Screenwriters Accuse Christian Movie Studio Of 9th Commandment Violations Over General Script Ideas

from the cross-purposes dept

While we've covered plenty of supposed copyright stories centered around some folks' misunderstanding of the idea/expression dichotomy, it isn't every day you come across one of these cases that involves Christian on Christian litigation violence. But I guess if copyright is everywhere, virtually perpetual and attached to a creation simply by being created, it was only a matter a time before it butted up against godly works.

Kelly Kullberg and Michael Landon Jr. are screenwriters who wrote an as-yet un-filmed screenplay called Rise. It was the story about a student and professor finding themselves debating the existence of god, with the student eventually winning out. And, then there's a film that was made, God's Not Dead, which is a creatively-named film about a student and professor who find themselves debating the existance of god, with the student eventually winning out. It somehow grossed about $100 million worldwide, despite starring Kevin Sorbo, best known for playing Hercules in a television show of the same name. There are obvious plot similarities between the two.

But one must keep in mind the idea/expression dichotomy. General plots are not afforded copyright. Only the specific expression of a work, and in some cases characters, are afforded copyright. According to the complaint (which was filed by Irell & Manella -- the law firm last seen pretending a monkey gets copyright), the elements over which Kullberg and Landon Jr. are suing are examples of the former:

[A] young college student who has to debate a popular and charming atheist professor over the course of three debates, who struggles in the first debate, but succeeds in the next two after support and encouragement from characters including an unmarried local pastor, a rural married couple, the atheist professor’s wife who is also the professor’s former student (a lapsed Christian doing her own soul-searching) and an international student ally, and manages to persuade many others, including the professor, that God does exist.

Those are almost perfect examples of generic plots and not copyrightable expression. The complaint goes on to note other similarities between the two works, such as the use of certain phrases, such as "God is good", and the citation in the debate scenes of similar Christian apologetic works and authors. For the phrases: come on, we're talking generic religious phrasing here. For the citations: the number of Christian apologetics out there isn't vast, so you'd expect this kind of overlap in dealing with the same subject matter. Suing over these kinds of generic elements almost never works.

In addition to the generic nature of what the complaint focuses on, there's also the matter of what it chose to ignore: all of the other plot elements that are in no way similar to Rise.

The complaint is largely confined to the main story of God's Not Dead and does not make reference to subplots featuring minor characters who either are ostracized for converting to Christianity or are dealt cruel twists of fate for being atheists. (In one such subplot, a liberal reporter who writes nasty posts about Duck Dynasty is stricken with cancer — though she converts to Christianity and is cured in the sequel.)

The film was followed by a sequel, God's Not Dead 2, released in April of this year. Although a few minor characters were retained from the first film, including Reverend Dave played by White, it focused on a new, unrelated story of a high school teacher being prosecuted by the ACLU for quoting scripture in a history class. Nevertheless, plaintiffs allege that the sequel is “at a minimum, a derivative work.” It is implied by a post-credits cliffhanger in GNG2 that Reverend Dave’s saga will continue in a third film. The scene shows him being arrested for refusing to comply with a subpoena to produce copies of his sermons.

If you're thinking to yourself that these sound like awful, awful films, the critics largely agree with you. But they are certainly not infringing upon Rise. Everything listed in the complaint is generic idea and not expression.

Filed Under: copyright, expression, god, god's not dead, idea, kelly kullberg, michael landon jr., movies, rise


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jun 2016 @ 6:21pm

    There is something copyright can't do...

    make sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 6:52pm

    Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    Copyright isn't designed to make sense. It is designed to make money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anomalous Cowherd, 17 Jun 2016 @ 7:03pm

    This is one of those situations where you don't care who wins because both sides are absurd. Either it's Christian filmmakers that intentionally fictionalize a scenario for their movie because a realistic one doesn't exist or it's other Christian writers complaining that their absurd story premise was "stolen."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    PRMan, 17 Jun 2016 @ 9:12pm

    God's Not Dead is actually really good

    You might try watching it before criticizing it...

