Hollywood has moved beyond a hostile attitude toward traditional faith and has created a film that actually promotes atheistic beliefs — "The Ledge."
Moviemakers claim that "The Ledge" is "the first film to feature an openly atheist hero in a Hollywood production." They compare the film to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Brokeback Mountain," and hope to "achieve similar advances for atheists."
"The Ledge" sports a big-name cast with stars including Liv Tyler ("The Lord of the Rings"), Terrence Howard ("Crash"), Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy") and Patrick Wilson ("Watchmen").
The film's writer and director is Matthew Chapman, who happens to be the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin and, as one might expect, a committed atheist. Concurrent with scientific advances, Chapman sees atheism as an inescapable belief. "As we learn more about the universe and ourselves, religion will inevitably give way to atheism," the writer-director once said.
One of the film's stars, Tyler, summarized the movie's plot to Popeater. "I play a woman who had problems with drugs and prostitution, and then she meet's Patrick Wilson's character and they get married," she said. "He is a born-again evangelical Christian. He basically saves her life and then she meets a man played by Charlie Hunnam and they have an affair and he's an atheist."
The actress failed to mention that the husband character in the film is an irrational Bible thumper who lures the atheist onto a ledge and threatens to kill the wife unless the atheist jumps.
Tyler is out promoting the movie as an exercise in tolerance.
"The message I got from making this film is that the world, especially now with the Internet, we're so quick to judge people based on their clothing, sexual preference, religion, food they like," Tyler said. "I guess I came to realize from this that you really don't know what people have been through unless you find out."
Although not particularly religious, she nevertheless does not talk like an atheist.
"I definitely have some kind of belief in something bigger than myself. I almost feel like it's the universe and the earth and mother nature and that feeling when you go to the beach or stand on top of a mountain and look around and go, 'God this is not about me,'" the actress said.
Of course, Hollywood has been entertaining the atheist line of thought for quite some time. HBO host Bill Maher routinely touts atheism as a superior worldview. The comedian also produced and starred in a 2008 mockumentary, "Religulous," that not only ridiculed religion but elevated atheism.
In 2009 atheist comic Ricky Gervais directed and starred in "The Invention of Lying," a fantasy film that has an embedded message, which conveys to viewers the idea that religions are nothing but lies used by hucksters to con the public.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for InternationalEsq.com. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood: www.youtube.com/user/NMHollywood
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