1. Craig O. says


    I use the similar quote “You can lead a horse’s ass to knowledge, but you can’t make it think.”

  2. says

    Maybe I’m just a misanthrope, but I don’t think eliminating religion would put an end to events like those shown in this video.

    There’s something about human nature that just leads to wanting to make the lives of those not like you miserable. And while religion is the thing exasperating it now, we’d (as in the human species) just find some other reason.

  3. George says

    “I think you can judge from somebody’s actions a kind of a stability and sense of purpose perhaps created by strong religious roots. I mean, there’s a certain patience, a certain discipline, I think, that religion helps you achieve.” – George W. Bush


  4. Bob O'H says

    And we end up doing is arguing over whether a big lump of rock is round enough to be called a planet.


  5. clvrmnky says

    Hmmm. Why are only the statements by Islamic Fundies subtitled? I’d like to see the ridiculous Christian slogans provided out of context, as well. Obviously, the purpose here is to provide obvious juxtaposition.

    The way these images are presented it is easy to see a misguided, but otherwise reasonable and peaceful Christian response to a violent outside attacker bent on its destruction.

    We don’t see any of the long bloody Christian history, or references to the actions done by so-called Christian nations, often with open and tacit approval by their “peaceful” Christian citizens. This would have made a better counterpoint to some of the Islamic rallies, some of which were clearly state-sponsored (and not a result of Islam, in and of itself). We don’t see the Christian message as espoused by racist hate groups. We don’t see the violence excused by Christians, done in capital-h-His Name, against women, or how soldiers are indoctrinated to be warriors in a holy war against The Other (“You may die, but the [Marine] Corps lives on forever, therefore you live forever”).

    This is not a dig, but fair criticism, I think. If the message is that conflicting fundamentalism is the root of disasters like the recent attack on New York, then we have to show that the fundy message in the US is not just weakly responding with sit-ins and angry fist-pumping. We have to show that they are active participants in a struggle to destabilize the world in the name of god, and insist on bringing the world to the brink of disaster based on their notion of the end-times, upon which their apocalyptic religion is based. Just like those Other Guys.

    If we think that the Christian West is actively trying to coerce and shape the world as they see fit, as part of a righteous agenda, and will resort to any means to do so (like all fundies) we have to illustrate that. This is especially so when using the power of juxtaposition to get a point across.

    But powerful, nonetheless, and well done (as Uber says) for an amateur.

    I suspect I have not made any friends among any of the Christian lurkers here. Sorry about that. This is not an attack on you personally, but a criticism of fundamentalism in general. That is, I’m not so concerned with what others may feel is spiritual, mystical mumbo-jumbo that many such belief systems consist of. Humans obviously have the capacity for a variety of abstract ways of thinking.

    As long as your religion doesn’t piss in my cornflakes, or try to bring about a situation where my sinful breakfast manners are blown into quantum bits (mmmm, Sugar-Coated Quantum Bits!) I don’t care all that much.

  6. j says

    I like the first song a lot, and the images of extremist religion were very effective. The second part, with the disco-y music and large words flashing onto the screen, was kind of cheesy.

  7. Richard Harris says

    Yeah, visually okay, with quite a visceral message about the real power of ‘faith’ (which really should be ‘superstition’, except the gadzoonies have hijacked the word ‘faith’). Pity about the soundtrack – towards the end it became a really irritating noise. Maybe that was intentionial?

  8. Phaedrus says

    I’m with clvrmnky, this film portrays the hate-filled, vengeful, gun toting muslims (cutting themselves, for christsake!), and the happy, clapping, prayerful, healing christians. Not sure that was the message that was intended.

    Following up on plucky punk, religion or no, people are people and assholes abound – they just seem drawn to religion. I’m sure they would make do with whatever was available (Facism, Communism, etc.).

  9. says

    clvrmnky: This isn’t a definite answer, I don’t know the creator of the video at all, but I’d guess that maybe the segments featuring Muslims were already subtitled when he/she captured them. It’s pretty hard to remove subtitling once it’s in there.

  10. says

    “And we end up doing is arguing over whether a big lump of rock is round enough to be called a planet.”

    Sounds like heaven.

  11. craig says


    I use the similar quote “You can lead a horse’s ass to knowledge, but you can’t make it think.”

    You can lead a gift horse to water, but you can’t look in its mouth when its drinking.

  12. Erin M says

    My response clvrmnky, et al. is that the director of this clip knew their target audience wouldn’t need translation or cultural context explained for the fundies. I recognized the mega-churches, the “faith healings” and the anti-abortion rallies just fine without subtitles. Since I know very little about Middle Eastern Islamic culture I have little way of knowing that the little boy was wearing a martyr’s headband, or that the blessing the white-robed figures were receiving was one given to suicide-bombers or the like (as I understood it in the video).

