Comments

  1. Lamont Cranston says

    Regarding the segment with Rob in Georgia, I think Dr. Darrel Ray and Matt did an exceptional job dealing with that call.

    Does any one else watch “The Good Doctor” (Season 2, Episode 9, “Empathy”)?

    There are people in this world who struggle to deal with things that few of us could even imagine.

    Lamont Cranston

  2. Murat says

    @Lamont
    I agree. Putting up a struggle against something rare takes more courage and stamina than dealing only with daily life. The caller seemed to be doing a good job resisting malevolence. But honestly, I need to listen to the whole thing once more before commenting further. I’m not sure if his very own accounts confirmed he never acted on this, or if the hosts took it that way.
    Throughout the episode, I found some of Matt’s remarks questionable. Also for those, I need a re-watch before opposing. But saying “Sex and drugs are cool” did not resonate with me at all. Sex is cool, for sure. I believe Matt should have known better than to conflate the consequences of an active sex life and drug use, because the latter shows up as an epidemic. He had no way of knowing the caller would not, consciously or subconsciously, take this as a confirmation of addictive behavior on that side. Yes, sex can cause addiction as well but it doesn’t alter your metabolism in an unreturnable way like drugs can.
    I just happen to think that such remarks by the hosts may be read into the notion that atheism brings with a certain kind of lifestyle. It does not, at least not necessarily, but this kind of public image is common with zealots. So it felt like Matt was feeding the monster by saying that.

  3. says

    why do i get the impression that luciano has hanging at home a rather large corkboard covered in layers of scribbled-over cut-outs from newsmags and pop-science books, with key phrases and numbers underlined and highlighted in primary colors, all held together with pushpins, rubberbands and string … ?

  4. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    I also agree that Matt and Dr. Ray handled Rob well. That call went down an unexpected path in a very short amount of time so good on them staying focused and showing genuine care for Rob’s mental health. Luciano’s call at the end was really annoying IMO. Dude’s been waiting all show to get on, finally does and with limited time left he meanders through his points and won’t directly answer the questions. Maybe it’s just the New Yorker in me coming out but the nuttier AXP callers all seem to lack a sense of urgency. Just get on with it!
    @Murat #2

    I found some of Matt’s remarks questionable.

    I missed the “sex and drugs” remark but his little jab at Steve McRae around minute 53 got under my skin. Matt has Steve blocked on Twitter and seems to be against having an interaction with him, so why call him out when he can’t respond and you have no desire to hear him out? Seemed a little underhanded to me IMO. Just my 2 cents.

  5. PETER CUSHNIE says

    I think Matt’s “I love sex and drugs” remark was inappropriate and far TMI. I have to wonder if his manners on the show are indicative of his manners off camera.

  6. PETER CUSHNIE says

    I have to confess that, before caller Rob, I never thought about it must be like to be a none-practicing pedophiliac. Will the ACA extend its umbrella even further?

  7. PETER CUSHNIE says

    Veganism. The subject I love to hate and caller Christian was everything I hate about it.

  8. mdavid says

    @Peter Cushnie. Why was it inappropriate for Matt to bring up sex and drugs, especially since Darrel Ray who specializes in sex therapy, was on the show?

    Also, whether or not the ACA extends its umbrella even further, would there be anything wrong if it did? The ACA seems to believe that everyone who needs treatment for mental illness should properly receive it.

  9. Murat says

    @mdavid
    It ain’t about bringing up. The caller did that. What Matt said in return was the issue.

  10. PETER CUSHNIE says

    mdavid @ 8:

    Matt’s throw-away remark was not in keeping with constructive conversation, but was stupid and vulgar. He also likes to bring up masturbation quite a bit, which I think he finds titlllating. I’m beginning to think he’s just crude.

    I did not say there was anything wrong with the ACA extending its umbrella to include pedophiles. Just wondering aloud. It’s a matter of supernatural indifference to me how much irrelevancy the ACA gets involved in. I’m not a member. Just an observer.

  11. mdavid says

    @Murat

    You said this in one of your posts, “But saying “Sex and drugs are cool” did not resonate with me at all. Sex is cool, for sure. I believe Matt should have known better than to conflate the consequences of an active sex life and drug use, because the latter shows up as an epidemic. He had no way of knowing the caller would not, consciously or subconsciously, take this as a confirmation of addictive behavior on that side. Yes, sex can cause addiction as well but it doesn’t alter your metabolism in an unreturnable way like drugs can.
    I just happen to think that such remarks by the hosts may be read into the notion that atheism brings with a certain kind of lifestyle. It does not, at least not necessarily, but this kind of public image is common with zealots. So it felt like Matt was feeding the monster by saying that.”

    I think that you are reading into Matt’s comment way more than was actually said. Saying that drug use shows up as an epidemic is a gross oversimplification, especially as there are a wide variety of drugs that do not lead to dependency.

    The caller did not indicate that they were having substance abuse matters in any way and so Matt’s comments would not be any confirmation of dependency behavior.

    If you look at the most recent DSM for psychiatry, there is no such thing as “sex addiction,” this is because the psychiatric community cannot determine what amount of sexual behavior is considered normal and what is not in order to classify it as a mental illness/disorder.

    Finally, there is nothing wrong with atheists discussing how they find pleasure and or hedonism in different parts of their lifestyle. I love and enjoy life and I happen to be an atheist. As long as I am not hurting anybody, it is not my issue if someone else has problems with that because of their baggage.

  12. Cousin Ricky says

    At 20:16, Matt says we can Google… whatever that word was. Can someone at least spell it so that we can look it up?

  13. Lamont Cranston says

    Cousin Ricky says in #12

    Can someone at least spell it so that we can look it up?

    Lottie Moon. It’s a person.

    Lamont Cranston

  14. says

    Re Rob’s call. At first, of course, it broke my heart.

    IThen thinking about it, there was two things that really puzzled me. He says he was kicked out of college because someone told the board about his sexual orientation. How would a random person have any idea about his sexual desires? Was he kicked out on the mere suspicion? I perhaps can see him being kicked out if it was one of those private “christian” schools where even holding hands in public can get you kicked out.

    And then he says he is sleeping in his car because his wages are being garnished to pay back his student loan? In the US would he be required to start paying back his loan the moment he was kicked out?

  15. Lamont Cranston says

    Jeanette says in #15

    He says he was kicked out of college because someone told the board about his sexual orientation. How would a random person have any idea about his sexual desires? Was he kicked out on the mere suspicion? I perhaps can see him being kicked out if it was one of those private “christian” schools where even holding hands in public can get you kicked out.

    Being “someone” does not require it to be a random person. Speculation about unknown circumstances is pretty pointless (who reported him, what information was communicated, the policy of the school, the type of school – State/Private, etc.)

    And then he says he is sleeping in his car because his wages are being garnished to pay back his student loan? In the US would he be required to start paying back his loan the moment he was kicked out?

    You are required to start making payments on a student load within 6 months of graduating, dropping out, or dropping below being a full time student for any reason which would include being kicked out. Then if you miss payments after 270 days your loan goes into default and you owe the total amount and wages can indeed be garnished, etc. Also, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. So even if you go bankrupt you will emerge from the process owing every penny on a student loan that you owed before bankruptcy (student loans are unique in this respect). You can not get out from under one until or unless you pay it off somehow or out live the 25 year “forgiveness” period (assuming a federally backed loan).

    Lamont Cranston

  16. Murat says

    @Lamont @Jeanette
    Well, once there was that “Mark from Stone Church” thing.
    The show’s level of intellect does indeed attract some dedicated attempts of trolling, maybe well scripted and well played ones aimed at creating confusion and discussion among the community, so…
    Who knows…

  17. Lamont Cranston says

    Murat says in #18

    Well, once there was that “Mark from Stone Church” thing.

