PBS Three part documentary on Atheism.

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PBS Three part documentary on Atheism.

I'll be setting the DVR to record this one. I have heard positive reviews from people who have seen portions of this.

PBS TV Stations to Air Three-Part Documentary on Atheism
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
April 30, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - Conservative Christians are criticizing a plan by Public Broadcasting Service stations to begin showing later this week a three-part television documentary series on atheism, calling it "demagogic and propagandistic."

"This series is about the disappearance of something: religious faith," British producer and narrator Jonathan Miller says at the start of "A Brief History of Disbelief," which was originally shown by the BBC in 2005. "It's the story of what is often referred to as atheism, the history of the growing conviction that God doesn't exist."

During the first hour-long episode, Miller visits the site in New York City where the Twin Towers stood before terrorists destroyed them on 9/11.

"The spectacle of September 11 is a forceful reminder of the potentially destructive power of the three great monotheistic religions [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] that have dominated the world one way or another for nearly 2,000 years," the author asserts.

"You only have to travel a few miles from New York City to find yourself in the middle of a country which is - far from being the secular world which was deplored and attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists - is in fact intensely Christian and therefore in its own way, of course, is just as religious as the Muslim world that attacked it," he adds.

Miller interviews several leading atheists and examines "theories regarding the psychology of religious belief," according to a description of the episode provided by the American Humanist Association (AHA).

In the second episode, Miller discusses the "re-emergence of disbelief in the 15th and 16th centuries and the perils of challenging religious faith."

The third segment, according to the AHA, "illuminates the theories and philosophies of influential thinkers like Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, as well as their impact on the way we see religion today."

Along with a brief promotional video on the YouTube website, the documentary's U.S. debut will be marked by an appearance by Miller on "Bill Moyers' Journal" at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on May 4.

The documentary will premier on public TV stations in some markets that day and in others over the following weeks.

"This compelling documentary series fills an important void in the public's understanding of the long and complex history of nontheism," Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA, said in a news release.

The documentary reflects "an important change in attitude about nontheism," said Fred Edwords, AHA director of communications. "People are starting to realize that lack of a god belief does not mean the lack of morality. As a result of this, nontheism is beginning to gain acceptance in the public square.

"One needs only look at the warm reception of Rep. Pete Stark's announcement that he is a nontheist" or the fact that recent books on atheism "have made it to best-seller status," Edwords added.

'An evangelistic piece for atheism'

Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute for the conservative group Concerned Women for America, told Cybercast News Service that "airing the program gives credibility and cohesiveness to individuals who seek to undermine the beliefs and values on which democracy and the American dream are founded."

"One has to wonder why it is so important to them for everyone to understand their 'disbelief,'" she said. "The program is not a dispassionate, positive voice - as they claim. Instead, it is clearly demagogic and propagandistic."

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the conservative Family Research Council, said that blaming the horrors of 9/11 on "faith in God in general is absurd. They have to be attributed to the particular ideology that drove the terrorists, which is a radical form of Islam."

Sprigg also found it "interesting" that Miller "implied Islam attacked and hates America for being too secular. Actually, I think they hate us for being too Christian."

After all, he pointed out, "they don't refer to us as 'secularists' but as 'crusaders.'"

"When people look at the role of religion in history, certainly they can find examples of atrocities that have been done in the name of religion, in the name of God and even in the name of Christianity," Sprigg conceded.

"But we have to remember that the two most horrific regimes of the 20th century, which probably killed more people than any other dictatorships in history, were the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, both atheistic regimes," he said.

By airing "Disbelief," Sprigg added, PBS is "revealing their bias against Christianity, against traditional faith."

"When I first read about this, I thought, 'Oh, they're attempting some sort of objective history of atheism. That might be interesting.' But when I actually watched it, I realized that it's really an evangelistic piece for atheism," he stated.

