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Click to see the trailer (in Quicktime format)

Also see this segment from the film: History of the Gospels

 
The God Who Wasn't There
A Film Beyond Belief
 
by Brian Flemming (writer, director, producer, narrator)
and Amanda Jackson (co-producer)
Beyond Belief Media, 2005
 
A documentary film about Christian folklore and myth
Review by Jim Walker


Once I saw the trailer of this movie (click image above), it promised to fit so well with the ideas presented on NoBeliefs.com, I just had to see it. It exceeded my expectations. Normally I review only books, but after viewing the movie, I needed to say something about it.

The director, Brian Flemming, a ex-fundamentalist Christian, has put together an outstanding and controversial documentary film about a deeply hidden truth about Christianity: that there exists no evidence for a historical Jesus of the New Testament! This courageous film presents such a blasphemous idea, that if Christianity has it right, Flemming, along many other freethinkers (including me) will spend our eternal lives in torturous Hell. Thus Christians should love this movie, if only to believe the exquisite suffering we will endure because of our exposure of the lack of evidence for a historical Jesus.

So my dear Christian friends, by all means, you have to see this movie. It might challenge the very core of your beliefs, but then, God wants to challenge your faith you doesn't He? Well let this serve as your Godly challenge.

Flemming used clips from old Jesus movies to give a synopsis of Jesus' alleged life in six minutes, and proceeds to show, in an entertaining graphical way, the time-lines of the those who wrote about Jesus. It reveals that serious gaps in the historical record show that nothing got written about Jesus's supposed life until a generation after he lived. Although Paul did write about Jesus at around 60 C.E., The documentary reveals what most Christians don't know about Paul: If Jesus really had lived as a historical human being, nobody told Paul about it. In all of Paul's epistles, (about 80,000 words), he never mentions a historical Jesus! He never heard of Mary, Joseph, a birth in Bethlehem, King Herod, the miracles, ministry, no trial by Jews, or trial by Pontius Pilate. In other words, the man who invented Christianity had no idea that Jesus walked the earth.

Although the film alludes to the fact that no contemporary evidence exists for Jesus, I wish that it had spent more time explaining that not one eyewitness of the alleged Jesus ever wrote about him. (For more information on this, please read, "Did a historical Jesus exist?")

Not until decades after the alleged life of Jesus, did the first gospel appear (Mark). But even here, the gospels don't depict history, but rather, allegorical literature, very common during the period when the gospels got written.

And it gets worse.

The film reveals that the Christian religion developed in the same way as virtually every previous religion: with a dying and rising savior. Attis, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus, Hercules, and many other gods predate Jesus and they bear a striking resemblance to him. The similarities include: healing the sick, casting out demons, eating the flesh and blood of the savior, remaining dead for three days, then rising, and lots more.

So why don't Christians question the historicity of Jesus? Because, apparently, no one told them. This documentary asks several Christians if they knew how Christianity spread and if they ever heard of Osiris, Mithras, or Dionysus. None of them knew that these pagan gods resembled Jesus in astounding ways, or how Christianity spread.

Of course most Christians have little awareness of the history of their religion, instead concentrating on the war and gore of their religion. If you think this as an exaggeration, the documentary shows the obsession of blood, gore, and violence by Christians. For example, Flemming provides us with clips from Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, (depicted as The Smashin' of the Christ) where Gibson decided to depict endless blood curdling scenes throughout the movie. Many Christians claim the Passion as the most powerful spiritual experience of their lives. It also represents the most popular Jesus film by far. Flemming asks us to question why such a bloodthirsty film should have such an impact on Christianity and what does Christianity's fascination with violence do for society?

Although Flemming presents us with a controversial film about Christianity, the historical material doesn't come from him but rather from Biblical scholars. Througout the documentary, you will see commentaries from Robert M. Price (Professor of Biblical Criticism at the center for Inquiry Institute), Earl Doherty (a pioneer of the Jesus Myth theory), Alan Dundes (anthropologist and folklorist), Sam Harris (neuroscience and author of The End of Faith), Richard Carrier (philosopher and historian), Barbara & David P. Mikkelson (founders of the Urban Legends Reference Pages at snopes.com), and more. Flemming also interviews several fundamentalist Christians.

Much of the material for the Jesus myth theory comes from Earl Doherty, in his 1999 research book, The Jesus Puzzle. In fact the DVD version includes a fascinating full length running interview between Flemming and Doherty.

This professional documentary about Jesus (the first of its kind) puts it all together in one entertaining package, and includes a kick-ass soundtrack as well, by DJ Madson, David Byrne, Thievery Corporation, Zap Mama, and Le Tigre.

For those university Biblical scholar holdouts that pretend that Jesus existed, even though you have no evidence to support it, but have to pretend just to secure your jobs, the game is up. This film should embarrass your profession and it throws down the gauntlet to face up to reality. I suggest that this film opens the door a little for you to express what you really want to say.

