Monday, May 5, 2008

Expelled: ID, TW, & JS


We just returned from the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, starring Ben Stein, which we attended with the church youth group. The basic thesis of the movie is that our liberty as Americans is being suppressed by those who would seek to silence members of the scientific community who advocate Intelligent Design (ID) as a hypothesis for the beginning of life.

The movie was worth seeing, although kids younger than the teenage years won’t get a lot out of it.

We had a rousing conversation in the car on the way home. Our son, referring to the people in the movie who opposed Intelligent Design, said “Those people are too smart for themselves.” Our daughter pointed out that they are essentially just rejecting God. They’ve both got it nailed, if you compare their thoughts to Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:18-25
At one point, Richard Dawkins, one of the biggest mouthpieces for the theory of evolution, stated that aliens might have come here and designed life on our planet. Let me get this straight Richard, aliens could have designed life on earth, but God is an impossibility?

One thing that struck me more than any other came towards the end of the movie. Representatives of the universities that fired professors who advocated Intelligent Design were being interviewed. The majority of those interviewed denied any link between these individual’s views on ID and their firings. The university official’s answers were couched in corporate bureaucratese - a case where anybody could see that they were denying the obvious. It reminded me a lot of some of the answers we’ve been hearing in relation to the firing of Pastor Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz, the Host and the Producer of the canceled radio program Issues, Etc.

There are two points I’d like to make here. The first is that while I will put the best construction on things and go along with the reason TW and JS were fired (at least just this once), because of monetary concerns, I’d still argue that a Synod that valued Truth and doctrine above all else would never have discontinued Issues, Etc.

The second point is this: The firing of Pastor Wilken and Jeff Schwarz was merciless. The phrasing used in the explanations for their firings sounded just like that used in the movie for the firings of the ID advocates. I would expect much more from our Synodical officials. Rev. Dr. Kieschnick’s voice sounded like that of a corporate executive, not like that of the good Shepherd. His response lacked the love of Jesus Christ, and instead was the sound of a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.

It’s more than a little ironic that a movie about persecution, the muzzling of employees, and the loss of personal freedom would also reflect the dealings of a denomination of Jesus Christ’s Church. And I’m not just referring to Issues issues (see my post “Confessional Lutherans Need Not Apply” for another example).

There’s a lot more I’d like to say, but, I guess I’m a bit like Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz: “And now... well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!”

I hope you’ll all go see the movie, and then write a letter to the movie reviewer in your local newspaper who gave it a bad review and who said it’s nothing more than a guise for creationism.

1 comment:

Family of Michael & Jen-Yi Paul said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your insightful comments here about the movie, including your thoughts about its connection to Issues and other related issues.