Atheists Rally Behind New Movie Thriller

It’s Christian vs. Atheist in a new thriller released Friday.

Except the Christian is the bad guy. And atheists are saying this film could be their “Brokeback Mountain,” which broke down barriers for gays six years ago.

The atheist director of “The Ledge” is hoping to start a similar conversation on behalf of non-believers.

“Really, The Ledge is at the beginning of a movement toward more open discussion of atheism and agnosticism,” says Matthew Chapman, who also wrote the film.

In Chapman’s cliffhanger, Christianity is wielded as a weapon. And the hero may be Godless but he’s not gutless.

There’s a lot to like, for the organizer of Houston Atheists.

“I’m just excited that it’s going to be showing an atheist in a positive light,” says Staise Gonzalez. “Films don’t do that. Ever.”

But the film is taking flak from religious groups, including the Catholic League.

“People of faith, especially Catholics, are used to being trashed by Hollywood,” said Bill Donohue, the organization’s president. “But they are not accustomed to films that promote atheism."

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“The Ledge” has a simple plot. An atheist seduces the attractive wife of a Christian fundamentalist. The husband, a crazy fundamentalist, lures the atheist onto a ledge and threatens to kill the wife if the atheist doesn’t jump from a ledge at a certain time.

Of course, in Christian theology, murder is forbidden in the Ten Commandments. But “The Ledge” ignores this obvious fact, portraying the fundamentalist as driven by his faith to blackmail the atheist into suicide, and the atheist as a heroic character willing to die for another person.

Along the way, the film discusses questions of God and faith - from a radically atheistic perspective. Reviewer Greta Christina, an atheist who gave a rave review of the movie, grudgingly admitted that “the conversations about religion often play like a bit like a comment thread in an atheist blog.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt was blunter, writing that “The characters, unfortunately, exist merely for the sake of these [atheist] arguments.”

More disinterested reviews of “The Ledge” have generally been negative. All six featured reviewers on (as of June 28) panned the movie, with varying degrees of disgust.’s seven reviews of “The Ledge” were also uniformly negative.

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Is this is to be the gambit of a movement that is supposed to portray atheists in a positive light, then it is a foreboding one indeed, since it centers around a very negative portrayal of Christians. To compare it even to ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is unfair to ‘Brokeback Mountain’ because at least that film did not portray heterosexual as evil.

This film does not seem to be a reflection of a desire to see atheists portrayed in a less negative light; instead, it seems to be another omenous reflection of the apparently growing camp among nonbelievers that identify being an atheist with hating Christians. No movement centered around a detestation of or disdain for another group of people can have an auspicious future, imo.

The Christian character is a strawman. It is just plain stupid for these fundamentalist atheists to think it offers any kind of message.


I find it hysterical.

I mean the ONE thing that Christ got through to the people was “no greater love has a man then to give up his life for a friend”

so athiest or not the main character is acting under a princible that only Christ brought to the world.

I know several atheists/agnostics that don’t buy into religion-hate and are pretty disturbed themselves that atheism is becoming less non-deist and more anti-deist (to the point where I’ve seen atheists bicker among themselves as to what makes an atheist). They’d probably be offended that **this **is supposed to be a doorway to more open discussion about atheism.

  1. Y’mean Christians DON’T wield their religion as a weapon?

“Believe as I do or you’ll burn in hell forever!” That sure sounds like wielding a weapon to me.

  1. Tell ya what, Mr Donohue. You name some movies that trash ‘people of faith, especially Catholics’, and I’ll match you five for one - at least - with some films that do the exact opposite.

[quote=]“Believe as I do or you’ll burn in hell forever!” That sure sounds like wielding a weapon to me.

And how many Christians do you know (in the “real world”) who subscribe to this sort of belief? I don’t know any.

And propagating the belief that some atheists are already eager to believe in that this sort of attitude is typical in Christianity is dangerous as well

Based on what I read in the OP, the premise of the film is fatally flawed. So, a Christian finds this (atheist) guy with his wife. Out of presumably extreme rage and anger of such an emotionally devastating discovery, he does something against Christian teachings. The problem with this portrayal of the Christian man is, this is not a portrayal of ordinary Christian living. It is a portrayal of someone acting under extreme emotional stress.

