Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Ben Stein's "Expelled"

I'm usually quite impatient with people who want to argue for or against creation and evolution.  I like Ben Stein, so I decided to go see the movie he was in, about Intelligent Design, as I know nothing about it.  The movie was good, I thought.  Stein trying to be Michael Moore didn't work, and none of the humour really flew, but hearing long, unMichael Moore styled interviews which weren't edited all to crap and easy to take out of context, with really smart people whose voices aren't normally heard, and to see the emotional responses of the evolutionists to having their assumptions questioned, that made it worth watching, I thought, though I'm sure many wouldn't agree. I was interviewed right afterward by a guy from a Christian radio station.  I was trying hard to not just help him preach a sermon, and to be harder to peg than he wanted me to be.  He wanted an unbeliever to prove wrong, or a believer to agree.  I was trying hard to be a believer who didn't necessarily agree with his approach, focus or preoccupations.  You can listen to the entire, unedited thing here (July 11th "Politics and Popcorn" episode).


Anonymous said...

Nice job dodging the pigeonholes and still getting reality across!

Wikkid Person said...

Trouble is, it made me sound more uncertain than I wanted to.

Anonymous said...

i got a 'refuse to label' feeling more than uncertainty.

Wikkid Person said...

Well, I'm just glad I didn't come across like a gibbering idiot.

Kevl said...

Hi Micheal,

I'm Kevin from The Cross Current radio show. (you spoke with Cory, but I wrote the episode) Thanks for taking the time after the show to chat with us. We had a great time in Ottawa, and gotta say that's a pretty nice theatre. AMC right? Loved the little area outside with all the shops connected. Hard to find a nicer spot to chat with people.

I'm writing to comment on one part of your post.

"He wanted an unbeliever to prove wrong, or a believer to agree."

Truly, we're not like that at all. If we were then your interview wouldn't have been the one we would have used right? :)

I want to write a bit about our interviews, because it seems like some here aren't getting what we're doing. And I'd like everyone to. :)

We are never seeking to "prove someone wrong" the "formula" is to show someone things they have not considered and how they connect to the culture today. This is how the tag line "Keeping the Cross current in the culture" came from. There are lots of "Christian" organizations that want to argue with people.. frankly there are "enough" of those. Winning an argument doesn't have much eternal value does it? For the non-believer our conversations are completely about getting them to view the Cross that they've been convinced isn't of any value to them. Is 45:22 Num 21:8-9 2 Chro 2:12 Michah 7:7 John 3:14-18

When we speak with believers we are not looking for validation. The conversation with believers can have a bunch of different purposes.. some in the past have been to show the influence of the World on members of the Body of Christ, to showing how this influence takes away our credibility with the lost, to showing how suffering is dealt with. Suffering is one of the strongest (powerful, not valid) arguments the lost person can have against trusting God. Logical conversations assist but testimony is often wins the day to allow a person to hear the Word of God and thereby gain faith. Rom 10:17

We weren't looking to prove someone wrong, or a believer to validate us, or even just agree. We refer to the show as a "reality radio with a spiritual speaker's corner aspect" because we really do let people have their say. Of course we will always return to the Word to bring it back to the Gospel. That's what we've been called to do. People are dying right now and stepping out of this world into an eternity of suffering. We want people to be saved from that, and even more we want people to have Eternal Life right now. And Eternal Life is knowing (a deep experience of) Christ and that really can start right now.

OK that's enough about that! :)

Micheal, as I was listening to your interview I was concerned for you on some things.. and those were covered a bit in the episode. But what did strike me is your love of God's Grace. I can't remember your wording but I remember thinking this guy actually has been reading his Bible on that topic. And that's great.

Hopefully this post is received as friendly, because it is.

Bless you!

Wikkid Person said...

(Well, it was friendly until you got all "concerned for me.")

As you know, no one likes to be preached at. Your program really does a great job of letting people speak, but then you always, of course, get the last word by sticking more talking on afterwards, apparently to "make sure people aren't confused as to what the right answers to these questions should have been." Perhaps that's not the intent?

Cory was smart, quick and direct, but equally, his "sales" background made the clear fact that he was pushing an agenda (wanting to "sign people up for this limited time offer") quite hard to miss. I mean, you have an agenda, which is a different thing from being open to conversation, right? I think it's an either/or thing. You can't say "We want to hear what you have to say" and then "correct" what everyone says once they've said it and aren't around to respond, right?

The fact is, you feel you know the answers (and fine, right?) but then you are asking questions, apparently purely as an intro to trying to guide them toward the answers you feel you have. Am I wrong?

I guess to my view this smacks of "We're only pretending to be interested in what you think for its own merit, but actually, it's a bit of a trick. You wouldn't listen to us if we just started in preaching, so we have very wisely seen that the thing to do is ask you something first, so we get to talk too."
Feel free to let me know how you feel about this, too. I'm not trying to hurt your cause, but my cynicism as to how people evangelize is really showing, I realize. As a non-evangelist, my view should be taken with a grain of salt, obviously.

Kevl said...

Hi Micheal,

Isn't it friendly to be concerned for someone? I mean you'd be concerned for someone you saw doing something that was dangerous right? That would mean you were thinking yourself to be higher than they or whatever. It would be motivated by honest concern right?

We do have an agenda, and that is to fulfill the "Great Commission" of Mark 16:15

I believe the Bible when it says those who are not saved are going to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Rev 20:15 and that anyone who believes the Gospel will be saved. 1 Cor 15:1-2 Mark 16:16 among multitudes of other verses.

