Tag Archives: movie

Dat man, he da King?

There’s a part of me, if I’m brutally honest, that sees a video like this one and wants to curl up in a corner and die. If someone had sent me a link to this a few years ago it woulda made my shoulder blades draw together. So why am I posting it here? Well, I stumbled across it over at another blog I like.

As I was watching, the part of me that didn’t want to run screaming from the room was slowly being rooted to the spot. As the voice thundered out and the words flashed over the screen, their cumulative force crept up and struck me.

The claims about this Jesus guy are big. No, really. They’re BIG.

I guess I need to sit down and think (again) about what I really believe about him, and about what that means. Maybe we all need to do that sometimes.

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Bill Maher v Jesus Christ: Religulous #2

090401billmaherandjesusWell, I did it. After my earlier post I bought an enormous bar of chocolate and settled into a big, comfy  cinema seat to watch Bill Maher take on Jesus Christ.

I have to tell you I was disappointed.  

I’ll say this for Maher – he is a funny guy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh – a lot. But despite setting himself up as honestly investigating God, a major strategy Maher employs is to ask people hard questions, to expect eloquent one line replies, to laugh at their absence, and to intersperse them with footage of material deliberately intended to undermine and ridicule them.

Predictably, he focuses on easy pickings, examining the controversial edges rather than the core foundations of faith. Creationism, homosexuality, and Islamic fundamentalism are come under scrutiny in favour, for example, of asking people about the basis and values of their faith. We come away knowing the ways in which it’s possible to ridicule religions but without the balance of counter-arguments.

So first and foremost, sadly, Religulous is a rant. That said, it’s also thought provoking. 

First, I was struck how frighteningly easy it is for christians to be way out of touch with people who don’t believe the same things they do, and to be unable to relate to them.

Second, I was reminded sharply religion can be ugly, has a great deal to answer for, and that  as a church we face a huge challenge in disentangling our mistreatment of God and His people from the truth of His message.  We have a lot of work to do to re-introduce our society to who Jesus is and his cultural relevance. 

Third, I the film was a reminder that what a person of faith says and does is watched, and it’s judged, and will be viewed through filter of: “this is what God stands for”. Scary. How we choose to present ourselves and our faith –  whether we’re thoughtful, balanced and equipped to discuss intelligently and honestly with other, matters.

Fourth, as I blogged previously, even without the help of satire, it’s easy to see how faith can seem to be crazy. We need to recognise that. However, the fact is that people continue to want to investigate Christianity. We also need a space where people can really consider life’s big questions and make their own informed decisions. Gordon Brown (reportedly) recently said he intended to do just that  attending an Alpha course. It was on April 1st (shame – I thought it might be for real – my innocence made me giggle when it was pointed out to me!) Whatever, having skirted the edges, maybe Maher should consider it. 

Religulous

religulous_l200806061617I’ve been pondering whether to go and see Religulous. About 6 months ago someone showed me a trailer. Gotta be honest – it made me chuckle.

I’ve read a few reviews. They made me question whether I should steer clear, especially the ones from Christian sites, which major on the offence the Christian community might take. But then again, if something really annoys someone, there’s usually a reason for that…

I can see why people with a faith would choose not to see Religulous. Even putting to one side for now the offence it might cause to people of other faiths, this is a film, judging from the trailer, that’s going to deride what I believe in as a Christian. Let me illustrate: if I had a friend who loved me so much they allowed their own child to die in order to save my life, and someone made a movie satirising that, how  do you think it would be received. Would I go to see it? No… because it would be hurtful to my friend. But more generally, how would the press receive it? Pretty badly, you’d hope. To say it would be in bad taste would be an understatement.

And yet I’ve decided I’m going to see Religulous. Why? Because although I see strong parallels between the analogy I’ve just made and my relationship with God, the larger part of society doesn’t see it that way. You know, I’m open to being challenged. Most of all I want to be reminded of how you see things if you don’t agree with my worldview. I might not like it, but I want to understand it. I know you have your reasons, and I want us to be able to talk honestly about it. I’d like you to engage in what I think, and I want to engage with what you think too.

If you’ve seen Religulous, or you have a view about whether seeing it’s a good idea, let me know… I’ll post my review in a couple of days.