Noting that PBS recently refused to air a documentary on moderate Muslims under fire from radicals of their own faith, Sprigg said the public broadcaster "really seems to be taking sides these days - as long as it's opposed to Christianity and doesn't offend non-Christians."

"If they really want to be objective, they need to have a three-part series documenting the evidence in favor of Christianity," he added. "If they present propaganda for Islam, if they present propaganda for atheism, I think it's only fair they present propaganda for Christianity, too."


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Remember seeing this on

Remember seeing this on Channel 4 in the UK. Is this really controversial?

 

The only sad thing is that you Americans arent making your own programs on the history of reason/irrationality Sad

 


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Sadly, yes. In the U.S. it

Sadly, yes. In the U.S. it is that contoversial. There are religious groups that will protest, which scares advertisers. This type of program stands almost no chance of being broadcasted on commercial TV.


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BGH wrote: - Conservative

BGH wrote:
- Conservative Christians are criticizing a plan by Public Broadcasting Service stations to begin showing later this week a three-part television documentary series on atheism, calling it "demagogic and propagandistic."  

And this just in:

The U.S. government accuses Native Americans of stealing their land.

"Projection" is clearly a favorite denial technique among the conservative christian.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


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BGH wrote: Sprigg added,

BGH wrote:
Sprigg added, PBS is "revealing their bias against Christianity, against traditional faith."

I like this quote...

I guess because it is traditional it should be respected, like slavery, animal sacrifices, human sacrifices.... etc. 


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Yeah this is quite

Yeah this is quite controversial.  Interestingly enough, the Root of All Evil by Dawkins was not shown here that I know of because of the same issue and controversey. 

Again, sad state of affairs... 


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Quote: "If they really want

Quote:
"If they really want to be objective, they need to have a three-part series documenting the evidence in favor of Christianity,"

Yes, there really is so little information out there about christianity. Let's see...they have "Religion & Ethics News Weekly" and when I searched the archives for Christianity it brought of 1,650 hits...now maybe not ALL of those are pro-christianity, but probably a few at least.

Quote:
"If they present propaganda for Islam, if they present propaganda for atheism, I think it's only fair they present propaganda for Christianity, too."

Well, at least he admits they use propaganda.


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So true there are tons of

So true there are tons of things pro-Christian already - several full time networks, plenty of shows on Sundays, some other days, books etc? Any full time atheist networks? Any regular atheist SHOWS? (other than online) Only one I know of is Freethought Radio from the FFRF - this is on Air American in Madison, so it's not only online. I'm sure PBS has had plenty of documentaries on Christianity - and I KNOW the History Channel often has "documentaries" on Jesus that assume he was real (I have real problems with all the pseudoscience on the History Channel.) They are just being ashats criticizing this.

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MattShizzle wrote: So true

MattShizzle wrote:
So true there are tons of things pro-Christian already - several full time networks, plenty of shows on Sundays, some other days, books etc? Any full time atheist networks? Any regular atheist SHOWS? (other than online) Only one I know of is Freethought Radio from the FFRF - this is on Air American in Madison, so it's not only online. I'm sure PBS has had plenty of documentaries on Christianity - and I KNOW the History Channel often has "documentaries" on Jesus that assume he was real (I have real problems with all the pseudoscience on the History Channel.) They are just being ashats criticizing this.

   The issue isn't how many other pro-christian programs there are out there.  The issue is that this isn't one of them.  The Christian conservative could care less that its in the majority, or that there are religious programs being carried everywhere, they care that this is not a pro-Christian program.  Cough cough censorship cough cough.  They are intolerant of opposing viewpoints (all of this is directed at those groups mentioned in the article above, fyi) and that's what the whole issue is.

I'm also embarassed that this is even an issue for this country. 

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I would love to see one of

I would love to see one of these christcon critics defend their assertion that the documentary is "propaganda." What is it that they imagine atheists are trying to sell? Who profits from selling atheism? We aren't the ones passing the hat - they are!

