Miracles from Heaven - Heaven is Totally for Real, Too

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MarsAtlas:
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Xsjadoblayde:
Affirm productions/films brought a chortle...that is almost self-satire. The fact that it isn't, only makes it all the more hilairious. Though really...believe in God or your children will die?? Bloody hell (pun originally not intended), that's a bit heavy, isn't it? Though, i guess if you're already christian, it doesn't matter so much since they're going to have a much happier time in that city in the sky. Father Comstock will look after them, unless they happen to not be white/American.

Fundamentalists seeing LGBTQ people and athiests pay for their "transgressions" is the equivalant to gratuitous breast exposure for drunken dude bros, so of course they're going to have it.

...

I think the phrase the best sums up this type of thing would be "faith porn", in the same vein as "destruction porn" or "military porn".

Albino Boo:

scw55:

It's monatising people's faith, which is an (bad) irony.

Why is making a film that a Christian will enjoy any different from making a film that an environmentalist will enjoy?

Because Christians believe in a loving Omnipotent being. An environmentalist thinks that you should care for the environment.
The former is faith, the latter is an opinion.

Probably wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't so much stuff that abuses or predates on people's Christian beliefs already.

MarsAtlas:
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scw55:
It's a chance for Christianity to be accessible to people from outside The Church. But if the film is merely patting the back of existing believers

Yeah, but how are you going to make money off of proselytizing to the poor? Fuck that, follow the money, that's what Jesus wanted, right?

Proselytizing implies brain-washing. That is absolutely non-Christian. The point of becoming a Christian is choosing to follow Jesus, not have the choice made for you, or tricked into choosing it. Evangelism is sharing the story of Jesus with people and happily answering any quests they may have. It is being welcoming and loving. It is not forced on anyone. If it is forced on anyone, then the person is doing a very bad thing.

I do not understand what you mean by "proselytizing the poor". People have varying amounts of money regardless of what their faith is.

Jesus chased traders out of The Temple in Jerusalem with a whip. All that the Bible addresses with money is be responsible with the money you have.

Vigormortis:

scw55:

Why is it so hard to produce a good film that portrays what it is to be a Christian to the masses?

Because every Christian has a different idea of what constitutes being a "true Christian".

Whenever a Christian does something bad, or claims the Bible instructs us to do something most of us view as horrible (which is what most of the Bible actually does, especially the Old Testament), other Christians who disagree claim that person isn't a "True Christian". It's the classic "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

This is why no film, no matter how good, will ever truly portray what it is to be a Christian. Especially when so many just sort of skip over the more troubling and atrocious parts of the Bible's commands.

I feel like the challenging parts of The Bible are rarely addressed.
If you have the Bible App, you get "verses of the day", which are effectively daily "motivational quotes" from The Bible. It's lovely, but it is always going to miss more challenging aspects of the Bible. I mean, you will never get a verse of the day about how a many describe in depth how sexy his mistress it (Song of Songs).

Challenging parts from the Bible often have context missing. The context of the passage. The context of what happened before. The context of the culture. The context of the time period.

Quite a bit of the Old Testament laws get made obsolete by The New Testament. Or certain "rules" get dampened. The New Testament states that the most important thing to do is 'Love God with all your heart, above all things'. Secondly is 'Love every person as you would love yourself'. Jesus' sacrifice makes the need to do "Sin Offerings" unneeded.

Other things, I have no idea. I will be honest and not BS you an answer. Perhaps I will understand in the future.

But I believe, that people gain faith in God and His Son through personal experience and not through academic studying of the text. Without belief, the words will not mean anything to you, other than a narrative or motivational quote.

scw55:

Albino Boo:

scw55:

It's monatising people's faith, which is an (bad) irony.

Why is making a film that a Christian will enjoy any different from making a film that an environmentalist will enjoy?

Because Christians believe in a loving Omnipotent being. An environmentalist thinks that you should care for the environment.
The former is faith, the latter is an opinion.

Probably wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't so much stuff that abuses or predates on people's Christian beliefs already.

You are missing the key point what's the difference between making a film one group enjoys to another making a film another groupenjoys. Why is making film that Christians enjoy watching wrong.

The best religious films are ones that have people who are religious in them but center around an interesting plot. Whenever they make the film about God or religion itself then that's when it typically stinks a big one.

