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Don’t Shout at the Telly Christmas Special: The New Atheism


DSATT Xmas thumb

This Don’t Shout at the Telly Christmas special, provides the perfect antidote to New Atheist whingeing this festive season. spiked editor Brendan O’Neill argues that New Atheism is far worse than the religious idea that humanity is guided by a supernatural being. Indeed, it promotes a misanthropic view of humans as little more than bundles of genes. For those who don’t believe in God, but do believe in humanity, how should we view religion? O’Neill argues for tolerance. That means we should be free to express our beliefs as we see fit, and others should be free to criticise and even ridicule those beliefs. This fast-paced conversation puts radical humanism and the need to explain what is great about human beings centre stage. Far better than dull Christmas telly and unwanted rows with relatives, this spirited film is one to mull over during the holidays.

Recommended links:

Article by Brendan O’Neill

Interview with Raymond Tallis



Related topics: Civil Liberties, Debates

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katrina Desportes said:

Watching this debate I feel that some very strong points have been made for instance the young man in the sky blue blazer mentioned the fact that ‘an atheist is not someone who dose not believe in nothing it is some one who simply dose not believe in god’. SO why is that believe of some what less value compared to some one who dose believe in a god????
Me myself I have no religion and I admit that there are times I select different parts from different rebellions to help myself to have a better understanding of life.

Esther said:

This is awesome! And it ll hurt me not to be a part of this! This are the kind of messages we as young people need! Stop leaving in fantasies and face the realk world, make the right choices and do the right things we can do it!

Germaine Patrick said:

A very interesting piece

TJ said:

Brilliant programme should be on TV great one for Christmas too-best of your on the sofas since the abortion one. Keep them coming.

Geraldine said:

I think the guy on the sofa who says atheism is hollow is right but I also think sky pilots should toughen up and be prepared for ridicule.

Frisia said:

Mr O’Neill is very engaging indeed, very thoughtful points by all on the sofa too-hmmm made me think-not sure where I stand on God but I do know we are not monkeys.

Johnno said:

Freedom of religion, tolerance, all good stuff. Why do people get so sensitve about veil wearing though. If you must wear one then at least stick up for yourself and stop whining about being offended by those of us with less anti-social taste in clothing.

Julie Perry said:

Great programme and discussion. I don’t equate veil wearing with hoodies although I think it perfectly legitimate to do so. Veil wearing is horrible as it represents a backward view of women and a view of men as just sex beasts. I too wouldn’t want them banned but would want to say what are you wearing that for. I consider myself an atheist but it is hardly the most important thing in my life and I love christmas carols and lots of other nonsense religion inspired practices.

Laura Osborne said:

In my opinion any form of extremism, whether that of an evangelist forcing leaflets on you in the street, or an atheist spouting anti religious comments on your facebook feed, is pretty antisocial. I myself am an atheist, but i agree that there is a definite issue presenting itself now, that is affecting how people like me are responded to by those in religious groups.
Atheism is often spouted by people now, who not only lack belief in religion, but also humanity. This is seen in the derogatory way in which so many mock and pick holes in a religion for its concepts or ideologies, rather than its execution of them. One thing that I find I have little patience for, is people who find joy in looking into the logic of a faiths standing and tearing it to shreads. It is this belittling attitude which is so destructive to the relationship between atheists and those with faith. To assume that someone who is a Christian, will always believe and take every detail of the bible literally for example, rather than to acknoweldege that it is in the ideologies within it in which they believe, is a damning discredit to those individuals intelligence.
Like Brendan says, at least when someone believes in a faith and tries to tell you about it they are fighting for something. It actually makes me happy these days when I meet someone who is shouting in the street, what a shame that such passion from atheists can’t be poured into something more positive than just always criticising others beliefs and ideologies.

Will said:

It seems mad to me that the UK can justify banning the wearing of the cross on the basis that it is not a requirement of the Christian faith while such bans are not introduced for other faiths. Obviously they shouldn’t be banning any expressions of faith, but what is with this seemingly random pick-and-chose philosophy?

The fundamental freedoms that should be afforded to us, of religion, free speech and dare I say, free thought are constantly being eroded because, heaven forbid, we might offend someone. I never set out to offend anyone, but people are becoming so precious about such trivial matters.

I think most atheists are put off by the outward pomposity of ‘New Atheism’, but I will defend their right to view their opinions on a public platform if they afford me the right to openly disagree with the conduct of ‘New Atheism’. Maybe we should try a little harder to be more like bundles of joy than bundles of genes.

Sanjeeda said:

I agree with Brendan about the anti-human perception towards religious people because the new atheism may convey arrogance upon them due to their perspective towards humans in general especially those who believe in God. The new atheism degrades people due to their beliefs and I think they shouldn’t view them in a negative light, they may think that religion is corrupt, a false agenda and a naive way of living. But they should be respectful but allowed to express their views to an extent. Brendan has also said that the new atheism inflicts atheists to believe humans are just walking idiots who are programmed to do things but he believes that this is a low way of thinking and there is something special about humans. I also agreed with Brendan towards his perception of freedom of expression but to an extent as he believes that women who wear the face veil are akin to thugs who cover their face to signify anti-social behaviour. Despite that, he’s allowed to believe that face veils shouldn’t be worn in a democratic, secular society but expressing that it’s similar to some chavs who choose to wear it are quite ignorant because he doesn’t understand the views on why both groups of people wear it. A woman in a face veil may choose to wear it because she thinks it levels her spirituality and piety with her clothing and conveys herself as personal and close to God, not for shadowing herself from society. Overall, I think freedom of expression is allowed but to a certain level because a high level of hatred towards something may view you as arrogant just like what Brendan has said at first when atheists are self-righteous and put their selves to a higher degree. 

Pooja Kaur said:

I am dissapointed at the views of Brendan when he was referring to muslim women who cover their face to people who cover the top half of their face with hats or who go around with hats on heir head. The reasons for covering their faces are completly different as the muslim women cover their face to be modest within society whilst other people who cover their face is purely to be seen as a thug or to remain anti-social amongst society. I feel that religious people should be free to wear whatever religous items they wish as everyone is equal. I found Brendon to be very igonrant towards people who believe in religion and i think that he hasn’t researched enough into why people believe in religion and why they practice it. Also my views on Atheism as i am a religious belover of Sikhism i feel that it is a very negative attitude towards God and his creation.

Tamanna said:

I agree that everyone has the right to freedom of speech but I strongly disagree with the fact that anything is said to religious people. I mean if religious people were to say anything about Atheism they’ll be a big argument. You may not believe in God but you have to be aware that there are other people who do. People who wear a veil and a hoodie are two totally different things you can’t compare a veil and a hoodie. A hoodie is not mentioned in any religious text and the veil is mentioned in the Quran but it is optional. A person with a hoodie on just likes to look cool but a person with a veil on wants to follow their religion in a stronger way. No-one has the right to judge anyone because that person under the veil could be the nicest person on earth; you just don’t know them so you can’t start blabbering on about them. It’s a person’s personal choice in whether they decide to wear a veil and it’s the way they see themselves and express themselves no one should be able to say anything about them. I understand that a person may not believe in God or any religion but you should respect them the way they are. I thought that Brendan was very self-centred and arrogant he should have thought about the other people’s thoughts around him. It is definitely not permissible to create films saying how anything about anyone’s religion or any particular saint or prophet because people will get really offended and it’s just not right because you’re disrespecting what others believes. You should be more aware when saying things like that.