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Klavan On The Culture

Does the Triumph of Faith Films Matter?

April 21st, 2014 - 12:29 pm
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“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” So wrote the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis.

By the same token, I can’t imagine God’s glory is increased any when we make movies about him, and so I don’t suppose the Lord is much interested in the latest box office news out of Hollywood. Nonetheless, that news is good for faith-based films. Not long after the indie film God’s Not Dead was a “surprise hit,” (i.e., a hit anyone outside of New York or L.A. could’ve seen coming a mile off), Heaven Is for Real earned more than twice its $12 million production budget on its opening Easter weekend and left the big budget Johnny Depp vehicle Transcendence in the dust. And there were two other recent Hollywood victories for Bible believers as well. 1) The opening weekend success of Noah followed by 2) the film’s huge drop into near oblivion when filmgoers realized the story was not told along biblical lines.

My feelings about this are not complicated. I like it. I’m glad there are movies being made about faith and I’m glad people like them and go to see them. Since a huge majority of us have some kind of belief in something, I don’t see why that part of the human experience should be edited out of the arts simply because it threatens the teeny-tiny-minded worldview of certain coastal reviewers. (The unsupported insinuation that concludes the New York Times review of Heaven is simply despicable.)

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Top Rated Comments   
The Narnia movies were a good example of how to make faith-related movies.
First, start with a good movie.
From what I saw, which was only a little, the Golden Compass movie had big names and big visuals but not much behind it. Now of course it was an anti-religious movie but a good movie could carry that message.
Tolkien considered "Lord of the Rings" a Christian allegory. The LOTR series was quite good. "The Hobbit" was meant to be a children's story and I'm sorry to say that Jackson has done horrible things to it, almost to the point of my not watching. "The Hobbit" is also a spiritual story and Jackson's version has done that great harm.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know what came over me, but I went to see God's Not Dead, even though I knew it would be at least as lame as it was. Some things about this movie are so well done that it's positively frustrating the rest of it is, as George Haberberger said, heavy-handed and pat. Here's who and what I thought was excellent.

1) Shane Harper in the role of Josh Weaton, the college student who can't, in good conscience, write "God is dead" and sign his name to it. Harper's understated performance even conveys the impression that his character's combination of courage, intelligence and humility is the result of a supernatural influence.

2) The blonde who plays Josh Weaton's fair weather girlfriend does an outstanding job of showing a young woman who appears to be lighthearted, kind and cute and who, on a hidden level, is sharp, pragmatic, an idolizer of ambition, security, and the wisdom of this world. Her character is all of us, and we're not exactly comfortable watching her.

3) There is a very real scene in which a woman afflicted with dementia has an eerie moment of acuity immediately after her son finishes thinking out loud in her presence. (I've been a caregiver a long time. I've witnessed these moments of receptiveness and lucidity in people who are usually no longer able to remember simple words, or how to dress or wash themselves, people who can't any longer recognize close relatives. C.S.Lewis is right. The human mind is sort of like a radio. Trust me. This scene is true to life.)

4) The movie, bad as it is, is worth watching just for the scene in the classroom in which Josh compares the Big Bang theory to the words from Genesis : "Let there be light.". I don't know how anyone can watch this and avoid the suspicion that the Hebrew story of creation came to the mind of its writer from the mind of God.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
God's Not Dead would never have been made in virtually any other country. Herr Reichsfuhrer Obama and his Gauleiters may not like it but I did. I don't care for movie theatres but I made an exception here and went to support the film. Glad I did.

I love this movie even more for the people it irritates like the lightweights at Rotten Tomatoes who gave a 13% approval rating even though the audiences on that website have it over 80%.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Andrew, agree, but please, no support here for such truly insipid TV series like "The Bible". I could barely watch 20 min of it. Childish tripe.

If this is the sort of media that's supposed to encourage faith anybody with half a brain would run away howling in laughter, and rightfully so.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had a discussion recently with coworker who is an “avowed atheist.” (Oxymoron? BID) He asked how I could “wrap my mind around God?” I told him it wasn’t your mind that wraps around Him, it’s your spirit!
Then I asked the question that became, naturally, the “discussion terminator.” My query: “How can it boggle your mind about a Supreme Being, but you can readily, and with no proof, accept the ‘Big Bang Theory’?”
We have, unfortunately, relegated our conversations to work matters, henceforth.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I were to put all the parts necessary for a Swiss Watch (the old movement type) in a glass jar, how long would I have to shake the jar for the pieces to assemble themselves into a working watch?

