March 6, 2014

"It is an article of faith among the religious right in America that we are in the midst of a war on religion (in which 'religion' usually means Christianity)..."

... but it's not true, argues Lawrence M. Krauss, who is a physicist and the director of the Origins Project. Along with Richard Dawkins, he's in a new documentary about atheists called "The Unbelievers." He notes that a movie about atheism isn't going to draw much of an audience, while there are some big blockbusters that are quite religious, notably the upcoming "Noah" and "Heaven Is For Real."

Ironically, Krauss is a scientist pushing science and rationality, but the evidence for his argument isn't very sound. Those who say that Hollywood is antagonistic to religion do not,  I think, premise their argument on the number and importance of movies with big religious themes versus movies about atheism. I think these people are looking at all the movies as well as the statements of movie people and seeing pervasive secularism.
No one can fault Hollywood for recognizing that religion, like violence, is often profitable at the box office. But this logic leads to a prevailing bias that reinforces a pervasive cultural tilt against unbelief and further embeds religious myths in the popular consciousness. It marginalizes those who would ridicule these myths in the same manner as we ridicule other aspects of our culture, from politics to sex.
Krauss is conflating irrational belief and religion. Of course, movie stories are full of irrational belief. These are stories of heroes and villains, supernatural disasters and magical solutions. It's fantasy. Even when the stories are sort of realistic, there's usually an element of new-ageish belief in one's true self and the power of dreams or whatever unscientific nonsense the scriptwriters think will make us laugh or cry or tingle. It's not a science lecture. But that doesn't make it traditional religion, and I think traditional religionists tend to deplore these substitutes for religion. Generally, movies don't invite us into either a life of old-school religion or science.

Krauss riffs on Matthew McConaughey's Oscar acceptance speech, which you can watch (after an ad) here. That's only one data point, of course, but how truly religious was it? Who knows? It was weird and folksy, and also silly and self-centered:

There's a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God. 'Cause that's who I look up to.

He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, 'When you've got God, you got a friend. And that friend is you.'
That friend is you?!
To my family, that['s] who and what I look forward to. To my father who, I know he's up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He's got a lemon meringue pie over there. He's probably in his underwear. And he's got a cold can of Miller Lite and he's dancing right now.
Folksy. Silly. Family. The pleasures of the physical world (repositioned into heaven).
To you, Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man. To my mother who's here tonight, who taught me and my two older brothers' [and] demanded that we respect ourselves. And what we in turn learned was that we were then better able to respect others. Thank you for that, Mama. To my wife, Camila, and my kids Levi, Vida and Mr. Stone, the courage and significance you give me every day I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud of me. Thank you.
Family. 
And to my hero. That's who I chase.
That hero isn't Jesus.
Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say 'who's your hero?' And I said, 'I don't know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.' I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says 'who's your hero?' I said, 'I thought about it. You know who it is? It's me in 10 years.' So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, 'So, are you a hero?' And I was like, 'not even close. No, no, no.' She said, 'Why?' I said, 'Because my hero's me at 35.' So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero's always 10 years away. I'm never gonna be my hero. I'm not gonna attain that. I know I'm not, and that's just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
His hero is himself. Where is the religious belief here? What traditional religion makes you yourself the centerpiece? And clearly, he's talking about worldly success... in the entertainment industry. Keep on dreaming, keep on striving... that is the secular religion substitute that is the stuff of most Hollywood movies.
So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we're chasing, to that I say, 'Amen.' To that I say, 'Alright, alright, alright.' To that I say 'just keep living.' Thank you.
Whatever... whatever... whatever... He says "Amen" to whatever! I'm not surprised that Krauss from his subjective perspective of atheism perceived religiosity, though I do feel like mocking Krauss for preening about his own rationality while failing to process the actual text with cold perception and logical analysis.

Take a step back, Krauss, and look at that same text from the perspective of an old-fashioned, conservative Christian — one who reads competently and thinks clearly. Do you see your religion confirmed and promoted?

The correct answer is: NO.

85 comments:

GAHCindy said...

