In this BBC documentary film about Atheism, Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of the 9/11 terror attacs and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first ‘unbelievers’ in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic. So few representatives of atheism provide a compelling and earnest account for unbelief, let alone with the lucidity and intellectual vigor of Jonathan Miller. He is sincere and moving in this attempt to explain and understand the origins of the truth of disbelief of religious superstition and faith. This documentary is dedicated tho those who do not believe in god or are still searching for “it” and wounder why they don’t fint what they are searching for.

Atheism: Jonathan Miller’s Brief History of Disbelief

Part 1/2: Shadows of Doubt – Noughts and Crosses – The Final Hour

Part 2/2: Noughts and Crosses – The Final Hour

With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D’Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses, because is not just a harmeless spiritual thing for the folks, it is also an utility for those in power to controll huge masses of people.

By the way: The image on top of this article is from the Flying Spaghetti Monster Movement.


  1. This documentary is quite biased. i especially love the footage of old films depicting religious people as if belief isn’t relevant anymore. There is no scientific experiment that proves that God exists, but i still believe. I took philosophy to explore this issue further and i still believe. People believe for many different reasons.

    Documentaries like this are malicious and dangerously polarizing. It’s very intent on stigmatizing all religious people negatively. This man has his own convictions about something that has no definite answer. Furthermore, religion is something that he has not genuinely tried to understand or experience. This documentary is atheist (believing in no God, technically) propaganda; it’s undeniably a belief system, and as such, there is absolutely no distinction from its religious counterpart.

    There are said to be up to 24 dimensions that make up our physical universe, and we can only conceive of 4 of them (1 in time and 3 in space). gravity has been calculated since sir isaac newton, but we still don’t even know what it is or where it comes from. Yet this documentary presents a very one sided view that states it’s “lunatic” to believe in God. how come there were no interviews with any theist philosophers or theologians?

    For me, God is Love. i feel it, but i can’t really describe it or quantify it. This is not to be confused with God is fair, because i don’t believe that He necessarily is. Everyone is different, and everyone will experience life differently.

  2. This is probably the first documentary I have seen on this subject and I must say the format is very well done.

    Contrary to the first post, I don’t think it stigmatises relegion negatively. It obviously has to show the contrast between religious thought and non-religious thought, but it is no more “polarizing” than any other documentary. By the very nature of the subject, the documentary must show how atheists perceive religion(s), which will of course be uncomfortable for the religious. At least this is just a documentary – in state schools today religion is still promoted (lords pray in assemblies etc), which is a serious breach of neutrality towards the impressionable children.

  3. Unless we can say with certainty that we truly understand the nature of our own existence, to be an atheist is intellectually dishonest. It would be more truthful and humble to call oneself an agnostic.

  4. One has to be careful with Mr. Miller’s commentary he gets some of his facts incorrect. For instance Galileo did recant. Nor can he explain with all his intellectual aplomb why the best intellectuals such as Copernicus were religious or like Albert Einstein had an interest in God. What he can not produce is an intellectual equal amongst the atheist, ironically. Further, he makes the mistake of compiling all the religions together as one. When in fact the Catholics perceive Protestants as heretics and the Protestants themselves do not believe that they are practicing a religion at all. Even more so when Cicero is quoted it must be remembered that the Romans never considered that the their gods be real, it was always understood as a means of ordering the people. There was never a hope of eternal life amongst them nor did their gods provide love and caring for the created. Nor should it be ignored that like Christ and Karl Marx two people who are essentially at polar opposites Mr. Miller is a Jew and so is Mr. Christopher Hitchens another atheist proselytizer. Jews are a relatively small population on the planet who have had a remarkably disproportionate effect on human life. Certainly they are the chosen people, but it would seem some are chosen to lead one to God and others away. I am not impressed with Mr. Miller or Arthur Miller, they seem to be men who get carried away by their own chatter and come to the conclusion that suite their over sized egos and pride. For instance his conclusions on belief were wrong. Belief means to ‘completely abandon’, which one can do in the arms of God. However, he tries to make the statement that it is all an intellectual or imaginary excercise on the part of billions of people past and present. When in fact like knowledge to which religion is not devoid or unfamiliar in any sense, it is experiential. People who are religious have to know God, they come to know God through experiences, genuine experiences. Abraham through the voice of God, Moses through a burning bush and of course the Apostles through the many miracles and wisdom they have experienced while accompanying Christ. Recall the definition of faith established by that great Jew and former Pharisee St. Paul whose encounter with Christ was experiential and dramatic and would have to be to transform someone who once hunted down Christians with zeal. He said, “Faith is the evidence of things unseen, the substance of things hoped for.” That you will have before you what you have hoped in God for. People like Mr. Miller always believe that the religious are stupid but then adore those like Copernicus and Galileo and Descartes who never for a minute denounced their belief in God. He refuses to recognize that reason and ration aside man’s soul and spirit can be proud, (no doubt he is a homosexual and they have a gay pride parade every year despite that fact that pride is a negative character trait) and it is the heart of a man that decides his stance not his reason and rationale which he only uses later to fortify his stance on a subject. Mr. Miller said that he ‘believed that the Earth traveled around the sun’ but did not know this through his own discernment but trusted in the authority of another, (ironically this was established by Copernicus of course the cannon lawyer of the Catholic Church as well as a medical Doctor who treated the poor for free whose uncle was a Bishop.) yet he rejects the authority of others, namely the Bishops, the Magisterium and the Pope and most importantly, God Himself.

