John on December 19, 2006 at 12:16 pm
Uber-atheist Sam Harris was referenced in a recent NPR story on the new brand of “take no prisoners” atheism. Sam had this to say:
I’m hopeful that journalists and people in the entertainment industry are waiting for the permission to express their doubts, and I think that permission is coming. I mean I’m trying to do what I can to engineer it in my hardheaded and boorish way. And I feel, just from the contacts I have in both industries, that there’s a profound sense of relief that comes with hearing somebody call a spade a spade.
In Sam’s world, Hollywood is really on the fence and if they would just let us know how they really feel about faith, things would change. Somehow he missed some of the blockbuster films with atheist subtext which have been coming out of Hollywood:
- The Cider House Rules – the author explained that the outdated and meaningless “rules” were a metaphor for the 10 commandments.
- The Truman Show – real men don’t need God
- Touching the Void – atheism in the Andes
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail – funny as hell, but not exactly respectful of faith
- Monty Python Life of Brian
- Meaning of Life
- Brotherhood of the Wolf – atheist tract in the form of a horror movie
- Sin City
- Cape Fear (remake)
- Night of the Hunter
- Planet of the Apes
- Inherit the Wind – Bogus history of the Scopes trial
- Leap of Faith
- At Play in the Fields of the Lord
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams does theater of the absurd
- The God Who Wasn’t There
- The Seventh Seal – The best atheist movie in my opinion
- DaVinci Code
- V for Vendetta
- The Wicker Man
These are just the titles that are specifically atheistic in theme. There are many more, but all of these included big stars or had big budgets. Besides these, there is a vast swath of films which simply take atheism for granted, the entire film-noir genre for instance and a fair number of science fiction films.
Supposedly, James Cameron is working on a massive 3-D film (the first big budget one) whose theme is atheism. Children’s author and self-described “anti-Lewis” Philip Pullman is having his “Dark Materials” books made into a trilogy of big budget films. So we can look forward to Hollywood putting hundreds of millions of dollars into atheist films in just the next couple years, not to mention whatever projects Sam himself is working on. None of this even gets into television where priests and pastors are usually the bad guys. I can think of three shows with recurring atheist storylines off the top of my head.
The point is this. Atheism is not under-represented in film. Sam Harris, as usual, doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But I think this does show once again that Sam’s real concern isn’t for science it’s for propaganda.
Category: Atheism |