by Bill Daehler
Since its inception in 2005, YouTube—the largest video-sharing website on the Internet—has become a cultural phenomenon. YouTube has amassed tens of millions of videos representing all aspects of our culture. From movies, television and music to homemade videos and everything between, YouTube has a collection of the best (and worst) our culture has to offer.
HNN has decided to follow-up the list of humanist films with a collection of the top ten humanist videos on YouTube. Due to the massive volume of humanist content on YouTube it was extremely difficult to account for all videos, but this list reflects the most popular covering a range of topics and sources. They encompass comedy, television and movie clips, philosophers and authors as well as great homemade movies that reflect humanist values.
This animated South Park style clip shows Richard Dawkins answering a question at a lecture. The audio of this clip was taken from a real lecture delivered by Dawkins at Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was reportedly responding to a question from a student from nearby Liberty University (yes, the Evangelical college founded by Jerry Falwell). He responds to the questioners’ “What if you’re wrong?” with wit, intelligence and perfection.
Ricky Gervais, a popular British comedian and creator of The Office, is a proud atheist. In this clip Gervais takes on the story of Noah’s Ark by reading an old children’s book. Gervais has a tendency to use the Bible in his show—after all, some of the most ridiculous stories are there! It’s worth the time to see Gervais’ many other YouTube videos—funny and serious—in which he defends atheism and explains how he lost his religion.
Monty Python alone deserves its own humanist top ten list, and I’m sure there are many clips deserving of a spot here. But this scene from The Meaning of Life is among the best. John Cleese instructs the children in a biblical lesson and delivers some stern messages. The chaplain also leads the church in a hilarious prayer—arguably Monty Python’s best moments (though “Every Sperm is Sacred” nearly made this list as well)
This is actually a funny idea supported by a comical story: the Book of Genesis. In this video, animation is used to show what must have happened when God created the universe. This is a hilarious video which helps break down how ridiculous creationism really is.
This pretty much sums it up. Comedian Bill Maher explains in less than six minutes why religion is so dangerous and calls for non-theists to stand up to combat that danger. Religulous is a 2008 documentary by Maher which seeks to show religion as full of ignorance and danger.
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This video—featuring animated stick figures—lists off biblical passages and believers respond to each quote. Of course the verses regarding love—God loving us, us loving each other and us loving (fearing) God—are what the Bible meant to say according to the believers. But believers say other verses are taken out of context. When God commands misogyny, torture, murder, slavery, and war, or when God is acting like a tyrannical toddler … well, those verses must have been taken out of context.
In this homemade YouTube video, an atheist responds to a theist’s charge that atheism is a religion—and does a great job responding. She also has some other funny videos to check out—just look up ‘The Unreasonable God” on YouTube.
This is Christopher Hitchens at his best—a speech delivered at . He delivers his concluding remarks at Intelligence2—a remarkable critique of superstition while elevating the value of human culture. He reflects of Marx’s famous “opiate of the masses” analogy and defends the importance of human culture without religion while encompassing the likes of John Milton and Shakespeare.
The crew of the Star Trek Enterprise discusses the implications of what would happen if a “rational people” were to believe in a religion. Piccard is believed to be a god to the Mintakan people but laments what would happen were he to become their deity and send them back into the “dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear.”
The late great George Carlin made his career by pointing out the hilarity of religion (think his famous “Religion is B.S.” routine). In this video, George breaks down the Ten Commandments to just two and delivers his own—very humanist!—commandments.
Check out all the videos on our top ten list and let us know what you think! Know another great humanist and atheist YouTube video that we missed? Share them below in our comments section!