    As for the lawsuit:

    1 Corinthians 6:6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

    7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    HegemonicDistortion (profile), 17 Jun 2016 @ 9:45pm

    Quelle surprise. You'd think they would be glad there's a film out there spreading their message, but no. Instead the suit betrays what these films are really about, the same thing business has always been about -- money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ms. Muffit, 17 Jun 2016 @ 10:42pm

    Re: "Realistic" Scenarios

    You say these aren't based on realistic scenarios. You obviously missed the real events in Houston where pastors had their sermons subpoenaed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Lazarus Flora, 18 Jun 2016 @ 12:49am

    Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    It's designed to make cents, and lots of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    David, 18 Jun 2016 @ 2:02am

    Re:

    You'd think they would be glad there's a film out there spreading their message

    Uh no? They are spreading a different variation of the message.

    The Jews have their message. Then the Christ comes around and tells them "this is my message and you are telling it all wrong". Then Muhammad comes around and tells Christians and Jews "you are doing it all wrong". Then we split into Sunnites and Shiites, Orthodox and Catholics, Catholics and Protestants, Unitarians, Lutherans, Remormed churches and so on. Not to mention Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Judaism.

    That's where the big slaughterhouses of history are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 2:44am

    Almost makes you wish...

    ..."God" was real. Be fun to sit in the heavenly bleachers and watch these asshats receive "His" judgement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    PaulT (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:08am

    Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    When you say good, can you quantify that? I've not seen it, but my understanding is that it's a ridiculous collection of easily debunked internet arguments, with paper thin non-believer characters written simply to deliver the trite message of the movie's climax with no regard for actual human behaviour or logic.

    But, if you can offer a subjective reason why someone not belonging to a specific religion might find value in it, I might check it out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    Religion and Copyright. Who'd have thought they'd be so similar?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:32am

    Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    1. not to go all 'no true scotsman...' on you; but if we go by whether self-proclaimed xtians actually follow all the MAJOR moral teachings of the bible (FORGET about all the minor 'bluelaw' shellfish crap, wearing raiments of two different cloths, hair style bee ess, etc), then there are -in fact- about 3-4 'true xtians' in the world...
    ...and NOBODY pays attention to them because they are too gentle, peaceful and loving in a horror-show world !
    (ASIDE: POS spelczech: raiment is too a word, stop red squiggling real words...)
    2. i'm guessing the attribution of 'really good' depends on how much of a xtian you say you are... (there are all kinds of things that are 'on my side' that i not only don't find 'really good', but am embarrassed by them; that does not mean 'my side' is wrong for a media project that didn't turn out 'really good', merely human... i don't feel obligated to praise EVERYTHING/EVERYONE on 'my side', and vice versa... that is called objectivity, rationality, fairness and proportion... most people avoid those values like the plague: makes them 'like' shit they don't want to, and 'hate' shit they want to like...)
    3. as an aside, were there to be a film project of a similar nature, only the atheists were the 'good guys' and the fundie, control-freak xtians were the 'bad guys' (as they are: ANYONE who wants to force THEIR religious laws on EVERYONE is a BAD GUY, xtian/muslim/jew/bhuddist/etc, don't matter); that film would be excoriated by xtians as yet another piece of evidence (odd for a faith-based community) they are like so-o-o-o oppressed and shit...
    that crap makes my eyes roll so much they nearly fall out the back of my skull...
    i'd ask how such people could be so deluded and divorced from reality, but then i remember they are religionists/authoriatarians...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    Or maybe not

    See this page http://www.christian-restoration.com/Studies/copyright.htm

    "It has been said that Christianity started in Israel, then was taken to Greece and turned into a philosophy. Then it was taken to Rome where it was made into an institution. Later, it was taken to Europe where it became a culture, and then it was brought to America where it was made into a business enterprise".

    - 'Let me tell you a story' Tony Campolo

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    but my understanding is that it's a ridiculous collection of easily debunked internet arguments, with paper thin non-believer characters written simply to deliver the trite message of the movie's climax with no regard for actual human behaviour or logic.

    When you say "understanding" I think you mean "expectation based on my own preconceived predjudices".

    Of course you might be right - but you don't know and you should allow the possibility of a good film with a positive Christian message - eg The Scarlet and the Black

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re:

    That's where the big slaughterhouses of history are. Until Lenin came along, followed by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and proved that Atheism could do it so much better!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Monday (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:12am

    WTF?

