June Book & Film Club Reminder: Read I Don't Believe in Atheists and Watch Lars and the Real Girl


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Just a reminder for those of you who want to read/view the book and film club selections for the month that our selections are I Don't Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges and Lars and the Real Girl. Discussion starts on June 26.

Here are a few more details to pique your interest:

June Book: I Don't Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges (Note: Also recommended as a companion volume is God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.) Heather Isaacs Royce will be reviewing the book and starting off our discussion.

Here's Amazon's Editorial Description of I Don't Believe in Atheists:

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.

The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.

I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.

Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious and secular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith.

June Film: Lars and the Real Girl

Here's my short review of the film from Spectrum's 2007 Top 10 Films list:

I've almost decided to stop trying to pitch this film with any plot details and just tell people to trust me—it’s very, very good. The plot sounds more than bizarre: a pathologically shy man who lives alone in the garage behind his brother’s house finally meets a girl on the Internet, much to the relief of his sister-in-law who worries about his isolation. Only problem? She turns out to be a life size silicon sex doll (don’t worry, the relationship is clearly asexual). He thinks she’s real and suddenly gets involved in life as he introduces her around town (she’s wheelchair bound). His family and community are faced with a difficult dilemma—do they play along? Do they send him to the funny farm? I know it sounds bizarre, but please trust me that it’s a poignant story of unconditional love and acceptance. And it’s also the most positive view of a Christian church community that you’ve seen in years.

Lars and the Real Girl Trailer

Please join us for some thought-provoking discussion starting June 26.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/687