My thoughts on Brian Flemming’s The God Who Wasn’t There
I recently watched Brian Flemming’s The God Who Wasn’t There DVD and I must confess that I was a little disappointed. I took notes and may comment more in depth later, but the general impression I got was that, as usual, the points Flemming was making about Christianity seemed like cheap shots. He used clips of rabid Christians speaking in the 70s. He chose cheesy “C” movies to relate bible stories as background, and he even managed to equate Charles Manson and Pat Robertson in the same montage as if these people had something in common. I’m sorry, but just because a maniac like Manson uses biblical imagery to fashion his own apocalyptic vision of society, it does not mean Christianity was the cause of his psychosis. That’s stretching it. Oh, yes, and the usual Bush created Abu Ghraib montage was in there as well. Never mind the fact that Abu Ghraib was probably in existence long before Bush took office.
I’m not an apologist for Christianity by any means, but this documentary makes me want to be one simply because of the sloppy, underhanded ways that Flemming tries to present his view of history and how he tries to make Christians look ridiculous. There is no distinction made between progressive Christianity and fundamentalist Christianity. Flemming does not talk to progressive theologians like Dr. Marcus Borg or progressive political Christians like Jim Wallis. No, he only uses the most radical and ignorant Christians to portray all Christians as some kind of blood thirsty, vast army who are “trying to take over the world.” (Use best Pinky and the Brain voice here). It’s such a cheap shot and easy way out that I don’t see how anyone can take it seriously. It’s so easy to make fun without getting into actual evidence. And he makes some pretty dicey statements such as, “Paul knew nothing about Mary, or the apostles, or any of the Gospel stories.” (Loose paraphrase). Well, you could just as well assume that Paul doesn’t mention them because they were already assumed to be known at the time of his writing. See, it’s stuff like this that makes it easy to explain away; even I could do it. So is it a blow to Christianity? Hardly.
Not to mention, that he couples his documentary with the atheist fad called The Blasphemy Challenge all the while misinterpreting what “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” really means. Any Christian knows that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not merely denying the Holy Spirit’s existence as Flemming states in his documentary. Nope. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, in the biblical context, is when you attribute something to Satan that is actually a work of God. Since unbelievers neither believe in God or Satan, they cannot commit the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Simply not believing in a Holy Spirit is not blasphemy. However, in the Catholic version, merely calling God unjust is blasphemy, but they have been known to blow lots of things out of proportion now and then.
Anyway, the documentary is kind of poorly made (sorry Brian), and probably won’t convince anyone but confirmed atheists who don’t know anything about the actual workings of “lived” Christianity to begin with. There are other more convincing arguments against Christianity, God, and the Bible out there.