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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

DalekKanNoladti: I really think Mal doesn't belong on the list of Strawman Atheists. He went through a form of character development that happens all the time in real life: an intense, irrational believer loses faith and becomes an equally intense, irrational atheist. This doesn't make him a caricature (though it would if the backstory never appeared), it makes him and his reasons for atheism fleshed out, even if we the viewers think they're stupid.
Sciatrix: Also removed the Muslims entry, on the basis that a) there's no synopsis of how Muslims tend to be targeted in media, and b) there's no examples of them being so targeted. Reproduced below in toto:

  • Muslims are an example, as well.
    • Although this is getting increasingly inverted these days.

Monsund:The amount of heat Obama got for supposedly being a muslim definetly shows they are still an acceptable target.

Sciatrix: So put in examples and a more detailed explanation of how they are targeted in media. Preferably, come up with a description that isn't just the Arabs one under acceptable ethnic targets copy-and-pasted.


Sciatrix: I organized most of the examples more correctly—as it was, it had Catholicism down twice with both Muslims and Mormons under one of them. Yuck. I also removed all of the Agnosticism natter and have reproduced it below, since agnosticism doesn't seem to really be an example and it's certainly not a form of atheism. It might qualify for its own entry, but I'm not sure how to merge it in correctly since it seems to be tied up with atheism.

  • Interestingly enough, Agnostics (those who are not sure what is out there, may believe man can't know the truth, but may or may not believe that there is something out there) are almost never even mentioned. They're the bisexuals of the spiritual spectrum, really.
    • This troper suspects that, because the basic definition of Agnosticism cannot be reduced to a sound-bite-sized sentence, it is considered unpalatable by the Marketing Department, and hence tends to be ignored.
    • Wrong (or perhaps not, who can say?): "I don't know, and neither do you."
    • Plus, it's only because there's no figure there not making an ass out of themselves and the main reason of stereotyping Christians and Atheists.
    • Note that Monty Python's Flying Circus did once feature a sketch that targeted agnostics. A "lapsed atheist" was an aspiring card-carrying member of the "League of Agnostics," he was so annoyed by nearby church bells that he destroyed the church with a missile launcher, and he utters the wonderful agnostic motto, "There's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know whether he believes in anything or not."
    • There was also the Dethklok episode about religion which did parody Agnosticism by having their protesters (complete with ambivalent signs) attack an atheist church.
    • One episode of Hyperdrive reveals that Teal is a devout agnostic who sings extremely ambivalent hymns and is shocked to learn that an old friend has lost his faith in there possibly being a god except perhaps not.
  • Stephen Colbert refers to agnostics as merely "atheists without balls"
  • Buck Godot features the militant agnostic Church of Slag-Blah, which rotates through the 8000+ religions, giving each one day when its doctrines are supreme.


Dammerung: This article is in serious need of cleaning up. I'm doing some of it but I don't want to completely kill anyone's edits. Still, it seems like there's too many Justifying Edits and the like making this page all but unreadable. If you are adamant about keeping your edits in, please say something or stick them in within context.

Wascally Wabbit: Is there anyone not covered by this page? Seriously, it seems that you can make fun of religion as much as you like as long as your not genuinely vicious.

Desertopa: Removed the note listing Chuck Norris as an exception to the perceptions of Westerners who adopt Buddhism, as he is not actually a Buddhist, but a devout Christian.


Daniel LC: I deleted the following natter on Mormonism:

  • Mormons. Seriously guys, the polygamy thing ended over 100 years ago. The joke's not funny anymore. (I left that line)
    • Of course, there's a lot more about the Mormons to make fun of, if you just do a little research. Their version of the history of the world is sort of a pre-science-fiction version of Scientology. Also, where are those golden plates, guys? Did you lose them?
    • Even on the surface, their enduring tendency to have a hell of a lot of kids can be played for laughs.
    • And then there's the fact the blacks were barred from the priesthood in this troper's lifetime.
      • Of course there were documents and doctrines from the founding of the church which showed that as a matter doctrine blacks (specifically people descended from African ethnic groups) would eventually receive the priesthood as the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning the spread of the gospel. Your Milage May Vary
    • This troper has actually found that people are surprised when he tells them that he's Mormon, usually because it never ends up in conversation. The fact we actually try to help out during natural disasters and help bring technical education to people in areas of the world who cannot afford it because we actually see helping others out of genuine kindness as part of living to a Christ-like ideal also seems to escape them, as does any reasoned out theological argument for those who are inclined to ridicule us as 'those crazy Mormons'. The fact we're also use Jesus Christ as a standard for how we should live our lives and don't fall to the ground worshiping a Crystal Dragon Jesus also confuses them. Of course this conflicts with the stereotypes of Mormons, so Hilarity Ensues.
      • And this troper has relatives who are Mormons, and no matter how much aid you give, wearing magic underwear, giving post-demise baptisms for cash, following the words of an individual who stole almost all his religious rituals straight from the Masonic Lodge (this troper also has Masons in his family, and knows quite a bit about both groups), and supporting Proposition 8 in California will still net you a "Crazy Mormon" title.
    • This troper has a good counter-argument written down, but nobody else is allowed to see it. So this troper will read it out of a hat, then if you ask him to read it again, he'll have do it a little differently because he's actually making it all up as he goes along.
    • Also, don't forget all the Mormon bashing that has come thanks to Twilight. This Troper remembers a secret posted in the LJ comm fandomsecrets where someone raised Mormon said s/he was afraid to mention their religion online because of the Mormon hatred that the Twilight bashers often relish in.
      • This Troper finds bashing Mormonism because of Twilight, and vice-versa, to be ridiculous. She's sure that there are more appropriate reasons to bash Mormonism, and she knows that there are much better reasons to bash Twilight.
    • This is sort of a situation similar to how this troper approaches stand-up: Chris Rock can poke fun at black people because he's black. This troper can poke fun at Mormons because she's Mormon. Except making fun of Mormons isn't exactly taboo, but she isn't bitter at all.
    • One thing this troper noticed that doesn't come up, is the ban on caffeine, which as a "strangely funny religious belief" one would have expected to be mined to death by hack sitcom writers.
      • Probably for the best that they don't. While a common practice, it's up to the choice of the member. The "Word of Wisdom" is generally fairly open for interpretation with church leaders giving only a handful of absolute nos.
      • A lot of church doctrine are like that, with members being told that part of their spiritual growth is the reading, understanding and implementation of the scriptures so that they can come to a more personal understanding of the gospel and the principals behind the doctrine and apply them to their daily lives rather then passive understanding from just attending a meeting on Sunday. (Some people even go so far as to read translation of other Hebrew texts, histories, etc. so that they can know the cultural and political details of the time of the scripture's writings.) Of course, that doesn't prevent Utards from happening.

...and on polygamy.

  • Polygamists. If a religion in the United States practices or advocates polygamy, expect everyone in the media to immediately assume that they are perverts. Recently, due to some Real Life convictions of one leader of a polygamist religion, it is also assumed that any religion that advocates polygamy also forces young girls to "marry" old men. (not deleted)
    • To be fair, that's not entirely inaccurate.
      • It's not entirely inaccurate to say Christians/Muslims/pagans/etc. (why don't I get a misspelling for that one when it's lower case? RACISM!) are a bunch of self righteous pricks who kill people with other religions as their excuse for personal gain. Note that this is not something that this troper believes in the slightest, it's merely an example where the actions of one person/several people are applied to a group as a whole or to say such an offensive stereotype is okay.

None of it's actually examples. It may be a good idea to add some of this back to give an idea of what's made fun of, but written as it is, it's just natter.

Enero25: Holy moly, thank you for that.
Lord Seth: As little as I like Scientology, does the article really need to be this biased against it? The entire section of it is like a lengthy series of insults to it. Like I said, I'm not a fan of Scientology by any means, but I think it should at least not look like an all-out attack on it.
Praetyre: Would whoever put Muslims in show me a single piece of media, past 9/11, that is negative towards them? There is, what, Abu Fayed from 24, and a couple of Spooks episodes that manage to portray Real Life terrorism while still portraying them as Anti Villains? The only evil Muslims I've ever really seen past 9/11 are in video games. Then again, the media I see is either British, local or American DV Ds.

Sorry about sounding pissy, but this is something that has seriously bugged me, since people keep claiming Muslims are beat-up-upon in media whereas I see the exact opposite.
  • I would advise you to take a look at the news but it's clear you have been, if uncritically.
    • Actually, I largely ignore mainstream media for information on controversial issues because I consider it biased. I generally consider it biased towards Muslims, not against them (though, that's not my main reason for not watching it. It's economic and foreign policy related). Unless they are universally anti-semitic, and portray both Jews and Arabs in a bad light. In any case, I should have been more clear. I'm looking for fictional media here, not news. In all the fictional media I've seen since 9/11, 90%+ of the terrorists are Slavic.