    I agree that it limits the impact of this film as far as making it America-centric, but I think it was merely a blind spot on the part of the director, assuming that viewers would all have the same cultural literacy that the director did. After all, everyone here knows what the Christian fundies would be saying in those clips even without the subtitles, right?

  13. Magnum says

    clvrmnky et al,
    I got a completely different impression from the clip; i.e. that religious people of the Christian persuasion are just as brainwashed and nutty as the Muslims in the clip. I didn’t see any difference at all. I just assumed that the subtitles were there because the original footage wasn’t English (I mean it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?)

    I really liked both soundtracks. I’ve got it playing in he background just to listen to it again. The plugging of the website was a bit unfortunate, but hey, that’s clearly what the clip was created for.

  14. Steve_C says

    The point is that FAITH leads people to think and do irrational things.

    Doesn’t matter how “extreme” the religious indoctrination is, you’re making
    it acceptable for people to believe something purely on faith.

    That isn’t healthy.

    Especially for children.

  15. speedwell says

    That clip was incredibly trite, facile, and self-congratulatory.

    Why, because you said so? From the looks of things I should think people who don’t go in for that faith-based garbage have something to congratulate themselves about.

  16. Stephen Erickson says

    PZ correctly takes D James Kennedy to task for equating “Darwinism” with Nazism.

    This video clip uses the same sort of twisted “logic” as Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.

  17. Millimeter Wave says

    @Stephen Erickson,
    could you maybe provide some substance to back up your assertions?

  18. Stephen Erickson says

    If you want to get better footage of idolatry and groupthink, don’t go to a megachurch, go to a Radiohead concert.

  19. GH says

    Here we go again.


    You don’t think the people in video where more a product of ‘groupthink’ than those who attend rock concerts?

    What is twisted about the logic in the video? Faith is leading otherwise ‘sane’ individuals to do bizarre things. How did the video twist that?

  20. Stephen Erickson says

    Oh no, a bearded man singing to children! Next thing you know, they’ll be flying planes into skyscrapers!

  21. GH says

    Yeah, thats all that was about and thats all that is all that is said at these events of course.

    Good grief.

  22. dbpitt says

    Mad World was the perfect song for that video. The video itself didn’t really show very powerful clips until the end, though. Overall, it was disappointing.

  23. Millimeter Wave says

    @Stephen Erickson,
    I politely asked you if you could provide some substance to back up your assertions. Instead, you responsed with two more ridiculous unsubstatiated one-liners.

    Do you expect me to attach any weight to what you’re saying, or indeed, to respect what you have to say given that?

  24. Richard Harris says

    Stephen Erickson,
    I didn’t want to go there & start an argument with pop culture fundamentalists, but as you thought it worthwhile, please be aware that you are not alone. They seem to be just as unaware of how they’ve been duped as are the religious types. Both types make me despair.

  25. Steve_C says

    Get over it. They’re just a band. A very good band in my opinion. But just a band.

    Could Jesus or Ahbraham even play piano?

    Wow screaming and whooping in appareciation of a band… how unseemly.

  26. Daisy says

    I was disappointed in this video, especially since a friend just emailed me saying how good it was. It takes easy shots on Islam and portrays clapping hands in a group as Christianity’s worse offense. And clvrmnky is right on when suggesting the unfairness of the subtitles strictly on the Muslim footage.

    The main thing that I didn’t like about the video was the obvious lack of other religious beliefs. Christianity and Islam are hardly the only religions that have a history of extremism or violence.

  27. Stephen Erickson says

    Egads, do I have to spell it out? As succinctly as I can put it:

    The clip is a contradiction in itself, because its supposed appeal to rationality is made in such a ridiculous, manipulative, and emotional fashion.

    I’m surprised more of you “brights” don’t get it.

  28. Steve_C says

    The images of children being indoctrinated into “invisible god in the sky” beliefs doesn’t bother you a bit?

    That’s just stupid.

  29. says

    A good movie overall, although I was also struck by the lack of subtitles on the christopath parts. It might also have been worthwhile to simply splice the bites without overlaying them with music.

    And as a matter of taste, I’d have left the WTC shots out if it were me. The WTC footage has been used and abused so much by now that it automatically rings a bell on my bullshit detector every time it’s used.

    Also, I’d have cut out the tacky promotion thingy in the very end and slowed down the ‘reason, science’ etc. part to a speed that wouldn’t make it look like MTV.

    – JS

  30. says

    Re: Stephen Erickson

    Your one liners in this thread are extremely petty and daft. Do you even know what the bearded man singing to children was saying? He was singing a song that included the lyrics “I don’t believe in evolution, I know creation’s true. God created everything, including me and you”. It was preparation for a Ken Ham lecture where he indoctrinates those little kids into the cult of protestant fundamentalism, and tells the kids that everything from evolution to modern cosmology and geology are all an anti-Christian lie intended to destroy their god.

