by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
This child is often late to the party when it comes to reviewing books, movies, and videos. In this case, A Matter of Faith is a movie from October 2014. God’s Not Dead, which I have not seen, was released in March of that year. I watched this one on 30 April 2022.
Irrelevant, but a fun surprise for me is that it was filmed in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I know the area, having lived near there for several years.
Christian movies are like getting grub from the chuckwagon: depends on who is doing the cooking. The genre has a reputation for Pollyanna-style material and bad acting, and some of that is deserved. For example, the A Thief in the Night films that began in 1972 had a good message about the end times, but acting and production were often poor. If I recollect rightly, the last two were improvements over the first ones.
To be fair, the movie industry is known for being hostile to presenting Christians in a positive light, so enthusiastic Christians filmmakers work with low budgets and whomever they can get to work in front of and behind the cameras. Many are using actors who make no pretense at Christianity, but still do their roles in a professional manner.
Things are changing. While many Christian movies suffer from weak writing, it is incorrect to assume that if it’s faith-based, it’s going to be bad. Can’t be using the genetic fallacy and rejecting the entire genre, we have to judge them on their own merits.
Here’s what happened that brought A Matter of Faith to my attention. YouTube recommends videos, so I looked. The entire movie is available there on a channel supposedly owned by the Christiano brothers of Five & Two Pictures who made it. It can be seen on the cutely-named Freevee (formerly IMDB TV), which is owned by Amazon (an Amazon account is required to use it, but not the overpriced Prime). It is also on Pluto and Tubi. Note that selections change, so it may not be on any of those tomorrow.
I went to IMDB and saw that it had a user review score of 3.7 out of 10. Atheists were out in force to vote the movie down. It’s who they are and what they do. Some were saying “worst movie ever made”, and one hatetheist equated it with ISIS propaganda (hyperbole much?), plus other extremely negative claims against Christianity — especially creation science.
After all, they are compelled to protect their fundamentally-flawed origins mythology because it is foundational to atheism. Many of the reviews did not show any knowledge of the movie beyond having watched the trailer, but yee haw boy howdy, they sure did use the word propaganda quite a bit.
One sidewinder said it had the “same merit as a Jonestown Koolaid commercial” and “I think the purpose of making this terrible movie was to try to enlist new members to a rapidly dwindling cult using hollow logic and citing mythical situations as “proof” to support their weak indoctrination attempt.” I could triple the length of this article by examining the false claims and blatant hypocrisy of many reviews, but we need to move on.
Rachel Whitaker was raised in a Christian home and she is going off to college. Her biology class is taught by Professor Kaman (Harry Anderson of Night Court fame), who has an agenda. He promises that if students attend the classes, they are guaranteed a passing grade. That’s a mite suspicious.
During her first few weeks, Rachel is too busy for church or reading her Bible. Professor Kaman, being the caiman that he is, makes bold evolutionary pronouncements with “evidence” that is strictly conjecture, and Rachel is accepting seeds of doubt.
Her father, Steven Whitaker, is upset that Kaman teaches evolution. (Where has he been? The secular science industry and academia are saturated with people who have a worldview based on atheistic naturalism for many years.) Steve visits the professor to respectfully complain about the evolution-only curriculum. Since the college needs a topic for an upcoming debate series, the professor cajoles Steve into debating him.
One trick is saying, “Evolution versus creationism“, and when -ism is used, it has a negative connotation for many people. That was the title of the debate. However (and this puts burrs under the saddles of fundamentalist evolutionists), both creationism and evolutionism can both be used. Indeed, many creationists have no problem with the word creationism.
A professor with training in evolutionism and a passel of experience in public speaking will debate an inexperienced parent of a student. Seems legit. Actually, biblical creation scientists have a difficult time in getting their secular counterparts to debate. Their challenges are declined or ignored most of the time. If Kaman wanted a hot topic for debate, he could have found several qualified creationists who would oblige.
Please pay attention. Although the professor is an atheist and evolutionist, he say, “I teach what my textbooks tells me to teach,” then praises evolutionary scientists. However, parents who take solace in the fact that there are Christian teachers in the public school system are deceiving themself. The reason is that, like Kaman implies, the curriculum given by the state takes priority.
Another student named Evan met Rachel and said that he had taken Kaman’s biology course. He pointed out that Kaman has an agenda and tried to get her thinking.
Rachel’s father wants to get is message out to Rachel and other students. She is appalled — appalled, I tell you — that her father is going to do the debate. Professor Kaman won’t change his beliefs. Also, it will “ruin me on campus!” Apparently nobody considered the possibility that if Steve pulled out, he would be labeled a coward and things would be worse for her.
A glaring error in the movie is that it was claimed that Kaman teaches that we evolved from apes. According to evolutionary beliefs, humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. (The fact that our putative ancestors sure did look like apes apparently has no bearing on the situation.) The “evolved from apes” thing is something creationists should avoid.
Another weak point in the movie is something that should be discussed. Too many Christians and creationists attempt to defend our views with “memes” and clever sayings that would fit on bumper stickers, but are woefully unprepared in witnessing to atheists and evolutionists. These folks get slapped down by opponents who have learned their talking points and boilerplate rhetoric. Rachel’s father knew what he believed, but not why, and was unable to defend his position in the debate.
Kaman (if he had a first name other than Professor, I missed it) used rhetorical tricks including assertions, appeal to emotion, false definitions (including the common atheistic definition of faith), straw man, and more. He also used the category error of demanding scientific proof of God. While some may claim that the movie makers were creating a straw many with the way Kaman presented his arguments, other creationists and I have seen such things many times.
In addition, there are indeed professors who are openly hostile to Christianity and especially to creation. This Kaman jasper is a representation of many reports that drop down over the transom.
I left out details that would spoil the movie for y’all, but there were a couple of surprises. One had the professor giving what was said in the debate some thought afterward. There is no “everybody gets saved, let’s have a group hug” ending, but there were some unexpected events well as a couple of things that could be predicted by viewers.
A Matter of Faith was recommended by Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis, and others. It has some flaws beyond what I have said, but my agenda is to encourage people who watch it and keep in mind some of the things I have said. Ask yourselves and each other questions. F’rinstance, how would layman Steve have fared against Kaman if he had prepared from the numerous materials available online provided by creationists? How about if he knew and used a presuppositional approach?
To make the movie more realistic, they could have done a full, formal debate. (It would also have been quite a bit longer.) I mentioned earlier that Rachel told her father that he would not change Kaufman’s views. That almost never happens in a debate, although it may happen later. Good debates are for each side to present their viewpoints, and to see if they can withstand scrutiny. If you can spare 2-1/2 hours, I highly recommend the “Does God Exist?” debate between Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Dr. Gordon Stein.
Again, I recommend that Christians and biblical creationists see A Matter of Faith. They can spot some flaws, and learn about doing apologetics. Also pay attention and notice that evolutionists live by faith themselves.