You won't find this film shown at your local movie theater. And I suspect because of its controversial nature, this documentary will never get shown, and certainly not on public television. After all, corporations seem to kowtow to the Christian right these days, but I would love to see it aired on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). But not to worry. Thanks to the internet, you can purchase this film in DVD format. Most likely, this documentary will live underground, spreading amongst those who want to know, and abhorred by those who choose to remain wallowed in belief. No doubt it will live as a classic underground film.

And again Christians, you just gotta see this film even if you think it will give you nothing but the shits & giggles.

Non-Christians should also see this movie. And (hint, hint) this would make a wonderful Christmas gift to family members and, especially to Christian friends.

For more information go to www.thegodmovie.com


A few quotes from the movie:

The earth revolves around the sun. But it wasn't always that way. The sun used to revolve around the earth. It was like that for hundreds of years until it was discovered to be otherwise, and even for a hundred years after that. But ultimately, after much kicking and screaming, the earth did, in fact, begin to revolve around the sun.

Christianity was wrong about the solar system. What if it's wrong about something else too? This movie is about what happened when I went looking for Jesus.

--Brian Flemming, narrator


Jesus Christ is said to have lived this life, here, in the first three decades of the 1st century, dying somewhere around the year thirty-three. The gospels all came later. Mark was the first one written and the other three are clearly derived from Mark. Mark mentions the destruction of the Jewish temple which happened in the year 70. So the gospels all came later than that, probably much later. There's a gap of four decades or more.

--Brian Flemming, narrator


"If Jesus had been on earth, he would not even have been a priest."

--Hebrews 8:4

[a smoking gun according to Earl Doherty]


Paul doesn't believe that Jesus was ever a human being. He's not even aware of the idea! And he's the link between the time frame given the life of Jesus and the appearance of the gospel account of that life.

This is why you don't hear many Christian leaders talking about the early days of Christianity. Because once you assemble the facts, the story is that Jesus lived, everyone forgot... and then remembered.

--Brian Flemming, narrator


You ever notice what a bad rap the Inquisition gets? Even some Christians today think it was a bad idea. But how could it be a bad idea if the Bible is right; aren't the stakes as high as they can be? If a little suffering here on earth saves more souls for all eternity, isn't that a good thing? The Inquisition was not a perversion of Christian doctrine. The Inquisition was an expression of Christian doctrine.

--Brian Flemming, narrator


Mark, himself, probably did not believe he was writing history. He was writing a symbolic message. He was writing a gospel, you know, the 'good news.'

--Richard Carrier, historian


At the very two points Jesus appears to be locked into history, the stories are either mythical... or they contain outrageous improbabilities..."

--Robert M. Price, Fellow Jesus Seminar


There are other similar savior figures in the same neighborhood, same time in history: Mithras, Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Tammuz, and so forth, and nobody thinks that these characters are anything but mythical, and the stories are so similar, most of them, in fact, having some kind of resurrection or another, sometimes even with celebrations after three days, and so forth, that it seems like special pleading to say, oh, in this one case, it really happened.

--Robert M. Price, Fellow Jesus Seminar


When the president of the United States says, "I plan to appoint common sense judges who know that our rights derive from God," I think someone in the White House press corps should be able to stand up and say, "How is that different from thinking that you are going to appoint common sense judges who think our rights derive from Zeus?" That's clearly an impertinent question but it is a totally reasonable question.

--Same Harris, author, "The End of Faith"


DVD MENU CONTENTS:

PLAY MOVIE
CHAPTERS
The Earth & The Sun
Faces of Christianity
Story of Jesus
What Happened Next?
Fact vs. Fiction
Urban Legends
The Hero Pattern
Pagan Saviors
Satan Did It
Christians Don't Know
It's About Blood
The Passion
Soldiers for God
Moderate Christianity
Rapture Ready
Left Behind
Crazy
School Daze
The Superintendent
Faith vs. Evidence
We Need To Stop
Chapel
End Credits (Interviews)
End Credits (Other)

BONUS FEATURES
EXTENDED INTERVIEWS:
Scott Cutcher
Richard Carrier
Alan Dundes
Sam Harris
Barbara & David P. Mikkelson
Robert M. Price
Ronald Sipus
COMMENTARIES:
THE SCHOLAR (Commentary on the "Christ myth" theory from scholar EARL DOHERTY, author of the "Jesus Puzzle")
THE ATHEISTS (Godless commentary from scientist RICHARD DAWKINS, the world's most famous atheist; blogger THE RAVING ATHEIST, the web's most famous atheist; and others)
"EXPLORE THE MYTH"
CAST & CREW BIOS

MUSIC
"IS THIS THE REAL THING?"
"THE GOD WHO WASN'T THERE"
"BLOOD SACRIFICE RITUAL"
"THE PRICE"


To purchase The God Who Wasn't There DVD, click below:

From thegodmovie.com

or

From microcinema


Play the movie trailer (in QuickTime format)

The first 2 minutes of the film [video]


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