I've seen a few I liked. Most are garbage. I wonder if Marter would ever give a religious film a positive rating. Though I haven't seen most movies make it through Marter's scoring framework un-injured. Just if it has religion in it or sick children Marter typically brings out the big red marker to begin the assault.

Marter:

lacktheknack:
No one finds it more worrying than the average Christian. Even people I know who liked God's Not Dead were irritated by "offing the atheist".

Just wait until the sequel, when an evil atheist takes the good Christian woman to court over her saying the "Golden Rule" in answer to a student's question.

TWO WEEKS, LACK. TWO WEEKS!

y u tell me dis ;___;

rcs619:
Basically, the kind of Christian that the Left Behind books were made for. That entire series is just one long, mean-spirited victory lap where God gives every kind of person the authors dislike 'what they deserve.' In the last book where Jesus comes back there's actually a scene where he walks knee-deep through the blood of his enemies (who had just previously been violently ripped to pieces by the power of his voice alone), and this is presented like a good, triumphant moment. It happens all over the world too. Literally every person with the mark of the beast is killed by Jesus, simultaneously in a fairly gory way.

I know they actually made one more book set in the 1000 year Kingdom too. Somehow, for some reason, a group of the Christians who survived the tribulation decide they don't want to follow Jesus and the revived King David that now rule Earth. So they not only rebel, but they somehow form an army even bigger than the one Jesus slaughtered at armageddon (which would be several million people strong), and decide to attack New Jerusalem with it. Jesus just kind of walks outside and casually burns them all to ash with his voice.

The Left Behind series is actually really fascinating for just how horrible it is. Not just the overall message, but the writing itself. It's a case-study in hack writing.

To be perfectly fair, if you read Revelation literally and chronologically (it is neither), that's a dramatization of what's written there.

Also to be perfectly fair, the school I'm in covered Revelation, and the potshots at the Left Behind series were fast and furious. :P

Gordon_4:

lacktheknack:
One day, there's going to be a faith movie that my Mom and I can watch that we'll both like.

Not this day, though.

What about the Prince of Egypt? That's one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen about Moses. To be fair though, for all it's obvious posturing it's still hard to beat the sheer scope of The Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments annoys me so much, and Prince of Egypt annoys my Mom so much. There's no winner. xD

Worgen:
Did he also do that for all the translations? Since I think the english translation is like 2 languages removed from the original.

Just FYI, the original English editions of the Old Testament were translated from the traditional Septuagint texts (the Greek translation of the Hebrew text), but modern versions (such as the ESV draped over my lap) are compiled from various Hebrew originals we've scraped together (one reason why the Dead Sea Scrolls were such an incredible find). Translation is a non-issue, and the degree of similarity between ye olde King James Version and the modern Hebrew remnants is pretty staggering.

The New Testament is translated directly from the Greek copies of the letters preserved by the church.

Amaror:

rcs619:

That's fair. It's definitely not an issue with all Christians so much as it is a particular brand of evangelical Christian. The kind of people who genuinely believe God is a wrathful God, and who enjoy the idea of atheists/other religions/unbelievers in general 'getting what they deserve.'

I am not an expert on christianity, but wasn't the whole point of the seperation of the evangelical church from the catholic church, that they disagreed on the catholic portrayal of god as a wrathful God that needs to be calmed by buying indulgences?
It's at least what I used to learn when I was a member of the evangelical church.
Doing a quick search on wikipedia, it might just be something lost in translation? Apparently what I mean with evangelical church is named the Lutheranism in english.

Lutheranism and offsprings from the reformation-era boils down to the following conceit:
Believing in Jesus means that you're saved and that no further actions are necessary.

The intent was to take away the powers of specific political institutions (the Vatican) to extort people under threat of eternal hellfire. In this light, the Catholic power structure was seen as inherently corruptive like the groups Jesus preached against.

However, the failing in many protestant denominations moving towards the modern day is that decoupling how you're supposed to live from salivation means that people use their faith to justify all sorts of idiotic behavior. Culturally, these are about faith because for a lot of churches, this is literally all you need.

The third-option for Christianity (and where I fall) is that salvation is internal and requires you to live with grace. It's an inherently quiet non-sect that isn't organized, meaning it gets drowned out.

scw55:

Proselytizing implies brain-washing. That is absolutely non-Christian. The point of becoming a Christian is choosing to follow Jesus, not have the choice made for you, or tricked into choosing it. Evangelism is sharing the story of Jesus with people and happily answering any quests they may have. It is being welcoming and loving. It is not forced on anyone. If it is forced on anyone, then the person is doing a very bad thing.

