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Hollywood vs. religion?

When films take on, mock or ignore faith and believers

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  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    When films depict only the religious as either blind and stupid or violent and murderous, they adhere to the strawman fallacy.

    There are those tho call themselves 'members' of a faith, yet secretly fight that faith. Using them as an example adheres to the strawman fallacy.

    Here is the deductive process.

    LDS faithful adhere to LDS doctrine.
    LDS doctrine condemns murder.
    John Doe kills his wife.

    Therefore, the only possible deduction is that John Doe is not an LDS faithful.

    Yet Hollywood wants to show those who justify their own actions, rather than adhere to the beliefs of the religion they claim to be a part of. The strawman fallacy is when you misrepresent another persons views, etc. When films only choose to portray religion as 'extreme'ism and members as conspiring and violent- then there is no other conclusion, other than that those films are misrepresenting what it means to either be religious or faithful to the religion in question.

    Religions preach one thing, sometimes members do another. Showing their action is independent of what was preached to them. Showing their action and crafting the dialogue to disfavor the religion is strawman, illogical, and morally wrong. It's a lie.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    Yes, some films mock your lifestyle. Just as you mock the lifestyles of millions of others without batting an eye. Stop pouting. Nobody is trying to make it illegal to be religious.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 12:59 a.m.

    Schwa, I kindly disagree.

    First, people mock my religion all the time. I can get over that. It's when people criminalize it, pushing the limits of libel ALL the time. People make fiction history and history fiction. These things bother me and rightly so.

    Second, no one is trying to make it illegal to be religious? Well, I don't think I'll ever convince you or anyone of my view here. I think people are in denial or simply don't understand what their doing. Read the article about the teacher in Florida who posted on facebook. I think that example proves otherwise.

    --

    Dallin H. Oaks has made a few talks in the past few years, regarding religious freedom being threatened, etc. Have you read these, in full text? I usually tell people this... 'if you're not even willing to read a few documents from those you are arguing against, then what claim do you have? You can't argue against an opinion unless you can accurately represent it.'

    I could show people thousands of posts saying 'outlaw religion!' by angry people online, and people would still say 'no one is trying... etc'

    So what will it take to convince anyone?

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Aug. 26, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    A voice of Reason:

    The teacher signed an agreement with his employers promising not to make those kinds of comments on social media. He violated that, so he was duly fired.

    And I could also show you thousands of posts saying that gay people are subhuman and worthy of God's wrath. You don't judge any belief system by its' extremists.

    85% of Americans profess some sort of religious belief and it's pretty much impossible to run for an office like President without saying you believe in God. Your religious rights aren't going to be "illegal" anytime soon.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug. 26, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    @A Voice of Reason: Maybe they're just tired of having religion, and the so-called religious, thinking their views are the "true" views about certain topics. When this country can elect a pagan or athiest for president, then we will have a country that has true freedom of religion or lack thereof.

    By the way, I would hazzard a guess that the percentage who say they are religious do not follow their religion. If I thought I was going to jeopardize my chances of going to heaven through my acts, if I was a true believer, I think I would do a much better job at not "sinning" than I see - this is what I observe - from those of faith.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 26, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    I agree with this article. Although it is easy to say that if you don't like those movies then don't go watch them, but if you can make someone look stupid or silly or primitive, you can make them look evil or savage. If you can make them look evil or savage then you can oppress them or kill them, send the US amry over there to fight them because if we fight them there we don't have to fight them here.

    That kind of thinking has killed and oppressed a lot of people.

    Whether you are religious or not, you should be concerned that a segment of our society is being demonized. This doesn't belong in a tolerant, progressive society.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 9:27 a.m.

    A voice of Reason
    Dallin H. Oaks has made a few talks in the past few years, regarding religious freedom being threatened, etc. Have you read these, in full text?

    LDS4
    I have. He mentioned the NJ church which owned land with a gazebo and petitioned them to be tax exempt in exchange for allowing the public to use them. When a lesbian couple wanted to use them for their wedding, as straights had done, they were denied and the lesbians sued. The church lost because it went back on their word. How is that a threat to religious freedom?

