Saturday, October 10, 2009

Short Films on Atheism

I mentioned before that I had collected a series of short films and video clips covering atheism, religion, and science. This post contains the first half of that collection that focus on atheism.

Atheism: Jonathon Miller's Brief History of Disbelief

This hour long BBC documentary examines atheism in a very different way than other films and books that I've studied. It doesn't really try to promote atheism, it simply seeks to explain its causes. I wrote down in my notes that this film takes a very philosophical approach to belief. It also discusses some of the consequences of belief, visiting Ground Zero in New York City. It also addresses the history of religion in America, providing concrete evidence that many of the founding fathers were not religious men at all.

The God Who Wasn't There - The History of the Gospels

This clip is from the documentary film "The God Who Wasn't There", which I watched in full earlier this year. This particular section discusses the history of the gospels, how the story of Jesus fits into the known historical framework, and a comparison of Jesus and Christianity to older heroes and legends in folklore and mythology. I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to others, even though I recall that I had some reservations about it. The contents of this clip I think contain my favorite discussions in the film.

The Root of All Evil? - The God Delusion
Part 1

Part 2

This film features Richard Dawkins discussing the perils of religion. He also analyzes the stark differences between scientific inquiry and dogmatic faith. I personally find it immensely interesting, even though it does have some rather provocative moments. Dawkins visits fundamentalist Christian gatherings in America, speaks to Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, and visits various religious leaders in London. In the second part, the discussion turns to childhood indoctrination and an analysis of the contents of the Christian bible, particularly focusing on morality.

If Atheist Ruled the World

Finally is this humorous and terrifying video. These guys read out aloud text directly from online Christian fundamentalist forums. This stuff is absolutely unbelievable. It really scares me to think that there are people out there in this world with these sorts of warped views and opinions.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

"Might Makes Right" Argument and Personal Experiences

I realized that there were two clips where I appeared on The Atheist Experience that I forgot to share on here. If you recall I shared one clip where I called in back in March. There was a second discussion to that phone call that I neglected to mention, and I also called in a second time a few weeks later to discuss another topic. Those videos are embedded below.

In this video I ask the hosts how Christians can make the claim that their god is always good and always loving when there are so, so many atrocious and vengeful acts in the bible. I think this is really at the core of what really upsets me. How people can say their god is good, and then when I point to some horrible action of their god they don't abandon or question their position, but simply retain this dogmatic mindset and make excuses and special pleading for why it was okay or even correct for their god to do that. The hosts and I have a great discussion on this topic so definitely give this clip a listen.

Here I share a couple of personal experiences I've had that I think a religious person could easily have misinterpreted. Most importantly I demonstrate that the human brain is fallible and often subject to error. Due to an accident I had in the past, I became a lucid dreamer and my dreams can be so real to me that at times I have difficulty distinguishing whether an event happened in real life or happened in a dream.

In the later half of the video I then challenge one of the hosts who said that he thinks personal experience is a good reason to believe in a god. Using my earlier example as support, I disagree with that stance. We have a nice discussion about the subject. It did somewhat upset me at the end of the clip though when the host accused me of being dogmatic and automatically discrediting personal experience. I don't think I am dogmatic about this or anything. If I was, I'd surely change that belief because I hate dogma, as I've expressed here many times before.

Finally, here's a list of all the video clips from the Atheist Experience that I shared on my blog earlier this year (not including the ones where I called in). Remember that when I selected all the videos for this list, my criteria for selection were based on the value it would have for my discussions with my religious friend. They were never intended to convert/de-convert her, but merely to get her to think, to question, and to evaluate her own beliefs. But most importantly, I wanted to have a discussion with her about what was said and analyzed in these videos. Maybe you will be able to make use of this list in the way that I was never able to. I also chose the ordered these clips carefully, saving the more controversial/upsetting clips for last.

God's Plan For Atheists - On emotional attachments to the church and religious beliefs
The Bible As A Moral Guide Book - Morality of humans, immoral acts in the bible

The Bible As A Historical Record - Why is the bible absolutely correct?
Important Message From God To All Atheists - Damnation rant, believing in God, why to worship a hateful God
Religion Makes This World A Better Place - On the good and evil in people projected through religion, homosexuality issues, thinking and believing for yourself
The Problem of Evil - why does god allow evil to exist in the world
The Bible Is Just A Book - Why eye witness accounts of Jesus are nowhere outside the bible?
Sin As A Religious Control Mechanism - Speaks for itself, only first ~4 minutes (view from 6:00-35:00)
A dialog on what motivates people to believe in Christianity, reasons for beliefs, reasons for disbelief, and touches on young Earth creationism.
Jesus' Resurrection & Problems with the Bible
Dogmatic Religious Mindsets - On why it is hard for people to escape religious mindsets and why dogmatic beliefs are wrong because they limit critical thinking (view from 1:14:00-end)
Atheist Experience #503: Responding to Christian apologists - On reasoned arguments, God's immorality, old vs new testament, picking and choosing parts of the bible, focusing on only the positive parts of the bible...very similar to our arguments
Atheist Experience #578: A great conversation with a Christian on why people are more moral than God