How do you feel about billboards constructed by atheists that openly attack faith? I'm in support of any message that encourages people to explore beliefs — or unbeliefs, as the case may be — but not at the sake of attacking what others practice. What are your thoughts?Read More »
In this edition of Ask an Atheist, a reader asks about free will, ethical grounding, suffering and the Ring of Gyges. Jim Downard responds with brief, but thoughtful, answers.Read More »
Writer Jim Downard responds to the first question from our "Ask An Atheist" feature. A reader asks, "What's the difference between an atheist and a new atheist?"Read More »
Herewith is part three of my secular/atheist reaction to The Bible series on the History Channel. Knowing of the reality series roots of Mark Burnett, the product he and his wife produced is threatening to become a theological version of The Biggest Loser: trimming line by line all manner of inconvenient Bible text (from Genesis to Judges) to leave the leaner, tidier finished product beaming at the end.Read More »
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s miniseries “The Bible” on the History Channel sparked some deserved head scratching on this site and elsewhere as to how many liberties with a source text are OK in a dramatization. This is serious enough when it comes to secular history (recall the Connecticut Senator who bristled at how his state’s delegation was incorrectly depicted in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”) but takes on added gravitas when the source text is held by millions to be holy writ.
The issue becomes more interesting if a dramatist’s liberties with the text err on the side of rationalization: leaving things out which if included might cause viewers to see the story in a very different way.Read More »
The headline for this post is the same as the title of a March 1 article in the the Wall Street Journal, by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, producers of the new History Channel miniseries "The Bible". Roma (who starred in the reverential "Touched By an Angel" series some years back) and her husband Burnett (successful producer of reality shows like "Survivor" and "The Apprentice") have definitely got a mission, feeling America’s children are getting a raw deal by our present educational establishment: “It’s time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization.”Read More »