Zeitgeist is not a movie for the faint-hearted christian! At least for the first 30 minutes or so.
In a rather clever story-telling exercise that more or less "proves" the "myth" that is the religion Christianity, by linking it to astro-theological evidence extending as far back as Egyptian Sun-god worship, it's hard not to feel decidedly uncomfortable as a Christian, watching this, and also not feel rather foolish or alternatively indignant at the claims!
I felt both in the first part of this very interesting, but disturbing viewing experience. I did not want to believe this information at all! It offended and frightened me. I could feel the muddied waters of doubt in my gut, swirling about and I fought with every last ounce of "Belief" I could muster (or which The Spirit, himself could muster within me), to fight my deeply rooted fear of sliding into total disbelief in the very religion and faith system to which I have ascribed most of my life - and character - this past 46 years or so! It, the first 30 minutes or so of this movie, defined the nature and idea of Christianity as being one massive conspiracy theory which almost entirely exists as a man-made myth dating back many thousands upon thousands of years! I could not - and do not - wish to believe it even if on the surface it seems perfectly plausible from the way the information is presented in this film!
It was a very uncomfortable experience and I nearly stopped watching a few times. But I plodded on. I've not read or heard much about this movie, suffice it to say that its title crops up in conversations and in different places on the net enough that I thought it was time I caught up with what it was about.
Interestingly, as I watched the second half of the movie, which is again a clever story-telling exercise in disclaiming much of the hype that surrounded the attacks on the World Trade Centres in New York, U.S.A on September 11 2001, I was very much prepared to believe what I was being told! Absolutely ready to believe it! The information is pretty much a conspiracy theory extraordinaire, indicting the U.S.A. Government of obscene atrocities against its own! Marvellous fodder for the cynic at heart! I'm all for it! Ready to believe what I'm being fed with a giant spoon and with gluttonous joy and delight!
What a difference a belief can make in the soul of a woman yeah?
Both scenario's are presented in a way that outlines the probable LIE behind each "myth". One I refuse to accept and believe. The other I'm ready to welcome as The Truth with an open mind!
My nature is to be highly susceptible to Ideas. I'm easily swayed by a good argument and have ALWAYS had a lot of trouble defending my side of an argument succinctly or with clear winning evidence. I am simply left mumbling in convoluted incoherence whenever someone very clever can present their version of The Truth more clearly and definitively than I can. I need time to go away and muse on things, to define the structure and nuances of what I believe about the "facts" as presented, to research and inform myself of the background on the arguments for and against. Then I MIGHT be able to come back with a clear and reasonable prima facie case of my own. Maybe! More often than not - at least until recent years - I've been swayed instead to the side where the argument appears strongest.
This movie, Zeitgeist, is incredibly clever and intelligent sounding in its portrayal of the information it wishes to convey. It might have easily swayed me once upon a time (or I'd have run for the hills in fear of it probably), but now I see how I CAN be manipulated to believe something that I've not decided for myself to believe!
I am not particularly fussed if God is indeed a Myth! I want to believe in this God because I am comforted when I feel as loved and as valued as I do within this faith I own. Nothing else that I have thus far experienced in life can bring me the level of assurance, comfort and personal peace within, as believing in a God who is ever-present albeit Invisible!
The way I figure it is...if its a myth and a stupid lie then I simply die a bit foolish and nothing much else will happen. If it is however a profound truth of the human condition that God is who He says he is (and who may well have visited mankind in each age as a savior for each age according to that ages faith), then I have everything to gain don't I, even after my death!
I AM particularly fussed that September 11 is a frustrating political machination of human evils perpetrated for the pleasure and political purposes of power-hungry men! I will readily believe the stupidity of mankind enough to say "Yeah! The conspiracy of 9/11 is quite probable" even though we'll probably never really know the absolute truth to the story!
Zeitgeist is not an easy film if you have a weak faith or alternatively, have too much vested interest in having your own very subjective belief systems "justified" by such "facts"! It can work either way for the extremely fundamentalist Christian zealot who decries such evidence against their faith as a tool of Satan and it can work for the Atheist who claps their hands with glee in being able to soundly disprove the myth of religion on an equally zealous scale! It will also polarise those of the pro-war on terror activists and those who believe emphatically in the Government Agency conspiracies surrounding September 11 2001.
The third part of this movie had me smiling somewhat by the end. For all the disparaging of Christianity, much of the thesis of the third part of Zeitgeist is almost text book Fundamentalist Right-wing extreme Pentecostal Christian "dogma" on End Times! I heard much of this stuff back in the early 80's from various charismatic/pentecostal christian evangelists espousing the terrible events of Armageddon, and "The Mark of the Beast" aka micro-chipping (back then it was bar coding). Nothing new under the sun really! No pun intended!
The person this movie is aimed at though, I believe, is the hapless, undecided "Don't-know-much" aspirational christian/agnostic/sceptic/layman. This movie seems to be specifically designed to polarise the middle of the undecided road into moving toward a specific direction - the direction the movie seems to want us to go - which I think,is "Everything you ever believed is a Lie!" Well... that's as close as I can get to its Thesis Statement anyway.
The movies ending is a nicely packaged homely we can all aspire to which gives most of the prior information a kind of humanistic "We're all in this together" sense of rightness and virtue. Thing is, human beings have always aspired to being One People United in Love - we're just a tad chaotic in how to we attempt to get to that goal! Always will be if you happen to believe in "sin" as I do!
The Truth...the REAL Truth in any story is there, but how we are led to that Truth is a convoluted jungle pathway of twists, turns, and deviations, all of which are led and espoused by too many compasses pointing to too many different Norths to be entirely trusted! It's EASY to be manipulated! Really, really easy! It does behoove us to be especially careful in this day and age of vast amounts of information propounding "The facts", that those very facts may be contrived and constructed purposefully in order to steer our beliefs and thinking in a particular direction.
Question Your Beliefs.....
............................ but know when you need to stay firm in your Faith too!