    He mentioned Catholic Charities in Boston which shut down rather than adopt out kids to gay couples. He didnt mention that LDS Family Services there arent forced to do that because, unlike Catholic Charities, we dont take government money. How is that a threat to religious freedom?

    He mentioned the photographer who refused to photograph a gay wedding in violation of state law. If that Christian photographer refused to photograph an LDS temple wedding, I bet Elder Oaks would cite that as a violation of the LDSs rights.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    The great struggle between good and evil is ever present. It is not surprising. The scripture calls the evil side "Babylon." Hollywood, in general, is Babylon. The great struggle is not between Hollywood and organized religion. The great struggle is within each individual's heart, whether he will walk the broad and meandering streets of Babylon (and loving it) or walk the straight and narrow path mapped and prescribed by God (if ye love me, keep my commandments).

    Those who are truly religious have their own inner compass, and are not thrown of the path by those who mock.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    people should take this Hollywood versus religion thing more lightly. just remember that one is make believe and the other is Hollywood.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 26, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Films mock all kinds of groups. They are just movies for pete's sake.

  • jaredw007 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    Sounds like Brett Latimer has been listening to Michael Medved a little too much. Yes, Hollywood has gotten away with what could pass as anti-religious propaganda over the years but Hollywood has also produced a lot of movies with pro-religious themes as well. Its a common stereotype to pain Hollywood as this godless society but the truth is, there are people working there from all sorts of religious and non-religious persuasions and yes there are even Mormons working there. I can't say I agree with some of the examples used like "O Brother Where Art Thou" and "Castaway" but I see the point he's trying to make. I just don't fully agree with it.

  • Mulder21 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    The main problem with religion is that is takes away people's individuality and inhibits free thinking. Religion is a very dangerous and destructive force in the world. It causes people to think irrationally. More people have murdered in the name of religion than for any other cause. Although religion does do some good, the bad that is caused from it out-weighs the good. People need to think for themselves instead of being told what to think.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Aug. 26, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Seems Linus just validated my post!

  • cymrul West Valley City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    The thing to remember that ALL the movies mentioned were just that MOVIES. NOT DOCUMENTARIES. I don't watch "Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang" and then expect that all cars will fly, and I don't expect Sister Act to be an accurate portrayal of life in a convent for a woman hiding from the mob.
    I do think it interesting that the comedies "The R.M.", "Singles Ward", etc. were not mentioned. Or are they actually correct in their portrayals of the LDS?

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Aug. 26, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    lds4gaymarriage- Your lack of concern over the examples you yourself site are unfortunate and only reinforce what I have seen over that past 30 plus years.
    Your convenient lack of details and background to the cases you also mention also decry a lack of honesty in your version of the incidents.
    "you bet Elder Oaks would cite that as a violation of the LDS right" is also a pitifully weak presumtion.
    Maybe I should change my name to lds4imorality and see how seriously people take me.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 26, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    mulder: Your points have been debuked time and time again. The worst mass murders of all time were athesists. They were Mao and Stalin who would killed millions. In fact, Hitler who is an anti-Christ tried to totally exterminate the Jews. Yet you try and fill in your hate for religion based on something that is totally wrong. You can cite the crusades and even some others but the Civil War here in the United States was more about property rights than religion. The Revolutionary War was over personal rights than religion. More wars have been fought in the name of the individual than anything religion could ever dream up.

    lds4gaymarriage: I have to applaud AZRods comments to you as he is totally right. When you take the right away from the individual to practice his religion, then you are infriging upon the right of religion. What do you say about the rights of the Mayor of New York not allowing any clergy to participate in the 10th anniversary of 9/11. If it wasn't for the families own faith in many circusmstances they could not have healed otherwise. You can no longer sit on the fence.

  • ADN Weiser, ID
    Aug. 26, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    Did America create television, or has television created America?

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    Mulder21
    More people have murdered in the name of religion than for any other cause. Although religion does do some good, the bad that is caused from it out-weighs the good. People need to think for themselves instead of being told what to think.