But how does a person get to believe? Rom 10:17 right. That "word" is ρηματος or the "spoke word" it is the testimony of God. Testimony has to be connected to the person it has to be 'real' So that's what we do. We pick a topic based on what we hear people talking about and then go talk to people about it... we then connect their experience to the Bible and specifically the Gospel. So that they will "hear the Word of God" and through hearing come to faith. So they be saved by Grace through faith. Eph 2:8

You said I'm not trying to hurt your cause, but my cynicism as to how people evangelize is really showing, I realize. As a non-evangelist, my view should be taken with a grain of salt, obviously.

I'm cynical about how many people try to evangelize too. It normally comes in a few flavors... "fire and brimstone preaching to people" where their sin is front and center and Grace never enters the picture. They are sinners going to Hell and are left trying to figure out what to do about it... while the so called preacher thinks he's done a great job. OR.. it's this idea of "just living a good life in front of people so they'll ask 'what's different about that guy?'"

Both of those are great.. believe it or not... but NEITHER gets the person saved because in the first place the sinner learns they are a sinner but never gets the Cure. In the second case the sinner learns that God loves them and changes people but never gets the Word to believe in so they will have faith and be saved.

We honestly do care what people say and think. Is someone going to be able to convince any of us that the Bible isn't true? No. We've investigated it thoroughly. If the Bible is wrong then our faith is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men. 1 Cor 15:12-19

But I can care what someone says without having the expectation that they are going to be able to convince me that the Bible is wrong. I care because where they are is how God is going to get to them.

We get the last say... well the context of that is wrong.. but ya we do.. kinda but really it's God who gets the last say. In the end when the world has tried to stand against Him, having rejected His graceful offer of Salvation.. He's gonna laugh. Ps 2:1-6

People have to know that Faith is in something REAL. Heb 11:1 Faith is not something that is "hoped" for in the idea of how we "hope" our team will win the Stanley Cup (because like this year that kinda hope can get dashed...) in the Bible things "hoped" for are things that are expected because God said it would happen. Hope is "confident expectation" or waiting for something that is going to happen.

So.. yes we do have an agenda. To preach the Gospel with truth, faithfulness and compassion. As though God were pleading through us for people to be reconciled to Him. 2 Cor 5:20

But even with our agenda, we do our very best to preserve the content and context of the things people say when we broadcast interviews. Because people tell us things in confidence that their words will retain that context.

We're not afraid to have someone tell us we're wrong, and we'll gladly broadcast someone saying that.. because we know that no matter if we are right or wrong, the Bible is right and trustworthy.

Thanks for your reply to me. I know this got long and wordy.. I'm trying to cover too much... If I knew you it would be easier to to keep my comments short.

Bless you!

Wikkid Person said...

It is responsible to be concerned for someone and let them know of their danger. You haven't quite done that yet. Feel free. In discussions about doctrine, saying you're "concerned for someone" is quite the opposite of friendly, obviously. It's a way of saying "You're wrong and it's going to bite you on the ass." Or so I've observed.
Your thoughts have made me think (and blog) a lot. Thanks for not just judging me.

Kevl said...

Hi Again,

I'll listen to your interview again - because it's TERRIBLE when someone starts "correcting" you over something the THINK you said. :)

I'll get back soon.

Bless ya!

Wikkid Person said...

Quite right. And I actually do think more of the bible than I come across in that interview as thinking. I was trying very hard to stress the idea that the bible contains the truth alright, but is full of true things that people didn't recognize or understand when they eventually came to fruition, because they weren't how the people imagined they were going to be. I imagine we're no better. So, yes, the bible tells us true things, but I don't feel the human brain is big enough to contain "the Truth" (i.e. the correct relationships and essential natures of all things) nor does the bible seek to convey every aspect of it. Glass darkly and all of that. Jesus said he was the truth, and obviously I feel that those who knew him on earth had an advantage over us in a way, as we may have lots of written scripture, but we didn't get to hang out and get a first-hand personal sense of the man, y'know? So, the bible and the son of God are not exactly the same thing in my view, nor is the experience of them the same thing, though the relationship (as to logos and truth) is there and is complicated.

Kevl said...

Hi, I'm listening to your interview now. As you can imagine I'm a busy guy. :)


Wikkid Person said...

If you want to know what I think about God, you should read my latest blog entry, or some of it. It will tell you far more than my behaviour in the Expelled interview, obviously.

Kevl said...

There are a couple of things that gave me pause and concern. First was your immediate stance of argument, at least that's the way it sounds to me. The second is this quote about the Bible "It's old, it's translated, it's re-edited, it's from a bunch of different sources.." Then you added some confidence "but I do believe it's eye witness accounts of real things."

Both of these are attitudes we commonly encounter in the World, they are not surprising, but they do give me concern when it is coming from someone who proclaims faith in the Lord.

The Bible is old, and it has been translated but it does not suffer from "re-editing" and it is all from One Source, though penned by many people.

You might not be aware of the practices of Scribes but the old tale of stories passed on and gradely morphing doesn't hold water in this case. The Bible has been perfectly preserved and that can be seen from things are recent as the Dead Sea Scrolls and as old as scripture fragments 3,000 years old. If it were stories and if it had been passed on verbally then it may have changed.. but it was always known to be direct revelation from God and treated as such. And it was passed down in "peer reviewed" (hehe) Text. The Scribes would not allow the simpiliest of errors to pass. One tiny error and the entire scroll would be considered ruined.

I'm traveling and won't be able to interact here for over a week. Be blessed in the Lord.


Wikkid Person said...

I said that the bible was old, translated re-edited and from a bunch of different sources. And it is. I didn't then make (nor do I believe) any of the conclusions you appear to be fighting against.

But seriously, if you want to know what I really think and feel (and if you need to "be concerned" or not) then you should read my "Approaching God" blog entry, rather than parsing my words when speaking off-the-cuff about Expelled.