Michael Deacon is the Telegraph’s TV Features Editor.
He also writes comment pieces and pop music reviews.
His blog explores the joys and horrors of celebrity culture.
Born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin: great fun for atheists
I don’t know whether Professor Richard Dawkins is watching Celebrity Big Brother.
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he isn’t. If that’s the case, it’s a pity.
I think he’d rather enjoy the current series.
Although not as much as I’d enjoy seeing him as a contestant on it.
The reason for this is Stephen Baldwin.
In 2001, Baldwin, the star of The Usual Suspects, became a born-again Christian – and, as is the case with so many born-again Christians, the thing he most enjoys talking about is being a born-again Christian.
This, at any rate, is the impression he has given in his first five nights as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother, during which he has delivered, from his own little mount of jaunty self-importance, sermons that I’m sure have entertained all the show’s viewers, apart from any educated Christians among them, who must be groaning at his bumptiousness.
On Wednesday night’s programme, Baldwin demonstrated the Christian virtues of kindness and charity in the following declaration at the dining table:
“What my faith requires is that if I, my wife and my two kids were sitting on a public bus, and somebody came on with a machine-gun and pointed it at my daughter and said to her, ‘Say Jesus doesn’t exist’…
If she turned to me and said, ‘What do I do?’, I’d say, ‘What have I taught you to do?’
And she’d say, ‘Jesus absolutely exists’, and I’d see her in heaven.”
Personally I think it rather a slur upon Our Lord to suggest that He is so heartless that He’d rather a small girl be shot dead than hear her say He doesn’t exist. But I concede that I’m no theological expert.
On last night’s programme, Baldwin loudly presented his argument against evolutionary science:
“No, I don’t believe in evolution.
See, because here’s my problem.
Evolution means that something has become something from something else.
OK, so my question is, if we’re from apes, why are the apes still here?
If we evolved from apes, they would have died off.”
Sadly none of Baldwin’s housemates – among them a topless model, a cage fighter and a boy band singer – proved capable of explaining that evolutionary science does not state that we are “from” apes, if by apes he means the apes we see today, such as gorillas and chimpanzees; rather, we share with gorillas and chimpanzees a distant common ancestor, and so the reason that the apes Baldwin’s thinking of haven’t died off is that they’ve been evolving too, albeit in a different way from human beings.
But even if his housemates had tried to explain that, Baldwin would almost certainly have drowned them out using his missionary charm.
On he barked and fizzed and hooted…
BALDWIN: “Let me ask you a question. What keeps you alive every day? What’s the one thing you’d need most, right now, if I took it away?”
ALEX REID [THE CAGE FIGHTER]: “Oxygen.”
BALDWIN: “What’s it called?”
BALDWIN: “How do you know? See, somebody told you that oxygen was called oxygen, the thing you need the most. Well, guess what? Somebody told you that the words in that book [The Bible] are true, and you went, ‘I don’t believe it.’ But you’ll believe oxygen!”
I suppose what Baldwin is saying here is that Reid is woolly-headed for a) being prepared to believe in the truth of something whose existence has been proven using scientific evidence, and b) not being prepared to believe in the truth of something for which at present there is no scientific evidence.
To return to the subject of Professor Dawkins: although an atheist myself, I’m not a great fan of his.
He is, I know, formidably intelligent, and an important scientist, but I find his prose style hectoring and humourless.
Reading his bestselling book The God Delusion I felt as though he were jabbing me in the ribs throughout with a bony forefinger.
I should also add that I have nothing against Christians or Christianity. People are entitled to believe in whatever religious doctrine they choose, just as they are entitled to vote for whichever political party they choose (and just as I’m entitled to disagree with them).
But how I would love to see Professor Dawkins engage in theological debate with Baldwin.
Dear, strident, overweening, bullying, magnificently absurd Baldwin.
That he’ll go to heaven, I personally doubt.
But that he’ll go to the pantheon of all-time most amusing reality TV grotesques, I am certain.