    LDS4
    Youre SO wrong. Stalin killed 20,000,000; Mao 75,000,000; Hitler 12,000,000. Pol Pot, Castro, N. Korea add millions more. These all happened within the last century. The Inquisition killed about 3000 over 160 years centuries ago. Mao killed more than 3000 before lunch...EVERY DAY. Atheism is FAR more dangerous.

    Religious people are more far generous and altruistic. Look at all of the hospitals religious groups have established. I have yet to hear of Atheist General Hospital or Agnostic Memorial. Religious donate more money (beyond their own churches).

    If your grandmas car broke down in a bad part of town and she was walking through a dark alley for help and was approached by a group of young men, would you/she be relieved to know that they were coming from a Bible study? You bet!

    Religion overwhelmingly promotes good behavior. Atheism promotes hedonism.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    AZRods
    lds4gaymarriage- Your lack of concern over the examples you yourself site are unfortunate and only reinforce what I have seen over that past 30 plus years.
    LDS4
    I'm libertarian and believe that the photographer SHOULD be able to deny photographing gays, Mormons, etc... but he CHOSE to serve the public and promised to obey the law.

    AZRods
    Your convenient lack of details and background to the cases you also mention also decry a lack of honesty in your version of the incidents.
    LDS4
    I only get 200 words. Google those incidents. You'll see that I'm right.

    AZRods
    "you bet Elder Oaks would cite that as a violation of the LDS right" is also a pitifully weak presumtion.
    LDS4
    We LDS cite those who quit their jobs after their support for Prop.8 became known and we claim "persecution". You can bet your bottom dollar that the DN would put the story on Page 1 if some business refused a LDS patron.

    AZRods
    Maybe I should change my name to lds4imorality and see how seriously people take me.
    LDS4
    Don't take me seriously. Just show me where I'm mistaken. You seem to imply that it should be easy.

  • Spaghedeity Draper, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    @ lds4gaymarriage | 2:25 p.m. Aug. 26, 2011

    The leaders you mention do indeed have plenty of death under their belts. The point you seem to be missing is that their atheism was incidental to the atrocities they committed and not the cause. You can't get someone to kill in the name of atheism, but you can get someone to kill in the name of god or allah. In fact, Hitler was able to use Christianity as a tool to get people to support him. There is a reason the Jews were the main targeted population of the holocaust and that reason sprung from a religious hatred of the Jews. Unfortunately for your argument, a little known fact is that atheists were counted among those who were picked out to be sent to the concentration camps.

    You can't expect atheist hospitals to pop up out of nowhere because atheism is simply a lack of belief and isn't an organization. In reality, any secular charity or hospital that isn't attached to a religion could be considered atheist.

    You say atheism promotes hedonism, but as I mentioned before it not an organization and therefore doesn't promote anything at all.

    Continued....

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 26, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    "And I could also show you thousands of posts saying that gay people are subhuman and worthy of God's wrath."

    So, all you have to do to criminalize religion is show that it is bigoted? The problem with this is that nine times out of ten, people aren't saying that gay people are subhuman and worthy of God's wrath, you are just perceiving it that way. I can point to many instances where people have essentially said that I am subhuman and worthy of God's wrath because of the way I've voted, but does that make them criminals?

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 26, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    "The point you seem to be missing is that their atheism was incidental to the atrocities they committed and not the cause."

    You have a point that in the case of Nazis, religion was used, much like a useful idiot. But you can't really argue that with Stalin or Mao. You cannot dance around the prominence of atheism in Marxism. It was fundamental for Karl Marx and those who attempted, in their various ways, to implement his philosophies. Those atrocities were committed in the name of the advancement human race. As Marx explained, the only thing that mattered was that which was material, observable, scientific so to speak, a natural extension of Darwinism. This is very much part of atheism. It's all fine and dandy until you start justifying the slaughter of millions of people because they are standing in the way of human advancement with their silly religious dogma and bourgeois ways.

