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When films take on, mock or ignore faith and believers

Published: Thursday, Aug. 25 2011 4:21 p.m. MDT

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Henderson, NV

"And I could also show you thousands of posts saying that gay people are subhuman and worthy of God's wrath."

So, all you have to do to criminalize religion is show that it is bigoted? The problem with this is that nine times out of ten, people aren't saying that gay people are subhuman and worthy of God's wrath, you are just perceiving it that way. I can point to many instances where people have essentially said that I am subhuman and worthy of God's wrath because of the way I've voted, but does that make them criminals?

Henderson, NV

"The point you seem to be missing is that their atheism was incidental to the atrocities they committed and not the cause."

You have a point that in the case of Nazis, religion was used, much like a useful idiot. But you can't really argue that with Stalin or Mao. You cannot dance around the prominence of atheism in Marxism. It was fundamental for Karl Marx and those who attempted, in their various ways, to implement his philosophies. Those atrocities were committed in the name of the advancement human race. As Marx explained, the only thing that mattered was that which was material, observable, scientific so to speak, a natural extension of Darwinism. This is very much part of atheism. It's all fine and dandy until you start justifying the slaughter of millions of people because they are standing in the way of human advancement with their silly religious dogma and bourgeois ways.

The fact that atheists don't believe in anything does not get atheism off the hook for atrocities commited by atheists.



"The fact that atheists don't believe in anything does not get atheism off the hook for atrocities commited by atheists. "

Actually, it does get them off the hook. As opposed to a religion committing an atrocity with many followers around the world doing as they're told, these were single acts committed by individuals who didn't believe in a religion. Atheists around the world weren't following their creed like a prophet. If a prophet says to do something, such as the Curse of Cain, the followers do it. In Atheism, we are individuals doing our thing and not following anybody.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Youre SO wrong. Stalin killed 20,000,000; Mao 75,000,000; Hitler 12,000,000. Pol Pot, Castro, N. Korea add millions more. These all happened within the last century. The Inquisition killed about 3000 over 160 years centuries ago. Mao killed more than 3000 before lunch...EVERY DAY. Atheism is FAR more dangerous."

Here's a problem with that though... We have something like 7 billion people in the world today when a mere century ago it was closer to 1-2 billion. Body counts are higher now because there's just plain more bodies. So I think what is necessary to use for comparison would be percentages of populations wiped out in a war. If there was a nation of 12 million in 1800 that had 1.2 million casualties, that'd be the same percentage as a nation of 120 million now having 12 million casualties. I'm not a historian so I'm not sure about this but I don't think percentages of populations lost in wars now is any worse than centuries ago.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Religious people are more far generous and altruistic. Look at all of the hospitals religious groups have established. I have yet to hear of Atheist General Hospital or Agnostic Memorial."

For the most part there aren't atheist organizations. There aren't atheist churches. There's not much of an atheist structure. So atheists tend to not band together to set up things in the name of atheism, they just join whatever projects they want to for charitable work.

Salt Lake City, UT

Story-tellers will stop making fun of religion when religion stops being so worthy of it.

Is the Earth flat or round?

Does the Sun go around the Earth, or does the Earth go around the Sun?

What is the age of the Earth? 6,000 years, or 4.6 billion years?

Is schizophrenia a consequence of demonic possession, or brain chemistry?

Did homo sapiens arise through millions of years of random mutation and natural selection, or were they poofed into existence by magic?

Are earthquakes the result of natural geophysical forces, or are they evidence of an angry god?

Note the traditional religious answers to every one of the above questions, then tell me again about how stories that portray religions as fossilized, paranoid bastions of fear and ignorance are somehow not being fair to the religious.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Some people assume that all religions behave a certain way. I will address this.

The simple answer:

It would be a hasty generalization to assume that all religions behave like one or a few. So to judge one religion by the merits of others is illogical.

The reasoned answer:

Religion is simply belief. Organized or not, the point is 'belief'. Some believe in empirical evidence only; this describes the majority of scientists. Some refuse empirical evidence; this describes most religious persons. Some accept empirical evidence, but also logical deductions.

The latter describes the intelligent and the fewer of all crowds. There are few who accept empirical evidence, but understand the inductive leap principle and know that empirical evidence is only as strong as certain factors and is never 100% conclusive and provable, only probable, etc. They also understand deductive reason and can draw conclusions from basic principles, as many religions do.

