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Wrong Brian Flemming?

Mr. Brian Flemming

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Background Information

Employment History

Rational Response Squad

Creator

The God

Screenwriter and Film Director

Bat Boy LLC.

Blogs

On-Air Reporter

KTTV

Affiliations

Founder
Free Cinema

Member
The Actors' Gang

Religious Historian
University of Louisville

Fellow Robert M. Price, Author Sam Harris and Historian Richard Carrier
Jesus Seminar

Founder
Slumdance

Developer
Blasphemy Challenge

Education

University of California at Irvine

Village Christians Schools

William Shatner School of Acting

English

UC Irvine

Ph.D.

neuroscience

Web References (199 Total References)


The God Who Wasn't There | The Rational Response Squad

www.rationalresponders.com [cached]

Brian Flemming creator of the God Movie has co-oped with us so that we can sell the movie to you and earn money for the Rational Response Squad at the same time.


Your guide through the world of ...

www.thegodmovie.com [cached]

Your guide through the world of Christendom is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming , who unflinchingly examines believers and the origins of their beliefs. He gets help from such luminaries as esteemed folklorist Alan Dundes ( Holy Writ as Oral Lit ), Jesus Seminar fellow Robert M. Price ( Deconstructing Jesus ) and neuroscientist Sam Harris ( The End of Faith ).

Along with Brian, you will discover:
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Brian Flemming also explores his own experiences within fundamentalist Christianity at a cult-like school that taught him how how and what to believe. Ultimately, he confronts the man in charge of educating the schools 1800 students, and this superintendents inability to justify what he teaches is revealing and distressing.
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The first century of Christianity is largely undiscussed in Christian culture, and Brian discovers why: It turns out that there is a gap of several decades between the supposed life of Jesus and the appearance of the first gospel account of his life.
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If you answered no to that, you obviously havent seen The Passion of the Christ . Using clips taken directly from Mel Gibsons film, director Brian Flemming analyzes the extreme gore and shows the steps Gibson took to emphasize blood and suffering as much as possible. This section is not for the squeamish.
What does it mean that the most popular Jesus film by far is one that contains nonstop bloody slaughter? Why was this film the single most powerful spiritual experience of their lives for countless Christians?
Well, Christianity has always had a dark side, and Flemming now explores it.
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Brian learned to be a fundamentalist when he attended Village Christians Schools in Sun Valley, California. The school mascot was the Crusader--because the mission of the school was to battle the secular world. The school handbook even says that Satan works through other versions of Christianity to deceive people, so Village positions itself in opposition to liberal, moderate and Catholic Christianity as well.
But Brian relates that the most frightening aspect of his time at Village was having relentlessly pounded into him the idea that there was one unforgivable sin . Jesus would forgive you for almost anything, but for some reason the Bible says theres one sin that, if you do it, you can never go anywhere but Hell, no matter what you do.
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In school, Brian was paranoid that hed accidentally denied the Holy Spirit by doubting its existence. He spent a lot of time in the school chapel talking to Jesus, asking if Jesus could still save him, even if hed broken the one unbreakable rule.
Curious about why the caring adults who run Village Christian Schools would teach their 1800 students these terrifying ideas, Brian heads to the school, to interview the man in charge, superintendent Dr. Ronald Sipus.
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In the superintendents office, Brian asks Dr. Sipus to lay out the Christian doctrine taught at Village Christian Schools, and Sipus says the school only teaches that which is absolutely necessary for salvation--the need for the Holy Spirit, and the need for a relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Then Brian asks a simple question: What evidence do you have that the world works this way? Sipuss answer? Its a faith issue. He admits he has no empirical data. Brian asks, then, if it isnt irresponsible to teach children a theory that he has no evidence to back up.
Sipus disagrees but cant explain why. And then he shows what someone in his position does when even mildly challenged to support their religious ideas instead of getting a free pass--he ends the interview. The man in charge of the education of 1800 children cant explain why he teaches them what he does.
On his way out, Brian notices that the school chapel is open. Inside, he turns the camera on himself, looks into the lens and says, Here in the chapel where I first accepted Jesus as my personal savior, I just want to say one thing: I deny the Holy Spirit.
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BRIAN FLEMMING ( writer, director, producer, narrator ) is a film director and playwright whose work has been called "jaggedly imaginative" by the New York Times , "a parallel universe" by the BBC and "immensely satisfying" by USA Today . The Fox News Channel dubbed Flemming "a young Oliver Stone. He is the co-writer (with Keythe Farley and Laurence O'Keefe) of Bat Boy: The Musical , a stage play based on a story about a half-bat half-boy in the tabloid Weekly World News . It won the 2001 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Off- Broadway and six Drama Desk nominations in New York. Bat Boy has since been staged in Londons West End, Germany and Japan. John Landis ( Blues Brothers , Animal House ) will direct the film adaptation of the play.
Brian also wrote and directed a faux documentary about the assassination of Bill Gates called Nothing So Strange , which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2002.
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Brian has also produced and directed nonfiction works for Bravo, the Independent Film Channel, Beliefnet and ABC.com.
 