    The fact that atheists don't believe in anything does not get atheism off the hook for atrocities commited by atheists.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 26, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    @Independent,

    "The fact that atheists don't believe in anything does not get atheism off the hook for atrocities commited by atheists. "

    Actually, it does get them off the hook. As opposed to a religion committing an atrocity with many followers around the world doing as they're told, these were single acts committed by individuals who didn't believe in a religion. Atheists around the world weren't following their creed like a prophet. If a prophet says to do something, such as the Curse of Cain, the followers do it. In Atheism, we are individuals doing our thing and not following anybody.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    @lds4gaymarriage
    "Youre SO wrong. Stalin killed 20,000,000; Mao 75,000,000; Hitler 12,000,000. Pol Pot, Castro, N. Korea add millions more. These all happened within the last century. The Inquisition killed about 3000 over 160 years centuries ago. Mao killed more than 3000 before lunch...EVERY DAY. Atheism is FAR more dangerous."

    Here's a problem with that though... We have something like 7 billion people in the world today when a mere century ago it was closer to 1-2 billion. Body counts are higher now because there's just plain more bodies. So I think what is necessary to use for comparison would be percentages of populations wiped out in a war. If there was a nation of 12 million in 1800 that had 1.2 million casualties, that'd be the same percentage as a nation of 120 million now having 12 million casualties. I'm not a historian so I'm not sure about this but I don't think percentages of populations lost in wars now is any worse than centuries ago.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    "Religious people are more far generous and altruistic. Look at all of the hospitals religious groups have established. I have yet to hear of Atheist General Hospital or Agnostic Memorial."

    For the most part there aren't atheist organizations. There aren't atheist churches. There's not much of an atheist structure. So atheists tend to not band together to set up things in the name of atheism, they just join whatever projects they want to for charitable work.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    Story-tellers will stop making fun of religion when religion stops being so worthy of it.

    Is the Earth flat or round?

    Does the Sun go around the Earth, or does the Earth go around the Sun?

    What is the age of the Earth? 6,000 years, or 4.6 billion years?

    Is schizophrenia a consequence of demonic possession, or brain chemistry?

    Did homo sapiens arise through millions of years of random mutation and natural selection, or were they poofed into existence by magic?

    Are earthquakes the result of natural geophysical forces, or are they evidence of an angry god?

    Note the traditional religious answers to every one of the above questions, then tell me again about how stories that portray religions as fossilized, paranoid bastions of fear and ignorance are somehow not being fair to the religious.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    Some people assume that all religions behave a certain way. I will address this.

    The simple answer:

    It would be a hasty generalization to assume that all religions behave like one or a few. So to judge one religion by the merits of others is illogical.

    The reasoned answer:

    Religion is simply belief. Organized or not, the point is 'belief'. Some believe in empirical evidence only; this describes the majority of scientists. Some refuse empirical evidence; this describes most religious persons. Some accept empirical evidence, but also logical deductions.

    The latter describes the intelligent and the fewer of all crowds. There are few who accept empirical evidence, but understand the inductive leap principle and know that empirical evidence is only as strong as certain factors and is never 100% conclusive and provable, only probable, etc. They also understand deductive reason and can draw conclusions from basic principles, as many religions do.

    Just because I use deductive thought and acknowledge the weakness of empirical evidence and the inductive leap (which I'll remind, is a leap of faith)... doesn't mean that I refuse empirical evidence entirely, just that in being religious AND logical, I take science intelligently but not definitively.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    I've let myself become mildly addicted to "Criminal Minds" reruns. I've noticed that they have had at least one episode set in every state from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast except Utah.

    Hmm.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    The religious people make themselves look silly, irrational, and primitive all on their own, with no help from us!

    You do not have the "freedom" to believe absurdity without opposition. We will always reserve the right to call your absurdity absurd!

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 11:24 p.m.

    Vanka | 6:15 p.m. Aug. 27, 2011
    Provo, UT
    The religious people make themselves look silly, irrational, and primitive all on their own, with no help from us!

    You do not have the "freedom" to believe absurdity without opposition. We will always reserve the right to call your absurdity absurd!

    LDS4
    Be careful, that double edged sword cuts both ways.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 11, 2012 5:56 p.m.