Tags: Celebrity Big Brother, Richard Dawkins
10 Comments COMMENTS
Last time it was Jermain. This time housemates have to put up with Baldwins Creationism. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope don’t believe in Creationism.
But Baldwin does, to justify his rebirth from boose drugs and asbos.
Hope he is the first to be booted out.
But I’m not watching this time
. I still think Alex will win.
swatantra on Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:01 pm Report commentThat is priceless. So presumably “Big Brother” has become a latter day version of “The Brains Trust”? A version more fitting to current educational attainment.
Pragmatist on Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:13 pm Report commentDawkins could not engage in a theological debate with anybody because he does not understand theology.
To be fair to him, I think he regards it as an otiose subject.
More importantly, Dawkins does not understand philosophy and, most particulary shocking, the philosophy of science, otherwise he would understand what science can and cannot do.
However, thank you Michael, for bringing Mr Baldwin to my attention, for he seems a delightfully entertaining young man.
Son of Boso on Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:13 pm Report commentGod is uncreated, so not amenable to scientific investigation.
But your own writings, M.D., are suggestive of the Devil at work.
So be careful!
_ Lluoedd Duw a Satan
_ Sydd yn cwrdd yn awr
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Irish Neanderthal on Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:26 pm Report commentGosh. He used to be rather good looking. Very, in fact. One would never have guessed from the way he looks now!
afcote on Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:44 pm Report commen
tI have always thought that Big Brother is to entertainment what Fundamental Christianity is to group sex.
However, this fellow Baldwin sounds like good sport.
I hope he stays long enough for the cage fighter to get seriously fed up with him.
Stridently religious cretins of any denomination always make my teeth grind as I resist the urge to beat some sense into them.
With a bit of luck our cage fighter has a shorter fuse than me.
Oh, I nearly forgot. Perhaps Mr Baldwin could spend some time considering the consequences for the Apostle Peter of thrice denying Jesus.
He got promoted to Pope!
Phaedrus on Jan 8th, 2010 at 6:27 pm Report comment
Obviously the Enlightenment never reached that part of America then
theunbrainwashed on Jan 8th, 2010 at 6:31 pm Report commentHere is a video of Baldwin spouting his nonsense on Celebrity Big Brother, along with Richard Dawkins response
jondonnis on Jan 8th, 2010 at 6:38 pm Report commentNone of this is as amusing as all this carry-on in Ulster (’so coo-catchoo Mrs Robinson’, copyright Simon and Garfunkel), and we await with bated breath the ‘official’ DUP/Churchgoers line on the whole thing.
Maybe former leader Dr Ian Paisley might do a sermon on the matter?
Now that really could be worth waiting for……
Dr Stephen Morris on Jan 8th, 2010 at 7:39 pm Report comment
I think Stephen Baldwin’s abrasive approach in using national tv as a platform to preach about his beliefs in Jesus Christ, (a man many who many in Britain have not seen or vaguely remember) is I have to say absolutely and completely ingenious.
This new generation of Britain’s youth and tv-junkies need to hear the gospel of Jesus directly, without suger-coating…commendation to Stephen Baldwin for being a light to those in darkness.
greaterwise on Jan 8th, 2010 at 10:19 pm Report comment
As one who refuses to watch Big Brother I will withold judgement on Stephen Baldwin.
Dr Stephen Morris on the other hand is clearly someone revelling in a personal tragedy. Irrespective of one’s views on those involved such an attitude indicates that he is beneath contempt.
New Rules on Jan 8th, 2010 at 10:37 pm Report comment
Yet another example of how an atheist defers to human intellect every single time to prove that there is no God.
“Oh you believe in Jesus Christ?
Wow, you must be stupid. Let’s all point and laugh at you.”
This attitude only adds further support to the Gospel.
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Where is the wise man?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom …
See Moreof the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” – I Corinthians 1:18-21
radjad on Jan 8th, 2010 at 11:18 pm Report commentRadjad – a very eloquent response. Saying it better than I ever could. Thanks.
logz on Jan 8th, 2010 at 11:36 pm Report commentI’d say, ‘What have I taught you to do?’
