“€˜Hug an Atheist”€™ film tries to put a human face on unbelief

Sep 16, 2013

Few outside the atheist community — and even many inside it — would argue that atheism has an image problem.


Every challenge to the First Amendment seems to bring to the airwaves some version of an angry atheist versus a sputtering religious pundit. Cooler, calmer heads seldom make an appearance.

Now, a new feature-length documentary from a first-time filmmaker hopes to put a more human, middle-of-the-road face on American atheism. Called “Hug an Atheist,” the film will make its debut Saturday (Sept. 14) at the fifth annual San Francisco Atheist Film Festival before seeking wider distribution at other film festivals and on television.

The 90-minute film is the project of Sylvia Broeckx, a 35-year-old Belgian who lives in England and has been an atheist and humanist since her teens. She became interested in America’s perception of nonbelievers when some American friends and fellow atheists shared their own stories of feeling marginalized.

“I always assumed America was founded on freedom of religion and was very much like Europe where if you are an atheist it is no big deal,” she said. “When I discovered that in America being an atheist could be a big problem, that was really a shock to me.”

Written By: Kimberly Winston
continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

0 comments on ““€˜Hug an Atheist”€™ film tries to put a human face on unbelief

  • 1
    Mr DArcy says:

    As a life long non-believer in gods or a God, I never had any problem whilst living in the USA for 3.5 years. There again, I was living in San Francisco and not in Hicksville. The locals appeared more interested in my star sign than in my non-religion ! I always lied about my star sign just to see what nonsense they would make up about my character !



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  • 2
    Zeuglodon says:

    This was actually quite nice, despite the “Tastes Like Diabetes” title (Hug an atheist? Really?). Atheists are just ordinary people. That’s a good message to tell people, and the fact that it was done without “compulsory” religion-bashing I think is to its credit.



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  • In reply to #1 by Mr DArcy:

    As a life long non-believer in gods or a God, I never had any problem whilst living in the USA for 3.5 years. There again, I was living in San Francisco and not in Hicksville. The locals appeared more interested in my star sign than in my non-religion ! I always lied about my star sign just to se…

    You can also respond to those enquiring about your star sign, by asking them what star sign they think you may be. They have a one in twelve chance of being right. Interesting to watch them try to rationalise their choice.



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  • 5
    Mr DArcy says:

    Nitya:

    You can also respond to those enquiring about your star sign, by asking them what star sign they think you may be. They have a one in twelve chance of being right. Interesting to watch them try to rationalise their choice.

    Nitya, you have more insight than me. Your approach is far more subtle than mine. I feel in my bone of bones that you must be a Pisces ?



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  • Not believing in fairies and their superstitious ilk does not make me a member of any group. So, as for being an ‘atheist’, I have nothing to say.



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  • “Few outside the atheist community — and even many inside it — would dispute that atheism has an image problem.”

    There… fixed; I’m pretty sure that’s what the author meant.

    Steve



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  • 8
    Stuart M. says:

    Here in Japan, a lot of stock is put into what your blood type is. As a teacher, I constantly get asked what my blood type is. Apparently, there is a belief that it says something about your personality. I too started answering, “Well, you know my personality, you tell me what it is.”



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  • 10
    Christiana Magdalene Moodley says:

    Thank you, but no, I prefer my hugs without an agenda or condescension.

    Unbelief HAS a human face and , I might add, a humane disposition as well. Personally,when it comes to the American holier than thou attitude toward atheists I have to say, like Rhett Butler did in ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’

    This does not mean that I am sneering at Sylvia Broeckx.On the contrary, just sneering at people who have the effrontery to treat atheists in such a manner that such films are necessary.



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  • This reminds me a strategy I used in the early days of gay lib. Any time I did a lecture, I tried to take as big a team with me as I could. My think thinking was, the bigger the team, the more stereotype busting we will do. We don’t all have to be appealing or articulate.



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