God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2, A Matter of Faith … Christians should get out of the “drama about the debate between Creationism and Evolutionism” movie-making business.
It’s been awhile since the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye and I keep on wondering when they’re going to dramatize that into it’s own movie – a David and Goliath story where the little creationist throws a stone at the head of the big bad evolutionist atheist, cuts off his head with his own sword, and then the army of creationists shout “In the name of creation!” as they charge upon the army of bewildered evolutionists and destroy every last one of them. Action, adventure, underdog story, and a big battle scene – what more could a believer want?
Let’s not be afraid of these powerful little worlds: “I don’t know” and “let’s find out.” They go hand-in-hand. When Christians pick and choose which arguments to make in their movies – they are setting up a straw man fallacy where they paint whatever picture they want of Atheism, Islam, etc. and then proceed to tear it down with their iron-clad arguments designed just to have that effect.
The sad truth is, Americans don’t always have a Muslim friend to ask, “Hey, is this portrayal of a family accurate?” Or an atheist friend on speed dial to ask: “How would you have responded to their argument?” Most of us are not well-read on the subject matter even when they find a way to rephrase scholarly level arguments into more commonly understood language. So that’s why the movies side-step the facts with feelings.
Facts are dreadfully uncomfortable and extremely inconvenient. Christians have been trying their best to explain dinosaurs for decades. Our technology has given us a whole new range of facts to consider – facts that the Bible doesn’t prepare us to hear. Because there’s no answer for that, then relying on emotions is the next best thing. After all, it wasn’t the facts that clearly won over the atheist professor who hated God in God’s Not Dead, it was God’s mercy in not having be instantly killed so that moments before he died he could repent of his bitterness about the death of his mother and go to heaven.
What goes unsaid in these movies is that there is a healthy amount of fear. Fear about using the facts without emotion, fear about saying “I don’t know” and appearing foolish for not knowing, fear about saying “let’s find out” and realizing that the facts say something other than that’s expected.
Honestly, I don’t see how such a formula is going to win people over to the cause of Christ when it is always a David and Goliath scenario. People are pretty smart these days and turning a debate from what philosophers say about God to why the opponent hates God doesn’t add to the drama. It takes away from those precious facts one worked so very long to collect. If they’re so inconvenient, let’s do away with them altogether and classify the dialogue:
Poisoning the Well, Straw man Fallacy, Appeal to Emotion, Ad hominim Attack, Non-sequitor, Argument from Ignorance, Argument from Silence, Argument from Absurdity, Irrelevant, Wishful Thinking, Thought-terminating cliché, red herring, Invincible Ignorance, etc.
When the Creationist resorts to just as many terrible leaps as logic as their opponent in order to win the debate – they lose everyone in the audience who is smart enough to see through that sort of tactic. If Christians want to keep on making these kinds of movies – they’re going to find a way to incorporate the facts without poisoning the well or setting up straw man opponents. They need to learn to not be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Can they? Let’s find out.