Thats the trouble with religious nutters, they force their beliefs on you, even to the point of you losing your life in the name of their religion.
sshorts on Jan 9th, 2010 at 1:01 am Report commentWhat puerile nonsense!
“Personally I think it rather a slur upon Our Lord to suggest that He is so heartless that He’d rather a small girl be shot dead than hear her say He doesn’t exist. But I concede that I’m no theological expert.”
Nor, it would seem, an expert in any field.
To any reasonable person, the fact that this mythical “Lord” so patently oversees much worse obscenities than that described is simply evidence of his non-existence. Worse still is that those with blind faith believe it to be “his will” and to “have purpose” – the ultimate in obscenity.
“BALDWIN: “How do you know? See, somebody told you that oxygen was called oxygen, the thing you need the most. Well, guess what? Somebody told you that the words in that book [The Bible] are true, and you went, ‘I don’t believe it.’ But you’ll believe oxygen!”
“I suppose what Baldwin is saying here is that Reid is woolly-headed for a) being prepared to believe in the truth of something whose existence has been proven using scientific evidence, and b) not being prepared to believe in the truth of something for which at present there is no scientific evidence.”
It’s pretty clear that if Reid can’t shoot that down in flames, all three – Reid, Baldwin and Deacon – are equally woolly-headed.
Stick to your day job, mate, pop-music seems to be your forte.
Auntie Podes on Jan 9th, 2010 at 3:06 am Report commentNew Rules – ‘beneath contempt’, eh? What’s ‘beneath contempt’ is the sort of naive twit (sorry for the typo there) who believes that ‘personal tragedy’ can excuse ignoring all of the rules (new, old whatever) which set-out how elected representatives – of which Mrs Robinson is one – should declare their financial interests. New Rules? Sounds like ‘New Labour’ – I treat both with complete disgust.
Dr Stephen Morris on Jan 9th, 2010 at 9:34 am Report commentNew Rules: “someone revelling in a personal tragedy”
What tragedy? Someone’s upset about being found out so they run and hide in luxury chalet near Chamonix?
Don’t be so naïve as to believe that this is anything but a carefully staged exercise in damage control.
Chris on Jan 9th, 2010 at 11:05 am Report comment@greaterwise: ‘ This new generation of Britain’s youth and tv-junkies need to hear the gospel of Jesus directly’
Give the man a cigar: the day Jesus appears in front of me and explains his gospel is the day I believe it. Until then it’s just another myth.
stoat101 on Jan 9th, 2010 at 12:06 pm Report commentIs this idiot really saying that he would sacrifice his daughter to his god – but only if someone else does it for him? Obviously he doesn’t have enough belief to do it himself!
davep on Jan 9th, 2010 at 2:29 pm Report commentSheeeeeiiiiiitttteeee! Mrs Robinson was getting serviced by a taig!
turinst on Jan 9th, 2010 at 3:37 pm Report commentChris – an attempted suicide and a collapsing marriage – I call that a personal tragedy. What do you call it?
New Rules on Jan 9th, 2010 at 4:36 pm Report commentI think both atheists and Christians share one thing in common- they’re both believers. Only that they preside on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Christians believe that somebody created the Earth and everything in it, atheists on the other hand believe that nobody did. I doubt whether Charles Darwin proposed his theory as an alternative to creationism.
If that was his intention, then he would have proposed the scientific equivalent of Genesis: that is, how did it all start? Pointedly, he did not. It was then left to fundamentalist Darwinists to plug this gaping hole in Darwin’s theory.
Step forward Big Bang, a theory even more audacious than Genesis. Indeed it takes a man or woman of incredible faith to believe that a random process could result in a machine as complicated and ordered as a human being.
That is before adding all the other creatures [living or not] that make up the universe.
The statistical chance of one instance of human being –or ape for that matter- being created through a random process are in the order of a quintillion to one.
In short, the same chance that the Statue of Liberty could be hit by lightning twice in two minutes.
If you do not believe what I have just said, try disassembling your simple mobile phone, dump all the components in a mental cage, and put your toolbox in there as well.
