tax dollars to spread their faith and fuck with our science curricula (thanks, Texas State School Board, btw. The one race I always make sure to cast a vote in), or portray us in public and the media as amoral dickholes because clearly you can't be a decent person without belief in the correct magic sky wizard. I certainly can't conceive of a professor forcing his students to renounce their faith in writing for course credit (I'm surprised he wasn't making them sign the paper in blood). No, this film is the 'Christian' martyrdom fantasy writ large. Hell, there's even an allusion to the Roman Colosseum. It certainly has nothing to do with actual atheists. We really don't care that much about their god, any more than we care about invisible pink unicorns or teapots orbiting Mars.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:41 am
by MysticWav
To begin with, I should point out that when I say Christian here I'm talking about the kind of small-minded, big-mouthed, self-righteous twats that do things like produce this film


You should probably just go ahead and never use the term Christian to describe those qualities, much as no one should ever use a group designation to describe the behavior of a few in that group, particularly when the qualities being mentioned have nothing to do with what makes them part of the group in the first place. The scare quotes are a step in the right direction, but it could probably use some refinement.

To be analogous, imagine if I said I was going to talk about Jews or Blacks, but when I say that I actually mean <insert favored negative stereotype>, so I'll say 'Jews' or 'Blacks'.

I certainly can't conceive of a professor forcing his students to renounce their faith in writing for course credit

I don't actually feel particularly oppressed, and I haven't actually watched the trailer (I'm sure it is indeed patently ridiculous in terms of being over the top), but there might be grains of truth out there. Think of the most ridiculous/outrageous thing you've heard of a teacher doing. Is it less inconceivable than someone pushing for a specific worldview in their class?

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:35 am
by JustinReilly
MysticWav wrote:
To begin with, I should point out that when I say Christian here I'm talking about the kind of small-minded, big-mouthed, self-righteous twats that do things like produce this film


You should probably just go ahead and never use the term Christian to describe those qualities, much as no one should ever use a group designation to describe the behavior of a few in that group, particularly when the qualities being mentioned have nothing to do with what makes them part of the group in the first place. The scare quotes are a step in the right direction, but it could probably use some refinement.

To be analogous, imagine if I said I was going to talk about Jews or Blacks, but when I say that I actually mean <insert favored negative stereotype>, so I'll say 'Jews' or 'Blacks'.

I want to agree. I want to say "You're right, MysticWav, I shouldn't tar all Christians with the same brush." I know so many good, decent, loving people who profess the Christian faith. And you're right, it's not fair for me to generalize like that. But...

These people are harmful. And dangerous. And not just because they want to enshrine their narrow-minded, bigoted version of morality into law, but because they have the power, influence, money, and numbers to actually do it. If this was a fringe minority they wouldn't be winning elections and passing laws codifying bigotry against homosexuals and ruining my daughter's education. And you, normal, good, decent, loving Christians are letting them get away with being the public face of your faith. The only time I see you criticize them is when someone is complaining about Christians on the internet. Where are the Christians rebutting the bigots with the message that that is not the Good News of our loving Savior? So I apologize. I should know better. But you all need to take real responsibility for those who do evil in the name of your God.
I certainly can't conceive of a professor forcing his students to renounce their faith in writing for course credit

I don't actually feel particularly oppressed, and I haven't actually watched the trailer (I'm sure it is indeed patently ridiculous in terms of being over the top), but there might be grains of truth out there. Think of the most ridiculous/outrageous thing you've heard of a teacher doing. Is it less inconceivable than someone pushing for a specific worldview in their class?

Push their worldview? Of course, everyone does that. But I can't imagine an atheist forcing their students to publicly renounce their faith. We don't care what you believe, and we really just want the same from you.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:01 am
by crayzz
MysticWav wrote:
I certainly can't conceive of a professor forcing his students to renounce their faith in writing for course credit

I don't actually feel particularly oppressed, and I haven't actually watched the trailer (I'm sure it is indeed patently ridiculous in terms of being over the top), but there might be grains of truth out there. Think of the most ridiculous/outrageous thing you've heard of a teacher doing. Is it less inconceivable than someone pushing for a specific worldview in their class?


You know got me? Four things:
  1. You don't have generally have philosophy classes on specific theses; you're not gonna have a professor burst into the room and demand that everyone agree with his conclusion.
  2. The professor doesn't bother to justify his conclusion; he simply walks into the class and demands everyone agree with him while "[bypassing] senseless debate" in a philosophy class.
  3. The professor feels that an appropriate response to a student disagreeing with him is to have that student debate him, before said student has actually learned, and to make passing that course contingent on said student winning.
  4. The apparent misuse of "God is dead"; this is the full quote: "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"


-EDIT-
Oh, and one more thing: the claim that every sophomore has come to the conclusion that there is no god. Its simply not true. Not even a little bit. Any academic would know that. They're in the bloody United States, where at least 80% of the population are christian.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:08 am
by Deepbluediver
crayzz wrote:What do you think?

I think I liked Hercules better when he was fighting monsters. Still the greek gods where pretty much jerks, so I can understand his position here. :ugeek:

JustinReilly wrote:Push their worldview? Of course, everyone does that. But I can't imagine an atheist forcing their students to publicly renounce their faith. We don't care what you believe, and we really just want the same from you.

I've met atheists every bit as pushy the worst of the more spiritually inclined types- one set of beliefs does not make people inherently better/nicer/smarter, no matter how much we all would like to think that whatever group we identify with is the epitome of humanity.

Also, for a lot of people in certain religions (who don't all agree with each other, of course), the situation of seeing someone who claims to be atheist isn't "we'll all go our own way and be fine in the end", it's more like they are driving a car right at a cliff, pedal to the floor, while shouting "don't worry I know what I'm doing!"
Does this condone the actions that get taken in the name of religion? Very rarely. But I would hope that you can at least empathize a bit to understand the many people honestly believe they are saving others from a terrible fate. They don't do it to be proven right or to condemn others (not all of them anyway) they see themselves as being the "good Samaritan" in this situation. In all the likelihood, the atheists see themselves in some other, similar, position that benefits others.
I don't expect everyone to lay down their bibles or logic-101-textbooks, but I do try to at least encourage empathy.

Re: God's Not Dead

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:28 am
by MysticWav
And you, normal, good, decent, loving Christians are letting them get away with being the public face of your faith.


You try getting a reporter to show up and broadcast messages of love and tolerance. :) Sane doesn't sell newspapers. (wow, that sounds archaic, what should the modern incarnation be?)

Honestly, I think you're confusing 'Christian' with 'stubborn conservative' or 'Republican'. In America, racism was once justified in religious terms. But it did not arise out of religion, it was something they were already doing, and they had to find some way to justify it to themselves. With time and generation change that faded. We're seeing the same thing with gay rights today. Most of the younger generation supports them and as the older stubborn conservatives pass away it will cease to be an issue. These aren't /really/ religious issues, regardless of the words they try to use. In general the right-wing of my country just has a huge amount of trouble admitting it's wrong. What's scary for me is the feedback loop they are in; that they can't tell the difference between Fox news and real news. I'm not sure how to break through that wall.

Push their worldview? Of course, everyone does that. But I can't imagine an atheist forcing their students to publicly renounce their faith. We don't care what you believe, and we really just want the same from you.


Could you imagine them asking their students to publicly renounce some part of their faith? You know not, "Declare <religion x> false or get an F!" but rather "Declare <fact A which conflicts with religion X and thus is either false, or you grossly misunderstand it> true or get an F!". I personally understand the distinction, but from someone on the other side of that equation, I can see how it might seem like a distinction without difference. I'm in the enviable position of having a sufficiently flexible take on my religion that can accommodate (almost) all modern scientific findings, but some people haven't gotten there philosophically, yet. I imagine they feel much the same way you do about the education of their children except from the other side. Each side things they should be able to teach the other's children "the truth". It's probably a good example of the importance of building a society that values accommodation and compromise, because just because your side is in power today, doesn't mean the other side won't be in power tomorrow.

Trust me, as a liberal I certainly understand your frustration. We could have gone so much further and so much faster as a country if people would stop actively opposing progress. But it's always darkest before the dawn, and you have to admit it's getting better...getting better all the time. Or at least those are the mantras I repeat to myself every time I hear a politician speak. The good thing is that both are true.

I'll actually be very curious how things shake out once the culture war is largely over. It seems to obscure the other issues to such a degree that there's no way to tell how many people actually believe in the rest of the platform of either wing. Just how popular is Party X's foreign policy? Just how popular is Party Y's tax policy? It's hard to tell at this point because people largely seem to vote the social side of things.