Sheldon Cooper is an atheist

The gods of television entertainment can be cruel. If Sheldon Cooper, the slightly autistic genius from "Big Bang Theory" definitely doesn't belong anywhere, it's Texas. Where he grew up.

The series only shipped him there once, and it took a minor life crisis to let him flee there - under the wing of his mother, who filled the whole apartment with Christian statuettes. It then only takes a few seconds to get him to return to California - in which he talks to his mother about the theory of evolution.

No matter how frustrated Sheldon is about events in the research job - the mental dullness of home is worse. TV writers, however, can be merciless; they spark sparks from their characters by putting them in uncomfortable situations. And so it was only logical that CBS recently announced that a prequel series was being filmed: "Young Sheldon". So the poor guy isn't just being sent back to Texas. They also make him the boy he was, at the mercy of his Bible-firm mother, defenseless. But wait - defenseless?

Atheists are slowly but noticeably on the rise in American television series, and if anything makes them stand out, it is their intellectual superiority, and it is the slight desperation with which they acknowledge the general tendency to want to believe everything . The gracious but ingenious "Dr. House", for example, noticeably hates every second in which he has to deal with beliefs: "If one could argue rationally with religious people, then there would be no religious people."

Or Patrick Jane, better known as "The Mentalist": He had a remarkable career as a fortune teller and medium before he joined the police force as a consultant. Nobody knows better than he how much people want to be seduced and lied to, as long as the lie promises them consolation or eternal life. At every opportunity he tries to assure himself: "There is no such thing as clairvoyant." There is also no afterlife to be had with him. And with smiling resignation, he takes time and again that his fellow human beings don't want to hear about it.

It is similar to "Star Trek Next Generation" captain Jean-Luc Picard, who is mistaken for a deity on the actually quite enlightened planet Mintaka III. He is asked to play this role in carrying out his mission. Picard is outraged: "Millennia ago these people gave up their belief in the supernatural. And now I'm supposed to sabotage this achievement? Should you send them back to the dark ages of superstition, ignorance and fear? No!"

They are usually far ahead, the atheists in the TV series, extremely clever - and unfortunately mostly not the loveliest under the sun, always somewhere in a continuum between cool, arrogant and socially completely overwhelmed. That's what happens! May the believers believe. Without God it becomes very lonely for you. The new series "Young Sheldon", in which a shrewd boy grows up with his fully religious mother, could try a different interpretation: Perhaps it is not the isolation from God that makes one lonely. Perhaps it is the isolation from clear reason to which a clever boy in the backwoods nest is condemned.



Wolfgang at the permanent link

Granted, atheists have a hard time, but they have one! But the believers like morass and stupidity. They don't notice it and they don't want to know anything.

The hope remains that the clarification will probably take longer than the BER airport!

Hans Trutnau at the permanent link

"If one could argue rationally with religious people" - that is exactly one of the sticking points; and also that precisely such people are at the controls of indoctrination (my opinion ...).

Norbert Schönecker at the permanent link

Series of this kind work with clichés. Otherwise they are not suitable for the public.

So: top politicians are corrupt. The CIA manipulates the president. Children are sweet and good-hearted. Cardinals hide ancient documents. Intelligent students are unsportsmanlike. Psychologists themselves have roof damage. Geeks eat junk food. Scientists are confused.

Evangelical Christians are unintelligent. Atheists are cold-hearted.

Nothing will change about that.
It only becomes problematic if someone considers such clichés to be a correct representation of reality.

Axel Uhlig at the permanent link


Fortunately, all sorts of clichés were questioned in TBBT: the once blonde Penny is not that stupid, but amazingly capable of learning, Sheldon can barely empathize with other people ...
I'm looking forward to new episodes and the young Sheldon!
Hopefully believing people will become his fans with fun.

Norbert Schönecker at the permanent link

S.g. Mr. Uhlig!

The series and its characters have evolved, no question about it. Rajesh has also been able to talk to women for a long time.

Main characters in particular have to become more differentiated over time. And that's good.

Fully in the cliché of the atheist and the (evangelical) Christian are rather the mothers of Sheldon and Leonard (I hope that's still true, I don't know the more recent episodes). Whereby Sheldon's mother, despite all the narrow-mindedness and narrow-mindedness, seems more sympathetic to me. This is where the (American) cliché breaks through.

As a devout person, I find Sheldon not only entertaining, but also personable and in some ways admirable. From far. I couldn't take a week to work or live with him.