From what I've read about it, Noah is more of an attack on biblical faith than a sop to it. Don't know much about Heaven is Real, but I sincerely doubt there's much of a saving message in that, either. More likely to be a fluffy, no-gospel, feel-good movie about how we're all moving toward the light or something equally hopeful and spiritually void. I'm a Christian, and I gave up most movies long ago out of disgust for the way faith is portrayed. Sometimes it's just ignorance, but it often (as I think Noah probably will be) is a deliberate attack.

Shouting Thomas said...

Pretty bogus discussion.

The Catholic Church has a ratings system to advise parents on the suitability of movies for children. Beyond that, I never hear any discussion in church or among Catholics about movies. And I get around to 3 parishes.

I've been around priests of all kinds since I was a kid. They are among the most widely traveled, well read and intellectual people I meet.

Politics is almost never discussed at Church services or events. Of course, the Church is not really evangelical, as may Protestants denominations are.

The real issue in the linked article is, once again, gaydom. The outlook of the Church is much more complex than critics suggest. I've attended services in Cebu where 1/4 of the congregation was openly gay. Didn't seem to be a problem.

The confusion among liberals about the Church is the liberal belief that the Church condemns homosexuals and openly persecutes them. This is nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"It marginalizes those who would ridicule these myths in the same manner as we ridicule other aspects of our culture, from politics to sex."

So, basically, he wants to 'ridicule' without anyone commenting adversely. Bold.

I'd also like to know what he 'ridicules' about politics to sex: If you can get to three without answering "teabaggers" you're a better person than me.

Hagar said...

Militant atheism is a contradiction in terms.

Michael K said...

Atheism is the new religion and they are far more adamant about their belief than most Christians like me.

Henry said...

If Christians are in a war on religion I would suggest that most of the damage is friendly fire.

gerry said...

Hollywood spirituality is "What Dreams May Come" drivel, with heaven envisioned as a four-bedroom ranch in the burbs...

The Cracker Emcee said...

The war on Religion isn't led by atheists, it's led by goose-stepping statists. Those statists may very well profess some kind of lukewarm,essentially meaningless, religious of their own.

The Cracker Emcee said...

....religious faith of their own. Sorry, I was in a hurry to get to my yogurt.

Illuninati said...

Q. Is the entertainment industry anti-Christian?
A. Miley Cyrus.
The quickest way to gain notoriety is to be on the cutting edge by breaking cultural norms. Since Christianity embodies traditional cultural norms and traditional morality, the cutting edge of the entertainment industry is anti-Christian to some extent. Cutting edge entertainment must be safe which means Christianity is an accepted target since Christians won't kill you but Islam is not (murder hurts the entertainment value).

Darleen said...

It's not Christians or Jews running about the country suing cities over 100 year old war memorials or tiny crosses on city or county seals, even when those cities were founded by religious orders.

David Smith said...

"...Lawrence M. Krauss, who is a physicist..."

Wasn't it Richard Feynman (who was a physicist, and a damn good one, too) who suggested that folks who had a lot of expertise in specialized fields were prone to think that they were qualified to speak on other fields in which they were ignorant? That might go a long way to explaining why otherwise clever chaps like Dawkins, Hawkings and, apparently, Krauss, keep saying what they do about religion and spirituality.

furious_a said...

it's not true

Tell that to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are having their own Thomas More moment as we type.

Tibore said...

"That's only one data point, of course, but how truly religious was it?"

It wasn't. He made the first quick reference to God, and that was it. Then the rest of the speech was thanking his family, then turned all into Me Me Me.

No, it wasn't egregiously narcissistic. McConaughey usually has an air of bemused self deprecation when he talks about himself. But his speech's ending was more self-centered than a lot of people seem to think it was.

Ralph Hyatt said...

As a Christian who reads the Bible and books on systematic theology, I don't find the idea of "earthly pleasures" in heaven all that improbable.

God created matter and pronounced it good. The idea that the spiritual is inherently superior to the physical and that we need to escape the physical world and ascend to a spiritual realm in order to be saved is a heresy called "gnosticism." A heresy which I must admit many Christians hold to.

