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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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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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.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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