    Have you Wikied 'The Ten Commandments'? What the hell is the ninth commandment?

    Besides, who the hell watched "Hercules"? Really. Andromeda's the money-shot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    David, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, at least the atheists tend to make better movies.

    Several months ago a roommate selected some movie with Nicolas Cage ("Left Behind") about the Rapture. Not because of having read the summary but because she likes the actor.

    Boy was she embarrassed about it. I was in stitches most of the time. The acting was bad ("cagey"), the directing was bad, the script was utterly ridiculous and incoherent. It was not as much a disaster movie as a movie disaster.

    Never saw anything even in the same ballpark of bad. Mind you: not because of the underlying religious premise as such but because of the flabbergastingly ridiculous execution.

    If you take a look at movie critic sites, this movie is lambasted. However, there is a percentage of positive reviews (I'd guess something like 5-10% on sites frequented primarily by U.S. citizens) and the only mitigating factor consistently mentioned is "at last a Christian movie" or similar.

    I cannot remember any movie where "at least it was done by atheists" would have counted with anybody as an excuse for being really, really bad.

    Apparently it does require a higher power to make people believe that awfully bad can be actually good because religion excuses anything.

    There are a few other non-religious "bad is good" modifiers, like "it's organic" somehow compensating for "it tastes awful" or "it's green fuel" compensating for "we put in more dirty energy into its production than clean energy comes out" or "electric cars don't have exhaust pipes" for "where do you imagine their energy and energy storage units coming from?".

    But I've yet to see anything like that movie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Isma'il, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re:

    "That's where the big slaughterhouses of history are."

    Objectively, you will find extremism in every religion, belief system, or ideology.

    Speaking of religion, I'd suggest reading A Common Word Between Us And You.:

    http://www.acommonword.com/the-acw-document/

    Written by Islamic scholars in Amman, Jordan, in 2007, it serves to bridge the gap between all Abrahamic faiths by two "commandments of love"; The Love of God, and the Love of the Neighbour. It is said that the Prophet Muhammad once said, "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself." It ends with a verse from the Qur'an, which drives the point home:

    "And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which God hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a law and a way. Had God willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto God ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (Al-Ma’idah, 5:48)"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    It doesn't mention money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 9:00am

    Re: WTF?

    I watched both.

    having said that, why does God need copyright?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    David, 18 Jun 2016 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: WTF?

    Because he created man after his image?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: "Realistic" Scenarios

    I'm talking about the primary premises of both movies. You can't prove that god exists or not or is dead or not, so the whole argument is bullshit to begin with, but also, a history teacher wouldn't get in trouble for referencing Jesus as a historical figure and the supposed villains in the story such as lawyers who want to prove God is dead are farces because lawyers just want to make money and to prove God is dead means that he existed at one time, so it contradicts the basic tenants of atheism. It's just Christians pretending to be persecuted and fighting against strawmen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Common mistake, you see all of them had facial hair, therefore eyebrows cause dictatorial impulses, it's just most people are able to resist the eyebrow-dictator urges. They all also wore suits, which may have contributed, and tended to have military/authoritarian mindsets, which probably didn't help.

    Hey, makes as much sense as blaming it on their lack of religion(beyond themselves).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    David, 18 Jun 2016 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Almost makes you wish...

    Well, at least now he is reel.

    Yes I know, digital and all that, but "at least now he is hard disk" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

    Even though stone tablets may count as hard disk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, at least the atheists tend to make better movies.

    I don't see where that comes from.

    Firstly - over the last 2000 years a large proportion of the best culture has Christian origins.

    Secondly I doubt that "atheists" is justifiable I think "people of all religious opinions and none" trying to make a good film rather than push a message might be nearer the mark.

    For a bad atheist film consider the 1925 film "Cross and Mauser" described here

    Reality is that if you self consciously try to make a "Christian" film - or an "atheist" film then it will probably be rubbish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Almost makes you wish...

    Hey. Those stone tablets are being retrospectively sued for having rounded corners. Adam and Eve are next in line. If you can sue a 20-years prior pre-existing music company with a similar name, the world's your oyster.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:06pm

    Re: WTF?

    9th commandment?
    "Thou shalt not bear false witness."

