(This post is part of the Handbook for the Recently Deconverted series.)
Sometimes it’s easier to pop on a video or video series than it is to crack open a book–and lately I’ve heard a few folks asking for suggestions along these lines. If you fall into that category of folks, you’ll be happy to know that in the realm of ex-Christianity, there are plenty of videos to watch! Some of these include NSFW language, but if you hang out on my blog it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. This stuff ought to keep you occupied for a while. (I don’t have a business relationship with any of the folks listed beyond what’s noted; I’m just a fan wanting to spread the word for those who want something interesting to watch.)
Why I Am No Longer a Christian, by Evid3nc3.
This gentle, multi-part tour takes on and demolishes most of the reasons people give for believing in Christianity. The protagonist/video maker begins his journey as a true-blue Christian evangelical, and ends as a solid–if rather shaken-up–atheist. You don’t need to end up where he has to appreciate the excellent arguments he makes and the evidence he brings to bear. This is probably my favorite and go-to series for anybody questioning their faith. (If nothing else, I want you to notice that his journey began as a part of a comment-page spat he started with an ex-Christian–if you like that kind of interaction, then know that it is rarely ever totally pointless to engage with believers.)
Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism, by Aron-Ra.
An extremely knowledgeable tour through the major errors in Creationism. Not all Christians subscribe to Young-Earth Creationism, but even a science-embracer will find a lot to chew on here.
How Archaeology Killed Biblical History, presented by Dr. Hector Avalos.
The awesome group Minnesota Atheists, who interviewed me last winter, present this speech by a real live Ancient Near Eastern archaeologist who explains why the idea of “Biblical history” is nonsense through and through. No, Virginia, nothing in the Bible really happened the way it claims it did, and here’s why.
An Atheist Reads…, by Steve Shives.
I just booked your day solid. A very witty and knowledgeable page-by-page fisking of numerous apologetics books popular with Christians. Past books reviewed include I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Mere Christianity, and Evidence that Demands a Verdict. They’re all excellent; I suggest just starting at the beginning and working your way up. You’ll never look at apologetics books the same again. And he has the world’s cutest nutball tuxedo cat.
The Atheist Voice, by Hemant Mehta.
Hemant Mehta (who writes the excellent Friendly Atheist blog here on Patheos) gently and humorously takes viewers on a journey of exploration about just what it means to be an atheist and how to navigate a still-heavily-Christian society. Many of his videos are written with young atheists in mind, while others refute some of the sillier ideas that Christians often believe about non-believers. They’re also very short generally.
The Bible Reloaded.
Hilarious, profane, and knowledgeable: the holy trifecta of must-see TV as far as I’m concerned. A pair of irreverent hosts review Christian tracts, movies, and popular religious videos, including various Chick tracts and movies. There’s a little bit of everything here.
Why I Think Jesus Didn’t Exist: A Historian Explains the Evidence That Changed His Mind, a lecture by Richard Carrier.
Whether you’re a mythicist or a “germ of truth” person, you may like this lecture because it contains a lot of information about Bible history and the early Christian church and leaders. I find the topic simply fascinating–and nothing you hear here is stuff you’re likely to have run into during any sermon or Sunday School class.
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, by Nova.
This is the granddaddy of all legal smackdowns of Christian overreach. The Dover trial pitting one school district’s science teachers and science-embracing parents against a theocracy-minded school board and tribal fundagelical community was one that Creationists ached to have, but when it happened, they got their asses handed to them by–of all things–a fervent Christian judge who’d been appointed by a Republican president! Don’t watch this documentary just for the total scientific refutation of Creationism (its leaders’ attempt to rebrand their religious hogwash as “intelligent design” is also covered–and refuted–in this video); watch it also for its constant, non-stop examples of Christian hypocrisy including nonstop lying-for-Jesus and constant threats against those who criticize and resist its goals and tactics. It’s downright astonishing even for people who are well aware of what hypocrites the most gung-ho fundagelicals tend to be.
Religulous, with Bill Maher.
Love Bill Maher or hate him, he’s made one of the more entertaining documentaries out there about religion in general. There’s a fascinating couple of interviews in this video with an “ex-gay” minister who doesn’t seem all that “ex” and Ted Haggard pre-downfall, but that’s far from everything. Probably won’t tell you much you didn’t know already, but it’s interesting and sometimes funny and cringe-inducing. Goes up there with Jesus Camp; if you liked the one then you’ll like the other, and vice versa. If you already can’t stand Bill Maher this won’t make you a fan, but if you like his kind of humor, then this should make you chuckle while it makes its points.
The God Who Wasn’t There, with Brian Flemming.
This documentary contains a lot of the information found in the above YouTube series and videos, but condenses it down pretty well, I think. The very ending always brings tears to my eyes–you’ll know the scene when you get to it and you’ll say “Ah, this is what Cas meant.” Mr. Flemming used to be a fundamentalist, so he speaks the same language that a lot of us speak and has the same sorts of concerns we did back when we were starting to question our faith.
Feel free to suggest more in the comments–hopefully I’ve gotten you going if you needed suggestions! (If you can link to where these videos/documentaries can be found, that’s even better, but if you can’t, that’s okay.)