Also, keep in mind that (I'm assuming you are from the US) US media only comprises about a third of the media I get. I get TV NZ, Sky News (largely Australian stuff), CNN, FOX (very infrequently, maybe once every few weeks) and a little bit of BBC. Out of these, TVNZ is generally slightly slanted to criticism of the current government, Sky News is owned by Rupert Murdoch yet looks like your standard American network to me, CNN is left, FOX is right and the BBC is left of the UK Labour Party.
  • I wasn't aware that a group's being listed here as an "acceptable target" required demonstrating that it was one in every sector of every country in the world. Next you'll point out that al-Jazeera isn't that rough on Muslims.
    • I was rebutting your statement above that I have uncritically taken information from the US media. However, from what I do know: Muslims aren't Acceptable Targets in the UK, they are barely on the radar here, and I can't think of a single major film since True Lies with Islamic terrorists in it. The only example of non-Anti-Villain Islamic terrorists past 9/11 I can think of (outside of video games) is 24, which is on Fox, attracted complaints for it, had it for one season, and is noted for being politically incorrect. I'm asking for a demonstration in general, not for every area of the globe. I'm sure Muslims are Acceptable Targets (quite literally) in India, the Orient and the like, but I'm seriously skeptical of the idea that Muslims are a put-upon group in Western media.

It does not match any of the evidence I am seeing. The only time it's even mentioned is in criticisms/parodies/subversions/etc. of it, which makes me think it's either just a Real Life attitude thing with chanting bearded blokes on airplanes in the US, appears in US media I have not seen and/or have no access to, or it's a Dead Unicorn Trope (not Islamic terrorism in general, but post 9/11 Islamic terrorism).
The Evil Oboist: I removed some natter. It seemed to be going nowhere and was starting to devolve into a flame war. It's reposted here for your convenience.

  • "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:13 (NIV) So, you were saying...
  • OK, so men aren't allowed to have vaginal sex with each other (ie. "as one lies with a woman"). Has that ever really been a problem?
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Judge not, lest ye be judged." "Blessed are the meek." I could go on.
  • I'm sympathetic to the difficulties of Biblical exegesis, but you just demonstrated that the Bible is contradictory, and arbitrarily chose one side of the contradiction. That's uh not really proof that those who prefer the other side are idiots who don't know "what the Bible REALLY says".
  • That's fine, but being contradictory doesn't really hurt my point. The previous troper quoted Leviticus, as if that's all you need to know. There's more, and the people using Bible verses to justify their actions are the ones who need to justify their choices or resolve the contradictions; not me.
  • Can this troper point out that for Christians at least, the above passage from Leviticus is from a book that the New Testament specifically declares obsolete since Christ's death?
  • You can point that out, but it's not true, so you Did Not Do The Research. Moreover, the New Testament is also decidedly homophobic. Romans 1:27-32 tells us that homosexuals are "worthy of death."
  • Romans points out that all sin is worthy of death, and Paul lists quite a number of sins in his epistles. That was kind of the whole point of Christ dying — everybody sins, so someone who hasn't sinned needs to take that "death penalty" in humanity's place. Pretending that homosexuality is somehow singled out in the Bible is rather a case of Did Not Do The Research.
  • Verses can easily be taken out of context, what with Ancient Greek and Ancient Hebrew having different words. Love in English has a ton of meanings, while Greek had different words. Compare agape and phila. Consider also the time period and the society around the writer.
  • What's weird is that the Westboro Baptist Church doesn't even use passages like that to try and justify their uberhate. Instead, they go with a really, really stupid pun involving the English etymology and evolution of vernacular. Namely, they cite some verse that says that evildoers will "burn like bundles of sticks" and note that "fag" has a double meaning...
  • There is a difference between morally condemning an action as sinful, and the punishment a society is obligated to return to those who commit it. That's something that changes over time. No one complains the Bible condemns murder, adultery, lying, and stealing because most people have a general agreement on what sort punishment those sins entail. There is also a difference between the letter and spirit of the law. No one honestly believes Abraham is in hell for having more than one wife for example, it was something culturally acceptable at the time.
  • Shoot, Peter betrayed Jesus. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. And he's remembered as a saint (after his forgiveness). David committed adultery and killed the woman's husband. Moses flat out murdered an Egyptian. Samson breached his contract. Paul nearly destroyed the Christian church. Yet all of these guys are saved. With the exception of Joshua, Isaiah and Daniel, a lot of the saved big names did big sins. Of course, they had to endure their punishments and often HORRIBLE deaths.