THE GOD WHO WASN’T THERE directed by Brian Flemming (USA, 2005)

There is no solid evidence that God exists. Christian belief is based solely on faith and hope.

If you disagree with either these statements and say ‘What about the Bible’? then maybe you should watch this documentary.

Brian Flemming is a one time religious fundamentalist whose special relationship with Jesus came to an end when he began to see that so many of the ‘facts’ he was taught  came to seem more and more implausible.

Why should we place so much faith in the Gospels when these accounts were written 40 years after Christ’s death? Why do none of the wrtings shed any light of Jesus’ missing tears between 18 and 30?

We hear a lot about JC’s miraculous birth and how he was regarded as a child prodigy but from late adolescence and early adulthood we know next to nothing.

Brian Flemming

Although Flemming is mild-mannered, humorous and quietly spoken, you get the sense that this movie was prompted by outrage and anger. This is evident from the interview with Ronald Sipus, principal of the Ohio  Village Christian School Flemming attended as a youth. The polite yet persistent line of questioning proves too much for Sipus who walks out claiming  he  has been duped into agreeing to being questioned in such a manner. One wonders what he expected.

What this interview demonstrates is that whenever there are calls for evidence that Christian teaching is morally and philosophically justified , the institutions default option is the ‘faith’ card; in other words, the  fact that they believe is all that matters. No other field of human knowledge allows such a degree of woolly thinking.

Flemming’s bold, yet credible, perspective is that the Bible calls for radical fundamentalism and that moderates are not following its teachings as closely as they claim.

Contributions from  Sam ‘End of Faith’ Harris and the late Alan Dundes , Professor of Folklore and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley add weight to these arguments.

The only part of the movie I thought was weak was the claim that  Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion shows the blood lust of Christians. This film may have been far more popular at the box office than Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ but this only proves that cinema-goers in general are drawn to the prospect of gore and controversy.

Otherwise, this is a lively and intelligent one hour documentary that should, at the very least, prompt Christians to examine their beliefs and to ask themselves honestly whether faith alone is enough.

The whole movie is available on You Tube: