Why Do We Portray Atheists As Broken Believers?

Sep 20, 2018

By Mickey Desruisseaux

September means the return of school, football and twangy Green Day singles. It’s also the month when television networks dish out new shows hoping to make a connection with audiences for the long run. One of the fall’s newcomers is CBS’s dramedy “God Friended Me,” the premise of which is exactly what the title suggests. An aggressively atheistic podcaster named Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) accepts a friend request on Facebook from the big guy upstairs.

‘God’ starts suggesting more friends for doubtful Miles to add, whom he starts running into almost immediately afterward in real life. Each of them has problems that Miles seems uniquely attuned to solving, and each, in turn, seems to possess a quality that can teach Miles something about the world around him. But while the schmaltzy premise is surprisingly well-executed, the pilot episode ends up reinforcing a paradigm in which belief is viewed as the norm, disbelief as an aberration and atheists as errant members of the flock waiting for a shepherd to guide them home.

It turns out that, as the son of a pastor, Miles was a devout child until his mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. He prayed endlessly for God to cure her, only for her to die in a car accident after making a miraculous full recovery. The tragedy shattered Miles’ faith and his relationship with his father, pushing him into becoming the oh-so-sour atheist he is today. I nearly chucked my laptop across the room, before remembering that in the real world, exaggerated displays of exasperation are pretty expensive.

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5 comments on “Why Do We Portray Atheists As Broken Believers?

  • @OP – He prayed endlessly for God to cure her,

    . . . and in a fictional story the faith thinkers attributed this to wish-thinking prayer supposedly having material outcomes in the real world!

    only for her to die in a car accident after making a miraculous full recovery

    . . . and in fairy stories, miracles happen!

    But then when reality kicks in, even the indoctrinated can realise that the delusion – is just a delusion – being promoted by delusionists!

    The tragedy shattered Miles’ faith and his relationship with his father,

    Yep! Spotting the ineffectual nature of imaginary father-figure friends as minds mature, does give some people a break from indoctrinated mind-slavery! No “tragedy” at all in that mental liberation!

    pushing him into becoming the oh-so-sour atheist he is today.

    Don’t happy-clappy faith-head fundamentalists, love that propagandist “sour atheist” mantra, as a description of a balanced mature approach to life!

    the pilot episode ends up reinforcing a paradigm in which belief is viewed as the norm, disbelief as an aberration

    From those immersed in indoctrinated communities, the last thing the religious leaders would want, is for the recently de-blinkered and empowered one-eyed-man, to become atheist king in the kingdom of the blind!

    and atheists as errant members of the flock waiting for a shepherd to guide them home.

    Indoctrinated sheep, who have been kept away from learning evidence-based, free-thinking, life navigation skills, have no concept of finding their own way through life without a real or imaginary shepherd! – Hence they believe everyone else shares their mental disabilities, and is equally dependent on priests for guidance!!
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  • in which belief is viewed as the norm, disbelief as an aberration and atheists as errant members of the flock waiting for a shepherd to guide them home.

    Of course it’s amazing how seldom if you actually put your problems with their religion to them how seldom they are willing to use the opportunity to try to actually bring you back to the faith.

    I was joking around with a christian workmate who didn’t understand that what I meant by the term atheist. I explained I wasn’t asserting there was positively no god I was just unaffiliated as I had no good evidence. I exclaimed “Soul here for the taking convince me!” I got a laugh but no attempt at actually convincing me. I pressed on talking about the Prodigal son “Look I’m the prodigal son, ready to be welcomed back into the arms of a loving god just need convincing”, another laugh but no response I discussed the Shepard leaving his flock to save one one lost sheep and coming home celebrating having found it (I assume the rest of the flock was taken by wild animals – I also assume they were eating lamb at the feast) again as I loudly proclaimed my need to be saved none of the Christians took the opportunity. “Look I finally said, you are going to get to the pearly gates and God is going to want to know why you didn’t bend over backwards to save me” again a laugh but no attempt to convince me. I think they know me too well 😉
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  • Reckless Monkey #3
    Sep 24, 2018 at 4:19 am

    Of course it’s amazing how seldom if you actually put your problems with their religion to them
    how seldom they are willing to use the opportunity
    to try to actually bring you back to the faith.

    I think you are probably talking about the more “cultural” type of Christians who have been “infected” with real knowledge and real education.

    The evangelicals are heavily into “marching as Christian soldiers, spreading THE WORD”!

    If you take a couple of minutes to watch a televangelist, – they often show off herds of thousands of sheeples, watching some delusionist – wandering around a stage, babbling incoherent ramblings (with two or three “god assertions” per minute), interspersed with bible quotes.

    These people need constant reinforcement to sustain their confused views!

    Converting others, – or the illusion of converting others, acts as a prop!

    However, in well educated countries, they are in steadily shrinking minorities, but tend to close ranks to give their isolated followers the impression of greater numbers and influence than they actually have!
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  • Hi Alan,

    I’ve known a few of these too and they try it once or twice and then find it too uncomfortable after that. My father in law is an evangelical minister (retired now does some filling in occasionally) he has tried twice to have a serious chat I willingly engaged but brought up things he could not answer satisfactorily and he hasn’t tried since now my soul is on the line, my wife who was a christian when I married her and without me pushing at all but answering questions she couldn’t answer and then begging Christians she knew to give answers and was roundly rejected has now left all faith behind her, her relationship with her parents has cooled somewhat compared to what it was when she was a believer.

    And yet I know her father and the friends who rejected her would even now likely run into a burning building to try to save her life, but they won’t lift a finger to save her from an enteral fire they claim to believe awaits her. I think their level of belief is really no-where near as strong as they claim.

    cheers
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