“Religion must die so mankind can live.” So says Bill Maher at the end of Religulous, a docu-diatribe concerning the TV comic’s belief that all faith is foolishness. In Burn After Reading, a dark comedy starring George Clooney, our Lord’s name is blasphemously uttered by the injection of a four-letter word between Jesus and Christ. In other recent movies such as Joshua, Friends of God: A Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, The Golden Compass, The Mist, The Reaping, The Da Vinci Code (and the list goes on), Christianity is either belittled or casually dismissed. And in God On Trial, a drama recently presented on PBS, a group of prisoners at Auschwitz place God on trial for murder and collaboration. Though the Almighty is defended in that production, eventually He is found guilty by man’s reasoning. Could this prevalent anti-God bias in films reflect the events to come spoken of in the book of Revelation?
In his polluted assessment of religion, Bill Maher managed to avoid religious discussions with theologians or folks versed in public speaking, preferring to ambush those who simply take God’s Word by faith. Not once does he give an example of religious people adding a positive to the culture or our world. Never does he see the life-changing transformation of truly knowing Christ, only the corruption by those who use religion for their own ends. What’s more, one gets the impression that Mr. Maher would have people of faith boiled with their own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through the heart. Bah, humbug.
Faith in a Higher Power is as intangible as the wind for some. This shouldn’t be surprising to readers of the New Testament. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s EXpelled: No Intelligence Allowed (new on DVD). This investigative documentary probes the snubbing of scientists and educators who teach the theory of intelligent design. With touches of cynical humor and moments of thoughtful reasoning, the filmmakers take on a system that has long since said there is no place for creationism outside Sunday morning worship. This provocative film unnerves by pointing out that our nation’s universities, many embracers of a reverence for God when first established, are now helmed by those who don’t.
Though even the strongest Believer may question his beliefs at some time, there’s an assuredness at the center of his soul that Jesus is the Messiah. The Holy Spirit has placed this confidence deep within. But no matter how many books document the personage of Jesus, or how many testimonies are heard purporting miracles done in His name, ultimately, there is the need for faith. This was by design. For the only way mankind can please God, the only gift it can offer Him, and the only way people can develop a spiritual character, is through faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
A recent DVD release addresses the same questions that befuddle Bill Maher: Why is Jesus the only way to God? And, how could a loving God exist if there is evil and suffering in the world? In The Case For Faith, journalist and one-time atheist Lee Strobel investigates these two emotional objections to Christianity. (Interesting note: both The Case For Faith and Religulous have been released by the same studio, Lionsgate.)
Ever since the Garden of Eden, the soul of man has been under attack. At no other time in mankind’s evolution, however, has God’s written direction been so disavowed by such powerful mediums - that of television and the motion picture. (I find Ephesians 6:12 foreshadowing when it refers to Satan as “the prince of the power of the air.”) Could this signal the times the book of Revelation speaks of? Certainly it confirms a secular dominance that changes the America Christians once knew. But if these are the beginning of the end times, then so be it. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.