ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Attacks Atheists

One of ABC’s most popular TV shows is “What Would You Do?” For those who don’t know about it, it “establishes everyday scenarios and then captures people’s reactions,” according to its website. But a critical piece of information to know about these scenarios is their probability; that is, all the scenarios can happen. The show’s producers deviated from that in a recent episode in which an atheist (actor) became angry at a Christian family (actors) praying in a restaurant.

The episode began with a veteran buying diapers but learning that his credit card had declined. People at the store helped pay for the veteran’s expenses as a result. However, this faith-in-humanity-restored mood drifted away when the next scenario involved a Christian family deciding to pray before eating their meal. An atheist nearby felt offended by this and asked the family to refrain from public prayer, arguing that she “has a right to eat without you forcing your religion down my throat!” As expected, the atheist’s reaction quickly led to precarious confrontations between her and others in the restaurant defending the family.

In light of this episode, the TV show has been receiving immense negative feedback on its Facebook page. A myriad of the show’s fans have come to the defense of atheists – restaurant employees, Christians, and, of course, irreligious people themselves.

The issue with the scenario is not that people actually sided with the family. It is good that they did that because a family praying should not offend anyone. It is that the scenario never happens. There is a prejudice that godless people have no set of morals or ethics. In reality, the only difference between a Christian and an atheist is that one chooses not to believe in a god – nothing else. It is severely narrow-minded of the show’s producers to represent atheists as intolerant, hostile beings. We are just like any other human, except that we are humanists. The scenario was a stark attack against the atheist community.

It’s worth mentioning that there have actually been several accounts of Christians interrupting atheists at restaurants for their “heathen” discussions. Evidently, a Christian forcing his or her beliefs to a nonbeliever is more plausible than what the TV show aired.

If ABC is going to represent atheists with such ignorance, it needs to reciprocate for the religious too. Nonetheless, it’s still absurd that this was allowed to happen and requires the attention of atheists everywhere, because ABC has joined in with others on the war against the New Atheism.

If action isn’t taken soon to enlighten society on the truths of secularism, the movement will perish and the reign of religion will prevail.

Matthew Cortez

A progressive who endeavors to enhance scientific literacy and political activism in today's youth, I'm a student at UC Santa Cruz who's been seduced by science and politics.

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