    I wasn’t sure I was thinking of the same guy at first, but suspected who you were talking about. So I did a quick double check to see if I was remembering the right guy. Yep, I remember those calls and they were rather painful. Still, I am not sure that Mark was actually a troll as opposed to just being someone who was very poor at arguing a position that he actually believed as a result of being a member of the church where he claimed to be a member (even though the minister there kind of wanted to disavow him… understandably).

    The show’s level of intellect does indeed attract some dedicated attempts of trolling, … so…
    Who knows…

    Indeed I don’t know. So, until there is evidence my default position is that a caller is generally who/what they appear/claim to be until I hear evidence to the contrary. My reason for that is that most callers actually are what they claim to be.

    When I recognize the caller’s voice under different names with mutually exclusive beliefs being presented that is something I tend to pick up as evidence of someone just being dishonest with an agenda. I won’t explain why I can do this (there is a reason), but there are a whole lot of people I only know by their voices and way of speaking.

    Few people lie very well and even fewer can operate from a script and make it believable. If they could do it well they would probably be working in Hollywood. 🙂 Many of those people are adept at both.

    Lamont Cranston

  18. Murat says

    @Lamont
    Far as I know, that Mark was later actually registered as a troll, by Matt himself.
    I don’t recall the details, but he was portrayed as an atheist with an intent to prove the show’s take on some stuff wrong.
    Of course, we should take people for their words until there is evidence to support otherwise. It’s just that, after reading the two posts by you guys, the details provided during the call and the mood shift began to look a bit scripted to me, so, I just put that possibility in text.

  19. jabbly says

    @Lamont Cranston

    I’m very much with you on this. Something that really resonated with me was speaking to some people who worked with the U.N. Aid Agency as the stories of problems with the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme emerged in the media. Their answer can be summarised as of course it was abused but would you have preferred to see many thousands of people starve.

  20. Lamont Cranston says

    jabbly says in #21

    Their answer can be summarized as of course it was abused but would you have preferred to see many thousands of people starve.

    Yes, that is the way I see it as well. Until evidence of the contrary becomes available, given an ordinary claim, I assume the position that would allow the possibility of help, just as in the phone call. I may question the situation afterward and see what I can find out, but I will tend to error on the side of assistance when I can.

    Of course this is not the same as presupposing that an extraordinary claim is true (God told me to ask you for money). 🙂

    Lamont Cranston

  21. Wiggle Puppy says

    Super side note: at work yesterday, I talked to a volunteer who does some work for us on Fridays, and she had just seen Toy Story 4. I’ve seen the movie too, and asked her what she thought. She replied that she was impressed and inspired by all of the Christian themes in the film. I was confused, since the movie didn’t seem to have a lot of Christian themes to me, and I asked her what she meant. Without getting into spoilers, there are some plot moments that involve very broad themes of trying to find meaning and purpose in one’s existence, and others that involve sacrificing something to help others – you know, themes that have appeared in almost all human cultures since the dawn of human civilization, or at least since Prometheus was forced to endure the torture of having his liver torn out day after day as punishment for giving fire to humans. I didn’t say much, since I work at a state government agency and didn’t want to get into a religious argument at work, but it was a reminder of how, in 2019, Christianity still likes to claim universal human experiences for itself. Ugh…

  22. Lamont Cranston says

    Wiggle Puppy says in #23

    … you know, themes that have appeared in almost all human cultures since the dawn of human civilization, or at least since Prometheus was forced to endure the torture of having his liver torn out day after day as punishment for giving fire to humans. I didn’t say much, since I work at a state government agency and didn’t want to get into a religious argument at work, but it was a reminder of how, in 2019, Christianity still likes to claim universal human experiences for itself. Ugh…

    As I said previously, we all have our biases and we are often blind to them while being able to see the biases of others. The co-worker sees something good in a movie and automatically sees it through the biases induced by a Christian background. A Muslim sees the same movie and sees it through the biases of Islam and attributes the good things to their religion. We see the same movie and attribute the good things to the basic human condition. The same goes for the Hindu, etc.