If you really want to upset most Christians bring up the subject of soul sleep. Most will not have heard of it. It is the belief that no one goes to heaven. When you die your soul sleeps until Jesus' return, at which time you will get a new glorified body and will live on the remade earth. This is not a new belief. Luther held it and ordination as a Lutheran pastor requires affirming that you do so as well, at least in the more conservative branches of Lutheranism.

The making your future self the hero? God is supposed to be the center of your life, but that does not preclude earthly success and striving to succeed.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters"

Colossians 3:23

furious_a said...

That's only one data point, of course, but how truly religious was it

It was enough that a little Testimony made an auditorium full of showbiz weasels squirm in their seats and look at their shoes. Brilliant.

carrie said...

The difficulty for Christians is that they try to follow Jesus' commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself which means that they are tolerant of people with other beliefs. Atheists are not constrained by any such commandment and are free to be intolerant and bigots.

John Lynch said...

I'm tired of movies where the villain is-

- a middle aged white guy who looks like Dick Cheney.

- patriotic

- higher up in the same organization the hero works for

- religious

This is so cliche by now that even people who believe that middle aged white guys are evil should be bored with it.

Amexpat said...

It's overblown rhetoric to say that there's a war on religion in the US. No one is closing churches, putting practitioners in jail or beheading clergymen.

To somehow compare some ridicule in the media in the US to the real persecution that religious people still face in many parts of the world is absurd.





Rusty said...

I have absolute faith in atheism.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm tired of movies where the villain is-etc., etc."

How many movies are there like that?

Birches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

@Amexpat,

No one is closing churches, putting practitioners in jail or beheading clergymen.

No, not churches, just orphanages.

Practitioners aren't being put in jail, they're just getting sued for civil damages. So, they're not getting put in jail, just bankrupted.

As for the beheadings, well, I guess no one has strung up a black guy in quite a while, so everything's all peachy on the race front, too. Will someone please volunteer to go tell Crack the news?

Birches said...

Don't know much about Heaven is Real, but I sincerely doubt there's much of a saving message in that, either.

We saw a preview for Heaven is for Real that was pretty religion heavy. I was surprised.

Wasn't it Richard Feynman (who was a physicist, and a damn good one, too) who suggested that folks who had a lot of expertise in specialized fields were prone to think that they were qualified to speak on other fields in which they were ignorant?

A Princeton physicist from my Church wrote a book a long time ago called Faith of a Scientist. He didn't see any problem reconciling his faith with science.

One of the best explanations I've ever heard about why someone was a Christian and tended to be more conservative was that the person didn't think mankind knew nearly as much as we thought we did. I like that idea a lot. That speaks to why people like Dawkins believe they way they do; they think they know everything.

John Lynch said...

Robert Cook-

All the Bourne series, the Star Wars prequels, that Elysium movie that came out last year (although they had a white woman instead), Robocop (old and new), both movies about the White House being blown up, Avatar, etc.

Big budget blockbusters are full of these tropes.

I get that you have better taste in movies than this, but it is a trope. I don't think it's so much intentional as safe. No one is going to get offended by bland villains.

I don't see this as active propaganda so much as laziness.

Ralph Hyatt said...

""I'm tired of movies where the villain is-etc., etc."

How many movies are there like that?"

Law and Order started following that formula a few years ago. I stopped watching it after the episode where it wasn't the illegal alien construction worker who was Hispanic who murdered a woman, it was his rich, white, boss.

He killed her because she had found out that he was employing illegals and was going to expose him.

Apparently, in the Law and Order universe, there are building contractors who don't employ illegals and those who do risk being ruined if it gets out, but hire them anyway, for some reason.

traditionalguy said...

There has always been a war on Christ's claims. Ask Chinese and North Koreans. The Gospel of the Kingdom is a threat to secular power.

I do admire dedicated atheists who can work of a total denial that there is a creator God. That takes some serious will power.

Most attacks on Christianity in the USA have been attempts to water it down and replace The Word of God.

Can't we all just get along....but with Free Speech for Christians?

Biff said...

I was fortunate to have taken Physics at Yale when Krauss was a prof there. Back then, the study sections for the introductory physics courses were led by profs, not grad students - an amazing thing! Krauss was a magnificent physics teacher, which was important to me, since the prof who handled the lectures was a great researcher, but a miserable instructor.

