It’s Debatable

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.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Debatable

  1. They made a sequel to “God’s Not Dead”??? :-/ Please tell me this isn’t so! I really did not enjoy the first movie because it perpetuates the idea that most atheists are non-believers because they are mad at God over some tragedy. While it is true that some people may be shaking their fist in anger toward God the truth is atheists don’t even believe in a god! They simply…just DON’T BELIEVE. I agree that if Christians had more atheist and Muslim friends to ask how they feel about how these groups were portrayed in this and other Christian movies they’d see that these stereotypes are often wrong. Unfortunately, many Christians are very cliquish and surround themselves with their “safe” Christian bubble.

    I think you are on to something here about the David and Goliath scenario. While it is true that many Christians are being persecuted for their faith around the world (with actual beatings, torture, rights stripped away, etc.) in the Western world I think most non-Christians are rolling their eyes about the so-called “persecution” that Christians whine about. It sets up a WE (Christians) versus THEM (non-Christians) mentality which I’d think would actually be incredibly detrimental for the sake of the Gospel. There is nothing in the Bible that says Christians are supposed to set up a theocracy and I think many Christians are socially and politically trying to force their beliefs and morals on others. That is incredibly offensive to non-Christians.

    Now, I do know from first hand experience that many academics/professors ARE hostile to Christianity. Most of my professors in college believed if you were a Christian you were an idiot. So I did see some of that happening. There is a TON of ego involved in academics. Fortunately in this country it’s still the case that if you are discriminated for your religious beliefs you still have the law on your side. I sincerely doubt a professor could get away with flunking a kid because he refused to write “God’s not dead” on a sheet of paper. Seriously. It’s a bit ridiculous.

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    • It looks like they have planned to make a sequel, however, one of their producers recently passed away, so it’s all a little up in the air at the moment. It did have a planned Spring 2016 release. It turns out that GND had a 2 Million budget and it made them 62 Million dollars worldwide – so I can’t see how they wouldn’t create a sequel for it.

      I was just reading about how in light of the Duggar Family and Village Church scandals that one Christian Republican leader believes that Christianity is under attack from the extreme left and it just goes to show how much people don’t like us – that’s flawed logic. The left had nothing to do with the root of both issues: that the teaching that men are more valued than women means that men must be protected from the consequences of their actions and that women and children must be blamed for being the victim as if they somehow caused it.

      I never had the opportunity to go to college, but as I understand it, it’s all about getting you to think critically (as in “why?”) – basically undoing 18 years worth of “the answer is x” So it does the same thing to religion. Some are so used to canned pre-packed answers about Christianity, creation, philosophy, etc. that college is a wake-up call. I’ve had so many issues with Churches, that my critical thinking lessons began early and I realized that my faith isn’t rooted in this denomination or that interpretation. So I think I’d make it through just fine. But some of the kids in some of the churches I’ve visited have had barely any teaching at all and I don’t think that youth group services spent playing basketball will prepare them for the tough questions once they make it to college.

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      • Critical thinking is ALWAYS a good thing, in my opinion. It doesn’t take college to learn that, but sometimes the college environment challenges perspectives so people can think outside the box. Sounds like you already had that skill. Thanks for the reply! Very interesting.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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