Tag Archives: Review

William Lane Craig reviews new Dawkins/Krauss movie “The Unbelievers” in The Blaze

Dr. William Lane Craig
Dr. William Lane Craig

On The Blaze, a major political news site, Dr. William Lane Craig reviews a new atheist movie entitled “The Unbelievers” starring Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.


Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss are two of the most important figures in the New Atheist movement. So one would naturally have high expectations that their new documentary, The Unbelievers, would present a vigorous, powerful attack upon the rationality of religious belief, featuring interviews with impressive scientists laying out the case against God.  Instead, the film turns out to be merely a travelogue of Dawkins and Krauss’ “magical mystery tour” of speaking engagements before their enthusiastic fans. Rather than thought provoking, the film is shallow, boring, and narcissistic.

[…]Featuring sound bites from celebrities and film stars in support of their cause fits Dawkins and Krauss’ purpose more than substantive interviews with qualified but largely unknown academics. The film’s purpose is not to present a case but primarily to rally the troops.

But there is a more fundamental reason for the absence of argument against religious belief. Dawkins and Krauss proceed on the unspoken assumption that science and religion are fundamentally mutually exclusive. Therefore, all one needs to do in order to discredit religion is to extol and celebrate the greatness of science. Science and religion are like two ends of a teeter-totter:  if the one end goes up, the other automatically declines. Thus, Krauss asks Dawkins which he would rather do:  explain science or destroy religion?  It is assumed that these are two ways to the same end. Dawkins, of course, chooses to extol science. “I’m in love with science, and I want to tell the world.” His implicit assumption is that one cannot love both God and science.

There is no argument given for the mutual exclusivity of science and religion; rather it is the unquestioned presupposition of the film. This is ironic because one of the repeated emphases of the film is the necessity of critical thinking. No view is off limits to examination; we must insist on permission to question everything. Yet Dawkins and Krauss are strangely oblivious to their own unexamined assumptions. Why think that science, restricted as it is to the exploration of the physical world, is incompatible with the existence of God?  Alas, we are not told.

[…]Indeed, given their ignorance of the literature, one cannot help but wonder if Dawkins and Krauss are not, in fact, incapable of engaging in substantive conversation on these matters. Hence, their open endorsement of ridicule as “a useful tool for illuminating reality.” Dawkins’ philosophical gaucherie is on display when complains that his dialogue with the Archbishop of Canterbury was “ruined” by the chairman (Sir Anthony Kenny, himself an agnostic), who “is a philosopher and so thought it his duty to clarify things,” which led, says Dawkins, to “skewing.”  Similarly, Dawkins breezily dismisses “Why?” questions as “silly.”

So what do we make of Dr. Craig holding Dawkins and Krauss accountable? Well. it’s one thing to treat Peter Millican and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong nicely. But Krauss and Dawkins really need to be spanked for their own good, at this point. What else do you do with ignorant children who run around insulting grown-ups?

What I find ironic is that there are 7 areas of science where theism has gained decisive support in the last 50 years:

  1. The Big Bang cosmology
  2. The cosmic fine-tuning
  3. The origin of life
  4. The origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosion
  5. Galactic habitability
  6. Stellar habitability
  7. Irreducible complexity

Each of these poses a threat to naturalism, and a few of them are lethal to naturalism on their own. Atheists have been reduced to holding onto speculations to get around them. You know the sort: nothing creating something, unobservable multiverses explain fine-tuning, unseen aliens seeded the Earth with life, undiscovered pre-Cambrian fossil record, and so on. It’s a bad time to be an atheist. Science has refuted atheism over and over again!

William Lane Craig podcasts about “The Unbelievers”

There are 3 of these podcasts so far in the series:

  1. What was the point of the film?
  2. Is science opposed to religion?
  3. Unscientific assertions in the film

Douglas Groothuis’ 752-page Christian apologetics book is now under $22

Christian Apologetics
Christian Apologetics

Looking for a good textbook on apologetics that covers everything you need to know? Check out Dr. Groothuis’ book. It’s now under $22 on Amazon.

