I used to love this guy's acting but now?
Denzel Washington associates atheists with sociopaths
Academy Award winning Actor Denzel Washington has a new film out. While out promoting his film “Safe House,” Washington made some pretty appalling associations linking atheists to sociopaths and murderers among others.
In the interview, Washington was asked about his character, Tobin Frost. You can watch the interview in the sidebar but here is the relevant part of his answer (0:13 mark):
“There’s a book I read called, ‘The Sociopath Next Door,’ and… a, it really became sort of the Bible for me in developing this character. I think he is a sociopath. I think he doesn’t have a conscience. I think he is an atheist and a murderer and a liar.”
Imagine the outrage if he had said Jew, Christian, or Muslim instead of atheist in his response. Why is it acceptable for such an acclaimed actor to falsely associate an entire group of people in this way? Why didn’t the interviewer follow up on that?
According to the American Religious Identification Survey, those who have no religious preference make up 15% of the population in the United States and atheism is on the rise in every state. The atheist population in America may soon rival the population of Jews. There are certainly more atheists than there are Muslims in America and yet if Washington associated either of those groups with being sociopaths, murderers, liars, and people who have no conscience he would be viewed on par with Mel Gibson.
Most atheists in America today associate themselves with Humanism, rationalism, science, and reason. Atheists tend to me more educated, are less likely to support torture, and have a long history in this nation of pushing for civil rights. Denzel Washington’s statement isn’t just hateful, it is also far from accurate.
What do you think about Denzel Washington’s statement? Does it make you any less likely to see his films?
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I've read the book he's referring to, Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door", and while my memory of it isn't perfect, I don't recall any mention of atheism being a sociopathic trait or precursor. Actually, I don't remember the word atheist or atheism being used at all.
Just did a search (using Amazon's "search within this book" link), I was wrong, she mentions the word "atheist" once, but not in any reference to sociopathy or sociopaths.
I always look for supporting evidence before I come to a conclusion. I like Denzel Washington in most of his movies. The movie "The Book of Eli" was a postapocalyptic, religious themed move, which I liked at first until the theme became more clear. Washington is reported as being very religious, reading his bible daily, and giving millions in contributions to a church. So this would not be a big surprise. I don't think I have to agree with an actors views to enjoy their craft, although sometimes it matters. I can't stand Mel Gibson, for example, and used to love 'The Road Warrier". Now I can't watch anything connected to Gibson. I'm also headed that way on the avidly scientologist actors. Many actors have erratic personal lives, and some express have beliefs I disagree with. I'll have to think about Washington. That statement is, at the very least, ignorant and hateful.
Same here. I can't bring myself to even watch The Simpsons now that I know Nancy Cartwright is a devoted Scientologist (and by "devoted" I mean she's given $10 million to the "church"). I lose all respect for anyone who engages in a religion founded on the writings of a failed science-fiction writer and that begins with a personality test designed to find something wrong with you.
But as for Washington, my parents are huge fans of his since he is so religious, so I've always known about his views. It's just weird being on the other side, as before I agreed with him. Now he thinks I'm a sociopath. Oh well. We have Sir Ian McKellen, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Jodie Foster, George Clooney and Emma Thompson. There's not a film of theirs I haven't liked.
I read a quote once from Angelina Jolie and she said "I don't need for there to be a god.", so there is another pretty face to watch! :)
He isn't very intelligent. I saw him on a talk show one night and he was dull as a post. Most celebrities are stupid.
That's so sad that he is clueless. He seems intelligent in the movies he is in -- guess that's the acting.
I disagree. While he may not be MENSA material, Washington has always seemed to me well-studied, literate and well-spoken. This seems like another instance of intelligent people willfully blinding themselves with religion. I rather feel as if this issue has been blown out of proportion. Indeed, it's worrying that he has at least twice inserted atheism while referencing Martha Stout's book, which doesn't mention atheism at all. But this wasn't Denzel badmouthing atheists or calling them sociopaths outright, which is what the media has been doing...
I wonder whether Denzel have any imagination at all in the first place.
The bigger problem is that Denzel seems to not understand what a true sociopath is. His religious beliefs don't allow him to see what atheism is.