Watching a Lousy Movie
Last week, I watched the video The God Who Wasn't There. A family in our church had asked me to watch it, and--since I've been concerned for quite some time with helping young people engage the issues at hand-- I took the time to do it.
The following is what I recently shared with our church when discussing Romans 1:16:
"It was a movie designed to destroy the viewer's faith in or regard for Christianity. As I watched it, I found myself laughing at the totally empty and dishonest attacks that were dressed up as "arguments" against God and Christ. But as the video continued, I found myself feeling very sorry for the producer of the film. His misguided method of thought led him to a personal denial of Christ.
He made the movie to make Christians feel ashamed of the gospel--like he was. But all he could muster was a propagandistic hit-piece made of masterful accusations and faulty associations.
Logically, his movie skipped and popped like a scratched record from the old days.
In 1993 Alister McGrath published a book entitled Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths. He said:
"The idea that Christianity has become obsolete has itself become obsolete... The person who mechanically repeats the parrot cries of earlier generations---[such as] 'science has disproved Christianity'.... has become stranded in a time warp.... There has been a major shift of ideas.... It is a shift in favor of faith." (Intellectuals, p. 66.)
That's exactly how I felt when I watched this movie. It mechanically and mindlessly parroted the cries of those needlessly skeptical about Christ..
Throughout history, unbelievers have relentlessly attacked the gospel. But all the attacks have fallen away like straw. Christ still stands above the ages of men and calls us not to be ashamed of Him or His words.
Sometimes a skeptic will ask, "What scientific proof do you have to show that Christianity is true?"
May I give you one way to answer that question? Because people like this film-maker sometimes think they've asked you the "nuclear-powered" question. They think you're backed in a corner with nowhere to go. Well...
When they ask you their question, you need to make them clarify what they're saying. Just ask your own question by saying: "Well what kind of science are you talking about?
The Science of Physics? Because Christianity is not something you can burn in a beaker any more than you can burn democracy or the number 7 in a blue flame in a laboratory.
Or Maybe You're More Interested in the Biological Approach: But Christianity is not something you can dissect like a frog or a fetal pig in your high school lab class any more than you can dissect the history of Homer or Alexander the Great with scalpel and tweezers.
Are You Referring to the Study of History? Of course there is ample historical evidence for the life of Christ, his teachings, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. But I need to know what kind of history you want to talk about. Do you want to talk about textual history or archeology?
Or do you want to move on to another field altogether like Textual Criticism?
We could dig into some side issues: Like believing the existence of God in general. On this issue, we could discuss cosmology; we could discuss cytology; and we could discuss genetics.
But maybe you're more interested in tackling the issues of philosophy: Do you want to talk about the Enlightenment and its rationalism? Or how about a David Hume-like empiricism that collapses into complete skepticism? Or are you interested in the study of existentialism and its underlying despair? Maybe you have more classical interests in mind. If so, we could address the problem of the One and the Many...
So... What I need from you is an honest question that doesn't play games with different categories and approaches to knowledge so that we can we can sit down and have rational discussion."
Now, I am not setting myself up as being thoroughly conversant in all the issues I just raised, but there are answers and many lines of discussion in them. It just takes a little study. There's a lot of material out there along these lines.
You see, maybe we should put the spotlight on our skeptical friend and ask, "Are you ever skeptical about your skepticism? How can you claim to know anything if the thoughts of your brain are nothing but the results of mindless matter in motion? If you don't have a rational mind that corresponds to a rational universe, how can you make any claims to knowledge at all?"
The fact is, people like the producers of this film are not honest in asking their questions. They're trying to move you onto the playing field of their own skeptical perspective without having to answer for the follies of their own philosophy."
I do feel for people that honestly struggle. I know what it is like to sift through issues myself. And maybe someone could have helped this film-maker when he was struggling. (Although it doesn't sound like there was much help available--and maybe it wouldn't have been effective since people often construct arguments around a settled position against God.)
On one hand, I believe we can use polemics against the products of people attempting to destroy the faith of our young folks. On the other hand, a movie like this can be a benefit because it raises issues exposing where the church and Christian educators often fail in teaching just what Christianity is and why we believe it.
There is more that could be said about this video.
Logically, it was a train-wreck, but I'm glad I watched it.
I'll be more prepared to answer some of the questions it raises.