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Christianity &Rationals Thomas on 24 Jan 2011 12:46 am

Attack on atheists found in “A Prairie Home Companion”

If you were listening to “A Prairie Home Companion” this weekend on NPR (the January 22, 2001 show), you noticed an attack on Atheist values at the beginning of the second half. The song is called, “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” and the last verse goes like this:

Please help me I’m Lutheran, we’re supposed to be true.
Not shack up with strangers, like Atheists do.
It’s terribly tasteless, and also not right.
But now that we’ve fallen, may I stay the night.
But now that we’ve fallen, may I stay the night.

The second line is an attack on atheist values, and an inaccurate one at that. Here is an indication of reality:

Atheism & Divorce: Divorce Rates for Atheists are Among the Lowest in America

Conservative Christians of all types, evangelical as well as Catholic, tend to link their conservative brand of their religion with proper moral behavior. By far the most popular context is marriage: they claim that a good, solid marriage is only possible when people acknowledge conservative Christianity’s claims about the nature of marriage and gender roles. So why is it that Christian marriages, and especially conservative Christian marriages, end in divorce more often than atheist marriages?

The fact is that atheists, being in general more rational than their religious counterparts, are much more likely to remain crime-free, to honor their marriage vows, etc.

You can listen to the song yourself by going to the show archive:

January 22, 2010 // Show # 1274

The song is at the top of Segment #3

10 Responses to “Attack on atheists found in “A Prairie Home Companion””

  1. on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:17 pm 1.NFQ said …

    Garrison Keillor is certainly not fond of atheists, but he did say this was their “joke show,” and the joke here seems to be that Christians think atheists are the ones who do all the sleeping around, but the speaker in the song is a Christian hooking up with a stranger and doesn’t even notice their hypocrisy. I can’t really tell what the message is supposed to be, but I’m not totally convinced it’s derision of atheists.

    It is a stereotype that exists, though, and it’s worth refuting. I don’t mean to challenge that part of your post.

  2. on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:35 pm 2.Timzor said …

    I heard a similar slight on the same show just the other day. They were telling a series of jokes, and one of them was the joke about religious holidays, listing Christmas and Easter as Christian holidays, and April 1st as the atheist one. It probably pissed me off more than it rightfully should have, but I’m awfully sick of atheists being an “acceptable target.” I can imagine the kind up outrage that same joke would have provoked had Christians or Jews been the butt of it.

    I’m a pretty faithful NPR listener, and that was the first time something they said or did really pissed me off.

  3. on 25 Jan 2011 at 3:35 am 3.Nope said …

    The song was sung from the standpoint of a Lutheran, and the atheist remark was supposed to be a play on the way conservative religious people view atheists. I can’t imagine why you would think this was some kind of serious insult against atheism. It’s the Prairie Home Companion, not The O’Reilly Factor.

    Let atheism be an acceptable target. It can stand up better than any religion, ever. If someone talks some head about atheism, just realize how dumb they are, and if you are feeling charitable, take them up on what they said and help them to see how stupid it is to be religious.

    BTW why does your filter think my comment is “spammy”?

  4. on 25 Jan 2011 at 6:57 pm 4.A said …

    Terminally-ill patients would be well advised to find out the religious beliefs of their doctor, according to research showing the effect of faith on a doctor’s willingness to make decisions that could hasten death.

    Doctors who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to take decisions that might shorten the life of somebody who is terminally ill as doctors who are deeply religious – and doctors with strong religious convictions are less likely even to discuss such decisions with the patient, according to Professor Clive Seale, from the centre for health sciences at Barts and the London school of medicine and dentistry.

    “If I were a patient facing end of life care, I would want to know what my doctor’s views were on religious matters – whether they are non-religious or religious and whether the doctor felt that would influence them in the kinds of decisions they were looking at,” said Seale.

    A patient who wanted their life prolonged at all costs in the event of a terminal illness, or did not want it prolonged, should make sure they had a doctor who was in sympathy with this.

    Doctors are influenced by their beliefs, just as other people are, said Seale.

    “It is easy for clinicians to present themselves as neutral appliers of science, but values do come into it,” he said. That is accepted in abortion care, but the issue has not yet been widely discussed in the care of the dying. “I had a GP who was powerfully committed to not legalising euthanasia,” said Seale. He has now changed his GP.

    Seale’s study, published online today in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was based on a survey of doctors in specialisms likely to care for people at the end of life, such as neurology, elderly and palliative care but also general practice. More than 8,500 doctors were contacted and almost 4,000 responded.

  5. on 27 Jan 2011 at 5:07 pm 5.Anti-Theist said …

    The quote in question and as advertised hear, is more logically a jab at hypocritical theists than Atheists. The best part is imagining simple Christians laughing at the skit, ignorant of any displayed contempt.

  6. on 03 Feb 2011 at 2:38 pm 6.Forrest said …

    I’ll never be able to think of that show, or Garisson Keillor, the same way. I loved that show when I was little, especially the Lake Wobegon segments.

  7. on 29 Apr 2012 at 9:09 pm 7.Anne Onymous said …

    No; you’re wrong. God is most certainly real. If I told you my story, you’d tell me I was lying – and you’d be certain in your conviction. You cannot know and will not know God as your bias leads you by the nose into the blind abyss. Your motive in proving God doesn’t exist is born of ignorance and fear. You don’t know that, nor do you have the capability to understand. This in itself will anger you. You are most vulnerable as you know nothing as to why you exist. Live the paradox and proclaim your nothing. The proof that God exists is beyond your comprehension. Your pea brains are your limiting devices. Lead your pathetic lives in your scientific search of that which will only elude you. We poke fun at idiots too. And that would be you. Are we angry yet as we clamber to reply? Your point? You have none. What a pathetic lot.

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