A commenter mentioned a movie known as "Zeitgeist" to me, and says it is causing him some troubles.
First off, I commend J for exposing himself to challenges from alternative worldviews. Many is the time I've found myself facing off against a position that is different from my own and had to think deeply through it, to get to the other side. Sometimes it has taken months, and in a couple of cases almost a year. In one of those cases, the challenger won the battle for my heart and mind, and so I switched (and haven't regretted it). In the other, the challenger was shown to be an empty suit, so I didn't switch (and haven't regretted it). But this is the way to learn - expose yourself to hard stuff, occasionally or frequently the best the other side has to offer, and then figure out and/or find its worth by testing it.
On the other hand, "Zeitgeist" is hardly the best the other side has to offer, but it IS something alot of people don't have experience dealing with. Plus, it has the fact that it contains fairly well-produced visual and audio effects (with cool background music) going for it, and that can serve to cause an unconscious bolstering of the case in the mind of the viewer. Such is the power of media.
Anyway, I first watched 31 minutes of the film and noted some of my thoughts. I was going to do more, but I assembled so much material to comment on in the 1st 31, I figured watching the rest would be a total waste of my time. Later I did some selective websearching to find what others have said. Their links will follow my review, in part 2, due out Thursday.
I have to admit it - I found myself laughing out loud more than 5 times in the first 31 minutes, so poor were the arguments and so obvious the naked assertions. My favorite was their habit of drawing parallels between "the sun of God" and "the son of God" in an attempt to make their pitiful case that Jesus was a sun god. Are they aware that "sun" and "son" are homophones in English only? Are the words for "sun" and "son" in NT Greek, OT Hebrew, OT LXX Greek, New Testament-era Aramaic, or heck, even Latin and old French (since these guys are all about the Dan Brown-type stuff), homophones? This is either wholly disingenuous or pitifully underthought.
And of course, never stated but pervasive is the naturalistic worldview, which is grossly logically untenable and has undergone numerous merciless beatings on this blog alone. So that's a huge initial problem, and it leads to heavy bias against the supernatural. Of how much respect is such bias worthy?
In case J is unfamiliar with what I consider to be the most powerful argument in favor of the Christian worldview, I pause here to recommend these to J's reading.
Anyway, here goes:
-Minute 9-10:45 - interesting speech by an unidentified someone.
"We've been lied to by every institution" - presumably, I'm just sure he means every institution except the one he represents. Do such overgeneralisations help anyone?
"The same ones who gave you your government...your int'l banking cartels..." Please. The early believers in Jesus who died horrible deaths for their claim that their obscure Jewish rabbi teacher, who had died in disgrace in a remote part of the world had come back to life, thus proving His claim to be God in the flesh, gave us the government and banking cartels? This is the stuff of wild-eyed Dan Brown imaginations.
"All they care about is what they have always cared about...controlling the whole...world" I can't speak for everyone else, but I know *I'm* not under any group of people's control as far as my conscience and beliefs go. So the dumb overgeneralisations commence, and so early on!
Minute 12 - an excerpt from George Carlin(?), yet more thoughtless overgeneralisations. But that's Carlin's stock and trade, one of his main tools - irreverent hyperbole for comedic effect. That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't do anything to boost my confidence that this is meant to be a serious movie.
"Religion" has convinced people there's an invisible man? Which religion? Does Carlin realise that Mormonism (polytheistic), Hinduism (polytheistic), paganism (polytheistic), and Buddhism (atheistic) are also "religions"? Which "invisible man"? Certainly not Christianity - we believe that God (specifically, Jesus Christ) has made Himself visible numerous times throughout human history - in the Garden, the numerous theophanies in the OT, the appearances of 'the angel of the Lord', etc.
"If you do any of these 10 things, you go to Hell." I don't know about anyone else (wait, yes I do), but I've broken all 10 Commandments. Hundreds, if not tens of thousands of times. Yet I'm not headed for Hell. Why is that? One wonders whether Carlin or the Zeitguys know.
"...but He loves you" - Carlin apparently feels the need to misrepresent the Christian faith in extreme ways. His description of Hell may or may not be accurate, but this kind of blurb/punchline assumes, among numerous other things, the innocence and blamelessness of human beings in the matter of divine justice. Of course God is to blame! How could it be that I'd be responsible for my own actions? It's just stock liberal junk.
"God needs money..." No doubt Carlin is playing on the numerous examples of pastors and religious leaders prying money out of their followers by making power plays from their pulpits and altars. True enough - that exists. But to give no credit to the many other examples of Christian pastors and missionaries, for example, who labor faithfully for little or no pay or even gratitude is just unbalanced and unfair. And no serious Christian (yes, we exclude the Word of Faith-ers like Benny Hinn) is claiming, nor does the Bible claim, that God "needs" money; far from it.
Neither is any mention made of these other pagan religions' and their clergies' thirst for money. Nor how the modern liberal establishment craves money and power as well. Money is a temptation for EVERYone. But it doesn't do Zeitgeist any good to recall those inconvenient facts.
It occurs to me, by the way, that much of this material is answered in the Paul Manata series of reviews of Hitchens' "god is not Great" book, found on the Narrow Mind radio show. I recommend it, if you're in the mood for a good butt-whipping.
More in part 2, coming Thursday.