    It’s hardly the same thing as a rock-concert. The people who scream and cheer at concerts are there to have a good time and enjoy music (Radiohead, btw, is the shit, so eat me). I highly doubt that anyone is going to committ to martyrdom in the name of Thom Yorke.

  31. says

    People are right, though, that the video completely omits any context or explanation for the Christian parts. You have to be pretty well steeped in the creationist propaganda machine to recognize Buddy Davis, for instance. It therefore has much more resonance to people who already know what kind of stupidity the Christianist quacks in the video are peddling, and we already know the correspondence between that and the Islamic quackery — but others are just going to be seeing happy smiling people, clapping and singing.

  32. says

    I don’t know about that. The similarity between the ‘faith healing’ televangelist and the mullah blessing those fedayeen seemed pretty striking to me, as did the footage of the praying children – but then again, I’m opposed to indoctrinating children with religion on general principles…

    – JS

  33. Stephen Erickson says

    People are right, though, that the video completely omits any context or explanation for the Christian parts.

    Even knowing the context of the Christian segments doesn’t make the equating of creationism with terrorism any more reasonable.

  34. says

    Even knowing the context of the Christian segments doesn’t make the equating of creationism with terrorism any more reasonable.

    Why not? Creationism promotes the same mentality. And let’s not forget that the christopaths got the Shrub elected (or whatever you want to call it). Now, a case could definitely be made that American geopolitics a la Bush are a bigger problem than terrorism.

    I won’t bother digging through the archives of The Mad Biologist ( for you, but you can easily find material there that’d make any sane person see the moral, philosophical and intellectual (if that’s what you want to call it) connection between christopathy and jihadism.

    – JS

  35. Stephen Erickson says

    I guess the clip wouldn’t have had quite the same “zing” if they had contrasted the Christian content with footage of Buddhist monks praying and chanting.

  36. Steve_C says

    Take your visors off. It’s equating FAITH with irrational behavior.
    Indoctrinating children into beliefs that are completely false.
    Those muslim children are being raised in a world of violence and hopelessness.
    The christian children are being taught lies and ignorance.

    Same sides of a coin. If the christians were actually being oppressed (as opposed to just thinking they are) I don’t doubt they wouldn’t act any differently than the muslims.
    Neither of them are right.

  37. Stephen Erickson says

    Wow, that clip is really some sort of Rorschach test. All I got out of it was a sophomoric assemblage of unrelated footage set to a really wimpy cover version of a good song.

  38. Phaedrus says

    I’m no Christian apologist, but it seems very different to have a service worshiping one’s God (misguided as it may be), clapping hands and healing people, than to bless suicide bombers and shout “Death” to anyone.
    Commentors seem to imply that a knowledge of fundies would equate these, or that fundies do the same thing, just not in these clips. Then get the clips where they are saying “Death” to someone (judges?) or threatening people and use those. As it stands the two don’t equate and the message is garbled.

    Here’s a good clip with a message I can endorse :

  39. Uber says

    I think some of you folks are taking this thing far to seriously. It was a nice amatuer video, done pretty well to music, expressing a view that faith can be harmful in many varieties of ways.

    Of course it’s not exact. It’s a 4 minute video of strung together clips. Why take it to task? Take it for what it is worth.

  40. Steve_C says

    Do you endorse a plan to bomb Iran or the message that the current administration is batshit crazy?

  41. says

    plucky punk: Well, you could adopt “limit” utopianism, like I do, and recognize that although authoritarianism is human, so are many positive things, and work to eliminate the negative “in the limit” …

  42. goddogit says

    It isn’t religious practice, but religious belief that is the problem. Theatre originated from various religious rites, and clearly retains many aspects of them even today, but the suspension of disbelief is intended to be limited to the performance.
    Prayer and meditaion are useful, difficult-to-hone psychological tools – and like many tools are dangerous in unskilled,or untutored, hands – but it is the permanent suspension of disbelief, the absurb and deadly (and power-abusive) lie people of religion call “faith,” that is the problem.

  43. says

    American fundies are only “better” or “less dangerous” than the Islamic variety out of sheer geographic circumstance. Ours live in creature comfort, without the intrusion of capricious foreign policy from outside their borders, and in a system that, for the moment, separates Church and State. To take it one step further, ours are decidedly worse because they chose that worldview and cannot blame their retardery on the abovementioned factors. Had he been born in Tehran, Pat Robertson would be the Ayatollah Khameini by now.

  44. oldhippie says

    So very different.

    Posted by: Steve_C

    Steve, that video is hillarious. I like the big white angel throwing people into the pit.

  45. Steve_C says

    If you look closely at those who are in the line to be thrown in the pit…

    it’s even funnier.

  46. Chris says

    Goddogit: Well said. The psychological power of narrative and ritual has been a part of human culture since its inception, but the ability to close the storybook and return to the real world is essential. Without it you’re insane, and crash planes into buildings because you expect real life to work like the stories you were told.

    Stephen Erickson: Limiting the Christian parts to the worst extremists (like the ones who assassinate doctors) would have undermined the point, which was to draw the oft-neglected parallels between a faith some people consider harmless, and some acts of faith that are well known and widely acknowledged to be quite harmful indeed.

  47. fred says

    I find the asymmetry striking: military/political aspects only of Islam are portrayed. How difficult would it have been to insert a few frames of Israeli tanks shelling Lebanese villages, or of Crusaders in Iraq bowing for a moment of prayer before a sweep? The Shiite self-flagellation and the Christian faith healing are equally silly, but footage of which practice shows us actual blood? It makes very subtle the “oft-neglected parallels between a faith some people consider harmless, and some acts of faith that are well known and widely acknowledged to be quite harmful indeed.”

    It’s convenient to categorize organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas (which doesn’t appear in the video, probably because no footage with “Death to America” subtitling could be located) as religious fundamentalism, but it seems to me that Islam operates as a mere rallying cry in that region, a device by which a particular group with mutual interests identifies itself. Under the rule of apartheid South Africa, the untermenschen knew each other by color; under the thumb of theocratic Israel, the untermenschen can only stand together in resistance if they sufficiently emphasize whatever they hold in common.

  48. Steve_C says

    What are you going on about?The video equates them is essentially equally absurd.
    Apparently you have a problem with Jews? You want more examples of the absurd but then go on to say the Hammas’ of the world don’t represent Islam.

    Please, they do. They represent those who use their faith as a rallying cry just as much as fundies or zionists. God says so. They all say the same thing.

  49. Peter Z. says

    It was nice to see good old Dr. Dino in there :D

    PS in reply to one of the comments – it’s not religion but faith, the process of non-thinking that is the problem (and consequently the religions that embrace it, which is most of them).

  50. fred says

    “Apparently you have a problem with Jews?”

    I’ll assume that you are asking a question. No, I have no particular problems with Jews — some of my best relatives are Jews. Read what I wrote: I didn’t mention Jews. I mentioned the political entity, Israel, twice. I might be tempted to speculate that you’re one of those knee-jerkers who lie in wait for criticism of Israel in order to leap forth with an accusation of anti-Semitism.

  51. Mr Rossi says

    Getting into this conversation a little late, maybe, but I just figured that the lack of subtitles was probably because the original sources were english news clips. T

  52. Steve_C says

    Why seperate Isreal from their religion? It’s part of the problem.
    I know the Palestinians are oppressed. But they do use faith to
    urge matyrs to their deaths. Isreal uses it to stake a holy claim
    on the same territory. Rail against Isreal all you want. They are a
    brutal holy military state. It seems you wanted to give the extremists
    a pass because of their situation. No one gets a pass.

  53. Nes says

    Didn’t notice any comments on this aspect yet, though I may have just missed them: All of the Peter Popoff shots are in James Randi’s debunking video; the one where you can hear Popoff’s wife feeding him info. I don’t have a link to it, but I’m sure you could find it by googling “James Randi debunk tonight show” (sans quotes).

    Anyway, with that in mind, even though most of the other shots of Christians weren’t familiar to me, I came away with the impression that the video was trying to link the bad effects of faith using those 2 religions, not trying to show Christianity as a peaceful one and Islam as a violent one. And I agree with others that the Islam shots only had subtitles because the original footage did, though I also agree that subtitles on the Christian shots would have been helpful.

  54. Graculus says

    The WTC footage has been used and abused so much by now that it automatically rings a bell on my bullshit detector every time it’s used.

    You may like what these folks have done with the footage

    ****** Extremely graphic editorial content *******

    That link is worksafe, but the video it links to is very, very, very, very unsafe for work. Unsafe for a lot of other places, too.

  55. says

    Nes: That’s true! I thought I had seen them somewhere before.

    And I too would have wanted more variety. It is, though, no doubt difficult to find shots of theocratic Israelis or of those Italian (Catholic) pilgrims I read about in a sociology of religion class who trace their path of pilgrimage with their tongue. (Ewwwwwww.)

  56. Jim says

    All of the people are brainwashed by self centered egotists who are on the side of Evil. This is not religion, it is the opposite. Religion was organized to end Evil in the world, but Evil took it over through Pride. We are all evil; Athiests and Believers. Let’s love each other, love the enemy, and we will bring world peace.