IN DEFENSE OF ATHEISTS
So, God's not dead. Well, can something be dead if it never existed in the first place? Boom. Philosophy. *mic drop*
[Full disclosure: I’m an atheist. Also, there might be some spoilers here. Read at your own risk.]
Let me start over. Of course, you've heard of the film that I'm going to talk about. The one that everybody loved, the one that created a running parade of text messages and hashtags of people proclaiming their faith, directed by Harold Cronk, God's not dead. It sucks, doesn't it?
Wait, what do you mean you don't share the same sentiment? Are you sure we're thinking of the same movie?
I was just kidding. I know that a lot of people fell in love with that movie and felt that they have renewed their faith upon watching that film. I, on the other hand, absolutely abhor it. It was stereotypical, one-sided, and offensive to a point that it was disturbing that the film was not written as satire. And if you are one of the thousands of people that don’t know any atheist in real life, then your impression of us are probably all negative.
I know what you’re thinking, “That’s just because you’re an atheist, of course, you’re gonna hate everything about religion and God.” I assure you that it’s not that. Some atheists have nothing against religion if you can believe it.
Let me explain. In the film, every single non-Christian is an amoral, annoying, arrogant jerk. While every Christian is the spitting image of a saint, one who is moral, righteous, kind, and considerate. The characters are so flat and two-dimensional that they might as well have depicted the atheists as mustache-twirling cartoon villains and the believers with halos and a bright light shining from behind them in every shot.
One of the many things that ticked me off is that Professor Radisson’s reason for being an atheist was an emotional personal experience (he lost his mother to cancer when he was 12) rather than his own logic. That makes the professor an anti-theist, because he admits in the end that he hates God. You cannot hate someone whose existence you (supposedly) don’t believe in. Seriously, how difficult is it to google the difference between an atheist and an anti-theist? (I’m looking at you, Harold Cronk.)
If I come across an instructor like Radisson, I would drop out of his class in the first five minutes of our meeting. His method was appalling in which he completely disrespects people’s beliefs. Who does he think he is? Anyone with that supposed level of education should know better. He is in a university, surely he must know better ways to promote higher learning than threatening students.
‘God’s not dead’ is obviously a movie made by someone who knows very little about religion (and the lack of it). The entire movie is one giant atheist bash. By watching it, zero minds will be changed, and the rest of the world has gained yet another reason to point and label Christianity as a giant pool of judgment and bigotry. In that way, this movie is actually harmful to all those who will ever spend their time watching it.
I hate that this movie validates all the stereotypes against atheists. And I hate that people have asked me time and again to watch it. If you have asked me (or any other atheist) to watch this, it only tells me that you accept its representation of people like me, no matter how far it is from the truth.
In defense of atheists, we are not mean. Well, some of us could be. Atheists could be respectful, loving, and caring, or detached, cynical, and arrogant know-it-alls, in the same way, that a Christian can be all those things too. In other words, personality has nothing to do with belief, and a person does not need religion to have the most basic of morals.
Do yourself a favor and find a better film to watch. Now, if you’re looking for a great film about religion, I’d recommend Dogma by Kevin Smith. That one made me tear up. I believe that it perfectly captures the message of Christianity without stepping on people’s toes.
Before I watched it, my friends told me that it was a great one. It’s not. In fact, very little good can be said about this movie. Well, I thought that it was filmed quite nicely, so there’s that. But then again I’m a Biology major and I know next to nothing about film.