Sunday, May 14, 2017


Atheists sometimes stump for secular humanism–an idealistic version of atheism. However, a more realistic outworking of atheism is represented in neo-noir films like Serpico (1973); The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973); Farewell, My Lovely (1975); The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976); L.A. Confidential (1997); Mulholland Dr (2001), &c. Some characters in these stories are rotten to the core. Others have residual common grace virtues, but they are cynical. They wish they could intervene more often to make the world a better place, but they don't stick their neck out because they know a godless world won't reward heroic virtue. 

Characters in a neo-noir film believe there is no transcendent reality. This is it. Like gerbils who live and die in the confines of the aquarium. Eat, sleep, excrete, and copulate. That's all there is to look forward to. 

An even more authentic depiction of godless existence is Sin City (2005). I've read reviews. I saw a few minutes of the film when it played on TV. That was the cleaned up version. Despite the brilliant cinematography, which reproduces the comic book cityscape of the original, the content was too derange for me to keep watching. 


  1. There's an anime this post reminds me of, one of my favorites from an aesthetic point of view: Afro Samurai. Not for kids, not for those who struggle with violence or sexual sin.

    A revenge drama. You killed the one I love, I want to kill you. The main character is repeatedly confronted with the normal tropes that, in any other story, would offer him redemption: love, truth, forgiveness, an eye for every eye and the world goes blind, but he powers through them all. Indeed in this story these holy ideals are the temptations he must ignore to attain his revenge.

    When he finally completes this, there is no reflection or apology. He doesn't grieve for the sons and brothers (some of them in the wrong place at the wrong time) of the others he took along the way. In fact he doubles-down. Either you live or you die. If you live and can force others to do things your way, then you're a god. If you die, you're dead. Don't whine about it.

    One of the most memorable lines in the show sums it up well: as Afro (the protagonist) stands over a sliced up and dying enemy, the guy demands to know who Afro thinks he is to cause so much suffering, to kill so many people. Afro lights a cigarette and, as he walks away, whispers, "It's nothing personal. Just revenge."

  2. Any 'secular humanism' is, as you say, idealistic, and is thus in conflict with atheism. Atheism logically entails nihilism. Anything other than this outworking is inconsistent and utterly contradictory to atheism.