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I know this will come as a shock, but there is a popular T.V. show that has not appropriately researched a subject it is depicting.

I am just now catching up with season six of Dexter. On the episode we watched last night, Dexter was astounded to find out this season's killer was motivated by religion. "A killer with faith?!" was his exclamation. I wish T.V. writers would actually research their subjects a little before depicting them; walk into any psych ward and ask some of those folk about their relationship with some kind of God.Religion is a great (and popular) conduit for mental illness.

This complaint is lodged more as a person who works in the human services than it is lodged as an atheist.  I have stated previously that religious people can be perfectly healthy; often more healthy than non-religious people. This complaint is lodged even more as a fan of good T.V. than it is as an atheist or a human service worker. See? It's a trinity complaint. I am the trinity complainer.
Anyway, Dexter is still a great show, and Mos Def did a great job on season 6. Maybe I'll discover the message becomes more balanced towards the end.

Religion doesn't only interact with mental illness in a negative way. In fact, it can often act as a salve. The underlying trope that season 6 of Dexter seems to have bought into is that to engage in socially destructive and deviant behavior has some root in a lack of spiritual mooring.I agree that a person must have more than just a lack of belief in god/gods to guide them in this life, but atheism is far from a corroding influence. In fact for many non-believers--myself included--it is the first step towards a healthy worldview. Atheism can be a great corrective, and there is plenty of evidence out there that atheists care about their communities and families.


Originally posted to Spencer Troxell on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:17 AM PST.

Also republished by What are you watching?.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." ~ Samuel Johnson

    by Spencer Troxell on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:17:06 AM PST

  •  Dexter season 6 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madmsf, mithra666

    is the weakest season of the entire series.  Television critics thought Dexter's interior monologue was embarrassingly bad.  

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:32:50 AM PST

  •  "A killer with faith?!" is even more preposterous (0+ / 0-)

    an exclamation in a society that likes to pretend it is 95% religious. Actual atheism rates in the US are probably more like 10% overall and growing fast - but the cultural expectation would have to be that 19 out of 20 killers would be religious.

    I realize the trigger for this exclamation is the information that the killer was motivated by religion. However, according to the diarist, the character does not say:"A killer motivated by religion?!" - or something similar.

    This is a line written by a screenwriter who presumably had the time to think about it. Plus Dexter is supposed to be a very smart character.

    This sounds like standard American atheist bashing - maybe rephrasing it would help make its impact clearer:

    "A killer who's not Jewish?!"

  •  Maybe Dexter is just ignorant? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Maybe Dexter is just clueless and honestly thinks that the people who have religion are universally motivated by it to become good.

    There are so many random 'faith is good' messages in culture that I could understand having a character believe it just because it's one of the common cultural messages that gets promoted in media.  And thus, be surprised by a contradiction of that message.

    But then, it's also so common that it's not really a big deal for me to see it in media, even though I think that message is just about the dumbest thing that happens in stories.

  •  I think you're taking TV too seriously (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's entertainment.

    Not all Irish are drunk, but ya'd never know from TV

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