Copyright change for The Atheist Experience

Hi everyone,

Last month I posted about some concerns over the duplication of episodes of The Atheist Experience. As I mentioned in that post, up until now we have been using the license Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0. This has effectively allowed various channels on YouTube to become unofficial hosts of new shows, in their entirety, every week.

After extensive discussions among the board of directors at the Atheist Community of Austin, we will be changing the copyright terms going forward. Past shows remain under the Creative Commons license and may be reproduced in full, as long as the license terms are posted, and there is a prominent link to the show’s website. However, new episodes of The Atheist Experience, beginning with the episode on 12/15/2013, are posted as “All Rights Reserved” and may not be reproduced in full without permission.

Having said that, we’ve always appreciated fans posting their favorite clips on YouTube, and we’d like to give as broad permission as possible for that kind of activity to continue. So to make this clear:

The Atheist Experience hereby grants permission to copy clips, up to ten minutes in length, for non-commercial purposes only. Up to two clips per episode may be copied on any one channel.

If you’d like to copy a longer clip, or more clips from one episode, all you have to do is write to [email protected] and ask for permission. We’ll probably say yes. It’s that simple!

Thanks.

Fair representation of competing doctrines

So we got email taking us to task for an argument made on the show. I am copying it with some minor edits.

I am a Christian who has been listening to your program for about a year now.  On the whole, I enjoy your programs but I have a problem with you on this issue outlined below.

I have heard you say that in Christianity a person can do ANYTHING they want – steal, rape, torture, murder – and still get in Heaven on a last minute Death-bed confession, and that Salvation is based ENTIRELY on Faith, IRRELEVANT of actions or deeds.

I am sorry but this is absolutey UNTRUE.

(Continued below)

[Read more...]

Open thread on AETV #843: Russell and Tracie

Thanks to Greg and Chip for the reminder to discuss “The Polar Express” today. I’d like to talk a little about the film’s handling of the Problem of Evil, using Santa as analogous to god, and using the character of Billy to represent the underprivileged of the world, and one of the unbelievers. The song “When Christmas Comes to Town,” describes Billy’s short life without any visit from Santa to his poor home, ever, and contrasts that against the message of a young, well groomed girl, who sings about all her happy Christmas memories. The song is sung as a contrasting duet. Here are the lyrics:

Billy:
I’m wishing on a star, and trying to believe
That even though it’s far, he’ll find me Christmas Eve
I guess that Santa’s busy, cause he’s never come around.
I think of him when Christmas comes to town.

Girl:
The best time of the year, when everyone comes home.
With all this Christmas cheer, it’s hard to be alone.
Putting up the Christmas tree, with friends who come around.
It’s so much fun when Christmas comes to town.

Presents for the children, wrapped in red and green.

Billy:
All the things I’ve heard about, but never really seen.

Billy & Girl together:
No one will be sleeping on the night of Christmas Eve.
Hoping Santa’s on his way.

Girl:
When Santa’s sleigh bells ring.

Billy:
I listen all around.

Girl:
The herald angels sing.

Billy:
I never hear a sound.

Girl:
And all the dreams of children.

Billy:
Once lost will all be found.

Girl:
That’s all I want when Christmas comes to town.

Billy and Girl together:
That’s all I want when Christmas comes to town.

After a visit to Santa’s magical world at the North Pole, Billy becomes a believer, and upon his return home finds that Santa has visited his home and left something. However, Billy is never provided with any explanation from Santa about why Santa favors the well-off children in his town, and seems to be years behind schedule visiting the more economically challenged households.

Billy is presented as a timid, shy, and humble personality. And so there is no reason provided to think that Billy has landed on the “naughty” list. And at such a young age, it can hardly be the case that Billy could be held to account  for not believing at times in his life when belief was not even possible, due to his cognitive development (at say ages 0 – 4 or so). Where was Santa then? How is his absence explained? How is Billy responsible for those missing Santa years and visits?

I personally think the story would have been better off eliminating the character of Billy. By including that child, the film presented a glaring error in the character of Santa, and also the narrative of rewarding good children annually with gifts, all over the world. Santa appears to be guilty of discriminating due to economic disadvantage, and no viable explanation is provided. Additionally, the blame is placed up on Billy in some respects for not accepting the narrative, when his brief life experience up to this point indicates that narrative is faulty. And that, also, is never corrected nor explained. If the film is going to present the problem, and reconcile that to Santa’s goodness, it should at least attempt to supply an answer or explanation. Presenting the problem and providing no justification for Santa’s negligence leaves the viewer hanging. Why even ask, if the goal is to explain Santa is good, and then leave no satisfying answer, except that Santa seems to think it’s correct to neglect Billy for the crime of being born poor–until Billy proves he’s worthy, by believing at an older age. Alternately, the Girl appears to have every advantage and not to have been overlooked in her earlier years in a far more prosperous home. She has also been provided, by Santa, every reason to believe in him. It’s an unfair contest on every level.

Anyway, that and calls.