Part of what made Krauss an interesting and effective physics teacher was his passion for the subject, along with what seemed to be a real interest in helping students to work hard on problems from multiple directions until they saw the solutions.

I also recall his occasionally pointed, Lefty political comments, which led me to quip in class, "You should stick to physics." He laughed, but I could see he was irked.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm often ridiculed for being an irrelevant old white man. I take it with a grain of salt. The truth is that just about everybody wants us old white men. The campaign against us is motivated by jealousy.

I'm surrounded by women who love me. If I were cad enough, I could have my choice of a half dozen women, black, Asian or white.

Employers call every day, trying to lure me out of retirement. Everybody wants the work ethic of an old white man.

Everybody enjoys hearing this old white man sing and play music, too.

It's just jealousy, guys. Irrelevant old white guys are the best. Ask Althouse. She's got one, too.

Cedarford said...

Darleen said...
It's not Christians or Jews running about the country suing cities over 100 year old war memorials or tiny crosses on city or county seals, even when those cities were founded by religious orders.

=====================
Actually it is Jews litigating to wipe out "cross symbols" in the public space, elimination of Christian songs and symbols from Christmas - at a greater prevalance than atheists are. Many of the most prevalent "militant atheists" turn out to be Jews who embrace Jewish ethnic identity but are diffident on religion. Same sort of deal as the Jews who had disproportionate influence and membership participation vis a vis other demographics - in the US and Soviet communist parties.

Next up in the "war on Christianity" lately more active than Jews....are the gay gestapo squads. Using their cultural clout to try and attack "The Haters" in every platform they have influence in.

I'd put regular atheists and agnostics 3rd historically, in litigation and intimidation tactics against manifestations of Christianity.

However, in this situation, just like it is undeniable that Jews and gays have certain "valid grievances" , atheists and agnostics have suffered discrimination at all levels of society. From a black women forced to pretend she is religious so she is not ostracized by other women in her community who are regular churchgoers to those merchants, politicians, teachers who deem it wise to conceal their views on Jesus and God..


But if you look at it from a "normal" non-militant atheist or agnostics perspective....they are 30% of the American population and are probably the only group besides Muslims that a majority of Republicans and a possible majority of Democrats say are unacceptable for political office.
We all know the fun and games Republicans play in Primaries where each has to outdo the others to show how God-fearin' thay are, and if their religious views are acceptable to evangelicals down South. But Democrats are also subject to religious testing. Plenty of commentary about if Bill&Hillary and Obama&Mochelle were faithful enough, and if this Senator or that was "in tune" with his or her constituency through regular church attendance.

furious_a said...

No one is closing churches.

You're right, many in the Left and in the mainstream press choose to ignore the actual, literal war against Christians in places like Egypt, Nigeria and Syria. It messes with the narrative of oppressed, aggrieved Muslims and the slanderous videos and Zionists who aggrieve them.

...but they are trying to drive Christian ministries (health care, charities, etc) from the public square by forcing such organizations to violate their consciences under the Contraceptive Mandate.

furious_a said...

Cedarford: It's been contracted to Gaystapo.

John Lynch said...

Ralph Hyatt-

Same experience with Law and Order. I stopped watching it when the owner of a gun company was a fat white guy smoking a cigar.

Give me a break.

Politics in entertainment is like everything else- the story has to come first. If you have a good story the message will come though on its own. There's no need to hamfist it.

YoungHegelian said...

Actually it is Jews litigating to wipe out "cross symbols" in the public space....

Sadly, I have to agree with Cedarford on this. Too large a percentage of secular Jews have a real bee up the butt about religious belief. It commonly manifests itself against Christianity, but they aren't too fond of Orthodox Judaism, either.

Orthodox Jews, on the other hand, share many of the social concerns of American Christians, and vote much like their conservative Christian counterparts (e.g. Republican).

furious_a said...

Tim Tebow was not available for comment.

Robert Cook said...

It messes with the narrative of oppressed, aggrieved Muslims

What "narrative of oppressed, aggrieved Muslims?"