Just because I use deductive thought and acknowledge the weakness of empirical evidence and the inductive leap (which I'll remind, is a leap of faith)... doesn't mean that I refuse empirical evidence entirely, just that in being religious AND logical, I take science intelligently but not definitively.

Weston Jurney
West Jordan, UT

I've let myself become mildly addicted to "Criminal Minds" reruns. I've noticed that they have had at least one episode set in every state from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast except Utah.


Provo, UT

The religious people make themselves look silly, irrational, and primitive all on their own, with no help from us!

You do not have the "freedom" to believe absurdity without opposition. We will always reserve the right to call your absurdity absurd!

Salt Lake City, UT

Vanka | 6:15 p.m. Aug. 27, 2011
Provo, UT
The religious people make themselves look silly, irrational, and primitive all on their own, with no help from us!

You do not have the "freedom" to believe absurdity without opposition. We will always reserve the right to call your absurdity absurd!

Be careful, that double edged sword cuts both ways.

American Fork, UT

It'a a hypocritical target big as all outdoors. Hollywood would be remiss in ignoring religion.

Mesa, AZ


"The main problem with religion is that is takes away people's individuality and inhibits free thinking. Religion is a very dangerous and destructive force in the world. It causes people to think irrationally. More people have murdered in the name of religion than for any other cause. Although religion does do some good, the bad that is caused from it out-weighs the good. People need to think for themselves instead of being told what to think."

Not true. More people have died under atheistic governments 20 million Russians died in the Soviet Union from the years 1924-53 In Communist China 40 million died during the years 1949-1975. And this is only for the 20th century A civilized time. The amount of people that have died under religious governments can’t even come close to those numbers.


I can see why organized religion and Hollywood are at odds. They are both big businesses competing for consumers' discretionary incomes.



They weren't doing it for atheism though. It's not an organized thing like religion is. Just imagine somebody who doesn't tie himself to any religion at all. Confused, non-believer, unsure, whatever. That's an atheist.

As someone else pointed out as well, compare the percentage of people killed during these historical conquests. We have billions of people now compared to 100's of thousands. Let's acnknowledge that and the killing power available in modern societies.

That being said the atrocities committed by Soviet Russia and the Mao system are appalling and stand out as an embarrassment to mankind. Much like organized religion has in most of our history.

Alexandria, VA

Sorry for those of you who take the Hollywood issue seriously - you have too much time on your hands - go out and do your Home and Visiting Teaching instead, then maybe YOU will be the examples that Hollywood make the next movie about.

Layton, UT

A movie whose antagonist or portrayal of a religious organization as purely evil, is really just a sign of a lazy writer, who lacks the creativity to delve deeper into human motivations that exist in all of us, regardless of our religious affilliation. It's the Deus Ex Machina of villain creation, a tired cliche' that's rooted deeply in our insecurity that religious diversity might be evidence that that other guy's religion might be too whacky for the human conscience to handle.

It's a knockoff, cheap bit, a hackneyed psychological horror hack, and the best forms of entertainment try to avoid the temptation. And it's not just Hollywood that's relied upon this old school villain. Many bits of classic literature employ this villain without rellent... I'm thinking of Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame is a decent example.

Joan Watson

In response put forth in the article: "hollywood needs Christian audiences" If so, it would be wise to eliminate the f.. word, graphic sex, nudity, violence and the distortion/untrue lives and events of famous men and women by phychohistory dialogues. So, until then, yes, one can do very well without Hollywood.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

The author of this article uses a very broad brush to paint a Hollywood that is under no obligation to restrain a filmmaker from following his personal vision to wherever it leads him. I was particularly irked by the take on Robert Zemeckis’ fine film Contact which is one of the most intelligent science fiction films I’ve ever seen. It deals directly with the conflict between science and religion and in the end shows a sublime and transcendent respect for both.

American Fork, UT

So movies show religion in an unfavorable light. First this is news? Second, who cares? It's a bloody movie. Lighten up.

American Fork, UT

Would you all rather have some sort of law governing Hollywood to make sure it portrays religions accurately and favorably? Sounds like more big government to me.

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