Brian is currently at work on The Beast , a fictional feature film about a Christian high school student who stumbles across evidence that Jesus Christ never existed.
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The film developed out of Brian Flemming and Amanda Jacksons research for the fictional feature film The Beast , which will be released on 6-6-06 (thebeastmovie.com)
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Thats the reaction I had when I first heard the notion, says The God Who Wasnt There director Brian Flemming. It sounded crazy, but then I asked myself, Why do I believe he did exist?
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Flemming targeted the date 6-6-06 for the release of this feature film (which begins principal photography under a veil of secrecy in early July 2005).
While doing further research, Flemming realized he had the makings of a documentary on the subject, so he began work on The God Who Wasnt There in October 2004. But what began as a straightforward informational film on the Christ Myth quickly evolved into an exploration of his own battles with religious faith.
There was no way to avoid it, says Flemming.
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But does Flemming really think hes going to change any minds with this movie?


The God Who Wasn't There -- refuted

www.tektonics.org [cached]

Brian Flemming's The God Who Wasn't There The God Who Wasn't There -- refuted

The God Who Wasn't There: A Critique
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It consists of Flemming mourning his prior fundamentalist upbringing, to the point of him childishly ending the film in the chapel he was "saved" in and declaring his apostasy there.
It is clear Flemming is "on a mission" and will do anything to accomplish it. He apparently lied to his former school principal about the purpose of his interview with him. In April 2006 he orchestrated a "War on Easter" in which his fans left copies of the DVD and other related material into churches.
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One of the links below notes that Flemming offers conclusions that Carrier in particular otherwise disagrees with (such as that Nazareth did not exist), which would be fine except that Flemming is offering a strongly counter-consensus position in which he'll need a solid and consistent mode of defense.
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One of the links below notes that Flemming offers conclusions that Carrier in particular otherwise disagrees with (such as that Nazareth did not exist), which would be fine except that Flemming is offering a strongly counter-consensus position in which he'll need a solid and consistent mode of defense.
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Flemming has stated that the reaction of the church to the film has been to ignore it and hope it will go away. In that case, where is Flemming with his replies to all this that we've refuted before? He claims that there has been no reply to Earl Doherty's Jesus Puzzle. Oh, no? We have.
Rather dishonest were Flemming's "Christian on the street" interviews in which he asked people if they had ever heard of Mithra, Attis, etc. (under the assumption that his material from the likes of Graves was accurate). I really wish he'd run into some Tekton readers instead, but I expect he would have edited all of that out.
Flemming seems to have been particularly bothered by dispensational eschatology, which leads me to wonder what he'd have to say to to a preterist.
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It will do no good to say that Flemming does not say explicity, "Because Christianity was wrong about heliocentrism/geocentrism, it is also wrong about Jesus, salvation," or whatever else. The lack of explicit statement is only a cover to make the same point obliquely and plant the same suggestion. The same goes for his use of the word "maybe" which has all the power of erasing the fallacy as, "Maybe Flemming is planning to assassinate the President" has on erasing the associations that that brings up. There is no logical connection to say that if X is wrong about Y, X may also be wrong about Z, where Y and Z are matters of entirely different subjects. (Here, astronomy -- a science accessible to very few for the vast majority of history -- versus historical issues; though Flemming never makes it clear what exactly he is trying to establish Christian ignorance of). Flemming fails to realize or mention that geocentrism was the belief that was also held by pre-Christian pagan writers and scientists. As noted by an academic source (now offline): Indeed, the Greek astronomer Heracleides (c.390-310 BC) was one of the first to propose that the Earth rotates on its axis. He was a pupil and assistant at Plato's Academy in Athens, later opening his own school in Pontus. He also put Earth in the center of the universe, proposing that the Sun revolves about the Earth and the planets Mercury and Venus revolve around the Sun.
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X person (Flemming) was wrong about Y (Christianity being true, by his view).
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.... one may answer Flemming by noting that a philosophy should not be judged by its abuse. One could make a similar apologetic against atheism by naming atheists like Stalin, Mao, and the Khmer Rouge who were responsible for the killing fields of Cambodia. Every one of these despots and brutal governments embraced atheism and oppressed people. One could easily produce a "documentary" showing Flemming and his guests smiling and happy with their atheism, then turn to photographs of Stalin who killed 7 million, Pol Pot who killed 1.2 million, and of course Mao who killed more than 70 million.