Certainly, in the wake of 9/11, many have to come to scorn all Muslims, seeing them as violent and as supporters of terrorism, or potentially so. but I don't think this is what you mean.

Illuninati said...

YoungHegelian said...
"Actually it is Jews litigating to wipe out "cross symbols" in the public space....

Sadly, I have to agree with Cedarford on this. Too large a percentage of secular Jews have a real bee up the butt about religious belief. It commonly manifests itself against Christianity, but they aren't too fond of Orthodox Judaism, either."

Well stated. I understand that Israel has much the same conflict between the more religious Jews and the seculars.

Nonapod said...

Everyone who doesn't think like me is wrong. And there are a lot of people who don't think like me who think people who think like me are persecuting people who don't think like me, but they're wrong too. In reality people who don't think like me are the ones who are persecuting people who think like me. Therefore people who think like me are the real victims and the people who don't think like me are the oppressors.

YoungHegelian said...

@illuminati,

I understand that Israel has much the same conflict between the more religious Jews and the seculars.

Yes, that's true. But I don't want to paint the seculars Jews as Nazis & the Haredi as boy scouts either.

If you read the Israeli press, you'll see that the Haredi can be major pains in the ass. Here in the US, the Orthodox can make no claim against us goyim, since we are not bound by the Law, so they keep to themselves. But, in a Jewish country like Israel, they make life hell for their neighbors who they wish to hold to Orthodox standards of piety, whether their neighbors like it or not.

Dr Weevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Weevil said...

A wise man once said: "The aggressor is always a peace-lover: he wants to make his entry into your country unopposed."

That certainly applies to Putin: he commits obvious acts of war against Ukraine, but because his troops haven't had to shoot anyone yet to seize the territory he's grabbing, it's somehow not really war.

Does it also apply to this case? It does seem that many of the people denying that there is a war on religion are in fact engaged in a vigorous though (so far) non-violent war on religion. Their denials are propaganda designed to help them win, preferably without having to resort to violence.

Robert Cook said...

"I stopped watching it when the owner of a gun company was a fat white guy smoking a cigar."

Is there something wrong with depicting the owner of a gun company as a "fat white guy smoking a cigar?"

There are fat white guys who smoke cigars in many walks of life.

Drago said...

Cookie: "Certainly, in the wake of 9/11, many have to come to scorn all Muslims, seeing them as violent and as supporters of terrorism, or potentially so. but I don't think this is what you mean."

Let me help you with this

Certainly, in the wake of the dems loss of the house in 2010, many have to come to scorn all Tea Party members, seeing them as violent and as supporters of terrorism, or potentially so, including in particular obama's Homeland security dept. But I don't think this is what you mean.

Shouting Thomas said...

See my comment above.

Everybody wants us irrelevant old white guys. Everybody. The media campaign is BS.

I'm basking in the glory of my irrelevant old white guydom. It's great!

Seeing Red said...

Didn't Russell Crowe ask The Pope to see "Noah?"

I'm not going to see it. Don't want to hear the man-made global warming message. Insty linked to Judith Curry's blog yesterday. She presented her paper giving theories about the pause.

I read every single comment. My eyes glazed, but I did it.

furious_a said...

[Haredi] make life hell for their neighbors who they wish to hold to Orthodox standards of piety...

...all while living entirely off the Israeli welfare state and avoiding military service.

I've heard that in Israel shouting "Enlist" in Hebrew at a Haredi is a mortal insult.

jacksonjay said...


Hollywood is Mecca!

The Oscars is Easter!

Seeing Red said...

2010 terrorism must have worked, a 2-year delay in Obamacare. We can keep our sub-par but more expensive policy.

traditionalguy said...

The war on Christ's claims pretends to protect children from the faith of their fathers and replace parental teaching with a secular atheist core curriculum. Home schooling is the point of the spear in today's war on Christians.

Gideon's free Bibles are being removed from Hotel end table drawers. Restricting access to Bibles is another tactic today, as it was 500 years ago.

The US Military now Court Marshals any soldiers who shares their Christian faith with other soldiers.

Christmas celebrations must now eliminate reference to Christ's claims.

But claiming a war on religion is silly...it's only a war on the one and only true Messiah.



mccullough said...

