• Reflecting on ‘Orange is the New Black’

    Orang is the New Black

    I haven’t watched the Orange is the New Black tv series yet, but it looks like worth watching the pilot, at least.

    Hemant Mehta, at the Friendly Atheist has a post about a scene where the leading character discloses her atheism:


    Piper: I can’t pretend to believe in something I don’t, and I don’t [believe in this]… I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be kind of an asshole. I cannot get behind some Supreme Being who weighs in on the Tony awards while a million people get whacked by machetes. I don’t believe a billion Indians are going to hell. I don’t think that we get cancer to learn life lessons. And I don’t believe people die young because God needs another angel. I think it’s just bullshit. And on some level, I think we all know that…

    So far, so good (although I cringed a little about the “believing” in science and evolution and the Christopher Hitchens‘ assholery comments, but I can live with that). But it doesn’t stop there. After having something said to her, Piper goes on, and this is the part I take issue with:

    Look, I understand that religion makes it easier to deal with all of the random shitty things that happen to us. And I wish I could get on that ride, I’m sure I would be happier. But I can’t.

    Maybe I’m being picky but I don’t think religion gives anyone comfort; for me this is some kind of metaphor of the cliche that Christians are better people. I’m sorry – they’re not. We grieve as badly as they do, and we can be happy, and have wonderful, enjoyable lives (maybe not so enjoyable for people in prison, I’ll give you that).

    People go to religion because they think they live in a vale of tears, but that’s the Christian narrative, not the atheist one (which there isn’t), and certainly it isn’t mine. I don’t despise the material, physical, world, and I don’t think there’s some kind of ethereal spiritual one better than this one. This is the only one, and it is wonderful!

    So no, I don’t see any more comfort in religion than I see in Harry Potter or Pinnochio, and, assuredly, to play Quidditch doesn’t make anyone happier than non-Qudditch players such as myself.

    Then, I came across Sam Mauceri‘s advocacy for the show and this part caught my attention:

    Orange is the New Black makes it clear that it is not Pennsatucky’s and Piper’s religious values that make them good or bad people, but how they treat others. It is a respect of others’ beliefs, a willingness to coexist, and an avoidance of extremity that allows many of the other prisoners to befriend one another and avoid conflict.

    No, no, no, no, no.  Beliefs don’t deserve respect, people do! Questioning beliefs is disrespectful, but that’s the way science and democracy work and that’s what I think we as Humanists should get behind – we don’t respect beliefs, we respect people. Now, ain’t that a motto?

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    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

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