Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Christian Filmmakers: Stop Pleading, Start Presupposing

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After posting pictures of my baby daughter and horsies, I feel compelled to venture out into more controversial territory. Bear with me; it's been quite some time since I've rocked the boat. In fact, I think an explanation as to why will be the subject of an upcoming posts. In the meantime:
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I find that many Christian filmmakers' and ministers' insistence that things be spelled out emanates from the mistaken assumption that the general public is, not only completely ignorant about Christianity, but just plain stupid. If one is not a Christian, they seem to reason, then one must have never heard the gospel in the most basic (intellectually insulting) way possible.

The truth is, we find ourselves in a Post-Christian culture, where the gospel has long been presented and is becoming more often discarded. Repeatedly presenting it, dumbed-down, is not the solution. It needs to be soundly intellectually defended. We're long passed the need to tell the masses the Bible says Jesus died for their sins. We need to offer substantial evidence that the crucifixion and resurrection took place. And no, proving Biblical claims does not negate the biblical definition of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith, but many people incorrectly interpret it as "belief without proof." Yet, when the author of Hebrews goes onto list examples from Biblical history of those who had faith, the list is full of people to whom God appeared in person to bestow His guidance and revelation. Once God does that, it is impossible to exercise faith as many in our culture, Christians and un-Christians alike, incorrectly define it. Yes faith is the "evidence of things not seen." But, the miracles of the scripture are not things unseen. Considering, the Apostle Paul's claim that over 500 people saw the resurrected Christ, I can hardly see how the biblical text could consider the resurrection "a thing not seen."

God is not obligated to hide himself from us so that we can always wonder if He is really there, and thus have faith ("belief without proof") that He exists. God is more than willing to reveal himself to us so that we can know He exists. The faith part is the trust that He will make good on what He said He will do in the future: redeem us, sanctify us, bring us into His kingdom, punish evil, reward good, set things right. These are the things unseen.

It seems too many Christians are themselves unconvinced of the validity of Christianity's historical claims and thus feel the need to plead where they would be far more effective in presupposing. Many Christian filmmakers are evidently terrified of presupposition and accordingly argue that a film that does not acknowledge God or Jesus specifically by name is implying that He is irrelevant. By that reasoning, is a film that does not specifically teach that the earth is round implying that the earth is flat? Of course not. They're taking the Earth's roundness as a given that requires no explanation for, much less pleading with, the audience. In other words, they presuppose it.

Most secular artists opt to presuppose their worldview rather than overtly present it or beg their audience to believe it. If you doubt the effectiveness of their technique, take a look at our culture...our Post-Christian Culture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

man. Rock the boat. I think the world's mantra is "Show me."