Christians are easy to pick on. They don't blow you up when you criticize their Messiah.

These physicists aren't stupid. They will not slander The Prophet. I give Bill Maher credit because he actually mocks Islam along with Christianity and other religions. There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world. If you don't like religion, don't neglect this large group. Unless, of course, you're a coward. Most academics are.

The Cracker Emcee said...

'Is there something wrong with depicting the owner of a gun company as a "fat white guy smoking a cigar?""

It's the tedious predictability of it. One of the most successful gun companies in the US was founded and is owned by a young Asian guy.

William said...

I have been following the True Detective series on HBO. Matthew McConaughey is a fine actor. In True Detective he plays some kind of Nietzschean detective haunted by the inevitability of nothingness and its eternal recurrence. It's very hard to talk shit like that and make it sound convincing, but he does. There's a black spot at the center of his eyes that makes emptiness as dynamic as a black hole.......The plot arc has not been resolved, but I gather that the arch villain is some kind of evangelical clergyman who tortures and kills children. Whatever religious beliefs McConaughey professes during Oscar acceptance speeches, his professional work is profoundly anti religious.

Illuninati said...

YoungHegelian said...
"If you read the Israeli press, you'll see that the Haredi can be major pains in the ass."

Again I agree that the Haredi can be a problem. I don't claim to be an expert on Israel, but I've read that there is another aspect of life in Israel which is not so obvious. According to conservative Israel blogs it appears that the Israelis have a lefty leaning supreme court which is quite activist and which often works against the interests of the conservative government of Netanyahu.

furious_a said...

What "narrative of oppressed, aggrieved Muslims?"

Cook, please, not for nothing are they known as "The World's Touchiest Religion". If you need more google "Flushed Koran" or "Mohammed Cartoons" or "Started and Lost Three Wars with Israel". Or listen to NPR. They're STILL bitching about Aragon and Castile expelling them from al-Andalus in the 1490s.

I don't know about your limp, unsupported assertion that many scorn all Muslims because..., but I for one tire of their complaints about the Ferenghis' war against the Ummah when it's Islam's true believers murdering (thousands and thousands of) their own on pilgrimages and at prayer. Or on their way to school. Or at the market shopping for dinner. Or...

Howard said...

Yeah, hard core atheists are as lame or lamer than religious zealots. It's a no-brainer that organized religion is an anthropogenic confidence game.

However, the idea that there might be a god or higher power behind our absurd existence in this ridiculous universe makes just as much or more sense than if it's nothing.

Oso Negro said...

For a more complete understanding of the depth of Mr. McConaughey's religious passion, google "naked bongos".

Civilis said...

On Judaism and culture differences, I have a very nonobservant ethnically Jewish friend from college. We're both geeks with similar backgrounds.

Still, our different observations on a singular event still stick out at me at the way different cultural backgrounds play out. I believe the news story in question was about an Evangelist Christian group baptizing unwanted babies (the details are hazy). He was aghast, as some of those babies might not be Christian. My response was 'Eh, if something like that was done to me, God (if he exists) doesn't care about what they did, but what I choose consciously.' His objection was based on the history of forced conversions of Jews, and I could see how that distaste was culturally inherited even if the religious aspect was meaningless to him. Even what to me was a meaningless gesture had symbolic meaning to him that didn't carry across.

Pogo is Dead said...

"Whatever religious beliefs McConaughey professes during Oscar acceptance speeches, his professional work is profoundly anti religious."

@William
I have also been watching True Detective. I wondered the same thing, but I'm unsure.
I see the religious leader abusing his church's children akin as a Satan in the church, killing faith from within. It's brilliant, and has done astounding damage to the Catholic faith.

And the abusive leader in the show makes use of clearly pagan or even satanic symbols and rituals.

Jury's out. At this point it's not the typical Law and Order shittiness.

hombre said...

"Whatever one might hear on the right about a war on religion, in this country we still care more about catering to religious sensibilities ...."

Evidently, Krauss, like Dawkins, is so ignorant about Christianity, that he has little understanding of "religious sensibilities." With the possible exception of Gibson's "Passion," Hollywood's highly publicized Biblical epics, while a relief from the usual trash, rarely, if ever, portray the essence of God's Word or the nature of His people accurately.

