Zealotry really revs my engine

Today was “Secular Solidarity Day” on UK’s campus, a holiday honoring the 0.1% of the university that actually consists of free thinkers. Coincidentally, I just learned a little bit about the literary basis of the new children’s movie The Golden Compass, which is based on the novel of the same name by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is apparently an avid atheist himself, and his His Dark Materials trilogy has some intruiging parallels (almost certainly intentional) with John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Several Christian groups, including 70,000 mindless Facebookers, are proclaiming the movie as part of an “undeground atheist agenda.” I say give the damn atheists a few decades to have an agenda; Christians have been doing it for over a millenium! And God bless our children if they can figure out that a little girl journeying to the North Pole to save her friends from certain
death is an allegory for the atheist’s struggle against organized religion. My God it’s a miracle; America’s average IQ just jumped 30 points!

Who needs Teach for America when Hollywood can teach our children all they need to know about allegory?

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6 Comments

  1. Actually, I think stories ought to worry the Bible-bangers more than rational attempts to put the smackdown on religion.

    I think human minds work more naturally with stories. The hardware in our head is wired to understand human motivations and actions, and moreover, to ascribe agency to physical phenomena.

    There is a good book called “Religion Explained’ that pretty well accounts for why religion is likely to persist- we are just wired to be on the alert for intelligence (like other people and lions), and there is a far greater penalty for ignoring real beings that constitute potential threats than there is for inventing intelligent agents that don’t exist.

    Anyone who wants to persuade people, even of strictly secular and rational subjects, would do well to make up compelling stories and myths about it. Myths seem to resonate, even with stupid people. I think it might be built in, whereas mathematics and chemistry are clearly not.

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  2. I WILL say I’m more interested in seeing Golden Compass now that there’s an anti-atheism Facebook group dedicated to the movie. Gotta support fellow nonbelievers, I guess?

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