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October 09, 2011

Dexter the atheist

Via Pharyngula, I learn about another popular TV show in which the main character seems to be an atheist. When ratings conscious TV executives think that it is safe to have a prominent atheist character, that is another sign of the spread of such views.

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Comments

On the other hand, the fact that they make the atheist be a serial killer...

Posted by J on October 9, 2011 01:26 PM

Dexter is a very intelligent series. The previous speaker is wrong. Most criminals in the series are Christians. They brutally kill as Dexter does.
He also has to be an atheist for a reason.

Posted by on October 10, 2011 06:14 AM

I was initially upbeat that they made Dexter an atheist, and I loved the scene you linked to where he forced a believer to actually explain what he believes and why. However, overall the way his atheism is treated was disheartening and definitely not an example, in my mind, of atheism in television being more acceptable or safe. His atheism is treated as just another symptom of the emotional void the character has. His lack of a belief in a higher power is explained in the same way as his lack of remorse when killing someone. The character himself even acknowledges this, which is why he wants to put his kid in a Catholic day care - because he wants his son to get the fulfillment that he himself lacks.

So, all this show is doing is perpetuating the myth that you can't be good without God. Ugh...

Posted by Matt on October 10, 2011 08:23 AM

I admit that I have not seen any of the episodes of this series and take the point that Dexter is not a straightforward 'good' guy. But then atheists are not necessarily good people either. I think that having them appear as part of the normal spectrum of people in popular culture is a kind of progress, like the way that gay people are appearing without their gayness being the reason for their character's appearance.

Posted by Mano on October 10, 2011 10:05 AM

I read an article recently that said when polled with the question, "Do you believe in God", a large percentage respond affirmatively but when the question is changed to "Are you sure there's a God", the percentage drops dramatically.

This certainly wouldn't have been true in the recent past so it seems to me that absolute faith is on the decrease.

Posted by Richard Brady on November 9, 2011 06:45 AM