His knee-jerk reaction to McConaughey's acceptance speech provides another clue to his atheist-driven density. No person of faith could fail to understand that McConaughey's speech was about McConaughey despite the lip service to God. The Laughton quote promotes the kind of new age egoism that is antithetical to Judeo-Christian values.

As for his whining, "It marginalizes those who would ridicule these myths ...." He, Dawkins and their ilk would simply prefer that people of faith be marginalized. Any fool should have little difficulty recognizing the increasingly aggressive secularization of our society and that it can be fairly characterized as "a war on religion." Krauss is probably not a fool, but he is, at least disingenuous.

furious_a said...

It's a no-brainer that organized religion is an anthropogenic confidence game.

Kinda like Madalyn Murray O'Hair's half-mil$$$ in gold coins stashed in a storage locker.

Rusty said...

traditionalguy said...
"There has always been a war on Christ's claims. Ask Chinese and North Koreans."


All of the North Koreans who talked to the misionary who snuck into NKor. are going to be executed. If they haven't been already.

Apparently the word of god is caustic to tyrants.

TMink said...

Among people who take the Bible seriously, the war on Godly religion started with Adam and Eve. It will end when Christ returns.

Trey

TMink said...

Good point Robert. As a fat white guy who often smokes cigars I resemble your point.

Trey

Sigivald said...

I'm a lifelong atheist (and thus far less obsessed with it than "converts"), and his argument about movies leaves me shaking my head.

Wailing that movies are made to entertain people and don't serve your agenda is pathetic.

Seeing Red said...

I wasn't aware Catholics are " the Religious Right." Obamacare brought it out in the open.

Otto said...

The ignorance of what is the definition of a Christian is astounding. It means a person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.... not just someone who believes in God, eg religious Jews believe in God. Althouse shows her ignorance by claiming that he didn't say anything religious because Jesus wasn't his hero. That is demeaning to Christians. Lincoln is a hero. Jesus is much more than a hero!

chickenlittle said...

Mr. McConaughey's best (un-Oscared) performance will forever be playing himself in "Dazed And Confused."

Fen said...

I still don't get why so many Atheists spend so much time and energy attacking something they don't believe in. It would be like if my "cause" in life was to get rid of horoscopes.

So it follows that they are not really Athests. The are using it as cover so they can attack christians. They are haters.

Drago said...

Howard: "...our absurd existence in this ridiculous universe.."

LOL

Are you trying to demotivate folks?

I feel like you cribbed that from some Python episode.

Cedarford said...

Since atheists and agnostics are 30% of the population, and of course much larger in the majority of other developed nations....I really would like to see one who proudly "came out" as such running for high office. It would upend an awful lot of conventions in politics - on how the best personal honesty and values in a candidate come with those that belive in God the most - or approach leadership with notions that America will take care of itself and all adversities be resolved because God/Jesus have uniquely blessed America.

Like to see someone stand on a debate platform and say "I doubt that because I doubt God exists" and see how the other candidates react. And if they prove unelectable..we have to ask why.

Agree with other commentors that Israel has the exact opposite problem regarding problems arising from secular vs. very religious jews. In Israel, the Orthodox, as well as some other religious groups, are the ones determined to litigate, stick their noses in everyones business. At the forefront of demanding that Israel take more land, expand Settlements to "redeem for Zion" what God gave them - but at the forefront as well of ducking military service and wanting secular jews who do not dreams of Eretz Yishrael fighting and dying for the religious people.
Obviously, this goes over as well as some secular jewish lawyers in NYC demanding that all Catholic and Jewish schools be banned from use of public schools sporting facilities and babs.

In America and in Europe...there is or historically was less resentment towards religious Jews that kept to themselves than the secularists that fell in love with bank scams, communism, violent revolution, litigating against other groups.

mccullough said...

Cedarford,

The problem with even an agnostic/atheist politician is they are likely to be a self-aggrandizing asshole. I suppose the hypocrisy might be less. Obama has not been religious and HW Bush and Reagan weren't religious (in the sense they displayed it or invoked Jesus). Carter, Clinton, and W. were all more prominently religious but not too obnoxiously so.

