The God Who Wasn’t There

January 11, 2009

The God Who Wasn’t There, this movie was very disappointing. Several reliable sources online gave it good reviews; Amazon, IMDB. The intention of the movie was to:
1. Compare the story of Jesus to other mythological characters
2. Discuss the violence of Christianity and how the religon scares people into belief

Richard Dawkins (a.k.a. Darwin’s Bulldog) is one of the most well respected evolutionary scientists. He recorded a commentary track for this movie. Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) made the statement: “If atheists had a pope it would be Richard Dawkins.” I can’t think of a higher quality endorsement for a movie challenging Jesus and Christianity. It’s so depressing that this movie can’t live up to its potential.

This movie reminded me of Internet conspiracy movies like Zeitgeist and Loose Change. It has the punching techno-rock music underneath some cheap looking graphics while a narrator debunks “The Greatest Story Ever Told” being ironically dead-pan. Religious belief is completely illogical, but the people who believe don’t see it that way. In their heads, they are doing what’s right, they’ve had a lifetime of training to think this way. This film maker came across completely arrogant downright bratty. I don’t mean to pander to the religious, I’m not concerned with offending them. What does upset me is the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ tone this movie takes on. It’s like the creator wasn’t mature enough to to the subject proper justice.

Atheists profess their devotion to logic and reason. It’s unfortunate that in this movie those rules were broken for shock and awe. To exemplify a few monsters that Christianity has created, the movie profiles Charles Manson, some mom that killed her baby for god, among others. This ad hominem attack makes no evidence for religion being dangerous. One could just as easily say that being a white person can lead to committing crimes (all of the provided examples were white people). It goes on to suggest that the blood and gore in The Passion of the Christ is evidence that modern day Christians get off on death and suffering. This is an example of post hoc reasoning;  just because a bloody movie has a Christian theme and does well commercially, does not in and of itself mean that Christians currently find pleasure in suffering.

I think it’s also fair to mention the pitiful camera set up. I realize that documentaries get somewhat of a free pass on camera work when in the field. However this movie had it’s camera problems during sit-down interviews. The exposure was either blown out or under exposed. The white balance seemed to be somewhat optional, some shots were extremely blue, or very red. Overall very unprofessional.

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