User:Mrs Kartoshka/sandbox/Brian Keith Dalton

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Brian Keith Dalton is an American director, actor, public speaker and music composer who created the series of satirical short films that parody aspects of religion - Mr. Deity. He has written music for Mr. Deity series, as well as theme tunes for the Oh No Ross and Carrie[1] podcast and The Odds Must Be Crazy podcast (that is a segment on Skepticality[2]).

Dalton is a former Mormon (or as he refers to himself - a "Formon"). He grew up in a Mormon family and was heavily involved in religion until his early twenties. when he started questioning it and read the The Atheist Debater's Handbook. That became a turning point for Dalton which later lead him to leave religion and become an atheist. In an interview for Meet the skeptics podcast, Dalton, said, "The book blew my mind. All the arguments that I thought were so clear cut had really good retorts". "It took me a while. I spend two years not knowing where I stood on things, looking into it. It's a lot to lose if you're really in it and you're practising and everything it's your entire life. Mormonism is very totalitarian and you're doing something all the time regarding the church". Dalton came across an article in Skeptic [3] magazine about False Memory Syndrome and from there on he started reading more sceptical material, got interested in all things sceptical, going to California Institute of Technology for lectures.

Following quote possibly to be added to "Mr Deity" WP article? To check with Susan.

On the "Meet the skeptics" podcast Dalton was asked where the idea for Mr. Deity came from. Dalton replied, "The first Mr Deity episode is the thing that I wrote in response to the 2004 tsunami which took nearly quarter of a million people, almost in a finger snap. People were finding god in it. You can get god off the hook for a lot of things. The stuff that you absolutely can not get god off the hook for is things like: cancer or natural disasters. Because those are things we never had to have. We never had to have cancer. It doesn't affect free will, it doesn't affect natural law. The same with tsunamis and earthquakes. If we'd never had one of them it wouldn't indicate anything about god. It wouldn't indicate anything about god's existence". After trying to, unsuccessfully, cast various actors on the role of god and Larry, Jimbo Marshall, Dalton's friend and co-worker, offered to shoot the first episode with Dalton playing the role of god and Marshall playing the role of Larry. Dalton said, "Mr Deity has taken over my life in the last four years. I did't think it would go where it's gone. People love it, or at least enough people love it to keep the show going. It's great because it's definitely one of my passions. Probably there is no single issue that I think is more important than getting rid of religion. I'll just say it. I think religion has been the most detrimental thing on this planet and I think it's very easy to make a good empirical case for that. The world became such a better place in the last 400 years as we pushed it into the background and we've decided things based on science".

On the same “Meet the sceptics” podcast episode when the question of god being portrayed as “bumbling idiot” came up, Dalton said, “I am being true to the character in that book. Look at the guy, read the book. It’s not kind to him. People say I am mocking god, but I think Christians and Jews are far more mocking. It’s so much more mocking, and degrading the character that they worship”. “The guy who creates a bunch of beings, and then he repents that he ever created them, so he wipes them all out except for eight of them, and then says, “Oh I am sorry I wiped everybody out.” The characterisation of god in the bible is just ridiculous”.

On Oh No Ross and Carrie[4] podcast Dalton was asked why he always introduces himself and uses his middle name as well as his first name: Brian Keith. Dalton replied, "I had one reason why I did it. Hollywood is so nepotistic that I was hoping that somebody would think that I am the son of Brian Keith - the actor, and say, "Hey, who is this? Is this Brian Keith's son? Let's bring him in." It hasn't worked. It just didn't work at all. My sister named me after that actor - Brian Keith, cos she was the one who was praying for me to come. My mom was very old when I was born. She was forty five. And my sister had been praying for a brother or sister, not in that order. And they said ok well you name the kid, and she named me Brian Keith Dalton after the actor Brian Keith. Which I always say is fortunate considering I could have been named Jodi or Mr French."

About his belief system Dalton said the following on Oh No Ross and Carrie [5] podcast, "My belief system is very minimalistic. That's the beauty of being a skeptic. There is not a lot you have to believe. There is not a lot of baggage that comes with skepticism. But it's always on the table. Everything is always on the table. If we find out I am wrong about this I can change my mind. You can't do that in religion. There is no "oh I can be wrong about this". No. That's just not anywhere in theology."

Dalton is married to Amy Rohren who is a Lutheran. They have been able to find common ground. Even though their views on religion are opposed they agreed on one fundamental thing, as Dalton said on Oh No Ross and Carrie [6] podcast, "The closer people follow these holy books the worse off the world is". "

When asked if Dalton religious about anything he replied, "I love movies. It's probably the thing I am most passionate about. I love film. I think film is pretty much the bible of our day. I mean the bible is pretty much great stories, that tell us how we should live, that was written poorly by bronze age ignoramuses. Movies today are taking the place even of great literature. Little sad. Obviously I think people should read and get that experience. But movies are great at opening up these doors and looking at issues. I just wish it wasn't all about the money. It's hard to get anything made that's truly brilliant any more."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oh No Ross and Carrie http://www.ohnopodcast.com
  2. ^ Skepticality podcast web site http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/skepticality
  3. ^ http://www.skeptic.com Skeptic magazine web site
  4. ^ Oh No Ross and Carrie http://www.ohnopodcast.com
  5. ^ Oh No Ross and Carrie http://www.ohnopodcast.com
  6. ^ Oh No Ross and Carrie http://www.ohnopodcast.com

External links[edit]