    I would contend that accusing someone of violating the ninth commandment, when what they are actually supposed to have doen is violated copyright, is actually itself a violation of the ninth commandment!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    JMT (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    Have you read the current laws? It's ALL about money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    JMT (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    David, 18 Jun 2016 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin" most certainly pushed a pro-Soviet message and wasn't subtle about it. It was still a piece of art, with great visual language and compelling story-telling. "Left alone" was such a piece of crap that it tried pushing any message it was not even discernible what. God is an asshole? And if you believe that you may leave in the middle of the film instead of having to see it through its end? Really, find it on any review site and read a few dozen reviews.

    It doesn't even work as religious propaganda. When I saw on the IMDB review site that it was nominated for four awards, I could not believe it until I checked. I think it was something like two nominations for worst picture, one for worst actor, one for worst adapted screenplay. Sort of amusing that they list it as "nominated for four awards".

    And the same kind of people who will gladly defend such a thing will try to keep people from going into Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ". Because religion.

    It does not make sense. It's utterly self-defeating.

    And with regard to "Firstly - over the last 2000 years a large proportion of the best culture has Christian origins.": well if you burn down everything else... The Roman empire turned to the Greek for culture, art, and their initial batch of Gods. Mathematics, poetry and arts bloomed in Arabia while Christianity occupied themselves with the Dark Ages and the crusaders ransacked Byzantium. The Renaissance finally got some of the old ideals and arts back into play. The Vatican acquired a great art collection, but stuff like knocking the genitals off all statues was not exactly an improvement.

    It's the same frame of mind that makes ISIS blast ancient temples to rubble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 4:20pm

    If you're thinking to yourself that these sound like awful, awful films, the critics largely agree with you.

    Glad to see you are sticking to the copyright discussion. But hey, why not let your hate show?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Don't forget the atheists, they are the most dangerous of all for they kill in the name of evolution. Just look at the 100 million or so killed in the 1900s by the followers of Darwin like Stalin and Hitler.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re:

    I feel sorry for God haters like yourself and the author of this post. They spend their life hating something they say doesn't exist. They think this is all there is and they are the most miserable, unhappy people. If this is all there is, then why not enjoy the little time you have?

    But I will tell you why you are miserable. Because you have rejected God. Salvation is free, all you have to do is accept it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Jun 2016 @ 5:50pm

    Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    I feel like I just wandered into a cornfield, strawmen everywhere.

    'Atheists' do not 'hate god'*, as that would require them to believe that a god exists, and if someone believes that then they're by definition not an atheist.

    The idea that 'Atheists hate/reject god' is just a misconception and/or lie perpetuated by people unable to accept that someone can in fact not believe in a god. Rather than accept that the atheist rejects the claims and assertions put forth by the religious due to the claims and assertions not being compelling and/or sound, or not having met the level of proof that would be convincing, the lack of acceptance/rejection of the claims is instead treated as a lack of acceptance of the thing the claims are about, an idea that can be shown to be flawed with a very simple example:

    Someone comes to you and asserts that Bigfoot is real. The evidence they present for these claim/assertion is not to the level that you find compelling or convincing, and as a result you reject their claims. In so doing are you rejecting Bigfoot? Does your rejection mean you hate Bigfoot? Or are you simply rejecting the claims about Bigfoot as not being convincing?

    As for the whole 'atheists are miserable, unhappy people' assertion? Yeah, not really, that too is a misconception/lie bandied about by people who believe/assert that the only possible way to happiness to to believe in their particular brand of their particular religion, and who simply cannot accept the idea that someone could be happy or have a fulfilling life otherwise. There are happy atheists and there are depressed atheists, just like there are happy theists and there are depressed theists.

    *In the traditional use of the concept anyway, I suppose you could say that some atheists might 'hate god' in the same way and for the same reason a GoT/Star Wars fan 'hates' some of the characters from the show/books. It's possible to 'hate' a character while still believing that they are entirely fictional, however given the ones making the 'Atheists hate god' claim aren't likely to see the two types of 'hate' as even remotely similar I feel the distinction is an important one to make and keep in mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or maybe they don't hate a god that doesn't exist and they just hate that in this life where all we have is now, there are overbearing religious people who keep beating them over the head with their religious beliefs and expecting them to believe as the religious do despite the inability of the religious to live up to even a small percentage of their supposed beliefs. This is after millennia of persecution of atheists and people of other religions.

    It's statements like your that make living with religious people a pain. You assume all atheists are the same. You assume they're all miserable. It's quite possible you would be miserable without religion and you assume others are like you. But that's not the case. In the same respect that not everyone likes to be social or not everyone wants to be famous, not everyone finds happiness believing in an imaginary friend whose ways are so mysterious that you can attribute anything or nothing to it, which strangely means that you can reinforce your delusions despite not being able to prove or disprove its existence (or the existence of any other deity, but you conveniently ignore that reality also).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    overbearing religious people who keep beating them over the head with their religious beliefs and expecting

    If you read the replies here, you will see the Christian bashers came out of the woodwork for this post. From where I sit, the atheists are overbearing. You could say living with atheists is a pain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    that too is a misconception/lie bandied about by people who believe/assert that the only possible way to happiness to to believe in their particular brand of their particular religion,

    No, it comes from observation of the hate that comes from them whenever religion is mentioned. If you don't believe, then why not move on without spewing hate on articles like this? But your hate is active. If it was just plain disbelief you wouldn't bother to reply. But instead atheists spout their tolerance all over articles like this. Ironic that the most tolerant people are actually the least tolerant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Pretending like this articles comment section is a viable substitute for the proportions of religious vs atheistic people in our society doesn't earn you any points. Yours is a position of privilege and has been since the founding of the country. Atheists have had laws against their holding office. The worst Christians can come up with is exaggerations and ficitonalizations of minor issues in bad movie scripts with has-been actors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, I see, it is actually the atheists that are persecuted. Don't think anyone is going to buy that one. This country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution from people like you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never have atheists knocking on my door to tell me "the good news".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    You're conflating religion with evangelical Christianity. Nobody here is bashing Buddhism or Hinduism or Norse Paganism. Religion isn't the issue, it's evangelical proselytizing and active political involvement in which religious belief is pushed onto non-believers by attempts at setting policies and social norms. Saying atheists shouldn't bash the privileged Christians is suggesting that the first amendment applies to you but not to others. Not tolerating intolerant people is tolerance because if you tolerate intolerance, you are tacitly supporting intolerance. Would you say that not abiding Nazism is intolerance also?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Haha. People like me? You know nothing about me!

    You're conflating colonial history with U.S. history. The colonies were founded in some cases by people fleeing religious persecution (and subsequently persecuted people of other religions and denominations within the new societies they formed in the new world). Some colonies were founded by non-religion-centric people who were seeking wealth and success for the Crown and for themselves and their families.

    The United States was founded by people trying to escape the tyranny of the British Crown, not religious persecution. Religious freedom was included in the 1st amendment among other rights, whereas the rest of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights targeted the points of persecution they endured from the British. So your religious persecution narrative doesn't hold up to historical fact.

    Christians are currently pretending that they're being persecuted (with the GIND movies as prime examples) when it's actually just a rolling back of the privilege they've experienced in our society for hundreds of years. You complain we're taking ten commandments monuments out of state courthouses like the white man complains that he has to eat lunch at the same counter with black people. You complain that we're giving equality to gay and transgender people like it actively causes you some sort of pain that you have to treat them as kindly as Jesus would.

    Complain to me again about the "War on Christmas" and how oppressing it is not to be told "Merry Christmas" by retail employee working minimum wage because your Christian-backed politicians think poverty is a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:36pm

    Re:

    If you read the IMDB discussion threads, there are self-proclaimed Christians who think these movies are terrible. It's not hate to dislike bad movies. It's just honesty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you are bitter, angry and miserable. As I said before, I don't understand why people who think this is all there is are so miserable. You would think they would be partying like it was 1999.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re:

    But that sight is a discussion about movies, this was supposedly an article about copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    attempts at setting policies and social norms

    And atheists don't do this? Isn't this just a world of evolution where the strong will survive? So people band together to be stronger than an individual or other groups? So wouldn't it be natural behavior for a group to do this? Yet you complain. Do you not like the world of evolution?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not generally bitter, angry, and miserable. You're conflating the only conversation you've ever had with me with my entire existence. You make a lot of unfounded assumptions.

