The Unbelievers – A feature film about atheism
Yesterday I stumbled across the trailer for The Unbelievers a new feature film about atheism. I watched the trailer and it looks like a really well put together movie. I’m looking forward to watching the movie.
However, from the few snippets included in the trailer, I am concerned that it may miss the mark. The movie seems to be about promoting atheism and science as informed and intelligent as opposed to religion which is ‘not wonderful, or beautiful and gets in the way’.
One of my concerns with this theme is their definition of ‘religion’. It appears Dawkins and Krauss place ‘religion’ as the opposite of atheism (which they equate with science). In a previous post, I showed that religion is not the opposite of atheism. Atheism is in fact the foundation for many religious systems. The classic example is Buddhism, which is an atheistic religion. In this movie it seems that Dawkins and Krauss are promoting scientism. the belief that science can answer all our questions, which ironically could be regarded as a form of religious belief.
Further atheism appears equated with science. Yet, this is a confusion of categories. Science is a method for uncovering and determining the secrets of the natural world. Atheism is a position which does not accept the existence of God. The problem with the equivalence of science with atheism is that atheism doesn’t necessarily follow well-conducted science. This is often asserted, but not demonstrated by atheists like Dawkins. If any atheists can help me with this, it would be much appreciated. The key difficulty with this equivalence is that theists can do science equally as well as atheists. In fact, it was a theistic worldview (specifically the Christian world-view) which paved the way for the scientific method in the first place. Hence the equivalence of science and atheism may by populist, but it’s not philosophically true.
One of the odd things about the movie is that I completely agree with some of the major themes. When Ricky Gervais says, ‘facts should change your beliefs’, I endorse this wholeheartedly. When they claim that these ‘unbelievers’ give you permission to question everything, I agree again. In fact it is precisely as a result of this method of evidence based questioning that I am a Christian believer. But maybe more of that later.
So, I’m looking forward to the release of the movie ‘The Unbelievers’ and I hope it will stimulate very worthwhile conversation.