Because that is Infinitely more simple to accomplish than a single Amino Acid chain.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy ghostbuster
I have always found my mind and my spirit to be wrapped together; to wrap one around something, I have to wrap the other also.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can reconcile the big bang AND a creator as well as the theory of evolution AND a creator.

Some of the obstacles we set up for ourselves in this discussion strike me as highly artificial.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quite right. I don't accept evolution because I refuse to be forced to believe it. I have yet to see anything that looks like evidence, though Gould's monster book at least tried to rearrange the theory to fit the facts, so I give him due credit, though I remain unconvinced. However I have no religious objections to evolution or the age of the Earth being longer than 6,000 years. Time as we know it can't exist, so I don't think we should try to command God to fit into our finite understanding. And I reckon the Big Bang Theory is possibly the best (scientific) argument for the existence of God ever; one moment there is nothing, and then everything, by which I mean EVERYTHING, comes into existence and expands outward with the same laws and functions working throughout! Something like 2,000 stars come into existence every second, and they all follow the same life pattern that we've observed all around us, spark into fusion, grow to a particular size, shrink back down. Sometimes they explode too, but in the main they all follow a set lifecycle. And this is somehow evidence God doesn't exist?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy RN
I agree that no one should be forced to believe natural-selection evolution (often called Darwinian), ID with evolution, nor creationism. Thinking people should read what they can on the ideas and form their own conclusions.
I'll ask you: have you read Darwin's companion works, Origin of Species and Descent of Man? There are problems with Darwin's logic and there are gaps in his evidence. Some of those issues have been addressed in further work and some remain. The core of the concept remains valid -- there is considerable evidence for evolution and the concepts have been used to successfully plan breeding programs for plants, animals, and even microbes.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...the carefully constructed intellectual assumption of atheism"

A major tactic is the power of the assertion. Most left wing talking points depend upon the simple assertion, coupled with many people's discomfort in calling out a liar (at least without hearing out the liar).

This is part of he GOP's messaging train wreck. They also quail in the face of the bald assertion. For the GOP to state that "Obama failed PoySci 101" would require proof that Obama did, in fact, fail PolySci 101. They would fail to see such an assertion as a wedge to open Obama's transcripts for public perusal. That would be a bridge too far.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I saw previews of God is Not Dead & an interview of the guy who plays the teacher, but will avoid any movie with human beings battling out this topic in wordplay.

I saw Son of God, was very moved & thought it far better than Mel Gibson's Passion.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
For a non biblical scholar like myself, Son of God gave meat and bones (& practical as opposed to obscure or mystical ) meaning to oft repeated aphorisms like...

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Now every time I feel like bashing someone (with the exception of Obama, of course :) ) I think about that.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Narnia movies were a good example of how to make faith-related movies.
First, start with a good movie.
From what I saw, which was only a little, the Golden Compass movie had big names and big visuals but not much behind it. Now of course it was an anti-religious movie but a good movie could carry that message.
Tolkien considered "Lord of the Rings" a Christian allegory. The LOTR series was quite good. "The Hobbit" was meant to be a children's story and I'm sorry to say that Jackson has done horrible things to it, almost to the point of my not watching. "The Hobbit" is also a spiritual story and Jackson's version has done that great harm.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I saw the latest Hobbit in 3D, but was bored almost to the point of tears.

Like Star Wars movies, a good thing gets ruined over time.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very well said. Culture matters. The Bible declares it. Proverbs 29 spells it out rather directly

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan. . . By justice a king gives stability to the land, but one who exacts gifts ruins it. . . .A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge . . .Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath . . .If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked etc.

The words above are prohibited by law from being read with an effect in our public school. They have been mocked in movies who think Larry Flynt is a hero and the seduction of teenaged boys is good sport.

Hopefully, the faith films are a sign of cultural change.

18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Does the Triumph of Faith Films Matter?"
Yes.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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