Let's be fresh out of art school with this, guys.
January 29, 2011 10:26 PM   Subscribe

We've talked about Deconversion 2.0: The God Concept on the blue. The creator of this well-produced, content-heavy mini-series has began Deconversion 3.0: A New Way of Seeing God, which details his life as a new atheist searching for truth. Whatever position you take, we can all appreciate the crisp style of his videos.
posted by Taft (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nope. "Crisp Style" is exactly what I wouldn't call this.

I'm not sure what you mean by "well produced", unless you mean "a good grasp of how to put together an amateur, home-made digital video," this is a rambling narrative of one person's spiritual journey, maybe....


The cynical part of me wants to say that this is an exercise in viral video. YouTube is being used, more and more often as the runway for folks who want to gain a foothold in music/humor/video production/movies/makeup tips/animation/etc/etc. This feels like the product of an individual who wants to break into the world of the publication (digital or otherwise) of spiritual guidance material.
posted by HuronBob at 11:00 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you accusing me of viral marketing, without providing evidence?
posted by Taft at 11:08 PM on January 29, 2011


I believe that when HuronBob says "this is an exercise in viral video," the "this" referred to is the YouTube video.
posted by argybarg at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2011


Oh dear... I'm sorry HuronBob ):
posted by Taft at 11:19 PM on January 29, 2011


I've found this series pretty fascinating from the beginning. It doesn't really matter if you agree with him; it's an interesting narrative of the process of losing faith.

The cynical part of me wants to say that this is an exercise in viral video.

This is sort of a meaningless accusation. It's obviously not astroturf. This kid is a CS major making some videos about his life, which we have no reason to believe are based on falsehoods. The virility of a video is simply a product of it having broad appeal, or not. Equally cynically, it's hard not to read your comment as basically thread-crapping and a great way to derail a thread.
posted by knave at 11:24 PM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Taft, no, that wasn't an accusation that you are participating in viral marketing... I am having a difficult time if determining the intent of the original creator.
posted by HuronBob at 11:26 PM on January 29, 2011


leave that "if" out of my comment.
posted by HuronBob at 11:27 PM on January 29, 2011


No, I'm not seeing it as astroturfing. My comment was a reflection on how I relate the somewhat intense video production (although, not professional in nature) to the content of his narrative. There's a bit of a "snake oil" feel to it (for me, anyway).
posted by HuronBob at 11:30 PM on January 29, 2011


Are you accusing me of viral marketing, without providing evidence?

For a fact, an argument could be made that there is circumstantial evidence in that the blandly editorializing and curious if not passive voice of the copy -- well-produced, content-heavy... we all can appreciate the crisp style... -- is not that dissimilar to language used by self-linkers here in the past.

We can all appreciate is not a felicitous phrase in the home of Your Favorite Band [or Whatever] Sucks. Just sayin'...
posted by y2karl at 12:00 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


For a fact, an argument could be made that there is circumstantial evidence in that the blandly editorializing and curious if not passive voice of the copy -- well-produced, content-heavy... we all can appreciate the crisp style... -- is not that dissimilar to language used by self-linkers here in the past.

I definitely felt that on first read.
posted by philip-random at 12:07 AM on January 30, 2011


It's a sensitive subject, I wanted to be careful.
posted by Taft at 12:08 AM on January 30, 2011


It's like someone with a jesus complex double reverse backflip somersaulting people into not becoming athiests.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:33 AM on January 30, 2011


I for one found these videos fascinating. Watching a Christian's trip through history and his own beliefs, coming to terms with contradictions and problems he'd already noticed but brushed off, accepting the honesty of people who disagreed with him — it's really touching. And, yes, these aren't the most brilliantly produced videos ever, but they're well constructed and get the point across very clearly. They're not condescending, they're not overbearing, and they're not preachy. They're interesting. I think they're probably far less useful for deconverting Christians than they are for showing the subset of atheists who like to belittle Christians (and other superstitious people) that such people aren't necessarily stupid or malicious or willfully ignorant. Thanks for the post.
posted by cthuljew at 2:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


i think the Deconversion series is excellent, and anyone with any interest in religion - no matter where they personally stand on the subject - should watch the whole thing, because it is delivered so calmly, unhurriedly and thoughtfully that it merits respect and consideration. It certainly says a hell of a lot more about why and how formerly religious people lose their faith than shallow trivia like that "God's Press Conference" thing.
posted by Decani at 3:35 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm. I'm two videos into the new series and so far it's much less interesting to me than the first, because he's working through details of what it means to be an atheist, including all the tiresome and largely fruitless nit-picking about grades of belief/non-belief ("Am I a pantheist, or a nontheist, or a weak atheist, or an agnostic or...?" Oh, knock it off. If you don't believe in any of the standard, dictionary-recognised definitions of "god", you're an atheist. Move on!)

I get impatient with this sort of thing because I see it going on all the damned time on religious and atheist sites, and it's such a distraction and a waste of time. It's fiddling while Rome burns. That said, I still like the way the guy presents his thoughts, and I shall certainly watch the rest of the episodes. And I recognise that while this may be very old hat to people like me, it's always new to someone. And that is a good point he raises: that many loud and disrespectful atheists like me are so, at least in part, because of the exasperation of seeing the same dumb, roundly-debunked ideas come up over and over again, usually presented by someone who thinks they're the most powerful and amazing thing ever. And to them, no doubt, they are. Ridicule and dismissiveness is just a lazy and not-very-nice way of saying "No, they're really not, you know." We get tired of being told that we don't understand what it feels like to "know" god; that we really ought to read the Bible then all would become clear; that nothing can come out of nothing; that there had to be a prime mover.... gah! So we lash out, sometimes.

So it is good that there are "gentle" atheists like this around too.
posted by Decani at 4:36 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't believe in any of the standard, dictionary-recognised definitions of "god", you're an atheist. Move on!

What? Please, no. If you believe in any standard or non-standard versions of any sort of god, magic, higher power or other religious construction you're not an atheist. You're still a theist or deist, though you may be a gnostic or agnostic theist or deist. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that.

Even if someone is some kind of god-inventing, Discordian, pan-Wiccan, neopagan chaos-magicking OTO dropout that mainly worships smoking damiana out of Walt Disney's frozen skull they're still not atheists.

There's only one grade of atheist, and that's the disbelief of any and/or all gods. There's no gray area there.
posted by loquacious at 7:48 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Confessionals like this are going to feel odd because he is like a mental patient at a release hearing trying to convince that he is no longer crazy. How does one do this successfully?

"Yeah, ten minutes ago I used to sincerely believe all these weird things -that people were out to get me, I see man-sized chickens everywhere, there is a big man in the sky, but now I'm all better!"

I think it has value in lending (and seeking) comfort. Few people want to be the only atheist on their block. I say this living in the bible belt of America.
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:50 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


People who live in primarily liberal, non-religious areas don't understand how oppressive it can feel to live in a conservative area as an agnostic or atheist (and yes, there is a difference).
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:15 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even if someone is some kind of god-inventing, Discordian, pan-Wiccan, neopagan chaos-magicking OTO dropout that mainly worships smoking damiana out of Walt Disney's frozen skull they're still not atheists.

I refute you thus (pokes self in eye)
posted by jtron at 8:48 AM on January 30, 2011


People who live in primarily liberal, non-religious areas don't understand how oppressive it can feel to live in a conservative area as an agnostic or atheist
Yeah, I'll say. I know it's wrong to stereotype but I despair at the amount of times I hear of something going on in the US and think "Haha, yeah, good one", only to find out that no, it isn't a joke. The recent GOP rape definition thread on here being a prime example.
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:04 AM on January 30, 2011


Let's be fresh out of art school with this, guys.

