Twilight Zone and Atheism, pt. 1

For the sake of convenience on my part, I’m going to be re-posting some of my older blog entries from over at AtheistNexus here. Who knows, maybe some of you peoples out there will enjoy them. All of these older ones I’ll be posting have a focus on freethought themes in classic science fiction, specifically Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” and the fantastically British “Doctor Who”. I’ll have three parts of “Twilight Zone and Atheism” coming, and then two parts of “Doctor Who and Atheism.” Hopefully this will help bridge the gap between now and the beginning of the semester, but I may also do a few more “SECAA spotlights” as I did with the Southern Miss SSA. Anyway, here we go:

So, I’m currently taking a course exclusively on “The Twilight Zone” and how it pertains to American culture. For those of you who don’t know, TZ ran from 1959-1964, an era that was a stone’s throw from the height of McCarthyism. Anything considered liberal was vis a vis under the umbrella of communism: thus, this was not a good time to be a free-thinker of any sort. Yes, this covers the Kennedy era, but this was a time in which being a catholic (“wrong kind of christian”) president was considered a progressive step forward.

TZ has quite a bit of political and social commentary in the subtext, for those who were not aware. Serling used the guise of science fiction to slip highly controversial themes and messages past the censors, and thus created one of the greatest television shows ever to air. It is far from an inherently atheistic show, as it pertains heavily to the supernatural and often deals with concepts of karma and the afterlife, but it is a highly interesting program to watch from an atheist POV. And, every once in a while, an episode will hit the nail straight on the head.

Personally, I have often used TZ in arguments and debates with religious people. In particular, “A Nice Place to Visit” is a cool one to bring up. This episode deals with a classic concept of heaven, in which someone is given an infinite afterlife that can bend to their every will. Serling then goes on to point out a fundamental flaw with the concept, but I won’t spoil it if you are one of the unfortunate few who has not before entered The Twilight Zone. Enjoy, fellow heathens.

You can watch it on Netflix (season 1 – episode 28)

Or not: A Nice Place To Visit


About Gordon Maples

Writer of the Misan[trope]y Movie Blog and the (Plot)opsy Podcast. A bad movie expert, if there ever was such a thing. Movie nerd, professional organizer, and political progressive.
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