If the filmmaker really wants to open up a dialog about Christianity, he would make a movie about a family living out their Christian beliefs. Show them worshipping at church, praying at home, going to work, playing during their leisure time, raising their children, coping with tough times in life…in other words, real Christian living. Let’s have a discussion about that.

Thankfully, it appears that movie reviewers have seen the fallacy of the movie also. Thank God!

You have about the same number of posts as I. You haven’t seen that attitude on these forums?

It’s certainly not typical of the Catholics that I know personally, more the province of the outer extremes of Protestant fundamentalism, which is probably what the film is about.

Based on what I read in the OP, the premise of the film is fatally flawed.

Well, I doubt that I will see the film nor that it will be very successful, but the premise, if accurately described in the OP, seems to be borrowed from Conan Doyle’s “The Final Problem”, with the athiest as Holmes and the Christian as Moriarty.

Well then, that story is fatally flawed as well! :smiley:

The test of a film’s success is not whether it has logical flaws, Godfather II was loaded with flaws and was even more successful than the much-better-thought-out original.

Rather, is the film entertaining and will it attract an audience? The box office is the bottom line, assuming that we are talking here about a commercial theatrical film and not a propaganda piece.

I’d still like more information about all those films that Donahue claims ‘trash people of faith, especially Catholics’.

Louis B. Mayer was so enamoured of Catholicism that it’s a wonder he didn’t convert.

Titles that immediately come to mind, not all MGM products, are Going My Way, The Bells of Saint Mary’s, Say One for Me (all with Bing Crosby), The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, Come to the Stable, Boys’ Town, The Hoodlum Priest, Brother Sun Sister Moon, Hitchcock’s I Confess, give me 24 hours and I’ll come up with 50 more.

The filmmaker is an outspoken atheist--------even though he apparently intends the Christian to be of the fundamentalist persuasion, he obviously intends this to be (rightly or wrongly) a condemnation of ALL Christians.

Obviously the man knows very little about Christianity, since a true seeker of knowledge with even a rudimentary knowledge of Christianity would know there are MASSIVE differences between various Christian denominations—Catholics and Protestants, for example.

I do not know of one Fundamentalist Protestant that would do what the Christian in this movie would do. The filmmaker must think all Fundamentalist Protestants are fanatical people who do evil for the sake of their religion. I admit some fundies HAVE done extreme things, but to pick out exceptions to the rule as representative of ALL fundies is wrong and misguided.
The fact that the man does it to further an Anti-Christian agenda further highlights his misguidedness. And dishonesty.

Like I said in another post----
Hollywood has a right to make movies that go against the beliefs of billions of people-------but be honest and show a VARIETY of points, both pro and con. The fact that they refuse to show pro-Christian, pro-religious movies belies their obvious one-sided attempt at proselytizing their secular, anti-religion point of view.

This is all very sad----but unfortunately not surprising.

I think that many atheists left to themselves end up living in fantasy land such as the producer of this film and are cut off from main stream culture and reason. I know some atheists will find that statement ironical but i think its true and it’s best to leave them to their own devices.

Until now I had forgotten all about this movie. I saw the trailer a while back and specifically recall wondering why the Christian character was portrayed as an extremist. Needless to say this explains a lot.
Aside from the fact of the “radical point of view” this was supposed to have being the protagonist was an atheist, and the antagonist a christian, the trailer just seemed like another overdone plot to me. :shrug:

According to the Internet Movie Database (, the film had an estimated budget of $10 million. Given the horrible reviews, and extremely limited release to theaters, I think this film is going to lose a sizable amount of money. I’m not sure who bankrolled the movie, but I suspect it was a vanity project by an individual… and that person is going to take a bath.

No, Brokeback Mountain portrayed heterosexuality as boring and oppressive, and homosexuality as liberating and beautiful.

Uhhh…those wild wacky atheist! Well kids…they are a fun lot…they are the ULTIMATE font of hypocrisy…they DO have a Religion…and a theology (a bad one but one non-the-less)…Theology Of Negation. (line from an old WHO song in my head now: Aint got no Religion as far as we can tell.) Lol. Dolts! they have both a perverse religion and theology ! Sorry Atheists…“Gotta Serve Somebody”:cool:

Is it really portraying atheists in a positive light for the hero to be seducing another man’s attractive wife?

I agree. Not much of an atheist coup. :stuck_out_tongue:

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