    It'a a hypocritical target big as all outdoors. Hollywood would be remiss in ignoring religion.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    June 11, 2012 6:55 p.m.

    @Mulder21

    "The main problem with religion is that is takes away people's individuality and inhibits free thinking. Religion is a very dangerous and destructive force in the world. It causes people to think irrationally. More people have murdered in the name of religion than for any other cause. Although religion does do some good, the bad that is caused from it out-weighs the good. People need to think for themselves instead of being told what to think."

    Not true. More people have died under atheistic governments 20 million Russians died in the Soviet Union from the years 1924-53 In Communist China 40 million died during the years 1949-1975. And this is only for the 20th century A civilized time. The amount of people that have died under religious governments can’t even come close to those numbers.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 11, 2012 10:09 p.m.

    I can see why organized religion and Hollywood are at odds. They are both big businesses competing for consumers' discretionary incomes.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    June 11, 2012 10:09 p.m.

    @zoar63,

    They weren't doing it for atheism though. It's not an organized thing like religion is. Just imagine somebody who doesn't tie himself to any religion at all. Confused, non-believer, unsure, whatever. That's an atheist.

    As someone else pointed out as well, compare the percentage of people killed during these historical conquests. We have billions of people now compared to 100's of thousands. Let's acnknowledge that and the killing power available in modern societies.

    That being said the atrocities committed by Soviet Russia and the Mao system are appalling and stand out as an embarrassment to mankind. Much like organized religion has in most of our history.

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    June 12, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    Sorry for those of you who take the Hollywood issue seriously - you have too much time on your hands - go out and do your Home and Visiting Teaching instead, then maybe YOU will be the examples that Hollywood make the next movie about.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 12, 2012 6:06 a.m.

    A movie whose antagonist or portrayal of a religious organization as purely evil, is really just a sign of a lazy writer, who lacks the creativity to delve deeper into human motivations that exist in all of us, regardless of our religious affilliation. It's the Deus Ex Machina of villain creation, a tired cliche' that's rooted deeply in our insecurity that religious diversity might be evidence that that other guy's religion might be too whacky for the human conscience to handle.

    It's a knockoff, cheap bit, a hackneyed psychological horror hack, and the best forms of entertainment try to avoid the temptation. And it's not just Hollywood that's relied upon this old school villain. Many bits of classic literature employ this villain without rellent... I'm thinking of Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame is a decent example.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    June 12, 2012 10:38 a.m.

    In response put forth in the article: "hollywood needs Christian audiences" If so, it would be wise to eliminate the f.. word, graphic sex, nudity, violence and the distortion/untrue lives and events of famous men and women by phychohistory dialogues. So, until then, yes, one can do very well without Hollywood.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 12, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    The author of this article uses a very broad brush to paint a Hollywood that is under no obligation to restrain a filmmaker from following his personal vision to wherever it leads him. I was particularly irked by the take on Robert Zemeckis’ fine film Contact which is one of the most intelligent science fiction films I’ve ever seen. It deals directly with the conflict between science and religion and in the end shows a sublime and transcendent respect for both.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    June 12, 2012 4:17 p.m.

    So movies show religion in an unfavorable light. First this is news? Second, who cares? It's a bloody movie. Lighten up.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    June 12, 2012 4:18 p.m.

    Would you all rather have some sort of law governing Hollywood to make sure it portrays religions accurately and favorably? Sounds like more big government to me.

  • David in CA Livermore, CA
    June 12, 2012 7:11 p.m.

    This news story originally appeared Last Year -- 2011!!

    I'm really sorry that the neither the author nor any commentors mentioned
    a Great Positive movie last year that dealt with strong Faith/"Religious" Themes.

    The movie "Soul Surfer", released by Sony In 2011 is ALL about FAITH in the Lord
    when serious bad things happen. The true story about a shark attack and how s
    young lady Still kept her Dreams Alive was a Good/Great product from Hollywood!!!

    Again, surprised that this movie was overlooked by Both author and commentators
    on the subject of Hollywood versus Religion??