Pyramid Scheme of Writing: God's Not Dead

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Ever been brought into a room where a presenter greets you and welcomes you and thanks you and invites you to open your mind? The presenter says, "I will show you how to make more money than you need, how to help your family financially, how you'll never have to work a day in your life again, and how to have all the ladies you want. This will change your life forever."

And then you think deeply to yourself, "What the fuck did I get myself into? Cuz Death can change my life forever, too, but I ain't goin' around wishin' for it."

I'd written my take on God's Not Dead, and how Harold Cronk, the director, had forced his hand on the movie by vilifying characters who weren't Christian to the tenth degree. His hand was so heavy he might as well have been masturbating. This is my example of being heavy handed, which of course sounds stupid. See Cronk?

And Rotten Tomatoes' rating at 17% reflects his efforts.

I'd heard many established writers talk about manipulative writing, and I don't completely understand what that is. But like anything else, I knew it when I saw Cronk's movie.

The premise of the film begins when a philosophy professor states God's dead. A Christian student disagrees, and the professor challenges him to convince the class otherwise. The student has three 20-minute sessions to do this over the course of the semester.

In my initial post, I had spared you the details of how the student manipulates scientific evidence to serve his purpose in his second session. I'm here to show what the student, ultimately Cronk, did.

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The student uses evolution to help support the existence of God (imagine my slanty eyes wide open like the size of half dollars, round-eye. Didn't think science and religion mixed.). In class, the student introduces us to Darwin (the antichrist) and explains that Darwin's theory of evolution detailed what happens with life, but not where it came from. The student goes on to say that Darwin surmised that lightning struck a pool of chemicals, and, shabam, life. Astutely, the student smirks and states it's not that simple.

Now my round-eyes are the size of silver dollars. For you youngens, that's twice as much as a half dollar and it ain't made of silver.

The student explains that Darwin claimed all life came from a simple celled organism. The padowan then quotes one of Darwin's famous statements, "Nature does not jump", meaning it takes a long time for evolution to happen.

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The wise student shows an analog clock, for you youngens that's a non-digital clock with needles that point to numbers, and asks the class to imagine 3.8 billion years, the time life existed on Earth, condensed down to a 24-hour period. He illustrates life as we know it had exploded onto the scene within the last ninety seconds and concludes that Nature does make a giant leap, in essence life was created instantly. This supports that God created all life in an instant.

Very clever. Or is it?

Now, let's look at the facts that the student presented, ignoring further facts that religions like Christianity put little faith in evolution, which was the first thought that came to mind when I watched this scene.

Life be on dis Earf for hella days: 3,800,000,000 years

24-hour day = 86,400 seconds

1 second = 43,981.48 years

90 seconds = 3,958,333.33 years

Don't worry. I'm Asian. I know how to do maf, I mean math. Sometimes my ghettoness comes out.

According to the student, all life as we know it came to be four million years ago, henceforth, here thereto, ala kazam, abracadabra, life came to be instantly. He didn't use the word abracadabra, but he did use the word instantly. In other words, evolution doesn't exist, Darwin is wrong, God does exist because he created life in an instant, (wave the magic wand) Nature makes a giant leap. I don't know, but 3.9 million years doesn't sound too instant to me. But, Jimmy, in the span of God, it is an instant. Geezus Kryst (facepalm). 

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This is all very manipulative. First, Cronk uses Darwin and his theory of evolution as a base to start with. It makes sense at first. Back in the 1850's Darwin was highly credited and known for the idea of evolution. I'm not sure Cronk knows this, but we as a people have learned a few things since then. Maybe that's why he's so stuck on a book that was supposedly written several thousand years ago.

I'd watched a documentary series by famed American astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Inexplicable Universe. He explains basic concepts of physics and the evolution of our understanding of the universe that includes Sir Isaac Newton's discoveries. Newton had given us a lot knowledge in regards to the forces at work in our universe, but even his work had to be revisited and revised to compensate for the new findings that physicists have since discovered. It's the natural order of knowledge and wisdom. Tyson even states that evolution does make jumps, scientist have discovered, eschewing the old idea that Nature does not.

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Just look at the number of breeds of dogs that exist today. Due to artificial selection, the dog's ancestor, the wolf, had been bred to Chihuahua through the Great Dane.

Then, Cronk has us imagine the existence of life's timeline on Earth in a 24-hour period, shows that complex life forms came to be within the last 90 seconds, implying instantaneous life. The problem with this is he ignores the 23 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds that life could have taken to evolve into what they've become in the last 90 seconds. Miss something there, pal?

All this masturbatory manipulation coats every single line, scene, and actor in the movie. And that's what I meant when I said Cronk's hand was heavy in this piece of shit, I mean work. He either didn't trust the audience to come to the conclusion that he wanted (tsk,tsk), or he made the film specifically for the converted; sorta like saying, "Hey, Jimmy. You're Asian because..."

"Ah soh, dat why my eye rook rike dat."

