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Posted: 24 October 2006 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Posted: 24 October 2006 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I can just see the reaction from O’Reilly, Scarborough, and Tucker Carlson now…  “We’re used to the liberal Hollywood’ers whining and propogating their nonsense, but now THIS?  Today my 12-year old son came up and asked me, ‘Daddy, what’s an aphiest?’... I nearly cried.”

Seriously though, the media does a wonderful job of “framing” movies that might have an ideological bent so that the public maintains the necessary level of ambivalence, ignorance and delusion that keeps our society cohesive and our economy strong!  Did Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 really change anything, even with the shocking and strong messages they contained?

That being said, I completely support any effort to move forward with a pro-atheist script!  I’m just skeptical as to whether it would make a significant impact…

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Posted: 25 October 2006 01:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Agreed with HolyAvenger, in the sense that such a film is extremely unlikely to be made, and if it were made, wouldn’t have much impact.

It might be a good idea for someone to pursue, but clearly it could be done very well or very poorly. Personally I don’t have much confidence that Hollywood would construct the film we all might hope to see. (And there are very few people who could do a good job with it).

I think something much better, and longer term, is to press for better and more sympathetic portrayals of atheists in normal films and TV shows. Just as other minorities have been aided, e.g., by the Cosby Show or Queer Eye, it would be nice to have shows with people who were explicitly atheist, but done in a way that they were normal people, not simply ‘pro-atheist activists’ or the like.

The point of that would be to make atheism less scary and unfamiliar to people who have never been acquainted with it; to show that atheists are normal people, ethical people, not crazy murderers and rapists. Then that opens up a potential space for people to realize that there is a very normal, rational alternative to being knee-jerk religious.

I think that’s the better tack, rather than doing a high-volume “religion is nonsense” film. That would just invite attack in the media and likely create heat without much light. It would also probably only end up preaching to the choir ...

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Posted: 25 October 2006 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Posted: 09 November 2006 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Quote:
Did Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 really change anything, even with the shocking and strong messages they contained?


I guess you’re right, HolyAvenger. Let’s wait and see how Jesus Camp will do. I’ve always liked this quote by Oscar Wilde where he says “As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.” I think the same needs to be done with religion. And Jesus Camp might do just that: to impose religious dogma on little kids is indeed vulgar and disgusting.

Maybe Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 haven’t changed much but Jesus Camp seems to have had an impact: the camp has closed down!  

The summer camp “Kids on Fire” where children would tearfully beg God to end abortion and bless President Bush, will shut down for at least several years after a documentary about the camp.

The film, showing young evangelical children steeling themselves for spiritual and political warfare, includes scenes with pastor Ted Haggard, the evangelical leader accused of gay sex and drug use.

In one scene, Haggard tells the audience, “We don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible.”

Titled “Jesus Camp,” the documentary sparked a negative reaction, said the camp’s director.

“Right now we’re just not a safe ministry,” Becky Fischer, the fiery Pentecostal pastor featured in “Jesus Camp,” said Tuesday.

The pastor, who has been accused of “brainwashing” the children, said she’s shutting down the camp for at least several years.

Up to 100 children visited the camp each year. [1]

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Posted: 09 November 2006 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well, just goes to show, sometimes shining a little light on a subject can fix things.

Thanks for the update.

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Posted: 10 November 2006 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Actually, the full reason the camp is shutting down is due to recent acts of vandalism against the campgrounds, supposedly fueled by the documentary.  I can’t help but think this validates their self-righteous claims that they are a persecuted minority.  I hope they catch whoever did the cowardly acts.

I went to a Southern Baptist elementary school and years later was saddened to hear that someone had committed arson, damaging thousands of dollars of school property.  As much as I hated that place for indoctrinating kids with ‘values’, I feel they have every right to organize as they wish and feel safe (not safe from idealogical debate or criticism of course). 

So while I’m glad that camp shut down, I wish it were in better circumstances.

Now, Haggard is a case where I don’t mind feeling a little schadenfreude!

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Posted: 11 November 2006 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Posted: 11 November 2006 07:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Here’s an article I found about it.

http//www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4321426.html

Yes, I would close Auschwitz.  But I’d spend more on efforts ‘closing’ Darfur than Jesus Camps right now.

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Posted: 12 November 2006 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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They didn’t really explain what the vandalism was, and I’d like to know more. Was this really wanton destruction, or something more minimal?

Also, the article didn’t say that the camp was shut down only because of vandalism:

Organizers of an evangelical summer camp for children featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp” are discontinuing the camp because of negative reaction sparked by the film and recent vandalism at the camp site in Devils Lake, N. D.

“We have decided to hold different activities in future,” Pentecostal pastor and camp organizer Becky Fischer said.

<snip>

In the months since the film was released, the campground was vandalized and Fischer was inundated with negative e-mails and phone calls.

So it was also due to “negative reaction” from the community.

That said, let’s not go about comparing this to Auschwitz, please. Auschwitz it ain’t.

