Your guide through the world of Christendom is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming
, who unflinchingly examines believers and the origins of their beliefs.
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:
also explores his
own experiences within fundamentalist Christianity at a cult-like school that taught him how how and what to believe.
confronts the man in charge of educating the schools 1800 students, and this superintendents inability to justify what he
teaches is revealing and distressing.
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
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.
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.
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.
In school, Brian
was paranoid that hed accidentally denied the Holy Spirit by doubting its existence.
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.
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.
asks a simple question: What evidence do you have that the world works this way?
Its a faith issue.
has no empirical data.
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
way out, Brian notices that the school chapel is open.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brian has also produced and directed nonfiction works for Bravo, the Independent Film Channel, Beliefnet and ABC.com.
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.
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)
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
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
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
But does Flemming
really think hes going to change any minds with this movie?