Friday, September 14, 2012

The Protest That Isn't There

Islam isn't my specialty, so naturally I will be neither watching nor commenting upon the recent brouhaha involving a viral video critical of Muhammed. However, I do think it is a worthwhile place to make a point.

Why don't Christians get activist when crap like The God Who Wasn't There comes out?

Obviously, I do not mean "activist" to the point of assassinating people, burning things, and overturning cars. I mean a much more orderly, much more intellectual, but also very much as public, activism where we make our displeasure known, and also explain why we are displeased -- in great, intellectual detail, and with accompanying public shows of numbers.

It is said by some news agencies that much violence is expected in the Muslim world today as they meet for Friday services, and are expected to hear their weekly versions of sermons which encourage them to go out and have at it against the Great Infidel. Right now, it's hard to imagine pastors on Sunday activating their congregations the same way, unless it is to attack the buffet down at Golden Corral. Why is that?

Oh yes, of course, many Christians did show up at Chick-Fil-A to show their support. When there's food involved, and you have to eat lunch anyway, and you may not even have to get out of your car -- well, that's about the limit of Christian ideological activism, I suppose. Maybe if we could get Chick-Fil-A to cater a demonstration against The God Who Wasn't There, more Christians would show up? 

It's puzzling, really. We have demonstrations at abortion clinics (rightly so), but it doesn't occur to anyone to demonstrate against things like Flemming's film that attack our underlying reasons for demonstrating against abortion. Right now Westboro Baptist could get a bigger showing for a soldier's funeral than I could get for a demo against Flemming's crap. 

In that parlance of today, what's up with that?


  1. I think a really big problem related to this is that few people are acknowledging the existence of the larger problem (mass exodus from church because of disbelief). If nobody knows it is a problem, how can they demonstrate against it? And how will they know if it's still too important to entertain people rather than challenge them?

    Aside from that, your outlook on Christian activism is unfortunately sad but true - most Americans still love their food but are not willing to leave comfort behind for ANYTHING - poor, hopeless, abused. It doesn't challenge our comfort much, however, to comment on human sexuality.

  2. I see your point J.P., but with all due respect I think the reason most Christians didn't protest against things like "The God who Wasn't there," was because they didn't know the film was there to begin with. Honestly if I wasn't into apologetics, I probably wouldn't have heard about the film either. Be that as it may, Christian apologists have written many volumes addressing things like the Christ myth theory so you can in a way argue that we do intellectually protests films like "The God who Wasn't there." Unfortunately, let's face it the media doesn't give a crap.They'll advertise the crap out of the Da Vinci Code, but not the many fine refutations of it by Christian scholars and apologists.

  3. @rolo: I'm sure some were unaware, yes, and for those I'd shift the problem to one of being unaware. OTOH Flemming did get some strong media coverage, and his followers did leave copies of the DVD in churches, so there ought to have been at least some peeps somewhere.

    As far as the media -- well, that's why we'll just have to use our own. :)

  4. Movies and documentaries like that one should trigger immediate debate challenges from our leading apologists. If you're up to making a movie on such a subject, you should be prepared to defend your point of view. Where are our defenders?

  5. @Andre: Well, I'll say this much: Now that I'm making vids, I'll be ready for the next God Who Wasn't There...and meeting it on the same terms!

  6. @JP: that's very good to know! :)

  7. J.P.

    Elders/Pastors/Overseers are partly to blame for this as they don't counter this crap in their education/discipleship classes. They neither see the need, relevance, or have the desire to even think or study deeply enough to be able to answer the likes of a Flemming. My view is that pastors must be apologists, for one of the qualifications in Scripture is that they be just that (cf. Titus 1:9). ". . . that they may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict [it]".

    I am *not* arguing that every pastor be a scholar of textual criticism, Biblical archaeology, or the like, but I *am* arguing that a pastor ought be discerning and well-read enough to be able to quickly show why the likes of Flemming's screed is pure bilge.

  8. @Dustin I'd argue the same -- as it is, you are one of the few pastors I know who wouldn't look like a deer in the headlights when confronted by a single argument from Flemming.