  5. But, do you think religion is a hindrance for development, since they are all waiting for the end, how could they even try to contribute in the development of this world if the end time is full of destructions?

  6. Atheism is just a lack of belief, who do you think is the one thinking, a person who have a lack of belief in something without any substantial proof, or the person who believes that this something does really exist without any substantial proof?

  7. It astounds me how stupid some people are.

    Being an atheist is not dishonest. I’m not sure how you think that makes sense. Nor do I think its a lack of humility. Its okay for people to say “I know in my heart that there is a God” or “i know in my heart there is a possibility of God” but not okay to say “i know in my heart there is no god”
    Am I being dishonest when I say “I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny”? I have no proof that he does or does not exist. He or she may very well be hiding plastic eggs in my the hell do I know. Am i being self righteous when i say ” i know in my heart there is no easter bunny.” no. people would probably agree. i don’t need to be more humble. i don’t need to open my mind to the possibility that I am wrong. So what makes god so different? Are we no longer allowed to have opinions on anything? For an atheist to call themselves agnostic would actually be the dishonest thing. to say “I’m not sure what i believe” when they know exactly what they believe (or not believe however you want to look at it). To have or to not have a religion is a choice. To say “God is love”..well that’s your opinion. an opinion in that you think of as fact. To say “God does not exist”..same thing. opinion that someone sees as fact.



    I am agnostic…I guess. I’m not sure what I believe or if I believe…and it really doesn’t bother me. What does bother me are people who think i just need to be more open..or people who think i’m just angry at something. i’m perfectly fine with the lack of believing and not believing in my life. and i totally respect people who have religion. and i totally respect people who don’t.

  8. First of all my congratulations for the very lucid comments i found here.
    Thinking about belief is quite deep and interesting.

    Atheism is a funny way of belief because it pretends not to be a belief.
    Belief in not something you have or not, is something you use or not, conciously or not.

    Atheism contains a conflict in his inside. Defines itself as a negative belief.
    There is a big contradiction on it. Remember the attraction law.
    A negative desire dont works.
    So, atheism should learn a lot more about life to find a way much more efficient of disbelieving the supreme or whatever it were, hehe.

    Then, also we can reflexionate about the majority of people who practicates positive beliefs in a wide range of manners and ways. Does it works?
    I think yes.
    For what? Well, belief helps to live in connection and in community with all existence. Maybe it will appear something irrelevant, meaningless or superfluous to a very critic or disociated subject, but i found it quite reasonable as is.

    In resume, the problem with atheism is a bad conjugation of forms, expresions and conditions. The atheist have a very poor and distorted idea about god, some like a parody, who leads him logically to refuse and disbelief that idea. The atheist constructs the highest expectations for that impossible idea of god, far from reality.

    The real open mind needs not of proofs or very precise definitions about the supreme, because intelligence can recognize his own limitations in that.
    It is a cuestion of learn to flow and found with the subtle or to block and struck with our arrogance.

    Sorry for my english. Salutes.

  9. Be it an Atheist, a believer, a Satanist, what ever…’s all one big contortion, of one’s own upbringing,conscious as well as unconscious mind, resulting in the formation of one’s own though’s and opinion’s “a belief stronger then an impression” ……resulting in ones own idea. but the one word that seems to make blubbering idiots of people is…..”RELIGION ITSELF” flock’s of sheep brainwashed by the masse’s to kill, point finger’s,blame other’s,the excuse to do the most hideous EVIL crimes against humanity in the name of God behind closed doors….in the name of so called “RELIGION” it sicken’s me to see all the brainwashed people, I want no part of that belief……I am personally a Spirtualist by my own belief’s which come from deep inside,and yes I do believe in a higher power I would have to say that the Buddhism religion is one that makes the most scence to me being a spiritualist.

  10. Excellent, fairly well thought out and presented. For a further examination of religious beliefs have a look at the writings and lectures of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.

  11. to tell the truth i have,nt watched it yet,i really dont find any interest,in shows that take anything away from god ,truly must be made by masons, the devels right hand ..besides the title has spelling mistakes in it ,how good could it be,do not belief,instead of do not believe,maybe try spreading gods word which is the truth and not science fiction,there is no reward for mocking god,in any way,best of luck you will need it.

  12. Good well presented documentary. And nice to hear the philosophers point of view with regards to Atheism……..Why do religious people believe in something that is totally devoid of any evidence and yet bash the atheist who’s point of view is based on rational and logical thought?………Anyone who has doubt about their religious beliefs should watch this show, it may send you on the right track.

  13. I like all the bigotry posted here (sarcastic laugh). If you’re an atheist, you’ll learn a little more than you already know. If you’re religious, you’ll post shit like “this is the work of masons! Devil’s right hand” or “Atheism is a belief too!”. Just watch the damn documentary and keep all bigotry aside, and critique it, you know… how the piece is presented. Also, make sure you can spell and form complete sentences before you judge whether or not the title has mistakes…(clearing throat)…DAVE SKYMAN.

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