I don't like ideologues of any kind, religious ones included. They cause too many problems.

Fen said...

The problem with even an agnostic/atheist politician is -

The problem is that atheists simply worship something else. Things like the State or Climate Change or Socialism.

Or themselves. Better a god in heaven than a god-king on earth.

Robert Cook said...

"I still don't get why so many Atheists spend so much time and energy attacking something they don't believe in. It would be like if my "cause" in life was to get rid of horoscopes."

You might very well make it your cause in life to criticize horoscopes--or to want them kept out of public life--if much of our public discourse took them as true, if politicians shaped policy according to the readings of the stars, if schools taught children a version of science and if textbooks were written that took astrology as a basis for the origin and functioning of the universe, if you heard public figures excoriate those--like you--who scorned astrology as fantasy, if you were expected to participate in such goings on to greater or lesser degree, and so on.

Jim S. said...

Ironically, Krauss is a scientist pushing science and rationality, but the evidence for his argument isn't very sound.

Krauss is known for bad argumentation. See here, here, and here for sample rebuttals.

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...
You might very well make it your cause in life to criticize horoscopes...


This presumes a level of immaturity impossible for most people to contextualize.

carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carrie said...

I hope that all Catholics wake up and realize that they are part of the religious right and that they should be proud of it. The liberals use the term religious right as a slur to keep people from wanting to be associated with the group, and Catholics have been falling for that bit of spin and marketing for years and that has kept the Catholic vote mostly democratic. The Catholics and other mainstream religions should take ownership of that term and push the fringe religions that are now used to define that term out of everyone's minds. It's all spin and manipulation of voters.

Fen said...

Cook: ...if much of our public discourse took them as true, if politicians shaped policy according to the readings of the stars, if schools taught children a version of science and if textbooks were written that took astrology as a basis for the origin and functioning of the universe, if you heard public figures excoriate those--like you--who scorned astrology as fantasy, if you were expected to participate in such goings on to greater or lesser degree, and so on.

Are we talking about Socialism or Global Warming?

The Godfather said...

First, @Althouse, thanks for posting things like this, because it encourages intelligent comments by people who have a serious interest in religion (pro and con).

Second, in the popular culture, serious Christians often feel like the plain girl at the prom: We don't really care what the captain of the football team said, it's just that he said it to US! So, although I don't think I've ever seen Matthew McM in a movie or TV show, it was nice to have him give a shout-out to God.

hombre said...

Cedarford wants politicians to say, "'I doubt God exists' and [to] see how the other candidates react. And if they prove unelectable..we have to ask why?"

Maybe it would be because people are reluctant to put avowed moral relativists in positions of authority. I wonder why.

fizzymagic said...

I remember Krauss from when I was a graduate student back in the mid 80s. Everybody I knew (all particle physicists) thought he was a self-important blowhard. He has done nothing in his career since to change my opinion.

His conflation of religion with irrational superstition is entirely intentional. He is completely blind to the notion that his atheism might be similarly irrational, because he asserts (without evidence) that it's not.

harrogate said...

"Like to see someone stand on a debate platform and say 'I doubt that because I doubt God exists' and see how the other candidates react. And if they prove unelectable..we have to ask why."

You absolutely cannot say anything like that and win a high profile election in the US. Maybe some state senate election where a few thousand people vote--but even then, a statement like that would bury the candidate, most likely.

Because there is a war on religion in the US. or something.

hombre said...

@harrogate: Maybe it would be because people are reluctant to put avowed moral relativists in positions of authority. I wonder why.

Drago said...

harrogate: "Because there is a war on religion in the US. or something"

Says the "War on Women", "War on Hispanics", "War on African-Americans", "War on Science" crowd.

LOL

Zero. Self. Awareness.

But only zero.

The left has not dipped into negative numbers yet, but trust me, before this is over they will find a way.

Drago said...

fizzymagic: "because he asserts (without evidence) that it's not..."

Evidence is so yesterday and unnecessary.

Plus, it gets in the way of the state taking all power.

Bad juju.