Axel Uhlig at the permanent link

Good afternoon, Mr. Schönecker,

as in real life, not only the main characters of TBBT have evolved. Even Sheldon's mother was granted this. She has a good power of observation and a good-natured character, so she can also bind the sympathies of atheists. She has already been granted several appearances for her development, as the versatility of her character offers great entertainment value.
With Leonard's mother, on the other hand, the stereotype of a scientist devoid of empathy was stuck with. Because this has hardly any entertainment value in the repetition, you will probably only see the woman again if she also has a chance to develop.
Yes, Sheldon is personable, but difficult to bear in everyday life. So I found the episodes all the more great, where it harmonized with the contradicting Penny: Once in her accident in the bathtub. The other time, when she wanted to make money making jewelry. On the side, he showed that a good physicist with his view of the essentials, e.g. profit / hour, can also have an overview in business life.
Hopefully, in these episodes, his character was also shaped in terms of empathy and generosity.
However, there is one fact that I am both pleased and amazed at:
TBBT is deliberately designed to be critical of religion, at least if you look at Sheldon's mother as a caricature.
And the hpd is more aimed at atheists.
Then why are you looking at TBBT and dropping into the hpd?
Although I admit that, as an atheist, I also enjoy listening to J.S.Bach's church music. But is that comparable?
Axel Uhlig

Norbert Schönecker at the permanent link

S.g. Mr. Uhlig!

Yes, I think that is comparable to your listening to Bach's church music.
If you block out the religious underground, wonderful music remains.
If I ignore the atheistic background in TBBT, it leaves a fun TV series that is also smarter than the average sitcom.

Why I look in at the hpd:
I am convinced that a pluralistic society works better and more peacefully when people with different worldviews talk to each other instead of ABOUT each other. Then you can break down prejudices and clichés (which brings us back to the topic).

At the hpd I have already met a number of humanists with whom I have been able to productively exchange opinions. And even if someone rarely changes his or her opinion, one thing remains: We can talk to each other, we also have a lot in common, the other is not that narrow-minded / stupid / vicious / humorless. I see that as a win.

(Deepening: In German it is very meaningful to talk ABOUT others. That means: You stand higher than the person you are talking about. That contradicts Christian humility.)

There are of course people here who consider it their primary goal to show me at every opportunity how incredibly stupid they consider Christian teaching to be. But finally there are also people in my "party" who threaten everything that is not strictly Catholic with hell. So: embodied clichés on both sides.

With best regards
Norbert Schönecker

Axel Uhlig at the permanent link

S. g. Mr. Schönecker,
First of all, I like your answer.

However, you apparently ignore: Atheist humanism is a basic concern of the TBBT series, as well as Star Trek Next Generation.
Of course, everyone can enjoy it. But anyone who overlooks atheistic humanism overlooks one of the basic concerns.
Sheldon learns very slowly on an empirical basis and without religion to empathize with other people. This will gradually make him an acceptable member of his social network.
His mother, on the other hand, has to overcome many fundamental religious prejudices if she wants to get along with Sheldon's friends and other scientific people in the long term.
In my opinion, atheists would find it easier. But of course there are also nice believers.
But what annoys and surprises me: Why do liars like Barschel and lawbreakers like Kohl take the top positions in the CDU, which invokes religion the most?

In Bach's music I see the particular strength in his human empathy. One can hardly portray grief musically more vividly than he did at the beginning of the St. Matthew Passion.
On the other hand, almost everyone feels joy at the beginning of the Christmas oratorio. But precisely this music is not purely ecclesiastical:
He also used them in a secular play.
There is even an Australian researcher Eubel who suggested that Bach might have been an atheist:
I am still in the process of translating this text into German.
Some of the arguments seem plausible to me.

A. Uhlig

Rudi Knoth at the permanent link

You're right. I also really enjoy watching this comedy, but I consider the poets portrayed there to be clichéd. The men shown there have quite noticeable quirks.

And I don't think Sheldon should be considered the typical atheist either.

Bernd Kammermeier at the permanent link

Dear Mr. Schönecker,

I'm afraid you did not understand (want to understand?) the point of this article.

Of course, entertainment programs are often about clichés. Not only on TV - also in those who come from the pulpit in churches. It is precisely there that clichés are used: virgin birth, miracles, self-sacrifice, resurrection, ascension and similar nonsense. Believers in the church also want to be entertained. For free!

But with the increasing influence of atheistic ideas in American series - I am also thinking of "Bones" and "Perception" - the point is that religious delusions are being exposed as such.

I assume that the time when the fairy tale world of the Bronze Age was sold as reality without comment is coming to an end on television. This is only practiced for a while in churches, mosques and synagogues ...

Rudi Knoth at the permanent link

You forgot "Temperance Brannon" from the Bones series.

In one episode she said in front of a praying Muslim: "I do not discriminate against him because all religions have an irrational core".