Brother Sam Singleton’s Atheist Revival: Video from Skepticon 4


Brother Sam Singleton. Easily one of the highlights of Skepticon 4. Okay, there were a whole lot of highlights of Skepticon 4, and over the next few days, I’m going to be saying “This was one of the highlights of Skepticon 4″ a lot. And I’m going to mean it every time. But I want to start here.

You know how a lot of atheists — myself included — keep yammering about how the atheist community needs to acknowledge the human needs that religion is fulfilling, and find ways to fill them ourselves? Brother Sam Singleton is one of the folks on the ground actually doing that. Whatever else you may say about them, Christian evangelist prayer meetings fill some real human needs and desires: the need and desire for ritual, for shared ecstatic experience, for inspired and inspiring oratory, for letting loose and going wild in a safe and loving place. In his atheist evangelist performances — and especially in his new “Revival” show, which he debuted at Skepticon 4 — Brother Sam provides all that… without all the bullshit about an invisible friend in the sky who loves you more than anyone and is going to totally fuck you up if you don’t love him back exactly the way he wants.

Mimicking/ mocking a Holy Roller church service — complete with singing, praise, testimony from the audience, the whole nine yards — this is a much more participatory show than his previous ones, and it’s even more wildly fun. It is a hoot and a holler… laced with serious ideas, wild humor, and invective that’s like a razor blade dipped in venom. If Brother Sam comes to your area, I urge you to drop everything and make room in your calendar to see him. Especially if he’s doing “Revival.” I would happily see this show again and again. Goddamn!

This, by the way, is the infamous performance that ticked off Gelato Mio owner Andy Drennen and sparked Gelatogate. So if you just want to know what all that fuss was about… well, this is it. Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Nina says

    I found the whole thing to be kind of annoying. Not for what he was saying – that part was good, unclean fun – but rather the format. Everything about it just rubbed me the wrong way. I know it was modeled after some sort of church services and I find those annoying in the same ways as well in addition to the inane content. Well, the little that I’ve seen in movies. Maybe that type of service is a uniquely American thing.

  2. Stonyground says

    What gets me about the offence that was taken by Ice cream man was the tribalist mentality that was involved. Atheist guy was lampooning revivalists who are a particularly silly expression of the Christian religion. Ice cream guy did not seem to be capable of stating that I am a Christian but these revivalist guys deserve to be ridiculed. His line appeared to be that they might be seriously damaging our cause by acting like idiots but as Christians they are on our side, no matter what.

    As an atheist, I have a problem with accomodationists. I think that they are wrong and very misguided, but they are atheists. So if I saw someone doing a presentation that criticised the accomodationists I would probably agree with most of it. If there were parts that I disagreed with I would go away and think about that. What I definately would not do is start banning people from my shop.

  3. Jay says

    I love Sam Singleton in a ragingly platonic* way.

    *I guess even that’s optional. He’s a damn handsome bastard.

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