Take Your Bible to the Movies

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Suspension of disbelief.  It’s something we do every time we step into the movie theater–or else we don’t really enjoy the film.  The film Hugo from two years ago celebrated the fascinating way in which movies transport us to another place.  The only way this can happen is by setting aside our notions of reality and choosing to go with the director.  A movie is not fun to watch if you are sitting next to someone who is constantly pointing out the special effects, questioning the plot line, or exclaiming, “That’s not right! That’s not how it’s supposed to happen!”

Why is it that we are so willing to lay aside our disbelief for the sake of a fictional movie, but no one is willing to do the same for the Bible?  People allow themselves to be sucked in by a good mystery novel or a book from the Hunger Games trilogy.  However, when it comes to the Bible, they wear disbelief like a pair of thick-rimmed Raybans through which they might chance the occasional glance if only to make it the target of yet another snarky remark.

My friend Patrick Schreiner posted a review of a book by Michael J. Kruger in which he concludes that the Bible is self-authenticating.  Unfortunately, suspension of disbelief is the only way anyone will truly understand the Bible, because the Bible’s authority is affirmed by its own testimony about itself.  Skeptics out there will point out, “Hey, that’s totally circular reasoning.”  Well, unfortunately, someone else beat you to that punch:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”

-John 8:12-13

The fact that the Bible declares certain things about itself does not make them immediately false.  The question is whether you are going to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow the Bible to speak for itself.  You were willing to do it for The Dark Knight Rises and the Twilight series–works of fiction that have absolutely no eternal value.  Why won’t you set those foggy glasses aside for a few minutes and let the Bible do some of the talking?  You just might find yourself on the verge of being sucked in…

“Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true.”

-Jesus (John 8:14)


One thought on “Take Your Bible to the Movies

  1. I’m about to give a lecture in a few minutes on Plato’s Symposium and I was struck by your comments about the Bible – which I always seem to mention in my philosophy class, returning especially to Genesis and Paul’s letters. After neglecting the book for most of my life (with a few exceptions here and there), I finally gave myself the time to read it, and interpret it. And one of the reasons I now so value the book is my belief that Paul is unprecedented; so much did his life – and writing – strike me that I spent two years writing a book on him – and Timothy as well, a much neglected figure. I’ve published a couple of chapters in scholarly journals and, hopefully, in the next year or two the whole book will be published. I now find myself in a unique position. I consider myself a student of the Bible while at the same time beginning to publish fiction. I’ve just self-published on Amazon.com and it’s called The Psychoanalysis of Marilyn Monroe. By the way, she had an interesting religious upbringing.

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