Suck My Dick

I was listening to a lecture about dating. The woman being interviewed stated specific things she looks for in men and gave an example of what she doesn't like. A guy had picked her up on their first date in a limo, took her to a very nice restaurant, and they ended up making out in the limo. He pushed her head to his crotch. She was immediately turned off, wasn't that impressed by the excessiveness of the date, and left the guy hanging...well pitchin' a tent.

When I talk to people who are in organized religion, I feel like that woman. Though there are times that I feel effeminate, but that's for another post.

I had worked for the USPS as a temp, and some of us were talking about the possible existence of UFO's. Another temp, a Christian, raised his head from the mail bin and said they absolutely do not exist. I asked why not? He said the Bible said so. I've only read snippets of the book, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't say UFO's do not exist. I'm also sure it doesn't even have UFO in it.

But, hey, I write about creatures that look satanic, so who am I?

I'd watched GOD'S NOT DEAD, directed by Harold Cronk, and I knew this movie was made by people who preach to the choir for the people who are in the choir. And in no way in Hell am I one of those people. Shit! I said Hell. Well...typed it. Twice!

I watched it because I'm curious about a lot of stuff, including the entity, force, or whatever people call God. The basic premise of the movie is that a philosophy professor challenges a Christian student to prove the existence of God. The professor, played by Hercules, Hercules—Kevin Sorbo—had stated to the class that God is dead, and the student wouldn't accept it. Challenge accepted!

Since we're supposed to be convinced that God does exist in the form that the Bible professes, there are two problems with the film.

First off, the student's argument for God's existence seems compelling. And the argument against is less compelling, a little manipulating, but that's OK.

The professor lost his belief in God when he witnessed his mother succumb to cancer. He prayed but God didn't save her. The student then rebuts and states sometimes the answer is no.

Uh...all right. So if I slapped you, then it's fine because sometimes I feel like slapping someone. I'm not God, so you say. But aren't we created in the image of God? See how I manipulated that? See how stupid that sounds?

I don't see dead people cause they're buried

Part of the professor's argument is Stephen Hawking, who claims in his book The Grand Design that the universe needed to be created so it created itself. The student then argues that that doesn't make sense. He uses this example (paraphrasing): It would be like claiming spam is the best tasting food because in all of history no food had tasted better. That statement proves nothing, professes the student, and he is correct. Creation vs Spam. Good points of reference to make when trying to prove God's existence.

The student then does some clever manipulation of words, which I'll spare you, and moves on to his next statement: Creation happened because God said it should happen.

I don't see how that statement is different than what Hawking claimed. Both suffer from the same failure, circular reasoning, as argued by the student in regards to Hawking's logic. 

In other words, you can't use the word to define that word. Define the word square:

Square - it's a shape in a form of a square.

Define spaghetti:

Spaghetti - an Italian dish in the form of spaghetti.

What makes the student's arguments compelling is his ability to manipulate our thinking much like a magician makes us look at one thing while he's doing another. And this is what I hate about organized religion. It's not the religion. If anything, all religions have similar goals, to give humans basic core values to live by.

But when people manipulate religion into something else, it pisses me off. And these people think they're so high and mighty they don't see that their own priests are committing atrocities like the molestation of boys.

Twisting of words, an evangelist most powerful tool, is the first problem with this film.

The second goes hand in hand with the first: vilifying those who oppose religion, in this case Christianity. The philosophy professor is the obvious aggressor and evil weasel antagonist. And we have the student's girlfriend who gives him an ultimatum, choose her or choose to accept the professor's challenge. Fine. He chose the challenge.

Hell to tha NO! He chose GOD.

Gawd, seriously? But the professor isn't the only one who was villainified. I know. That ain't a word. Neither was ain't and now it is!

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

We have a Muslim father who beats up her daughter who secretly listens to Christian music on her iPod. Is the iPod GOD approved? Then we have Superman—Dean Cain—who plays a highly insensitive douche that breaks up with his girlfriend when he finds out she has cancer. All are cartoonish in their villainous villainified ways.

Very manipulative.

I love Fruitvale StationIt's the story about a black man who was wrongly shot to death by a police officer at a BART station on New Year's Eve. Part of the genius of that film is that the police were not vilified. Because that's not what the story is about. It's about the last day of Oscar Grant's life, a remembrance of him as a human being.

So too should Cronk have focused on the debate instead of trying to manipulate us into the final answer that God does exist. History shows that forcing and manipulating an idea upon a people doesn't bode well. And the fact that Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 17% is a reflection that his manipulation hasn't gone unnoticed. And to be fair, many Christians didn't review the film well, either.

Had Cronk focused on the debate between student and teacher, even in his manipulating ways (Spam anyone?) it would have been more interesting and engrossing. All that other stuff—for gawd's sake, leave Superman out of it—just magnified his forced hand in the film. And he'd only do that if he didn't feel confident that he could convince people outside of the choir that God exists. Otherwise, why force the subject in the first place?