Sunday, May 20, 2012

In God We Trust

This is a low-budget documentary made about a small town where secularists and Christian extremists clash over religious flags at a taxpayer-funded veterans cemetery. It was made famous by commentary and viewing by Richard Dawkins.

In general, it's much of the same stuff that you will have seen in other documentaries about the subject. I see this is a classier version of Religulous, where Bill Maher just sort of beat up on some poor sots. Yes, they were uneducated and dogmatic, but just because Maher can make fun of them doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel like Maher is just beating up people. There's an especially sad point at around 1:12:00, with a man who has attempted suicide multiple times, but also has a skeptical, distrustful streak.

This documentary, while treading similar ground, does it with a less mocking tone. It's obviously judgmental; it still posits that these people are wrong, but it does so in a subtle way. It lets us experience what these people believe without much framing from the documentarian, and as such it's sort of preaching to the choir. This won't change minds because the documentary views these people through certain eyes, and it assumes that you are viewing them with the same eyes.

For those with a philosophical mind, the movie will be a bit boring. None of these people are terribly advanced thinkers. A preacher at one point early in the film isn't even aware of the Bible's explicit acceptance, and encouragement, of slavery. My advice to you is to just go off and get angry at another William Lane Craig video.

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