Faith vs. Science? Review of the film “The Unbelievers”
It’s almost midnight on September 13, 2014. I just finished watching “The Unbelievers” – a documentary following Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they travel the world speaking at different venues and events spreading their “gospel” of atheism. From time-to-time I watch films, documentaries, speeches, debates, etc. created by people with different beliefs than me to make sure I have some insight into their worldview before I engage them in conversation. After watching this documentary, I have a slew of different thoughts and feelings.
Growing up I remember having the feeling that it was wrong, maybe sinful, to ask difficult questions about the bible and the existence of God. I may have had this feeling because when I did open up and ask, I was never provided with good answers. Since religion wasn’t really a big part of my life (even though I would have claimed to be a Christian) I never really pressed the issues and I just left the questions alone.
However, when I was born again in November of 2007, everything in my life changed. I knew God was real. Before, I acknowledged that He was real, but now, it actually meant something. I knew that Jesus was my savior, and that the Holy Spirit was transforming me into a different person. My life would now be dedicated to follow Jesus by life or by death, no matter the cost or consequence. However, old questions from my past doubts kept coming to my memory. This time, instead of sweeping the questions under the rug, I decided to confront them face to face.
By this time the internet was fast, and easily accessible. I had a whole world of information that I could plunder to find answers to questions I had always wondered, and I could stream hours worth of video with no load time! I figured that if Jesus was “the truth” (as He said He was in John 14:6), then I had nothing to worry about as I sought out evidence. I probably watched hundreds of hours of debates between Christians and atheists, agnostics and other religions. My rationale behind watching debates, rather than just reading books or watching lectures was this: any great orator can persuade you to believe their point-of-view if they have the floor all to themselves… however, you see how air-tight their arguments are when put under the pressure of cross examination by someone of equal intelligence and talent.
I was stunned to watch debates from William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Michael Brown, and others. Not only were they holding their own against “The Brights” from top universities, they were actually making them look foolish as they pressed them to take their worldviews to their furthest conclusions. Documentaries like “Evolution vs. God” helped me realize the blind leap of faith atheists take to hold on to their beliefs. I found many other Christian apologists, scientists and philosophers, and realized that questions were okay to ask. I realized that I was right in thinking that if truth was on my side, I had nothing to fear. It opened my mind to freely think of some of the hardest questions I could ask about God and the bible – not in an accusatory way, but in a way that was humble, open, and desiring to find the truth.
This discovery also opened my understanding to the fact that “faith vs. science“ was a false dichotomy. Many scientists, doctors, philosophers, and brilliant thinkers from all areas of society are theists, and Christians. Science is actually based on the idea that we live in an ordered universe.
However, when watching The Unbelievers, it seemed as though the whole thrust of the documentary was to espouse their hatred for God and religion, and to pit up belief in God as being unscientific. The idea you are left with after watching the documentary is that there are two kinds of people:
1) Intelligent, educated people who believe in facts and science, and consequently believe that God does not exist
2) Delusional, dimwitted, primitive people who live in a fantasy world because they choose to believe in God despite the evidence, most likely because they may be psychologically imbalanced and they prefer to hold onto myths
To say the least, it was an egregious misrepresentation of theism (even though they primarily attacked Christianity). The documentary built up a straw man and then violently tore it down. Surprisingly, though the documentary followed two scientists giving speeches, none of the speeches were scientific; they were just anti-God. I’m not saying this just because I’m a Christian; there were literally no scientific talks given in this film.
I’m glad I watched the documentary because it gave me a glimpse into the rationale behind some of the people I care about who don’t believe in God. I don’t feel anger towards them by any means… but I do feel grieved. Besides being unscientific, atheism (the way it was presented in the documentary) is such a hopeless worldview; as they said things like “there is no meaning to life” and “you are more insignificant than you thought”. Though they attempted to add some optimism to the message by saying things like “since there is no meaning, you create your own meaning…” I felt it just exposed the real reason behind their hatred for God. Autonomy.
I would encourage all of my non-believing friends to watch debates from William Lane Craig on issues about origins and morality before being quick to accusing all Christians and theists of being illogical or unintelligent. Here are a couple of relevant debates:
Craig vs. Sam Harris on morality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcwJiF9nVjE
Craig vs. Peter Atkins on existence of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssq-S5M8wsY