    We all like to think we have it all figured out and we are part of the group that is not biased but just sees things as they really are. The truth is we are all just grappling the best we can with understanding and trying to make sense out of what we experience. However, we may think of ourselves as skeptics and immune because we just look for the evidence and believe what it tells us, right?

    How well did that wok out for Galileo in the early 17th century? Most of the other scientists at the time were dogmatically (religiously?) adhering to things like the Tychonic (geocentric) system of how the earth, moon, sun, etc. interacted. But did that make Galileo always right? No it did not. He had the idea of how the tides worked completely wrong. But that’s all ancient history. Surely we are not that screwed up in modern times are we? Einstein is arguably one of the most brilliant scientists of the modern age and was responsible for great strides in science. Yet he found quantum mechanics unacceptable. He also used a constant in one of his equations to “fudge” how the universe works because he did not like the answer he got when he did not “fudge” it. But surely Stephen Hawking got it all right. No, even he got things wrong about how the universe works.

    I’ve seen many of us (atheist for lack of a better word), claim from time to time that there is “no evidence for the existence of a god.” This includes hosts on AXP. Over time and intermittently some have done a little better by claiming that “there is insufficient evidence to prove the existence of god.” However, we often lose sight of the fact that “proving” is based upon the less than objective standard of what we accept as “sufficient proof.”

    This idea of “sufficient proof” to reach a decision even applies under the courtroom analogy that we fall back on from time to time. If there were no biases and if evidence could be completely objectively measured there would be no need for a jury. Furthermore there would never be a split decision even if there was a jury, and there would be no need for an appeals process. In addition you could replace any 12 person jury with a completely different set of 12 people and get exactly the same answer every time.

    We attribute the good that we see around us (as in the movie) as just being part of human nature and to a degree that is true. However, we may fail to see that for some people, the internal moral compass is a little faulty and if not for their religious biases they would not be quite as good a person as they are with the religious biases. Of course this is a double edged sword. If both the internal moral compass is bad and the external biases (religion) fail as well, you can have great atrocities. It is said that it takes religion to make good people do bad things, and this has a degree of validity. However, I think that a person with a solidly good internal moral compass will reject religious teachings that try to convince them do do bad things. Even if they don’t directly reject it they will rationalize the teaching into not existing. That is how most Christians rationalize slavery out of the Bible even though it is plainly present.

    Lamont Cranston

  23. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Lamont 24:

    “As I said previously, we all have our biases and we are often blind to them while being able to see the biases of others. The co-worker sees something good in a movie and automatically sees it through the biases induced by a Christian background. A Muslim sees the same movie and sees it through the biases of Islam and attributes the good things to their religion. We see the same movie and attribute the good things to the basic human condition. The same goes for the Hindu, etc.”

    Are you really trying to imply that there’s an equivalence between (1) someone who sees a certain value widely recognized as “good” as intrinsic to their religion and (2) someone who recognizes that these “good” values have been valued as moral by a wide variety of cultures across time and space and that these values are therefore not intrinsic to any one religious or cultural tradition? I reject this outright. There have been countless religions that have died out completely. The ones that have survived have done so largely because they appeal to these basic things about what benefits human survival – the benefits of having a strong community, of selflessness, of cooperation, etc. To say that the person recognizes positive themes in a production of popular culture and “attributes the good things to their religion” is the same as the person who “attribute[s] the good things to the basic human condition” is just nonsense.

  24. Lamont Cranston says

    Wiggle Puppy says in #25

    Are you really trying to imply that there’s an equivalence between (1) someone who sees a certain value widely recognized as “good” as intrinsic to their religion and (2) someone who recognizes that these “good” values have been valued as moral by a wide variety of cultures across time and space and that these values are therefore not intrinsic to any one religious or cultural tradition?

