My Week in Atheism: New Must-See Film for Christians (Interview with John Christy)
By Natasha Crain
A new movie titled “My Week in Atheism” came out today – it’s a MUST SEE for Christians, and especially for Christian parents. I had the opportunity to see a pre-release copy and I couldn’t recommend it more.
“My Week in Atheism” is a documentary about a friendship caught between the two opposing worldviews of atheism and Christianity. As devout Christian John Christy and atheist activist David Smalley travel together to secular conventions, university campuses, and a live talk show, they struggle to maintain a close friendship while protecting their beliefs. Along the way, viewers experience first-hand the most common conflicts between Christianity and atheism today.
Here’s why I love this film so much for Christian parents. We grew up in a vastly different environment than our kids are facing today. The internet has enabled statistically small groups of people like atheists to sound disproportionately loud. The number of people who have a basic belief in God but are spiritually disinterested is far larger than the number of atheists, but those people have no motivation to promote their disinterested beliefs. Atheists, on the other hand, are highly motivated to promote their passionate beliefs and today have a platform for doing so. The problem is that the typical Christian parent in our generation didn’t encounter the atheist worldview so readily growing up and is unprepared to address it now with their kids – meanwhile, it’s the most predominant non-Christian influence our kids will have.
That’s why this film is so important. Many parents don’t have the time to learn about atheist arguments against Christianity from extensive reading. But in just 110 minutes of this film, you’ll powerfully see a very representative sweep of those arguments and start getting up to speed not just for your kids, but for your own faith and Christian witness to the world. If you have teenagers, it’s a no-brainer that you should sit down and watch this with them ASAP.
I had the great opportunity to interview John about the film and I want to share with you his thoughts on the experience and what it can teach us about Christian parenting.
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John, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. Can you tell us how the concept for your film was born and what you hoped, as a Christian, to accomplish in making it?
For a few years I had been reading atheist books and getting a handle on atheist arguments, but it was all book knowledge. About two years ago, I began listening to an atheist podcast called Dogma Debate with David Smalley. I emailed David and mentioned some differences I had with his historical information on the formation of the biblical canon. He asked if I wanted to come on the show and talk about it. That was in May of 2012 and since then I have been on his show several more times, leading to a close friendship. We get along really well, but we have this one glaring difference that keeps us divided: he is an atheist and I am a Christian. It leads to many conversations between us – both on the air and off – that get very heated. One day I sent him the following email:
TO: David Smalley
SUBJECT: My Week of Atheism in San Francisco
I thought you’d get a kick out of this. I spent the week in San Francisco for a conference, had dinner with David Fitzgerald, read Richard Carrier’s “Why I’m Not A Christian,” and while driving around all week listened to David Smalley’s audiobook “Baptized Atheist”…can’t claim I’m not giving you guys a fair shake.
Not long after that, I thought to myself, “Man, this relationship is really compelling and would make a great movie.” That email came to mind and I thought, “What if I did fieldwork in atheism and learned straight from the atheist movement what it’s about?” A few months later I was booking airline flights and planning visits to atheist conventions. I originally intended to spend a week on it, but it got so good that it turned into a month, and eventually a year.
As a Christian, I honestly wanted to learn about atheism from the source. Ultimately what I hope to accomplish with this film is to challenge Christians to examine their beliefs and not be afraid to wrestle through the hard questions we all have in life. I believe we have the truth and, as such, it can and should hold up to scrutiny and doubt…