A Film Director’s Interesting Admission

If you saw the film “Holy Wars” at The Crossing’s Talking Pictures last April 30 (or when it was being screened at Columbia’s True/False Film Festival in February), perhaps you were challenged a bit in your faith. The film does a good job of making you see people of faith from an outside-looking-in perspective. You gain a better understanding of how “outsiders” might see us as believers. In some ways the film does an effective job making believers doubt their own faith. That may or may not be a good thing, but it can raise some important questions and discussions.

Ever since we brought in the director of “Holy Wars,” Stephen Marshal, to speak on a panel discussion after showing the film at The Crossing, he and I have been in touch some via email. I greatly enjoyed our dinner together and found him to be such a likable, intelligent, and engaging conversationalist.

He recently sent me a link to a new blog he wrote that’s appeared on The Huffington Post website. You can read it here. It’s worth the read.

What interests me from his blog post, and from memories of our dinner and panel discussion that night, is that while Marshal’s film might cause some doubt in the faith of some believers, it seems that making the film caused some doubts in Stephen Marshal regarding his own lack of faith. As he writes, “I conceived a film driven by fear and ended up with one grounded in faith.” It’s kind of like how Tim Keller writes about “doubting your doubts” in his book, “Reason for God.”

I think Stephen Marshal’s concluding comments are interesting:

“I wrote at the start that this became a film about faith, and that certainly is true for the two characters, Khalid Kelly and Aaron Taylor, whom I followed for four years. But it was also about my faith. I am always a little weary of describing my “religious” beliefs. I have traveled all over this planet and seen so many forms of evidence for what I call God, an all-seeing force who helps shape the narratives of our lives so that we can learn and evolve as immortal souls. …I don’t know what to call that thing that moves through us and makes us all characters in a wonderfully (or dare I say perfectly) crafted three-act drama, but I don’t believe it’s random.”

An interesting admission in this new era of popular atheism.

It turns out that “Holy Wars” is beginning to appear on some lists of possible Oscar nominees. Most of us who’ve seen the film are not surprised by that. We shall see.

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