    I seldom imply much of anything. I try to say exactly what I mean. However, the caveat is that the written and spoken word is often only completely clear to the person who said it or wrote it. You are certainly free to completely reject whatever you think I was implying. It’s often just my goal to get people to think about something for themselves rather than trying to tell anyone what to think.

    To say that the person recognizes positive themes in a production of popular culture and “attributes the good things to their religion” is the same as the person who “attribute[s] the good things to the basic human condition” is just nonsense.

    Ultimately what may not be known is whether the theme was incorporated into the item of culture (in this case a movie) for religious reasons or not. This is subject to knowing the motivation of the creator of the popular culture item which I do not pretend to know.

    Do you believe you are unbiased in your evaluation of the theme(s) presented in the movie?

    Lamont Cranston

  25. Ian Butler says

    To recognize that we all have biases is not the same thing as claiming all biased are equal.

  26. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Lamont #26:

    “Ultimately what may not be known is whether the theme was incorporated into the item of culture (in this case a movie) for religious reasons or not.”

    Okay, sure, but my point is that the themes were so general (giving up something of value so that another may benefit; looking for meaning in one’s existence) that there’s no good reason for any viewer to assume that the themes were put there on behalf of any particular religion. It would be one thing if the film had some crosses or crowns of thorns going on, but it didn’t. I mean, what if the filmmakers were Buddhist and put those themes in there to resonate with their own religion, since these are themes prominent in Buddhism as well, and the Christian viewers mistook it for the themes of their religion instead? How would you know the difference? The point is that these are themes that appear in stories all over the world from all time periods, but Christians in the US have a tendency to claim them as themes intrinsic to their religion, when there’s really nothing special about Christianity when it comes to these themes. This really isn’t that difficult…?

    “Do you believe you are unbiased in your evaluation of the theme(s) presented in the movie?”

    No, but it’s irrelevant. It’s an objective fact that stories all over the world across all kinds of time periods include themes of self-sacrifice and existential introspection. So when Christians try to claim that these themes are “Christian themes,” they’re just objectively wrong. It would be like someone in Michigan eating a loaf of bread and claiming that they’re eating “Michigan food,” and then looking at someone in Ohio eating bread and claiming that they, too, are eating “Michigan food.” It’s a demonstrable fact that people all over the world eat bread, obviously, and there’s nothing special about it to associate it with Michigan in particular. What you’re basically saying is that (1) the person who says that bread is “Michigan food” and (2) the person who points out that people all over the world eat bread are each just biased in their own way in their assessment. It’s an absurd way to view the situation.

  27. Lamont Cranston says

    Ian Butler says in #27

    To recognize that we all have biases is not the same thing as claiming all biased are equal.

    I agree. The way I see it, I am not sure there is even any way to judge objective equality of biases. I think biases are inherently subjective and are highly dependent on the things that cause them within an individual (kind of like subjective squared – really subjective).

    Wiggle Puppy says in #28

    Okay, sure, but my point is that the themes were so general (giving up something of value so that another may benefit; looking for meaning in one’s existence) that there’s no good reason for any viewer to assume that the themes were put there on behalf of any particular religion.

    You then go on to point out that these themes have been around in a lot of cultures over an extensive period of time which I completely agree with. However, this movie was not not produced from a lot of cultures over an extensive period of time. It was produced in this culture and now. So if I consider that the majority of this culture now has some form of religious belief, why would I assume the themes were not being used in the way another religious person seemed to think they were being used? Actually I really don’t know one way or the other.

    You saw the movie from a secular perspective as just a use of themes that do not require religion. A person with a religious bias saw it as some kind of positive statement regarding their religion. I am still wondering what was the intent of those that produced the movie?

    you believe you are unbiased in your evaluation of the theme(s) presented in the movie?”

    No, but it’s irrelevant.

    Please understand that I am not saying this about you, but similar ways of thinking have hindered the decision making process of some people who really need to be more aware of the degree to which their biases affect them.

    I do get your whole bread analogy thing and I am not disagreeing. However, trying to get a Christian (not me) to understand that his Christian theme is about as Christian as the pagan celebration which is now Christmas probably isn’t going anywhere.

    I get it that you don’t care for the religious appropriation of things. I don’t either, but that train has left the station.

    While biases don’t change objective facts it can affect conclusions you reach with regard to those facts or it can lead one to fail to see other facts. So, I am still wondering what your biases are that you consider irrelevant? That’s really kind of rhetorical (please don’t feel any need to address it).

    With that I’ll be meandering on to the next thread. Until this brief interchange I was beginning to think everyone had died out there the last few days.

    Lamont Cranston

  28. Murat says

    Religions give weight to different sets of values, even if at the end of the day, all values are result of common cultivation for humankind. So, it is wrong to tag “sacrifice” as “unique to Christianity”. But one would not be too wrong to think of Christian values after noticing a theme of sacrifice, because yes, it leans that way, either by chance or intentionally. “My Name Is Earl” leaned more on values of the Far Eastern religions, obviously, for “karma” is way more related to them than to Christianity. Come to think of it, I don’t believe the concept of “karma” even applies to Christianity on any level. You can be forgiven for all your sins if and when you acknowledge Jesus as the son of God. So, if he took the Bible as his guide, Earl wouldn’t need to go through all that trouble to find people and make amends for past wrongdoings. He could’ve given half of the money to a church nearby, say some hundreds of “Hail Mary”s and go on with his life. No?

  29. Murat says

    For example, try to revive the same concept, this time putting forward “values” of hard solipsism, and the more fitting title would be “Is My Name Earl?”

  30. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Lamont 29:

    “I am still wondering what was the intent of those that produced the movie?”

    Why is this so difficult? The intent of the filmmakers is not relevant to the point I’m trying to make. The point is that Christians like to claim self-sacrifice and self-introspection as “their” values, when they have no ownership over them. Whether the filmmakers were consciously trying to put a Christian spin on the film or not, there’s not enough in the film itself to conclude one way or the other, which you agree to.

    “So if I consider that the majority of this culture now has some form of religious belief, why would I assume the themes were not being used in the way another religious person seemed to think they were being used?”

    Again, I’m not saying that I’m assuming that the themes weren’t being implemented to echo / promote Christianity. I’m saying that the Christian who thinks that the themes WERE being implemented to echo / promote Christianity has no grounds for thinking that, and is trying to claim ownership over values that they don’t own.

    “However, trying to get a Christian (not me) to understand that his Christian theme is about as Christian as the pagan celebration which is now Christmas probably isn’t going anywhere.”

    How do you know this? Some Christians I’ve talked to are genuinely surprised to learn about the roots of Christmas and appreciate the opportunity to learn.

    I’ve had others try to tell me that Star Wars is a Christian movie because of Obi-Wan’s sacrifice to allow the others to escape the Death Star, and they’re surprised to learn that Lucas was actually drawing on Buddhist ideas in his construction of the Force. You’re basically dismissing the potential value of conversation before it occurs, and I’m not willing to do that. And my point is that even if we had no idea of what Lucas’s personal views about religion are, there would still be no reason for a Christian viewer to claim that Obi-Wan’s sacrifice was a “Christian” act.

    “So, I am still wondering what your biases are that you consider irrelevant? ”

    Yes, everybody has some kind of subjective perspective that influences how they view the world, but it’s irrelevant to the objective fact that societies everywhere and at all times have created stories about the value of self-sacrifice and self-introspection. It’s kind of like when atheists point out that intercessory prayer has no demonstrable positive effect, and Christians try to say that we’re biased because we’re relying on methodological naturalism and don’t believe in the supernatural – okay, fine, but that doesn’t change the objective fact that there is currently no evidence that intercessory prayer has a demonstrable positive effect.

    @ Murat 30:

    Sure, but comparing karma to placing value on self-sacrifice and self-introspection isn’t a fair comparison. Karma is a supernatural concept heavily tied to specific Eastern religions, but placing value on self-sacrifice and self-introspection is a perfectly natural thing that people everywhere have done forever. It’s kind of like the Golden Rule: Christians try to claim that for themselves too, but if you do a quick Google search for “Golden Rule in world religions,” you’ll see that it’s appeared in one form or another all over the world.

    My point was that the person I was talking to was trying to say that because the toys in Toy Story 4 were trying to find meaning in their existence, the film was promoting Christian themes. And my point is that Christianity doesn’t “own” self-introspection or trying to find meaning and purpose in one’s life. Plato was making a lot of progress on that front centuries before Jesus showed up, and Confucius and Buddha before him. Christianity doesn’t “own” trying to find meaning in one’s life any more than The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter “own” putting value on friendship and cooperation.

  31. Murat says

    @WP
    Well, it’s the eye of the beholder where beauty rests, after all.
    Some 17 years ago, I joined a panel discussion on some weird Turkish TV show. The topic was “The Matrix and Its Hidden Meanings” or something like that. There were some conspiracy theorists, Islamic scholars, philosophers etc. Bear in mind that this was shortly before the sequels, so, there was only the first movie to discuss, and those in production to speculate on. There was a guy who seemed to focus more on the Judeo-Christian propaganda via usage of names like Zion, Trinity, Nebuchadnezzar etc. I was the only person with the hat of a film critic, so, to most of what they said, I replied along the lines of “Yeah, all these things are from the same bag of myths and beliefs, and so are the guys who have come up with the idea of this movie, and yes, it’s heavy with symbols of Judaism and Christianity, but I don’t think there is some hidden agenda about earthly, contemporary issues to be pushed via this merchandise, because, see, the same guys did a bondage movie previously, and they just have to use the tools that they have in hand, that they have grown up hearing about, so, I believe they’re more like throwing in these symbols and names, not giving too detailed a thought to whether the outcome will perfectly fit an Evangelistic agenda or not.”
    Well, the sequels depended on particular religious references even more openly, so, maybe the other guy’s point became more relevant after all, but I still believed that it was the success and the perception of the first one that kind of put a burden on Wachowski Bros to push it that way even harder, rather than leading the complex narrative more in line with Ghost In The Shell kind of sci-fi. So, yes, producers may have some hidden agendas or vague ideas to fish the audience with, and who knows, it’s a game with multiple outs. I haven’t seen that Toy Story movie, but if that particular perception of it is common with the audience, they can go “Oh, look what people like to see associated with toys” and go build up an even more openly Christian-themes thing.
    So, you’re not wrong to note that what the person tags as Christian values are not trademarked to Christianity, but well, if you use a different lense and ask “What religion focuses most on the concept of a sacrifice?”, an unbiased test group might give you “Christianity” as well.
    Would the script for that movie come out exactly the way it was, had the people involved been living in / targeting at countries with non-Abrahamic belief systems? I doubt that.

  32. Lamont Cranston says

    Murat says in #30

    Religions give weight to different sets of values, even if at the end of the day, all values are result of common cultivation for humankind. So, it is wrong to tag “sacrifice” as “unique to Christianity”. But one would not be too wrong to think of Christian values after noticing a theme of sacrifice, because yes, it leans that way, either by chance or intentionally.

    I wasn’t intending to be here, but I could not resist saying BINGO. I’ve been waiting to see if this would be said in some form.

    Given that the themes in Toy Story 4 are not “unique” to anybody, then whenever they resonate with a group that group can consider them a promotion of their viewpoint. They don’t “own” them, but they also don’t NOT “own” them, because no one “owns” them (including the non-religious among us – me included).

    The theme of searching for purpose or meaning in life as well as sacrifice obviously resonates with Christians. I easily found multiple reviews of the movie that made that connection. People who make movies are always searching for ways to resonate with large groups of people (that’s how they make their money). If a movie does not resonate with people it goes broke.

    Just stopped by after mowing. Now on to the next show.

    Lamont Cranston

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