Here are the chapters:

Part I: Apologetic Preliminaries
1 Introduction: Hope, Despair and Knowing Reality
2 The Biblical Basis for Apologetics
3 Apologetic Method: Evaluating Worldviews
4 The Christian Worldview
5 Distortions of the Christian Worldview–or the God I Don’t Believe In
6 Truth Defined and Defended
7 Why Truth Matters Most: Searching for Truth in Postmodern Times
8 Faith, Risk and Rationality: The Prudential Incentives to Christian Faith

Part II: The Case for Christian Theism
9 In Defense of Theistic Arguments
10 The Ontological Argument
11 Cosmological Arguments: A Cause for the Cosmos
12 The Design Argument: Cosmic Fine-Tuning
13 Origins, Design and Darwinism
14 Evidence for Intelligent Design
15 The Moral Argument for God
16 The Argument from Religious Experience
17 The Uniqueness of Humanity: Consciousness and Cognition
18 Deposed Royalty: Pascal’s Anthropological Argument
19 Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why It Matters by Craig L. Bloomberg
20 The Claims, Credentials and Achievements of Jesus Christ
21 Defending the Incarnation
22 The Resurrection of Jesus

Part III: Objections to Christian Theism
23 Religious Pluralism: Many Religions, One Truth
24 Apologetics and the Challenge of Islam
25 The Problem of Evil: Dead Ends and the Christian Answer
26 Conclusion: Take It to the Streets

Appendix 1 Hell on Trial
Appendix 2 Apologetic Issues in the Old Testament by Richard S. Hess

Here’s a review of the book by Michael D. Stark.


Contemporary Christians interested in apologetics can now turn to another text that is bound to become one of the most-used textbooks in apologetics. Douglas Groothuis’ Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for the Biblical Faith (InterVarsity, 2011) may have more breadth both in content and wisdom than any apologetics text to date. The subtitle is justified as the book, over 700 pages and 26 chapters long (not including two appendixes), presents the need for apologetics and explores the main philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Unlike other apologetics texts, Groothuis includes chapters examining truth in postmodern society, religious pluralism, and a tactful approach to dealing with Islam. Furthermore, biblical scholars (and Denver Seminary colleagues) Richard Hess and Craig Blomberg build on an already strong text by writing chapters on apologetics in the Old Testament (Appendix 2) and a historical approach to the person of Christ and the gospels, respectively.

Here’s a snip from the review:

The chapter on cosmological arguments is superb and only further qualifies Groothuis as a proficient thinker. This chapter without question is the chapter I learned the most from. Groothuis engages very difficult scientific and philosophical concepts and communicates them in a way that even the beginner will be able to grasp. Though there are many different versions of the cosmological argument, the chapter hones in on the kalam cosmological argument as put forth by William Lane Craig. The kalam argument is superior to other cosmological arguments in that it supposedly secures the theistic doctrine of ex nihilo if the arguments proves successful (note: a minor quibble of this chapter is that Groothuis purports that the Thomistic cosmological argument does not endorse ex nihilo. I believe this to be false). This specific chapter was sensational – however I was left disappointed that no time was given to addressing the cosmological argument posited by Aquinas. In some respects, the Thomistic cosmological argument is the simplest form for people new to apologetics. The Thomistic version does not get into the technical issues of the metaphysics of time and Big Bang cosmology that the kalam version uses, nor does it require knowledge of the principle of sufficient reason that the Leibnizian version necessitates. While the kalam and Leibnizian versions are logical and sound arguments, they may confusing to people new to apologetics. Because of this, beginners ought to take the time to read this chapter slowly and more than once because of the finer technical details.

Chapters 12-14 are devoted to the design argument and issues relating to it. Groothuis opposes macroevolution and thus goes to great extent to battle Darwinism. Those interested in the philosophy of science will be drawn to these chapters. The chapter focused on intelligent design relies heavily on the work of William Dembski and Michael Behe. These chapters serve as a valuable introduction for those new to discussion between Christian and naturalistic sciences.

