Atheism in media watch – Paul
I’m always interested to see how atheists are depicted in mainstream media. In my opinion, most atheists are depicted as “broken” in some way. Their disbelief is used as a plot element to highlight their alienation from “normal” people.
When this is done, it pisses me off. I’ve taken to chronicling my perceptions of how atheists are depicted in media.
Paul, the latest comedy by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost represents one of the first times I’m chronicling an atheist in media because it makes me happy.
Pegg and Frost are are both atheists so for once, the fact characters in the film are atheists is not something that makes them different or awkward.
I’m not going to spoil the film (even though it is a year old) by explaining funny situations in a way that is not at all funny.
Instead, I’m going to say that the nice thing about the character of Paul is that he is unapologetically evolutionist and atheistic because he’s seen enough to know. As a bonus we get a character who transitions from a fundamentalist Christian in a positive way.
The difference in the way this film depicts an atheist is, I think, in the fact that atheism is just part of who Paul is. It doesn’t define him or make him so terribly different from anyone else. It happens so rarely in media, I think it is worth pointing out.