    The only thing I dislike is evangelicals who pretend like their world-view is the only one that matters. That doesn't take up a significant chunk of my existence.

    You're contradicting your own assertions. If you're so happy, why are you here arguing with atheists and decrying the hate? Be happy that we're all going to hell and go somewhere else as you've implied we should.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    You're conflating evolution and atheism. They're not the same nor believed by the same groups of people. Some Christians believe in evolution. Some atheists do not.

    I'm personally annoyed at Christian hypocrisy. The bible specifically says, "be in the world but not of the world." Politics is quite literally the most "of the world" you can get. So if you're a Christian who gets involved with politics, you're not following the teachings of your own sacred text. The conflation of Christianity with conservative politics is another piece of Christian hypocrisy since many of the tenants of conservatism are wholly incompatible with Jesus' teachings.

    Atheists are currently in the process of growing in numbers and finally revoking some of the privilege that Christians have held in this country since its founding. Some states still have anti-atheist clauses in their constitutions. We still have relatively few self-proclaimed atheists in the highest offices in our political system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure we're free to discuss whatever we like and the author of the article is allowed to discuss whatever they like. Why are you trying to police the author's topics of discussion?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2016 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Re: "Realistic" Scenarios

    I read the Snopes article about the pastors in Houston having their sermons subpoenaed. I don't see it as any kind of persecution. While the subpoena was admittedly overly broad in its wording, the reason behind it was to discover what instructions the pastors made to their church attendees and it didn't just include sermons but rather all communications that were relevant to the issue at hand. And the issue at hand is one in which the pastors were a part of suing the city for passing equality laws and the city's assertion that the collected signatures were either fraudulent or collected improperly. If you want to engage in the political process (even against your own religious teachings of kindness and loving your neighbor as yourself), don't be surprised when your possible underhandedness is investigated as a defense to your opposition to justice. The situation was created by Christians trying to deny justice and equality to fellow U.S. citizens. I'm pretty sure the 1st and 14 amendments ban that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    "When you say "understanding" I think you mean "expectation based on my own preconceived predjudices"."

    Not, it means that most non-biased reviews I've read say it's terrible. I've heard it's horribly written, laughably contrived and paper thin. I also won't see Transformers 4 or Movie 43 for the same reason.

    I'm all for movies that explore spirituality, morality and other concepts. But, I'm not interested in a movie that lies to pander to deliver propaganda, which is what I'm told this movie is.

    I do however notice that nobody's stepped up to explain why I should see the movie or why it's not as I described. I'll be open minded toward a movie someone can tell me why I should see it, but nobody appears to be able to do it for this specific title.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    Ah, so Christians can't hold political office. Never heard that one before. Funny how a non-believe pretends to know what Christians should believe better than Christians know themselves.

    Tell me, how are atheists going to make this country better? Atheists leaders killed 100 million people in the last 100+ years; are we going to get more of that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    Still going with the dishonest route by asserting you know my motivations better than I do I see. Sure hope there's nothing in that book of yours about making false claims.

    Hate? Do tell, what 'hate' have I 'spewed'? Being critical and saying that your claims aren't true is hardly 'hateful' unless you consider any criticism as evidence of 'hate', in which case have fun with that micron-thin skin of yours.

    Time for some clarification, assuming you're operating under misconceptions that you're willing to change rather than blatant projection and/or dishonesty.

    I don't buy your god claims so I can hardly hate your god(any more than I can 'hate' Bigfoot or the easter bunny). My position on religion ranges from indifference with regards to those that keep their beliefs to themselves and aren't harming anyone, academic(not quite the right word, but close enough) interest with regards to those willing to have an actual discussion(of which preaching isn't), to high levels of disgust and/or disdain with regards to those that believe that it's their right to force everyone else to follow their religion's rules, whether those others are followers of that particular religion or not.

    I also have a problem with people like you who go around making absurd claims('Atheists hate god!') followed by what I can only assume are massive levels of projection, confirmation bias, or working with small sample size and extrapolating wildly('Atheists are sad, angry people'). The first I've already pointed out is flat out wrong by definition, while if your evidence of the latter is you've run across sad and/or angry atheists, well it's easy enough for me to play that game too as I've run across sad and/or angry religious individuals. I guess that makes both sides filled with sad and/or angry individuals.

