This is a spawn of "Super Size Me," an expose' on the perils of over-eating.
In that documentary by Morgan Spurling, the call to a reasoned adjustment
in practice and belief is for the sake of physical health; in this case the
call is for a gain in mentality and reason. Either way, a demonstration of
facts is the tool used to influence behavior and a more reasoned way of
Or, so writer/director/documentarian/former Christian fundamentalist Brian
Flemming would have you believe after tracing the facts and fictions that
brought us the church and its doctrine. For the job, he uses visual aids
and enlists top religion experts for their take on what would seem to be
a massive and effective snow job rooted in the make-believe.
But, what a snow-job! In terms of influencing minds and producing commercial
immortality for centuries, there are no awards great enough to bestow on the
fictions underlying Christianity. Neither the Nobel, the Pulitzer, nor
having the Pope ring the bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange are
Using the style and pacing of a thriller as much as he could muster from the
editing board and music tracks, the essentials of Flemming's argument is that
there's no historical evidence that a man named Jesus actually existed, that
references by contemporary historians have been cynically manipulated to
substantiate the fabrication, and that the books that comprise the New
Testament is mostly fictional allegory drawn from nearly identical imagery
copycatted from religions that preceded it. God, it isn't even original!
There's a certain sadness in the way a concept from a prior age gets accepted
as truth, as memories fade or are misrepresented. Before you know it, you
have a generation who knows nothing but what they're told in a party-line
indoctrination from childhood that bears a sinister relationship to
propaganda--in this case, in order to preserve power and cash flow.
Santa Claus is a product of commercialism strictly from 20th century origins,
yet it seems to be generally thought of as timeless. The motto "In God We
Trust" replaced "E Pluribus Unum" on U.S. dollar bills in 1956 amidst anti-
communist fervor, yet there it still remains decades after the collapse of the
Soviet Union. An act of Congress is all it would take to return to the "One
From Many" motto formulation for our world standard currency, but it's
guarded by the religious power base in America as though it were inviolable.
So, how does Flemming think he's going to appeal to his born-again brethren
who haven't yet submitted childhood indoctrination to the clear sensibility
of common sense, let alone the cold analysis of intelligent thought? Well,
he is saying, all you can do is try.
There's little need for those who have already fallen into the hell of
atheism to see this DVD -- no need preaching to the choir. But the
demographic that has most to gain by the facts presented are those of the
faith who have had doubts and those who haven't had the conviction yet to
reject the religious precepts of their parents and instructors that seem true
only because they're so prevalent. This DVD is a filter for the brain
At the very least, in a time of awareness and scientific progress, one can
only hope that an adoption of a standard of evidence may convince Americans
that separation of church and state (Jefferson, 1782) is as vital to their
true interests in a diverse society as is the certainty of evolution. As far
as teachings of morality, let's base it on equal respect for all religions
that don't teach murder or that try to dominate a democratic, multi-belief
culture. All else is either destructive, or Santa Claus.
[Dvd extras: Extensive interviews, slide shows, music track by
David Byrne. 4x3 ratio, Dolby, 62 minutes including special features, 259.]
~~ Jules Brenner