The Reason Project’s 2011 Video Contest February 20, 2011

The Reason Project’s 2011 Video Contest

Sam Harris‘ The Reason Project is having its annual video contest — first prize gets $10,000. Check out the videos and vote for your favorite. Voting ends on February 21st.

My money’s on “The New Tithe” by Tony Wann & Justin Wilson:

Taxing the churches: There’s an idea that needs to spread.

Side note: The Reason Project has $15,000 available as prize money for this contest. Is there really no better use for this cash? Does anyone even remember last year’s winner? Is someone not going to enter the contest if the prize money was cut in half?

Surely there are better ways for Harris & Co. to make an impact in the battle for Reason than by using all that money for this contest…

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  • Anansi

    At the very least, any revenues from the sale of goods or services should be taxed the same as their non-religious competitors.

    My Mennonite ancestors would shake their heads at the idea of having a cash register in a church. Isn’t there some anecdote in the bible about Jesus getting pissed off about merchandising taking place in the temple?

  • Grimalkin

    @Anansi – It’s that hypocrisy that really gets me.

    In any case, you Americans are insane. Here in Canada, a church has to abide by the same regulations as any other registered charity. They still have to file their tax returns, they still have to show what they’re using their income for, and they still get their status revoked if they break the rules.

  • Simon

    Surely there are better ways for Harris & Co. to make an impact in the battle for Reason than by using all that money for this contest…

    Your suggestions?

  • Luther

    You don’t need a church to give.

    What a great bumper sticker or billboard. Accompany it with a picture of a famous atheist philanthropist, Pat Tillman, or Foundation Beyond Belief.

  • Cheryl

    Why is yoga in the list of giving alternatives to benefit the community? It did not fit in with all the other giving options. A better choice would have been a community based health and exercise program rather than singling out a practice that some consider a religion.

  • ACN

    Surely there are better ways for Harris & Co. to make an impact in the battle for Reason than by using all that money for this contest…

    There are, and stop calling me shirley.

    Sorry I had to run with that one 🙂

  • Myrmidon

    Giving the $15,000 to a charity/foundation of the winner’s choice would make sense.

  • In the big scheme of things $15,000 is not a lot of money, especially when compared to what even tiny churches pull down annually. I’m sure The Reason Project has a whole lot more than a measly $15,000 going towards worthy projects and causes.
    There’s nothing inherently wrong or evil for people to make money making a video. $15,000 isn’t going to make or break the cause of secularism. There will always be a need for money and volunteers, etc., no matter how much money is donated.
    $15,000 given to a charity or atheist group isn’t going to eliminate poverty or wipe out religious ignorance.
    This contest is a way of producing effective and entertaining propaganda for secularism. That’s a good thing and it’s needed.

  • mal99

    Last year’s winner was Evid3nc3, with his video “The values we all stand for”. HAH! :O
    But I think he’s not allowed to enter again this year or something… which makes me sad, because everything he does is great. I really think he should be featured on this site or something, his Deconversion series is AMAZING!
    And if the money from that contest goes to supporting videos like those, I think it’s a good use.
    Also, I voted for “The New Tithe” too when I heard about this! 😀
    Even though I was a bit annoyed that it featured yoga…

  • slingshot2hell

    I liked Think best myself. Beautiful!

  • I remember last year’s winner. He had a really good video. There were a few really good videos submitted this year that surprisingly didn’t make it into the finals. You can watch some of them here.
    I voted for the “The New Tithe” too.

  • Kimpatsu

    The Reason Project is having it’s annual video contest

    Hemant! Apostrophe!

  • Drew M.

    I voted for The Highpants Resistance (The Tutor)!

    Several times. 😉

  • I like the quote on the front of the Youtube Video. “The world is my country…” I hate it when people get protectionist or fearful of immigrants or foreign people. Ok, so you’re American, what does that have to do with me liking you or buying your car over another nations? Just because you’re American doesn’t mean we share the same values, the people in other countries are just as much people as you are.

  • Revyloution

    The video winner from last year was Evid3nc3. His videos were amazing, and worth at least $15k

    Just an anecdotal note: Over on Reddit/atheism, the most cited video for ‘this is what made me give up religion’ has to be his. Ive seen his videos mentioned more than any other series on Youtube.

    A big prize can bring a flood of new videos to Youtube, which is one of the best deconversion grounds on the web. I love Thunderfoots catch phrase “The internet is where religions go to die.”

  • I think the large prize results in a higher quality video. It’s obvious that substantial time was put into all of the entries.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    Your suggestions?

    I have to agree with Simon. Who’s to say that other ways to spend the money are better ways? Harris has picked his recipient, and since it’s his foundation, it’s his call to make.

    People who think there are better ways to spend the money can throw their support behind different foundations. Let the market sort out the better and the worse. Those that garner the most support are worthwhile causes, and those that can garner little support are not as worthwhile. Just like everything else in life.

    Besides, $15,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what the Richard Dawkins Foundation and other groups put up to cover the personal security detail of a single individual (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). I think she should have protection, but protecting her does not seem to ‘make an impact in the battle for Reason’ any more than Vimeo video contests would.

  • Brian Macker

    “Is there really no better use for this cash?”

    I very much doubt that you use this criteria (in the spirit you’ve expressed it) for your personal expenditures. Obviously in another spirit they’ve made an assessment and decided that it was the best use.

  • I should add that Harris actually talks about the “best use for funds” argument in his book, The Moral Landscape.” When you go to the movies and spend $10 to $15 is there no better use for that money? Wouldn’t that money be better used feeding the poor? There are always better uses, but this is the use he has chosen. That is no different than when you chose to spend smaller amounts of money on seemingly frivolous thing. We all do it!

  • crescentdave

    New Age Medic. It’s funny and makes it’s point without having to go pedantic, deep or (gasp) preachy.

  • Yes, I remember Evidence’s video from last year (I had been watching his videos before then), it was a well deserved win.

    The videos are supposed to show the importance of and promote independent critical thinking. The only one that did that IMO is the ‘Think’ animation (can’t remember the real name of the vid, and they’ve been pulled for now as the votes get tallied). The others just poked fun at insipid bible passages or religious thoughts and culture.

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