Then randomly move all the components at lightning speed and repeatedly check. If that phone is miraculous re-assembled call me and I will agree with the Big Bang.
The bottom line: Big Bang is no science because nobody can prove it. For the avoidance of doubt anything that cannot be validated by experiment cannot be said to have a scientific basis. At the best it is a theory, an educated way of referring to a belief. If you ask me which group I belong to, it is that group which believes that every ordered, predictive and orderly thing has to be created in a premeditated way by somebody intentionally intending to do just that. Imagine the proud iPhone believing that it just fell from the blue sky! It won’t change the reality though, and that is Steve Job created it.
blessingmu on Jan 9th, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Report commentNew Rules – ‘personal tragedy’ my posterior.
I’ll tell you what I call it – adultery and failure of an elected representative to declare financial interests (at the very least). The depression matter seems to have a lot more to do with getting found out than anything else.
Now, if this sordid scandal in any way moves Northern Ireland further back towards the abyss, that will indeed be a true tragedy. IMHO that overrides all else here.
Dr Stephen Morris on Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:00 am Report comment@ radjad on Jan 8th, 2010 at 11:18 pm.
Quote: “This attitude only adds further support to the Gospel.”
Could you explain how, please?
AND:- QUOTE: ““I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
I suppose you dwell on those words when visiting a doctor – it must be worrying for you.
Auntie Podes on Jan 10th, 2010 at 10:00 am Report comment“Dawkins could not engage in a theological debate with anybody because he does not understand theology.” Son of Boso.
Nobody understand theology, because it’s all bollocks. Conjecture about conjecture. Your imagination running riot about the imaginary cosmic fairy versus mine.
Theology – looking at midnight in a coal cellar for a black cat that isn’t there.
CBB and the religious fruitloop Baldwin may be fun for atheists, but not nearly as much as reading the witterings of Damian Thompson, George Pitcher and that pompous self-important pratt Gerald Warner!
And if only it was Stephen Green in the BB House rather than Stephen Baldwin! I’d also like that nutjob Iris Robinson in there too
James on Jan 10th, 2010 at 6:59 pm
why is it we can say all kinds of rubbish against jesus christ and the god of the bible, but its only’wrong’ to insult mohammed and allah. whats the betting no comments would be taken if a born again muslim startyed saying stuff on a reality tv prog? if the roumers are true, perhaps ronnie osullivan is available?
peter370 on Jan 11th, 2010 at 12:02 am Report commentRichard Dawkin is “humourless”? Hardly. Take a look at his story, “The Great Bus Mystery,” in the book *The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas.* It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read!
lindarosa on Jan 11th, 2010 at 9:37 pm
I must admit…After watching him on celebrity BB, I’ve got no respect for him. At all. His beliefs are entirely wrong, and his arguments AGAINST evolution (the most widely scientifically and logically supported explanation for the origin of life there is) are pathetic.
He makes the first mistake of saying we evolved “from” apes…SADLY, and greatly mistaken, showing that he clearly have zero knowledge of evolutionary science and the world around him, and lives in a fantasy world created by the illusion of a ‘better’ life away from his drug-addicted past.
Preachers are THE most delusional “people” on the planet, far moreso than the likes of Hitler, Stalin etc.
Wake up, realise reality; that goes for every other religious person on the planet – get an education, and the cliche “Get Real” fits perfectly. And..another thing for those who think Atheism is a ‘belief’; again, sadly mistaken.
Atheists do not base their knowledge or statements on a faith lacking evidence, we base it on reliable scientific facts backed up with mounds upon mounds of evidence and proofs.
And a final thing for those who say “evolution is JUST a THEORY” – YES, it is a theory, and in your delusional clouded heads you have it imprinted that the word theory means “not entirely true, or real, or just another evidence-lacking explanation” – WRONG AGAIN.
Most of the developed world’s technology relies on physical, chemical and biological theories to work, and clearly, THEY DO WORK.
So when the ‘religious’ try and make these silly, illogical, irrational arguments, ignore them – they are uneducated, ignorant idiots.
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