by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
This past week I got a chance to see the movie by Ray Comfort called “The Atheist Delusion”. Today I’m going to share a few of my thoughts on it.
So the title of this article is a little misleading since the movie I’m reviewing, “The Atheist Delusion”, is similar but not the same as my title. That’s because upon doing research for this review, I found that Ray totally ripped off his title of his new movie from a book by the same name with basically the same topic. Actually there are two books out there with the same or similar titles: The Atheist Delusion by Phil Fernandes Ph.D. published b Xulon Press, April 6, 2009, and Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart, Yale University Press, published April 21, 2009. If you are interested, there is also the Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski, Basic Books, August 26, 2009. Why all of these books with similar titles in 2009, I began to wonder? When did Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist scientist come out with his book, the God Delusion, I asked myself. Well it turns out that all of these books and the Comfort movie are in response to Dawkins who published his book in 2006, which was then released in the United States in 2008. Buy the way, I haven’t read any of the other books, but they all have great reviews and sound really, really interesting.
Having said that, the movie I’m reviewing has nothing to do with the books as far as I can tell, and it shows. I have to say, that is a shame because it sounds like anyone of these books would be a far greater tool to convince young atheists of the error of their ways than this movie was. Ray Comfort, who founded Living Waters, is a guy who likes to take his camera down to the beach and ambush young millennials in order to shame them away from their atheistic hedonism and bring them back into the light of Christianity. He has this thing about lying and “fornication”, what the rest of us would call pre-marital sex, and lust. This movie is no different, except this time he’s armed with a bit of fact. He’s latched onto the idea that DNA, that is deoxyribonucleic acid, the building blocks of you and me and everything living, is so complicated and elegant that it cannot be a result of random chance and evolution.
Talking to young millennial college students on the campus of their university, he asks them all the same question: are you an atheist? If they are, then he launches on an analogy that he is sure will work. He presents a book to them, supposedly by himself, talking about evolution and the elegance of DNA and he asks them. “You see this book, with the words, graphics, pictures and so on? Would you say this book is the result of random chance and evolution, or is it the result of intelligent design?” When they inevitably agree that it is the result of design, he goes on and explains to the young minds full of mush that DNA, like a book, is a result of design; complicated and elegant, with a language and structure that is the code for all of life. Everything you are, from your eye color, skin color, hair, your personality, your body type, the condition of your mind, everything you are is a result of DNA. Now how in the world can all of this be the result of random chance and mutation over any given amount of time? Does that make sense to you?”
When the millennials reluctantly agree that he’s right, it does sound far fetched, Ray goes into his regular spiel, shaming the kids into a confession of their sinful nature and hopefully getting a few of them to convert to Christianity on the spot. Most however, shrug their shoulders a little, maybe they’ll think about it, but most likely they won’t and they go right back to class.
It’s disappointing in that I can see that Ray is kind of on the right track with his reasoning, when presented with the facts about human DNA, indeed anything biological, one must wonder how people still cling to the moribund notion that we are all just “star dust” as Neil deGrasse Tyson and others like him would have us believe, the results of millennia of random chances and mutation, in essence, cosmic accidents.
But in my view, Ray cuts too soon to the theological shaming and doesn’t build his case for intelligent design quite enough for my taste. After all, DNA is extremely fascinating and thought provoking, and a mere 62 minute movie, half of which his dedicated to DNA is not enough time to change someone’s perspective, certainly not enough for young college students who have been fed the lie of evolution their whole lives.
Indeed, if I showed this movie my young nephew, an atheist himself and quite an intelligent one, I think he would laugh at me in the first 20 minutes and stalk off uninterested. If you show this to anyone, in your Sunday Schools or your churches, make sure it’s the younger ones just starting their science instruction. The older teens and tweens won’t give this one much credence at all. Which, I have to say, is very disappointing. I’m always looking for better tools to convince younger people about the implausibility of the evolutionary worldview and the non-theology theology of the New Atheist. This one wouldn’t be my first choice; indeed, it’s like taking a single-shot 12 gauge to a gunfight when everyone else has automatic weapons.
Someone once said that the language and code contained within DNA surpasses the words contained in the world’s largest library, over a 6 billion letters. Another writer, not quite as ambitious in his estimation, said it was the equivalent of 1.5 gigabytes of data, approximately the same as 6,700 books, enough to fill a CD-ROM disc, still quite impressive. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2680849/How-gigabytes-does-make-HUMAN-Physicians-works-genetic-code-just-1-5GB-data.html
Considering the scope of the genetic code, it is hard for me to fathom why people still cling to the idea that there is not a higher power and intelligence behind it. Indeed, the necessary elements required to produce life of any sort on this planet far exceeds the burden of anything that can be produced through evolution given any amount of time, a total statistical possibility. I’m left with the idea that people still cling to this outrageous idea, through faith alone, because the idea gives them a certain amount of liberty from traditional values and norms, which they feel are too restrictive. People don’t want to be held accountable to an invisible sky-god who they think is at best a fable and fairy tale and at worst, an uncaring, evil tyrant. If you are convinced you are an animal barely above the most complex and higher animals, then you are free from law and regulations and are relegated to the so-called, law of survival of the fittest. What you get out of life is what you can get for yourself, so it is better to abandon restrictive ethical norms and do what you can to secure what you want and need. As someone said in a film I recently saw on Netflix, there are two kinds of people, those who struggle and those who get what they want.
By ditching the traditional Judeo-Christian values, the atheist sheds his restrictions and embraces his baser nature. It has to feel liberating, for a while. But it is the subtle lie that blinds so many, that is why it is so urgent that we try to counteract the folks like Richard Dawkins who try and are very successful in swaying our young and pulling them away from our churches.
I had high hopes for this movie therefore, because I understand the urgency. But I felt that Comfort concentrated too little on the elegance of nature and proceeded too soon into his wheelhouse, shaming youth in blatant street ambush attacks. I’m sorry, but I don’t give this movie much better than a two-star in a scale of five. Comfort fails to build on his information on the DNA and lead them on a solid path towards a Christian worldview. He barely transitions from the idea of a creator and proceeds directly to the Bible, assuming that any of these kids have any idea about basic Christian tenants. Indeed, many of these youths probably have never been to church or Sunday school. Convincing them to convert after a 20-minute discussion is just a bride too far, in my view.
There are other tools in the toolbox to train and persuade, I just don’t rate this one very highly all.
If you want a very good alternative to this movie to show to youth and use as a pursuation tool, I recommend The Privileged Planet and the book by the same name. It does a much better job that this movie does.
For an atheist’s perspective read the following:
Watch “The Priviledged Planet” trailer below.