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3 - The Story of Jesus -- Not much here to comment on; Flemming offers mostly description, and no argument as such (beyond the implied anamoly of a lack of description of Jesus' life between 12 and 30, answered by the point that ancient biographies usually covered little or none of a person's childhood or life for that period -- see on this the May-June 2009 edition of the E-Block).
Flemming apparently thinks the "three" magi are in the Bible (it nowhere says there were three).
4 - What Happened Next? -- This begins the case of the film, and it should be noted in fairness that not too much may be expected from a case made in summary (versus detailed interviews also on the DVD, though even those end up lacking depth).
Flemming offers "man on the street" interviews that ask Christians how Christianity spread and poses astonishment at the explanations lacking in substance. One wonders why it didn't occur to him to interview credible scholars like Witherington or Wright, especially since he deigned to interview scholars (to some extent) for support of his view.
It is, that said, only "hard" to answer the questions posed, if only because the questions asked were far from specific. What does Flemming want? An account of the social factors that accompanied the mission work of Christianity? A method guide to how preaching and teaching was done? Flemming apparently doesn't know how to ask good questions, because after this the subject turns to the matter of the NT record (so why isn't Flemming asking people what the dates of the Gospels were, for example?).
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In close, it is disingenuous as well for Flemming to claim that Christians don't "talk about" what he alleges to be problems. If he had any familiarity at all with the range of scholarship available (our links above give examples in the bibliographies) he would not say such things.
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Flemming makes no effort to look at Christianity in its social context (as we do here) or to actually prove that any part of the story is an "urban legend" or to show that such legends in particular would be easily accepted (they would not be).
Notably he couldn't (apparently) get the masters of snopes.com to say such a thing about Christianity. Perhaps Flemming would also like not to mention that snopes.com often confirms stories as well as debunking them.
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8 - Pagan Saviors/ 9- Satan Did It/ 10 -- Christians Don't Know -- Flemming makes use of Graves' "16 Crucified Saviors" list and the crucified Orpheus icon, both of which are highly questionable and in the latter case is a known forgery. On Justin Martyr see GDon's comments here. Please note how badly Justin's comments are misused in the context of his entire arguments.
And no, contrary to Flemming, "Satan did it" is not "the explanation to this day". See our series on each "pagan savior" here. Flemming also dishonestly interviews everyday Christians again -- why not scholars instead? Why not indeed, we at this site?
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Flemming makes no effort to show that this is the case, but merely counterposes a depiction of what appears to be an Aztec sacrifice with the crucifixion.
The reason blood plays such an important role in so many varied rituals is likely because it is the one thing (other than skin) that best represents the whole of the human body and the life within it as a totality. One may as well reply that it is Flemming who are "obsessed" with blood, in the sense of being afraid of it. Why should anything be different simply because of the fears of a few?
Objections about The Passion are of little substance. Let it be said for the record that I was not impressed by it myself (blood is not the true focus of the historical event anyway; see here), but the film was reasonably accurate historically in terms of what crucifixion victims actually went through, and if Flemming has an issue with that, why isn't he crusading against gory Hollywood endeavors as well?
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What does Flemming think this proves?
14 - Moderate Christianity -- Flemming never clearly defines what he means by "moderate Christianity" other than by the point of the OT penalty on homosexuals (on that issue of the relevance of the OT law, see here). Otherwise this section is a random pastiche of declarations with the apparent message of, "The Religious Right is bad."
Pictures of Bush, Abu Ghirbab, Luke 19:27 (see GDon's comments on Flemming's misuse of that), the Inquisition (far more complex than Flemming realizes), Bailey Smith's "God does not hear a prayer of a Jew" (just as the Hebrew Bible says of those that are disobedient, after all...), and all about NT anti-Semitism (actually, the average Jewish peasant of the day would have felt much the same about the ruling class).
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Why does Flemming choose to interview the likes of Scott Butcher, when scholars like Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Ben Witherington, or even John Walvoord are around?
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It is also hypocritically ironic for


Bloggasm: Was it good for you? » yahoo

bloggasm.com [cached]

1. Interview with Brian Flemming, director of The God Who Wasn’t There


Brian Flemming creator of ...

www.rationalresponders.com [cached]

Brian Flemming creator of the God Movie has co-oped with us so that we can sell the movie to you and earn money for the Rational Response Squad at the same time.

Check out the pictures below from the War on Easter and look forward to the War on Christmas!Buy it today to support the Squad and Brian Flemming.View some pictures from one of our many successful missions, in the War on Easter.You're RRS login and password work for the "War on Christmas" site.Check it out! Air our God Movie Commercial on your freethought show or radio stream!

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