Sunday, July 6, 2008

Derren Brown and Atheism

A new post today on the gospelmagic4u blog (written by an Anglican priest and magician) discusses Derren Brown's atheism.

As you are likely aware, Derren’s successful (and entertaining) book, “Tricks of the Mind,” provides enticing clues as to how his tricks are performed. Those clues, however, are sandwiched between two sermons on atheism. The book begins with a 15-page account of how Derren rejected his Christian faith and concludes with a 99-page section about “bad thinking” which seems primarily targeted at religion.

Gospelmagic4u's blog entry is apparently directed to other Christians, and uses Derren's life as an example of how some overbearing religious people alienate others. It also offers a mild rebuttal of Derren's atheistic views.

Derren’s account of his own religious history is, essentially, that: He was raised as a devout Christian, became innocently involved in a practice (hypnotism) that his fellow parishioners rejected, reexamined his beliefs, decided that the beliefs were irrational, and therefore became an atheist.

Derren has commented that at age 29 he decided he no longer believed in God. That was about the time his first television special aired.

Derren claims that as a young Christian he zealously tried to evangelize others, smugly making arguments for the existence of God. Critics might point out that the adult Derren Brown is fairly smug about the pro-atheism arguments with which he evangelizes his millions of viewers.

An illusionist's religious views are unlikely to affect many believers. But, surely, a committed skeptic like Derren Brown would want his fans to be skeptical of all claims made by authority figures – even his own.

No comments: