Yesterday, I went to the movie theater in Orlando’s Downtown Disney, about seven miles from my home, to see an advance screening of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein. The film opens on 1000 screens in a limited release on April 18th. Stein’s documentary begins with a survey of university professors who were either fired, denied tenure or otherwise “expelled” for using their academic credentials as a platform for discussing Intelligent Design (I.D.) with their classes, publishing articles or just linking to I.D. websites.
This movie is a “must see” for anyone who cares about the first amendment right to free speech in the public market place of ideas. Hopefully, a successful opening will spur the documentary to run across thousands of more screens in North America and the world.
The thrust of Stein’s exposé is that academic debate on I.D. is being squelched by a scientific elite who nevertheless admit that they have no settled theory on how the original living cell could have arisen spontaneously. More dramatically, the film shows that the same evolutionary philosophy that denies intelligent design in the universe is at the heart of moral relativism, eugenics, genocide, euthanasia and abortion on demand.
One of the most powerful vignettes in the movie occurs when Stein, a conservative Jew, tours one of the Nazi prison camps where thousands of people were gassed and incinerated. The woman giving the tour refuses to make any moral judgments about Hitler or the Nazi officers in charge of the genocide campaign even when pressed by Stein to give her opinion.
Without a Creator or an Intelligent Designer there is no real basis for holding an objective opinion on morality. “Might makes right” becomes the moral force for the advancement of humanity even when “inferior” minorities and the handicapped are selected for extermination. The film proves that the Nazi eugenicists were fueled by a radical social Darwinism. Yes, Hitler really believed he was working for the good of mankind.
Another long needed yet neglected topic briefly explored in Expelled is the origin of birth control and abortion in our own country through eugenicist Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. As a pro-life activist, I am encouraged to see this brought into public consciousness in a major film. Sanger, in fact, was a vocal advocate of eugenics. The film doesn’t delve deeply into the fact that when Sanger wanted to solve the “Negro problem” through a campaign of sterilization for black men prior to World War Two, she corresponded with Nazi eugenicists. Expelled at least cracks the cover on an ugly chapter in American history that continues today in the guise of “family planning,” a code word for the slaughter of millions of unborn babies funded in part through taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood.
Expelled also documents the fact that many well-known evolutionists see religion as a hindrance to the advance of science and openly admit they are actively working to suppress and eradicate religion in public life. The film’s point of view, of course, is that there is no incompatibility. On the contrary, the hypothesis that there might be an intelligence or an ordered design to the universe actually paves the way for better science. It inspires a passion for science in people who believe in a Creator God in some form, which happens to be over 90 percent of the American population.
The film is intellectually fascinating and moves along at a good pace. It makes hilarious use of juxtaposed “b-roll” clips from classic movies and antiquated educational documentaries to illustrate its frequent salient points. An unrelenting off-beat rhythm keeps the viewer entertained.
The most enjoyable part of the documentary for me was the interview with atheist scientist and bestselling author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, who seemed nonplussed by Stein’s questions delivered with deadpan irony. The viewer of course knows that Stein is sympathetic to I.D. So it’s amusing to watch that curmudgeonly reptile Herr Dawkins squirm at Stein’s calm and deliberate interrogation. The interview results in unintentional humor that reminded me of This Is Spinal Tap or Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot Sketch.” Dawkins could not have played a better British humorist even if he had made an attempt.
“How did life begin?”
Dawkins says he doesn’t know. Of course, “no one knows” exactly how the complexity of cellular life could have arisen from non-life. But he believes it. He has to. There is no alternative.
Couldn’t it have been the Hebrew God?
What about the Holy Trinity? Allah? One of the Hindu gods?
Dawkins bristles with frustrated incredulity at the very idea.
Could a model that includes an intelligent designer be used at least hypothetically to explain the origin of life?
Finally, Dawkins admits a viable hypothesis of I.D. is possible. A race of higher intelligent life forms from outer space could have “seeded” the earth with life, but this higher intelligence must have evolved itself over billions of years. This, of course, is begging the question.
If this higher intelligence alien race evolved, then how did the original life form come into being in the first place?
Ironically, Dawkins refuses to consider that it could have been God who started it all because God himself could not have “sprung suddenly out of nothing.”
So goes the tenor of several other evolutionary scientists who likewise refuse to admit an alternative to the Neo-Darwinist theory on the origin of life. No one really knows. One scientist hypothesizes that the first DNA molecules could have “ridden on the backs of crystals” as they were being formed.
Aliens? Crystals? An ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?
Yes … Maybe … Perhaps …
God? Intelligent Design?
Controversy over Dawkins’ interview was reported in a New York Times article in which he claimed he was set up by not knowing the thrust of the documentary. However, the producers gave the interviewees the list of questions beforehand and each was paid for his interview. One of the producers who attended the preview in Orlando quipped, “They all cashed their checks and no one returned the money they were paid for participating.”
Expelled spurred controversy a full year before its release. Yet no critic will be able to fault it on its quality, appeal and pure entertainment value. Aficionados of Michael Moore’s films – those diatribes that use twisted conspiracy theories and selective editing to achieve a leftwing political purpose – are already panning the film on its content alone as “propaganda.” This is, of course, hypocritical because all that Stein and his producers are asking is for a reasoned debate on I.D. and for new evidence to be considered without the risk of the questioners losing their jobs as teachers and professors.
The controversy and attacks are ironically what the producers need to stir up interest in the film. This will in turn make I.D. a viable option whose time has come. Expelled will weather a few attacks, which will give it a respectable box office return, always a better fate than to be quietly ignored. This is the same phenomenon that propelled The Passion of The Christ, The Da Vinci Code, and Fahrenheit 911 to be the highest grossing films of their genre. Apparently, the enemies of I.D. intend on making Expelled a huge success even though their de facto support is “not by intelligent design.”
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
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Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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