When I first started cartooning online back in 2000 I was mainly aware of Infidel Guy and his radio show. Since then we’ve seen numerous atheist and other freethinking podcasts and with YouTube atheists really started to take advantage of the video medium to create their arguments. A lot of it has been questionably bad, but then that’s YouTube in general. The trick is to find the bright spots. I found one in Joe Dixon, a persistent atheist teacher of the Bible with 61 episodes. There’s nothing unusual about the format, it’s the familiar monologue we’ve seen numerous times, but Joe has “personality.”
I watched episode 60 after finding it on The Good Atheist website and I really didn’t know what to make of it until he got going and when he does he is talking fast, preaching the word and bringing to life his version of gospel events with angels talking and other Biblical characters having their say. It’s like an improv comedy routine that’s hard to describe because Joe is just Joe talking away and he has plenty to say. I don’t think these are scripted, maybe a few notes, but when he takes off he really draws you in.
I guess what I’m saying is, that while I like the more laid back intellectual approach of certain podcasts and Youtube atheist apologetics, it’s nice to see such an overwhelmingly strong personality. With some more show development, better production values and possibly even some occasional guests or a sidekick to verbally joust with I think Joe Dixon could take it to the next level. Because his vibrant, confident personality makes you feel “less crazy” about being an atheist yourself–which is the theme at Freethunk.
He breaks down how twisted and stupid many of the Biblical scenarios are compared to how we’ve been brought up to see the Bible as respectable and true. This is usually because when you see depictions of Bible stories in books or film they’re basking in holy light and there’s the choir music and it gives validity to what’s being shown, no matter how ridiculous. The same is true of how well known TV and megachurch preachers spin these stories, usually with a message to relate them to our lives. Joe Dixon shatters all those illusions and if he weren’t an atheist I would expect to see him in front of a pulpit. He can really work up a good story into a frenzy and it ain’t the Holy Ghost (as many preachers attribute their speaking abilities to).
Okay, maybe he has a ways to go before the show meets a professional level, but if you haven’t already checked him out I would recommend it. There’s definite potential going on here and it’s a good way to review the Bible just for the hell of it. Plus you can have a drink with him since he tries a new “adult beverage” for every show. In particular, and I don’t mean to play the race card (but I will), if you have black friends who are heavy church-goers send them his YouTube link. I remember being trapped at a lunch table once with 3 very nice African American Women I worked with–and me the white guy atheist. When the subject of how “mean” online atheists are came up I said, “Well, not all of them. I’m an atheist and I’m nice.” I was looked at as a charity case (kind of patronizing even though they meant well). We need Joe Dixon to preach the atheist word, brother!
SIDENOTE: I love the bow tie on Joe. I know he has to take it off when it gets hot, but it adds a lot of character and “flair” to his Bible study.