Bowling for Columbine did it to the gun culture. Super Size Me did it to fast food. Now The God Who Wasn't There does it to religion.
Holding modern Christianity up to a bright spotlight, this bold new film demands answers to the questions few dare to ask. Your guide through the world of Christendom is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming, who unflinchingly examines believers and the origins of their beliefs. He gets help from such luminaries as esteemed folklorist Alan Dundes ( Holy Writ as Oral Lit ), Jesus Seminar fellow Robert M. Price ( Deconstructing Jesus ) and neuroscientist Sam Harris ( The End of Faith ).
Along with Brian, you will discover:
• The early founders of Christianity seem wholly unaware of the idea of a human Jesus
• The Jesus passed down to us in the gospels bears a striking resemblance to other ancient heros and the figureheads of pagan savior cults
• Contemporary Christians are largely ignorant of the origins of their religion
• Christianity is as obsessed with blood and violence now as it was in the 1 st century
• Fundamentalism is as strong today as it ever has been, with an alarming 44% of Americans believing Jesus will return to Earth within the next 50 years
• And God simply isn't there
Brian Flemming also explores his own experiences within fundamentalist Christianity at a cult-like school that taught him how how and what to believe. Ultimately, he confronts the man in charge of educating the school's 1800 students, and this superintendent's inability to justify what he teaches is revealing and distressing.
"Dazzling motion graphics and a sweeping soundtrack by DJ Madson help tell this tale of one person's journey from the darkness of first- century thinking to the enlightenment of reason."
PEOPLE IN THE MOVIE:
SCOTT BUTCHER is the creator of RaptureLetters.com. A general contractor, he lives in Southern California with his family.
RICHARD CARRIER is a philosopher and historian studying ancient science at Columbia University in New York, where he received a Masters degree and a Master of Philosophy in ancient history and is working on his Ph.D. He previously graduated Phi Beta Kappa at UC Berkeley. His articles have been published in Biology & Philosophy, The History Teacher, German Studies Review, The Skeptical Inquirer, and the Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. He is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and served as Editor in Chief of the Secular Web for several years. His latest book is Sense and Goodness Without God .
ALAN DUNDES died six weeks after being interviewed for The God Who Wasn’t There . An anthropologist and folklorist, he was Professor of Folklore and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1993, he became the first American to win the Pitre Prize's Sigillo d'Oro, the top international prize in folklore and ethnography. His books include: The Morphology of North American Indian Folktales (1964); Life is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder: A Study of German National Character Through Folklore (1984); Cracking Jokes: Studies of Sick Humor Cycles and Stereotypes (1987) and Folklore Matters (1989). One of the most loved professors at Berkeley, in 1994 Dundes won the Distinguished Teacher Award, given to one professor each year by the students and staff of Berkeley.
SAM HARRIS , currently completing a Ph.D. in neuroscience, is one of the most compelling writers and speakers on the subject of religious belief. Writing unflinchingly about the dangers of Christianity, Islam and other religions in his book The End of Faith , Harris won rave reviews and is changing the terms of debate on the subjects he addresses. "Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say in contemporary America"-- NY Times
BARBARA AND DAVID P. MIKKELSON are the founders of the Urban Legends Reference Pages at snopes.com. Snopes is generally considered the go-to source when you want to know whether an urban legend is true or false. But it is also a fine collection of writings from two dedicated and esteemed modern folklorists.
ROBERT M. PRICE is Professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute as well as the editor of The Journal of Higher Criticism . His books include Beyond Born Again , The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts: A Feminist-Critical Scrutiny , Deconstructing Jesus , and The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man. Forthcoming titles are The Crisis of Biblical Authority , Jesus Christ Superstar: A Redactional Study of a Modern Gospel , The Da Vinci Fraud and The Amazing Colossal Apostle .
DR. RONALD SIPUS is superintendent of Village Christian Schools in Sun Valley, California. He did not want his interview used in this documentary.
DVD COMMENTARY TRACKS ONLY:
RICHARD DAWKINS , possibly the world’s most famous atheist, is the author of a number of internationally best-selling books about evolutionary biology including The Selfish Gene (1976; second edition, 1989), The Extended Phenotype (1982), The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), and Unweaving the Rainbow (1998).
EARL DOHERTY is a modern pioneer of the Jesus Myth theory. His 1999 book The Jesus Puzzle lays out in painstaking detail the evidence for a mythical Christ, with scholarship that to this day remains without refutation.
THE RAVING ATHEIST maintains a popular weblog at ravingatheist.com