The very essence of the story of Jesus is "believe in him and accept him as your savior, or face an eternity of torture and suffering in hell". That's not being given a choice. That's a mob boss putting a gun to your head and saying, "You have a choice. Pay protection money or I'll kill you."

The Bible even instructs its followers to proselytize. So I fail to see how you can say Christians shouldn't proselytize. Your holy book tells you to do so. To not proselytize is to go against the will of the Christian god.

I do not understand what you mean by "proselytizing the poor".

I can't speak for Mars Atlas, but I can give an example. Quite a number of Christian-run homeless shelters will only offer free food and a warm bed to the needy in exchange for prayer and having to listen to sermons on accepting Jesus as their savior.

Not all shelters do this, thankfully. Most are more open to helping those who need it, without adding a caveat.

Jesus chased traders out of The Temple in Jerusalem with a whip. All that the Bible addresses with money is be responsible with the money you have.

Mmm, not really. In Matthew, Jesus says to "give no thought for the morrow". Essentially telling his followers not to plan ahead. Not to save money or think of how to feed and cloth themselves.

scw55:

I feel like the challenging parts of The Bible are rarely addressed.

I wouldn't really call them "challenging". It makes them sound less repulsive. I find words like "disgusting" or "repugnant" more suitable. Particularly when reading about the Christian god giving instructions on how to enslave people, stone unruly children, etc.

Challenging parts from the Bible often have context missing. The context of the passage. The context of what happened before. The context of the culture. The context of the time period.

I don't know that I can accept that. Under what context is it okay to own another human being? Under what context is it okay to stone or burn people to death? Under what context is it okay to slaughter a neighboring tribe? Under what context does a loving god tell his followers to do these things?

Quite a bit of the Old Testament laws get made obsolete by The New Testament. Or certain "rules" get dampened. The New Testament states that the most important thing to do is 'Love God with all your heart, above all things'. Secondly is 'Love every person as you would love yourself'. Jesus' sacrifice makes the need to do "Sin Offerings" unneeded.

I find it odd that those who believe in Jesus also believe that the New Testament somehow negates all of the atrocities of the Old Testament. (there are atrocities in the New Testament as well, but that's another matter) Jesus said he, "did not come to abolish <the old laws>, but to fulfill them." He was sent to essentially enforce the Old Testament laws, including the laws on slavery, set down in Exodus 21.

And really, if the New Testament negates the laws of the Old Testament, then the ten commandments (there are actually 613) are also forfeit.

I also have far too many questions on the sacrifice of Jesus to have them addressed in this thread, so I won't get into that. Besides, the thread's begun a derailment of biblical proportions, and I'd rather not compound that.

Other things, I have no idea. I will be honest and not BS you an answer. Perhaps I will understand in the future.

I hope so. I actually encourage you to read the Bible. Don't just take the word of others on what it says. Not even mine. See for yourself what it contains. You'll find it enlightening, one way or another.

But I believe, that people gain faith in God and His Son through personal experience and not through academic studying of the text. Without belief, the words will not mean anything to you, other than a narrative or motivational quote.

It seems like it would be the opposite, don't you think? If you already believe, telling yourself it's real, then the words are meaningless. They accomplish nothing. They are worthless.

The only way the words have meaning is in trying to provide evidence of a truth to those who have yet to believe. Otherwise they're just a form of self-reinforcement.

rcs619:

It kills the sick child of a non-believer, while saving the one from a believer, and then the father of the kid who died instantly believes the family's story and is now, himself, a believer - and his change of faith means that there's no way that anyone should question this story.

See, this sort of thing happens *all* the time in these Christian affirmation movies, and it bothers me far more than the preachiness, or cheesiness.
...

Most believers don't realize the morality of that kind of argument, because they're certain it only happens to bad people (which they aren't, of course) or because it's part of a greater plan (because god cannot design a plan where nobody dies).

Even their core faith is flawed.
It can be summed up to this: life is a waste of time, go kill your babies to send them to heaven before they go to hell.

Vigormortis:
snip

I have read* The Bible.

scw55:

I have read* The Bible.