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Posted: 03 December 2006 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Agreed with HolyAvenger, in the sense that such a film is extremely unlikely to be made, and if it were made, wouldn’t have much impact.

It might be a good idea for someone to pursue, but clearly it could be done very well or very poorly. Personally I don’t have much confidence that Hollywood would construct the film we all might hope to see. (And there are very few people who could do a good job with it).

I think something much better, and longer term, is to press for better and more sympathetic portrayals of atheists in normal films and TV shows. Just as other minorities have been aided, e.g., by the Cosby Show or Queer Eye, it would be nice to have shows with people who were explicitly atheist, but done in a way that they were normal people, not simply ‘pro-atheist activists’ or the like.

The point of that would be to make atheism less scary and unfamiliar to people who have never been acquainted with it; to show that atheists are normal people, ethical people, not crazy murderers and rapists. Then that opens up a potential space for people to realize that there is a very normal, rational alternative to being knee-jerk religious.

I think that’s the better tack, rather than doing a high-volume “religion is nonsense” film. That would just invite attack in the media and likely create heat without much light. It would also probably only end up preaching to the choir ...

Yeah, I agree on that completely.

You know, you might actually be able to do something like that… you know, get a few atheists, someone who knows how to direct, a good camera, and put it on the web as one of those newfangled “webisodes.” Or, you could try running a flash cartoon or webcomic or something like that. Depending on how you did it, you wouldn’t need anything near the $50 million it takes to make a Hollywood movie, and if it’s funny enough, it could eventually get to be another occult ‘Net hit like Penny Arcade or something.

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Posted: 03 December 2006 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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[quote author=“SeculiTerminus”]You know, you might actually be able to do something like that… you know, get a few atheists, someone who knows how to direct, a good camera, and put it on the web as one of those newfangled “webisodes.” Or, you could try running a flash cartoon or webcomic or something like that. Depending on how you did it, you wouldn’t need anything near the $50 million it takes to make a Hollywood movie, and if it’s funny enough, it could eventually get to be another occult ‘Net hit like Penny Arcade or something.

Well, who’s up for it?

:D

I ain’t the guy, but I’ll bet there are some drama types around who could do a good job with it ...

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Posted: 03 December 2006 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Agreed with HolyAvenger, in the sense that such a film is extremely unlikely to be made, and if it were made, wouldn’t have much impact.

I think this has been recently demonstrated.  A movie called “Heart of the Beholder” was billed as a purely atheist movie.  The production company couldn’t get funding and sent requests for donations to various atheist organizations.  I understand it was finally filmed and was released only on DVD, although they may have been able to get it in some theaters.  The company’s site for this movie is http://www.beholder.com.  All the content is Flash, so I can’t see if they’ve got any information about the movie.

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Posted: 04 December 2006 12:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Well, good luck to them ... part of the problem with this sort of film (backed up by the flash trailer) is that it comes across a bit as proselytizing for atheism. It’s hard to do this sort of thing well, where atheists come across as humany sympathetic rather than just caricatures of good vs. evil.

(You may also want to fix the URL; put a space between the end of it and the “.”).

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Posted: 05 December 2006 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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For what it’s worth, I’ve got the cameras, editing equipment, and directing and shooting ability.  (You can see some of my TV commercial work on my website, which is in my profile.)  But what you really need is a story.  And the risk of coming up with something preachy and dull is great.

Most of the movies that I’ve liked that have had to do with religion have been more ambiguous.  Is “Dead Man Walking” for or against religion?  The hero is a nun, but she endures a lot of hate from fellow Christians because she befriends a murderer who is on death row.

Remember “The Apostle” with Robert Duvall?  He’s a grandstanding religious hypocrite who clobbers a guy with a baseball bat, but he also defends a black church from bigots who want to burn it down.  (Forgive me if I don’t have the details exactly right—it’s been a while since I’ve seen either of these films.)

So in a narrative film that takes on religion directly I think that the most you’re likely to get is a few good points, or maybe a sympathetic character who happens to be a skeptic.

On a separate, but related matter:

I’ve been planning to create a new thread about this, and I still will if that’s OK, but here are the basics.  I’m starting work on a documentary film about people who have made a break with some of the more extreme forms of religion.

I’d like for the finished show to tell (through interviews) the stories of five to ten people from a variety of backgrounds and show what they gave up as well as what they gained by making their escapes.

So if you frequent these forums and think you might have a story to tell about leaving fundamentalism, feel free to contact me.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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[quote author=“Yonts”]I’ve been planning to create a new thread about this, and I still will if that’s OK, but here are the basics.  I’m starting work on a documentary film about people who have made a break with some of the more extreme forms of religion.

I’d like for the finished show to tell (through interviews) the stories of five to ten people from a variety of backgrounds and show what they gave up as well as what they gained by making their escapes.

That sounds like an excellent idea, Yonts!

Sort of like the Apple “switch” commercials?

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