...pardon? Could someone explain the post title for the hard-of-thinking?
posted by metaBugs at 9:20 AM on January 30, 2011


If a person is loud, rude, or obnoxious about her or his beliefs regardless of what those beliefs are or aren't, then I suppose it's probable that that person will be feel oppressed when met with some resistance. I'm a standard run-of-the-mill nonbeliever. I've spent years in Bible Belt Texas and LDS Utah, and concerning my lack of belief specifically, I've experienced no oppression whatsoever. Am I just lucky?

I don't think the vast majority of people I've encountered give a shit about my religious beliefs. Unless I make it an issue, why would they?
posted by rain at 9:36 AM on January 30, 2011


I'm a standard run-of-the-mill nonbeliever. I've spent years in Bible Belt Texas and LDS Utah, and concerning my lack of belief specifically, I've experienced no oppression whatsoever. Am I just lucky?

Yes. Unless, of course, you mean to blame the victim here, in which case I suppose you can go on suggesting that atheists who "feel oppressed" are just loud, rude, or obnoxious (and, presumably, also deserve it for leaving the house in that dress).
posted by vorfeed at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This looks interesting so far in so far as he's being semi rigorous about his thoughts, but I don't know if it would stand up as a philosophy paper. For instance, he asserts that there could be a universe where god does not exist, but not one where truth does not exist. Someone should introduce him to the concepts of Post-Modernism (to doubt every-day "truths"), or Descarte's Evil Genius (to doubt more fundamental "truths").

The scientific method presumes that facts are observable and consistent, but that could be a false assumption (though it's worked out pretty well so far). Full disclosure: I am not a philosopher, just a fan
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:12 AM on January 30, 2011


Oh hello messianic delusion. I did not not expect you. I trust the narrator a lot less now, but I'm more interested in the series because of his honesty.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:25 AM on January 30, 2011


So I watched the first one. I was put off by the narrator's eerie, dispassionate calm, strangely reminding me of various New Age types I encountered in my teens and young adulthood (why didn't any of these people go to punk rock gigs?). And the music just enhanced this feeling; like an attempt was being made to lull me into something ...

Anyway, I doubt I'll watch the rest as, from my position of general agnosticism (with occasional sidetracks), it would be akin to going to a winebar when what I really want is proper pint of Guinness (I have no idea what that last sentence is supposed to mean; it just felt right).

Double anyway - I'd be really interested to hear if anyone in this thread gets deconverted by these vids, or knows of anyone who has. Meanwhile, I'll be spending most of my time in Egypt (virtually, of course), with driving LOUD music in the bg, because it's Sunday and my unproven GOD loves the driving LOUD stuff.
posted by philip-random at 11:52 AM on January 30, 2011


Even if someone is some kind of god-inventing, Discordian, pan-Wiccan, neopagan chaos-magicking OTO dropout that mainly worships smoking damiana out of Walt Disney's frozen skull they're still not atheists.

There's only one grade of atheist, and that's the disbelief of any and/or all gods. There's no gray area there.
posted by loquacious at 3:48 PM on January 30


I agree; I wasn't clear enough. By "standard dictionary definition of god" I meant the one that refers to belief in a supernatural being who is concerned with the universe and/or humanity.
posted by Decani at 9:26 PM on January 30, 2011


Oh hello messianic delusion. I did not not expect you.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:25 PM on January 30


Yeah, that made my heart sink too. And surprised me. But at least he swiftly conceded that it was a brief period of insanity, and actually used that word. On reflection I suppose it isn't that surprising when I think back to the first series and how very, very intense he was about his beliefs.
posted by Decani at 9:29 PM on January 30, 2011


Just finished the second batch. They improve, somewhat. The final part - outlining the history of, and some of the many changes made to, the Old Testament - is something that should certainly jolt anyone who takes the Bible as, um, gospel, and who has not previously been exposed to this stuff.
posted by Decani at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2011


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