Fair 'nough. But having done so, perhaps you can answer my questions? I've read it, too. Twice, in fact. But I've yet to find the answers to the questions I find most troubling. Notably: The context under which the previously listed 'grotesqueries' are deemed "okay".

Bare in mind that this is not some 'gotcha' attempt on my part. I'm genuinely curious.

Vigormortis:

scw55:

I have read* The Bible.

Fair 'nough. But having done so, perhaps you can answer my questions? I've read it, too. Twice, in fact. But I've yet to find the answers to the questions I find most troubling. Notably: The context under which the previously listed 'grotesqueries' are deemed "okay".

Bare in mind that this is not some 'gotcha' attempt on my part. I'm genuinely curious.

It's interesting. I was a Christian for all of my young life, even going to church or related activities 3-5 times a week. What got me was doing what they, and you, said to do. I'd read the bible, then ask questions. The answers I got to the "challenging" parts were, to me, a nine year old boy, nonsensical and in some cases obvious lies. Somewhere between the lies, half-truths and intentional vagaries I decided to do the more hardcore study without the filter of the other believers. I specifically sought out people who were atheists to read their arguments, all with the confidence that I would read another, more educated believer's rebuttals and it would reaffirm my faith. What happened was, even people regarded as the best apologists in the world were up to the same tricks.

I went from totally convinced that God was real, Christianity was the truth and Jesus was true to being an agnostic atheist in the span of about four years, all because I read the bible without the troubling philosophy of, "I know it's true because I believe it's true." One of the questions I have since always asked of the faith-based believer is, why is the philosophy of faith a good philosophy for determining what is true from what is false. I have never received what I would consider a good answer.

Gorrath:

It's interesting. I was a Christian for all of my young life, even going to church or related activities 3-5 times a week. What got me was doing what they, and you, said to do. I'd read the bible, then ask questions. The answers I got to the "challenging" parts were, to me, a nine year old boy, nonsensical and in some cases obvious lies. Somewhere between the lies, half-truths and intentional vagaries I decided to do the more hardcore study without the filter of the other believers. I specifically sought out people who were atheists to read their arguments, all with the confidence that I would read another, more educated believer's rebuttals and it would reaffirm my faith. What happened was, even people regarded as the best apologists in the world were up to the same tricks.

I went from totally convinced that God was real, Christianity was the truth and Jesus was true to being an agnostic atheist in the span of about four years, all because I read the bible without the troubling philosophy of, "I know it's true because I believe it's true." One of the questions I have since always asked of the faith-based believer is, why is the philosophy of faith a good philosophy for determining what is true from what is false. I have never received what I would consider a good answer.

This, right here, is precisely why I'm so saddened that most people seem convinced god beliefs must inherently belong with religions. And that's the troubling part. God beliefs, by themselves, do not necessarily quash the desire to question, the desire to seek answers to the unknown. Religious beliefs, however, do.

Unlike you, I did not start out my adolescence as a believer. However, thinking about and studying the Bible, Christianity, and other religions and religious texts, led me to adopting the same view as you. That of Agnostic Atheism.[1]

Perhaps some day a believer will have the answers I seek. But I do not think it will be this day and I do not believe it will be from scw55.

[1] It's refreshing to see someone who understands that Agnosticism and Atheism are not mutually exclusive.

mtarzaim02:

Most believers don't realize the morality of that kind of argument, because they're certain it only happens to bad people (which they aren't, of course) or because it's part of a greater plan (because god cannot design a plan where nobody dies).

Even their core faith is flawed.
It can be summed up to this: life is a waste of time, go kill your babies to send them to heaven before they go to hell.

Pretty much. There's a huge disconnect there between what they espouse as their beliefs, and the end-result of those beliefs carried to their logical extremes.

Back at university I was sitting in the student union eating one time and this young kid (if he was 18, it was maybe by a day or two) comes up to me and starts talking. Something doesn't feel right and I feel like he's warming up to sell me something. Sure enough, he starts talking about Jesus and breaking out this obviously rehearsed pitch.

He actually breaks out the 'bridge analogy' on me. Basically, life and heaven are on two opposite cliffs, and the only way across is Jesus who is a bridge. Otherwise, you fall into the pit below and die, go to hell, etc etc. But he kept stressing that *only* through Jesus could people get into heaven. This has always been a sticking point for me since, carried to its logical extreme, 99.9% of all humans who have ever existed, no matter how good and how decent their lives were, are burning and suffering unimaginable torment for all of eternity. I just cannot reconcile that kind of reasoning with any kind of god I'd ever want to follow.