    Hypothetical example time.

    If people went around claiming that christians are lazy drunkards because they've seen or heard about lazy drunkard christians I imagine you might be a bit annoyed by someone who made those claims, and might attempt to point out that no, that is not the case in general even if it might apply to a handful within the group. If people continued to make that assertion despite your attempts to point out that the claim isn't true I imagine you might get a bit more annoyed by them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 8:41am

    Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    So basically all copyright cases should be overseen by Jewish religious courts from now on ? That would be interesting if nothing else :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Poe's law ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    According to my interpretation of the new testament, yes, I'd say a Christian shouldn't hold office if they proclaim to believe in what the bible says. They should store up their treasures in heaven rather than on earth and give to Caesar what is Caesar's. And again, you make a lot of assumptions. I was a Christian for the first half of my life and even went to a Christian college. I come from a highly evangelical family. I'm speaking from experience. I can still quote scripture pretty easily and discuss theology. Being a non-believer is not an impediment to having read the bible or seeing that most Christians choose to interpret the bible in ways that benefit them rather than in ways that god supposedly intended.

    You're also making assumptions that I think atheists are somehow better than Christians. All people have their own hypocrisies and issues. Atheists aren't a group though. They're just non-theists. That's not an affiliation of any sort, unless you're talking about a specific organization like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I think plenty of Christians can make fine leaders because not all Christians choose to misinterpret scripture in order to justify hatred and injustice. Some of them recognize that the Constitution doesn't allow them to force their religion onto others. I'm just saying that technically, according to, you know, your sacred text, it seems like you shouldn't be politically active unless you've chosen to interpret the bible differently.

    Who would Jesus get into petty arguments on the internet with?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    Your "facts" are in question.
    Believe what you want, doesn't change a thing does it?
    Where you see black and white, others see gray.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hello sir,
    Do you have a moment to talk about your atheist home?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    "You're also making assumptions that I think atheists are somehow better than Christians."

    Your statements make that clear. Just like how your hypocrisy is clear as you accuse atheists of being full of hate while exhibiting how much hatred you have for atheists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    Oops, sorry, replied to the wrong comment. I'll bow out now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 10:41am

    Re: WTF?

    I like Hercules! Not as much as Xena, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2016 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    No problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 11:48am

    Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    the term you are referring to is agnostic

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    do you even know what you just said?

    Colonial history (in regards to the Americas) is directly tied to US history in that the Catholic church held a great deal of power over the politics of Great Britain, hence the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    "and NOBODY pays attention to them because they are too gentle, peaceful and loving in a horror-show world !"

    Er, those aren't the 'true' christians. They're the ones that follow the fictional idealised self-image of christians. The reality is that most christians are 'true' christians, as if you actually read the entire book and teachings, there's 10 lots of intollerance, for every 'peace and love'. Heck there's more 'kill unbelievers' than 'turn the other cheeks', and at least 3 places in the bible say 'you should commit genocide against unbelievers', one place even goes further and says you should also kill any believers around unbelievers, because they let the unbelievers live, so just destroy the entire city and everyone in it.

    That's the real spirit of Christianity. hell, it's even in the 10 commandments, AS THE FIRST ONE "You shall have no other gods before Me"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 19 Jun 2016 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you should probably fire the pastor teaching you history.

    The Catholic church held NO sway over the politics of Great Britain, not for several hundred years by the time of the 1st Amendment.

    In case you've never been taught ACTUAL history, England split from the papalcy in the 16th century when the Pope wouldn't grant Henry VIII a divorce. So they expelled the papal representatives and so was excommunicated. Later Mary was put in the Tower for being a catholic, and the whole Spanish Armada thing was because the Catholic Spaniards were attacking the (to them) heathen English.
    And James I converted to Protestantism when he became King (he had been a Catholic when he was James VI of Scotland), which is what led to the gunpowder plot (to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the King's address) which is still commemorated today by Guy Fawkes night on November 5, and by Anon-tards buying masks from Warner Bros to show their desire to 'fight the system'. Oh, then he did the King James version of the Bible, for the common man (in English, rather than Latin). Also, funny thing, James was bisexual (although more strongly in the homosexual camp, having his first male lover - a Duke from the Scottish court iirc - at the age of 14).

