By John Christy
Our attempt to be popular in attracting people to our sanctuaries has left our message empty and uninteresting. We are guilty of allowing people to believe they are Christians without ever confronting the Cross.
Since the release of My Week in Atheism (2014) I have received several comments from both the Christian and atheist sides. Most of the comments and reviews have been very positive. The atheists feel the movie is a fair depiction of atheism while the Christian side feels it is beneficial in learning to defend against secular ideology. The movie was never intended to be a slam-dunk-win for Christianity, defeating all atheist arguments in one blow. I wanted to learn about atheism from atheists. I wanted to listen to their arguments and allow myself to be challenged - and I was, very much so. I have always felt that if Christianity were a valid belief system it would hold up to scrutiny. My opinion has always been, if it is the truth then it will survive – it has to because it is true. While I wanted to make a fairly balanced film and explore the differences between Christianity and atheism, I’m not sure I was prepared for some of the repercussions. Among many of the responses I’ve received, there have been a few who spoke my greatest
fear into reality. One of those responses from a Christian summed it up this way, “After watching your movie I realized that I’m an atheist”. I don’t know if I can completely express the feeling this comment left me with. My immediate fear was that I had exposed innocent people to a line of thinking that turned them away from truth and straight toward deception. I thought for certain that I was not doing the work of God but in reality now felt I was playing into the hands of the devil. The deceiver had duped me into thinking I was helping the mission of Christ when all along I had delivered my audience to the roaring lion whom he would devour. My motivation had been revealed as pride and I had disgraced Christianity. I realize this may sound dramatic but those were my true feelings whether rational or not. What had I done?
My son felt differently. Chandler was with me during the entire filming process. He was 18 years old during the production of My Week in Atheism and worked as a cameraman. My wife and I prayed, discussed, and contemplated whether or not he should be involved in this journey and how it could potentially effect his faith both in the negative and positive. In fact, at one point in Missouri during the week at Skepticon, David Smalley and I were walking to dinner and David asked if I was concerned about having Chandler around all these atheists and listening to them. I told David that if Chandler’s belief was only because of my belief then he had nothing. I confidently felt that Chandler had to grow in his own faith and struggle through whatever doubts he would have if he was to be a follower of Christ…
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