(Post title edited from “The Two Best Characters on Glee Are Atheists” on the recommendation of @modelshipwreck.)
Well, the most recent episode of Glee (which, shut up, I know you watch it, too, and if you post in the comments that you don’t because you think it’s awful then we’ll all just assume you’re overcompensating because you love it so god damn much) is all about JESUS, but really it’s all about Kurt because honestly, if Kurt and Jesus are co-starring in anything you know who’s going to steal the show. THIS GUY:
“I hope our genuflection to the great spaghetti monster in the sky doesnâ€™t take too long.”
– Kurt “The Adorablest Atheist Ever” Hummel
Here’s the gist of the episode: Kurt’s dad has a heart attack and lands in a coma, and all the Glee kids are thinking of religion because Finn the Moron has started worshipping a Grilled Cheesus. So they all keep talking (singing) about god, and Kurt’s all “Hey thanks, great song, but I don’t believe in god,” which he says pretty damned respectfully and calmly considering that his dad is in a coma and everyone is bugging him with their stupid god-talk and Whitney Houston songs. Here is where Kurt proves that he is just the best:
“You’ve all professed your beliefs, I’m just stating mine. I think God is kind of like Santa Claus for adults. Otherwise God’s kind of a jerk, isn’t he? I mean he makes me gay and then has his followers going around telling me it’s something that I chose, as if someone would choose to be mocked every single day of their life. And right now I don’t want a heavenly father. I want my real one back.”
“But Kurt, how do you know for sure? You can’t prove that there is no god,” says Gosperella.
“You can’t prove there isn’t a magical teapot floating around on the dark side of the moon with a dwarf inside of it that reads romance novels and shoots lightning out of its boobs but it seems pretty unlikely doesn’t it?”
Says the brilliant Brittany: “Is god an evil dwarf?
“We shouldn’t be talking like this,” says the Abstinence-Only Single Mother. “It’s not right.”
“I’m sorry Quinn, but you can all believe whatever you want to but I can’t believe something I don’t. I appreciate your thoughts, but I don’t want your prayers.”
I LOVE YOU KURT!
That’s not enough to shut them up, though, demonstrating that yes, the rest of the Glee club (besides the wonderful Brittany) are incredibly annoying. They even go to the hospital and sing spiritual songs to Kurt’s dad behind Kurt’s back. WTF? Who does this? Have you people even met this guy before? Stop touching his head in an overly familiar manner!
Eventually Kurt learns that his friends are just trying to help him using their crazy magical chants and whatnot, which, okay, is a good lesson to learn. But nobody else really seems to learn the lesson that maybe you should STFU about your religion when it’s actively bothering your grieving friend.
EXCEPT the school counselor, who gets a well-deserved bitch-out from none other than the episode’s other atheist: Sue Motherfucking Sylvester.
“Asking someone to believe in a fantasy, however comforting, isn’t a moral thing to do. It’s cruel.”
“Don’t you think that’s just a little bit arrogant?”
“It’s just as arrogant as telling someone how to believe in god and if they don’t accept it no matter how open-hearted or honest their dissent they’re going to hell. Well that doesn’t sound very Christian, does it?”
“If that’s what you believe, that’s fine, but please keep it to yourself.”
“So long as you do the same. That kid could lose his father at any moment. You should start preparing him for that. Now get the hell out of my office. I realize you’re only half orangutan but I’m still very allergic to your lustrous ginger mane.”
As awesome as the two atheist characters are, though, the portrayal of atheism could have been better. Both of them give reasons for their atheism, and both reasons are because life was unfair to them and they couldn’t see how a loving god would allow that. That’s a perfectly valid reason for not believing in an omni-benevolent god, but it obscures the main reason why I suspect most people have no religion: because there is no evidence. This is at least briefly covered in Kurt’s referencing of Russel’s teapot, but Sue’s back story leaves us remembering both of them as tortured souls who maybe just haven’t found Jesus yet.
Final criticism: Kurt’s big song was a pretty super, slow, emotional version of I Want To Hold Your Hand. Okay. But couldn’t he have had some big atheist number since everyone else got all Jesusy (or Yenta-y as the case may be)? A cover of Sarah McLauchlan’s cover of XTC’s Dear God, maybe? Or Nick Cave’s Into My Arms?
Anyway, it was nice to see some awesome characters on a really popular show come out as proud atheists who don’t get converted at the end. But yeah, we could still do better.
What did you think?