    What most Americans know as 'episcopalian', is more commonly known as 'Church of England', the head of which is NOT the Pope, but the British Monarch. Hence the queen's title, "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith" - the last bit refers to her role as head of the CofE.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. identicon
    I.T. Guy, 20 Jun 2016 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ha ha ha I knew this would attract all kinds of God warriors and be hilarious... and it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    I.T. Guy, 20 Jun 2016 @ 7:07am

    Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    TOG... you might as well plant your nose against a wall and repeat the above.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    I.T. Guy, 20 Jun 2016 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    That Easter Bunny guy really pisses me off though. LOL.
    "if your evidence of the latter is you've run across sad and/or angry atheists,"

    God Warrior fails to mention how he/she seeks out these PPL and I am willing to bet this particular GW spends a whole bunch of time on YouTube searching for these kinds of interactions. Cuz... ya know.... he's/she's doing "Gods" work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    Monday (profile), 20 Jun 2016 @ 9:07am

    That Easter Bunny guy

    Southpark

    lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. identicon
    Beelzebub, 20 Jun 2016 @ 9:43am

    can't we all just get along?

    Religions are the biggest Imaginary Property thieves around;

    Zoroastrianism was pillaged by Judaism was pillaged by Christianity was pillaged by Islam.

    It's insidious I tell you, soon all the IPs will be gone as they will all have been stolen, or obliterated by thermo-nuclear winter; whichever comes fisrt

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2016 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, calmly stating the facts means that one is angry, apparently because said facts are not full of puppies and unicorns. In addition it means that one is miserable .. umm ok - but why would that be?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jun 2016 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Rich coming from an Odin/Ra/Shiva hater

    Not necessarily, one can be a gnostic/agnostic atheist or theist. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in the existence of a god.

    If you don't believe in the existence of any gods, atheist.
    If you do believe in the existence of any gods, theist.

    Those are the 'core' categories, and then you can add other stuff from there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re: There is something copyright can't do...

    These days copyright IS religion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    If you can find me ONE scripture where Jesus Christ orders people to kill, I'll stop arguing.

    In the Old Testament, the Israelites were ordered to wipe out the existing tribesmen and drive them from that land, that's true.

    That middle paragraph contains a lot of inaccuracies, particularly in the last sentence. Okay, you hate Christians, I get it, but if you're going to make things up about us, admit it, please.

    As for the spirit of Christianity, it's "Love one another as I have loved you." If we're not loving other people we're doin' it wrong.

    While I often disagree with people here I don't hate anyone. This is why you often see me advocating against hatred and violence. Now you know why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    RE: the Corinthians, those were Graeco-Roman courts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Jun 2016 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The word you're looking for is "authoritarian." Every belief system has it; authoritarians are drawn to any belief system wherein they can assert themselves and exercise power over others. We Christians have often forgotten Jesus' warning not to lord it over each other but don't blame religion for bad actors. Blame the authoritarianism that drives bad actors to their bad actions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78. identicon
    Eponymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:50am

    "attached to a creation simply by being created"

    Sounds like a perfect area of law for creationists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. identicon
    TonyLurker, 21 Jun 2016 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re: WTF?

    I was tought that the ninth commandment was "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife"!

    Not all Christians use the same numbering, as explained in the Wikipedia link.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jun 2016 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: God's Not Dead is actually really good

    Disclaimer: I am not Christian, I am ignostic. That's not a typo, I didn't mean to say "agnostic".


    "those aren't the 'true' christians."

    Ah, the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, just in a weird form.

    Here's the thing -- when it comes to whether someone is or is not an adherent to a religion, there is no litmus test. Religion is a matter of personal belief. If someone says they are a Christian (or any other religion), they are. End of story.

    You could perhaps argue that they are imperfectly understanding or implementing the dogma linked to their religion, but that's the sort of debate that only people who are part of the religion find meaningful. It's a very different thing than saying they aren't "true" whatever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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