GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Atheistic film reviews

with 2 comments

In our look at film review sites this week, let’s give some good-faith attention to the faithless at The Film Atheist.

“Hollywood flicks are overwhelmingly Christian,” says the site creator, who calls himself The Atheist, with no attempt to prove the point. “This site is as much a reaction to the fanatical religious groups as it is an advocate of the lack of belief.”Film strips, multi, 72dpi, 200 wide

The Atheist’s highest ratings go to the likes of The God Who Wasn’t There, a documentary by an ex-fundamentalist that questions the value of Christianity — including the claim that Jesus even existed. Another favorite is Inherit the Wind, the 1960 movie based on the Scopes evolution trial of 1927.

Other thumbs-up are Ingmar Bergman’s allegorical The Seventh Seal and the horror fantasy Village of the Damned. The Atheist seems to like the latter mostly because it upset the now-defunct Catholic League of Decency.

Although, like many atheists, the site creator states much of his premise in negative ways, he does have some concrete standards for judging films. Good films value thought and logic and self-reliance, assume that no deities exist, and promote a “positive view of pleasures of this world” (of course, what film these days doesn’t?).

Bad films are their negative image. They include, of course, Christian ones like King of Kings, The Passion of the Christ and the Left Behind movies. One puzzler: a low rating for Contact, Carl Sagan’s sci-fi story that finds agnostics on other worlds.

The Atheist is understandably disappointed in The Golden Compass, from Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. The books are overtly hostile to organized religion, but that theme is stripped from the movie version. Still, for the acting, the special effects, and the lesson of self-reliance, he gives it high marks.

Some of the reviews require patience, though. It’s more than the heavy sarcasm stirred into nearly every paragraph. It’s also the sheer length. A scornful dissection of The Exorcism of Emily Rose comes in at 925 words.

And with that remark, it may be best to end my review.


Written by Jim Davis

July 11, 2009 at 4:21 am

Posted in atheism, culture, film, films

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “The books are overtly hostile to organized religion,”

    What would you call ‘overtly hostile’?



    July 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    • Maybe “overtly hostile” was an overstatement. I haven’t read the books myself. I was basing my comment on those of The Atheist:

      Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) keeps its anti-religious sentiments vague when compared to C. S. Lewis’s blunt pro-Christian diatribe, but it’s hard to miss for anyone over the age of twelve (make that impossible to miss). Lyra and company are fighting The Church (with a capital T) and Asriel is seeking to bring down God himself. That’s as good as it gets, atheism-wise, in young-adult literature.



      July 12, 2009 at 4:06 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: