A couple months ago I met a young post-Christian who talked circles around me about creation and evolution and life and all sorts of things. We sat next to each other on a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta—four hours.
He was excited, informed, and rather evangelistic. He believed and wanted to share his faith—or lack thereof—with me.
Unfortunately, because of work and last minute packing, I had only slept 3 hours prior to the trip. I tried my best to engage him, but I could only squeak out something about my brief time of agnosticism in my master's degree. I wanted to defend Christianity from this onslaught of ideas, but I couldn't. The quantity of ideas, the clearness and conciseness, I was blown away.
Finally, at the end of the flight and our conversation, I learned this young man's dark secret. And yes, he does have a secret weapon that he used against me. And it is totally related to media.
But first, I don't know if you noticed, but I mentioned about my struggle with agnosticism when I was in my masters degree. Yeah, I struggled with it. I won't go into all the hairy details. However it came about, I went through a time of what I call profound irrational doubt. I started from scratch and tried to figure out reality and existence and doubted everything along the way. Evolution made sense, and the Bible did not.
Oddly, skepticism aided my faith, and tree leaves (and God's grace). I realized that scientists did not have all the answers. In the leaves outside my window, I also saw the amazing machinery of photosynthesis as profoundly designed. God had mercy on me, leading me to believe anew in His hand in creation, and then in His Son, and then in His word.
I still struggle with faith now and then. Parts of the Bible make me think really hard and ask questions. But those questions are important parts of my faith. They show that I'm really seeking truth, not having given up to the spirit of this age. Not like others who have stopped asking the questions, thinking they have life figured out.
A good conversation, with give and take on both sides, may have been very healthy for both of us, giving us a greater understanding of our mutual experience in doubt. But I was practically a zombie and he—well, he had a problem.
As we closed our 4-hour long talk he started jotting names down—not people's names—Youtube channel names. He jotted down 10-12 of them and handed the list to me. They were all atheist sites that constantly pump out material from an evolutionary or post-Christian perspective.
During our talk, he had not given me carefully researched information, wrestled over for years. He was repeating ideas—ideas crafted to be short, informative, but as is usually the case with the Youtube format, limited in scope. These were propaganda channels. He was reciting his catechism.
In light of that experience, I challenge Christian Filmmakers in 2013 in three areas:
1. Media is most powerful when we consume large quantities of it. Are you a product of Youtube? Or of the local multiplex? Or of NPR? Or are you a product of the Bible? In what do you immerse yourself?
2. Infatuation with media does nothing for us or our world. Hard work in the trade may. We need to engage the media world in significant ways—presenting God-glorifying truths clearly and concisely. We need filmmakers who do not fear their work being called propaganda, but who passionately proclaim God's truth in all areas of their lives.
3. Listen to those you interact with. Truly listen. They may have deep reasons for not believing what you believe. You may miss an opportunity to minister, because you are talking.