PBS.ORG recently aired a 3-part infomercial on the virtues of the religion of atheism, which the producer calls “disbelief” because:
“I’m reluctant to use the word atheist to describe my disbelief, giving that conviction a special title which dignifies that which I deny… This series is a tribute to those who’ve won the right to stand up and be counted.”
He declares all this with the snobbish disdain of the English Gentry (hey, I can do that too). Without the pretentious airs and refined English accents, A Brief History of Disbelief is little more than another profane infomercial from “the Colonies”. (Does he snort Snuff?) In the spirit of such low-budget, late-night dramas, he surrounds himself with a self-congratulating, adoring cast noticeably absent of skeptics or naysayers. He then presumes to speak for Christianity, then dismantles his depictions with the erudite ease of a superior intellect. Ironically, he censures Christianity for censorship while he censors all Christian response.
He launched this series in response to 9/11, a tragedy which depicts “the danger inherently present in the world’s three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” he claims. But then he launches a three-hour diatribe exclusively against Christianity. How very droll, I daresay! How did we get here again? 9/11 suicide bombers and Christianity…? It is an odd connection.
Most disingenuous however is the oft-repeated theme of suppression and persecution of free-thinking skeptics and atheists through the ages by Christianity. It would all be palatable (I am, after all, no defender of the Roman empire nor its religious legacy), except that he neatly dances around the long and barbarous history of persecution by atheists.
Of the French Revolution, not only does he omit to mention the stunning number of tens of thousands beheaded in the name of “the goddess of (pure) reason,” he simply waves it away as “a movement not strictly atheist, of course.” But…but…it was very strictly speaking an atheist revolt against all churches! And the thousands of burned churches–Protestant, Catholic, it didn’t matter–their famous “goddess of reason,” its glorious temple, and its many proclamations leaves no question about the atheist leadership and humanist glory of the French Revolution.
Yet he goes on ad infinitum about the 20 atheists executed by the Church of England at around the same time.
Of the millions of Christians massacred last century by atheists, he merely mentioned that it happened, as a statement of fact, and quickly scampers on.
This is why “infomercial” is not an unfair label: it is a pretentious rewrite of history strictly favoring a narrow, biased view with a cast of same-minded intelligentsia pretending to question and learn from each other (with the same infomercial-staged sense of wonder and amazement as they preen each other).
This is how I ended up buying the “Magic Bullet” now sitting idle in my kitchen!
His entire thesis from the outset and oft-repeated is the terrible bloodshed to be expected from Christianity, but in truth (forsooth!) atheism produced savagery of a scale unparalleled in the long history of “religious dogmatism” he disdains.
There is perhaps a more even-minded interpretation of that history: persecution and suppression seems to follow humans, no matter who’s in charge. But such fair-mindedness would bite the hand that feeds him, because the infomercial sponsor was the “Humanist Foundation.”
I do wonder if PBS.org will give Christians an opportunity to air a Christian infomercial?
You can watch the infomercial online and see what I mean.
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