After watching The Unbelievers and reading many of the reviews, it was pretty clear to me that most people misunderstood the documentary’s purpose. Every documentary about atheism seems to have to fulfill the requirement of making a case for atheism. The Unbelievers did not fulfill this requirement and as such, has been dismissed by many, believers and atheists alike.
I just don’t think that was the purpose of this documentary. I could be wrong, but the way I saw it, this film was demonstrating how massive the conversation about atheism and science and reason has gotten. In my opinion, this is just as important a message as any in favour of leaving religion behind.
The Unbelievers follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss around the world as they attend debates, do speaking engagements and appear on television. You can see the size of the crowds; the fan base these two scientists have developed. If that alone doesn’t say something about where we’re headed, then perhaps the voices of Cameron Diaz, Penn Jillette and Sarah Silverman will. The film is irrefutable evidence that reason has seeped into the mainstream.
What I discovered when I began blogging as Godless Mom, was that atheism was much larger than I’d ever known. Having been an atheist all my life, I’d lived as long as I have without realizing the sheer reaches of godlessness. I was amazed, proud and excited because it filled me with hope for the future of our species. Trying to relay the things I’d learned to people who were not involved in the discussion proved useless, though. I remember one day Richard Dawkins retweeted something I’d posted and, in my excitement, I told my Mom. Her response was, “who?”.
Laypeople who are not at all involved in any sort of debate, seem to not understand the vast reaches of it. The conversation has become huge. It’s relevant, and it’s paving the way to our very, very hopeful future. I want people to know! We’re debating, we’re arguing, we’re “shaking people’s faith” as Dan Dennett said, and we’re on our way to leaving religion behind like the bronze aged b.s. that it is.
The Unbelievers is not a film to show your religious friends to make a case against their faith. It’s not an argument. It’s a film that displays the enormous spread of atheism. It’s a film that brings more colloquially familiar faces than Dawkins or Krauss to the term. It’s a film that proves that atheism is not only growing exponentially, it’s being celebrated.
If you are an atheist, you absolutely must watch it and pay for it and use it as a metaphorical pat on the back, because we’re getting somewhere and you might be overwhelmed to see how fast that’s happening.