Full disclosure: I consider myself kinda-Christian because it's how I was raised, and Jesus did have some good things to say, but in practice I'd say I'm closer to a deist. I don't believe in an anthropomorphized god. I don't think he actually physically interacts in our lives, and I also don't believe that prayer works. Only way I could kind of reconcile all the horrors that happen to good people. There's no 'greater plan', god just is never directly involved. Free will means 100% free will.

Anyway, I kind of brought that up to the kid. Well, what about someone who lived a good life a thousand years before Jesus was born? What about people today who live good, perfectly decent lives but don't happen to be christian? Are they tortured for all eternity no matter how good a life they lived?

He didn't really have an answer for that. Apparently I'd deviated too much from the kinds of answers his script had anticipated. About that time I was done eating, so I finished up with him and went to my next class. I don't begrudge the kid though. I'm sure he was a decent enough guy and he believed he was doing the right thing, but if you have a set of beliefs, you really need to examine them, and extrapolate them to their logical extremes. Or else you wind up with a situation where good people are suffering for eternity in hell, and you've never actually thought about it that way before.

Vigormortis:

Gorrath:

It's interesting. I was a Christian for all of my young life, even going to church or related activities 3-5 times a week. What got me was doing what they, and you, said to do. I'd read the bible, then ask questions. The answers I got to the "challenging" parts were, to me, a nine year old boy, nonsensical and in some cases obvious lies. Somewhere between the lies, half-truths and intentional vagaries I decided to do the more hardcore study without the filter of the other believers. I specifically sought out people who were atheists to read their arguments, all with the confidence that I would read another, more educated believer's rebuttals and it would reaffirm my faith. What happened was, even people regarded as the best apologists in the world were up to the same tricks.

I went from totally convinced that God was real, Christianity was the truth and Jesus was true to being an agnostic atheist in the span of about four years, all because I read the bible without the troubling philosophy of, "I know it's true because I believe it's true." One of the questions I have since always asked of the faith-based believer is, why is the philosophy of faith a good philosophy for determining what is true from what is false. I have never received what I would consider a good answer.

This, right here, is precisely why I'm so saddened that most people seem convinced god beliefs must inherently belong with religions. And that's the troubling part. God beliefs, by themselves, do not necessarily quash the desire to question, the desire to seek answers to the unknown. Religious beliefs, however, do.

Unlike you, I did not start out my adolescence as a believer. However, thinking about and studying the Bible, Christianity, and other religions and religious texts, led me to adopting the same view as you. That of Agnostic Atheism.[1]

Perhaps some day a believer will have the answers I seek. But I do not think it will be this day and I do not believe it will be from scw55.

There is more to my story in between but I didn't want to needlessly spill out all my personal beans. After I gave up on Christianity, I came to the next seemingly logical conclusion; just because Christianity didn't have the answers didn't mean that no religion did. So I branched out, started reading philosophy and religious texts from all over the world. I got really into comparative religious studies. The problem was, while some had what I would consider a superior set of moral philosophies, none had any supernatural claims that held up, which always seemed to be at the crux of many of the major tenants of each religion.

So I rethought God itself. If there did exist such a being, how could humans even begin to udnerstand it? What would we attribute to magic and the supernatural that which we could not understand as natural? Could God not simply be the prime mover when stripped of all the trappings of the poor human attempts to dress it up, as we did with other natural phenomenon like lightning and wind and earthquakes? This drove me to a position of deism, where I was still a believer in God as the prime mover but not tied to any religious belief.

It was a very short period before someone made an argument that shattered my deism as well though. Simply put, there was no good reason to believe in something for which I had no evidence. I made the classic error of appealing to the unknown, in a god of the gaps sort of way. When I was shown the error of that position, my deism collapsed as easily as my faith had. I cannot prove there is no god, but without any evidence that there is one, I have no reason to think there is. Hence I am left with the agnostic atheist position. I don't know there is no god, but I also don't know there is no Thor, no wind demons, no clock gremlins, no Nirvana. In the land of no evidence, every idea is a wash.

[1] It's refreshing to see someone who understands that Agnosticism and Atheism are not mutually exclusive.

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