 

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Quote: Noting that PBS

Quote:

Noting that PBS recently refused to air a documentary on moderate Muslims under fire from radicals of their own faith, Sprigg said the public broadcaster "really seems to be taking sides these days - as long as it's opposed to Christianity and doesn't offend non-Christians."

What!? Shouldn't you at least draw the delusional conclusion that PBS is against religion -- and not only Christianity?

 

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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When is this supposed to

When is this supposed to air?

We must favor verifiable evidence over private feeling. Otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth.
~ Richard Dawkins


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On or around May 4th

On or around May 4th depending on your local station.


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Should be on the 3rd -

Should be on the 3rd - National Day of Reason (or prayer if you're dumb.)


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 I checked the official

 I checked the official website and it doesn't look like it is playing in my area. Here is the schedule in pdf format.

 

So I found this instead. Here is a link to all three parts online.

A Brief History Of Disbelie


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jce wrote: Quote: "If they

jce wrote:

Quote:
"If they present propaganda for Islam, if they present propaganda for atheism, I think it's only fair they present propaganda for Christianity, too."

Well, at least he admits they use propaganda.

If you take propaganda to mean "speech or writing advancing one's cause or ideas, or denouncing one's opponents," then it isn't so bad...

"What right have you to condemn a murderer if you assume him necessary to "God's plan"? What logic can command the return of stolen property, or the branding of a thief, if the Almighty decreed it?"
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I think it's just sad that

I think it's just sad that the christian right wants to hold such a monopoly.  When was last time we saw a documentary on atheism?  umm...let's see...FUCKING NEVER???!!!  at least not in recent memory.  The christians are just afraid that once people catch on to the fact that the belief in god is ridiculous, completely irrational, and the leading cause of death in the world, perhaps they will wake up...and like all good businesses, the church doesn't want to loose business, so they launch a baseless attack.  It's quite simple...Fact is, they are afraid.  Everytime I turn on the discovery channel, PBS etc... I always see documentaries on christianity fuck them...it's time for reason to stand up and shine.

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Peter Sprigg, vice

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the conservative Family Research Council, said that blaming the horrors of 9/11 on "faith in God in general is absurd. They have to be attributed to the particular ideology that drove the terrorists, which is a radical form of Islam."

Sprigg also found it "interesting" that Miller "implied Islam attacked and hates America for being too secular. Actually, I think they hate us for being too Christian."

After all, he pointed out, "they don't refer to us as 'secularists' but as 'crusaders.'"

 

I like how he just disproves his original comment about 9/11 having nothing to do with religion. Radical Islam is a belief in God and if they are attacking us for being Christian, then doesn't it have to do with religion??

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jce wrote: Quote: "If they

jce wrote:

Quote:
"If they really want to be objective, they need to have a three-part series documenting the evidence in favor of Christianity,"

Yes, there really is so little information out there about christianity. Let's see...they have "Religion & Ethics News Weekly" and when I searched the archives for Christianity it brought of 1,650 hits...now maybe not ALL of those are pro-christianity, but probably a few at least.

But, wait, he says there should be a 3-part series documenting the EVIDENCE in favor of christianity.

If each part is 45 seconds long maybe.....

"The powerful have always created false images of the weak."


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I watched this online

I watched this online yesterday... the whole thing. I heard some of the greatest quotes I've ever heard in this series!

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"But we have to remember

"But we have to remember that the two most horrific regimes of the 20th century, which probably killed more people than any other dictatorships in history, were the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, both atheistic regimes," he said.

 

This guy needs to check his facts about Nazi Germany...far from being atheistic, one of Hitler's prime motivations was his religious belief that "Aryans" were a holy race and descendants of his god.  "Positive Christianity", anybody?  Atheistic my foot!


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He said that!?! I must have

He said that!?! I must have missed that part. Sad


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Just seen the last part.

Just seen the last part. Definitely worth watching.