Chapter 15 is perhaps the most successful chapter of the entire book as it deals with the moral argument. It is my belief that the moral argument is the most successful argument for the existence of God as it appeals to everyone, Christian, atheist, and non-Christian religious persons. Ethical theory may perhaps be the most widely debated philosophical topic throughout history and thus Groothuis could have taken many approaches when discussing the moral argument. The way he structured his chapter, however, is nearly flawless. Building off his chapter examining truth in the postmodern culture (chapter 7), Groothuis correlates the denial of objective truth to the ridding of objective moral value. He unmercifully attacks moral relativism and brilliantly shows its dangers. He states that cultural relativism reduces to individual relativism, which, in turn, ultimately rests on nihilism. The setup of this reductio ad absurdum points the reader to a moral system that does not reduce to nihilism. Thus, a worldview that embraces objective moral truths must be embraced. Groothuis makes the claim that the source of objective moral truths is found in the absolute Being – God. Groothuis puts for the notion that God is the source of all perfect moral code because he himself is incapable of an evil act as it would be a contradiction of God’s Being.

I think that the big advantage you get from Doug Groothuis is his worldview. He has the most fully-integrated worldview of any Christian scholar I know.

I bought one copy of Dr. Groothuis’ book, but I gave it away. So I got myself another one. It’s a must have. My favorite four apologetics books are this one, “Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview” by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, Michael Licona’s “The Resurrection of Jesus” and Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”. I think that if you add Wayne Grudem’s “Politics According to the Bible” to that list, then that’s a very practical set of tools.

Review of October Baby, a pro-life movie opening today

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s a review from Jay Watts of the Life Training Institute, my favorite pro-life organization.


This past weekend I was privileged to see an advanced screening of October Baby. You can read the promotional material for the film here.

October Baby tells the story of young woman – Hannah, played by Rachel Hendrix – who finds out that there is an explanation for her lifetime severe physical and emotional struggles. She was adopted by her parents after she survived a botched abortion. With the help of her best friend – Jason played by Jason Burkey- they set out on a road trip to search out her birth mother and the full story of Hannah’s past.

Whatever concerns I had about the quality of the film I was screening were quickly allayed.October Baby is not an amateur production. The filmmakers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, understand how to make a movie. Anytime you watch an independent film you know that the producers sacrifice some elements of larger productions – usually film quality and acting – in order to tell a more personal and intimate story. The Erwin’s seem to understand the limits of a production at this level and use their unusual skill to mitigate the weaker elements of small films, or – more simply put – they shot an independent film that looks great.

My only concern about movies about abortion is that they will bash the men and make the women out to be innocent victims. I did a little digging and it seems to be that this movie does not do that. I’m not sure, but I think it takes a subtle shot at feminism – something I read seemed to indicate that.

It’s endorsed by Fathers.comThis interview with the actor who plays the adoptive father says this:

NCF: The character you play, the father in this film, has his own journey through the film. Describe his journey and maybe what you saw as some of the mistakes he made and some of the things he did right and some of the things he learned through this journey that’s portrayed in the film.

JS: Well, my guy, he did a very right thing when his wife and he lost their twins, miscarried their twins, when his wife came to him and said, “There are twins up for adoption that would have been born around the same time our twins would have been born.” Obviously he supported that and they went and adopted these two little babies even though one of them was horrifically disfigured and not likely to make it out of the hospital—and the other one had health issues as well. So this is a guy who supported his wife’s desire to have twins, he supported her faith that there was a reason why she was made aware of these twins. So, he did that right.

The only thing as far as I can see … there’s a wonderful line of dialogue in there where the daughter says, “Why didn’t you tell me?” And basically, without saying this exact line, he said that, “I was always going to, but life kind of got away from us. We were working and …” he was at that point trying to become a doctor, he was going to school, and they had financial trouble, and it just kind of got away from him. It didn’t slip his mind, but the perfect time to have that conversation never really appeared. So he had to do it under duress. He had to do it in a doctor’s office when she was wondering why she was always so sick. So if he did anything wrong, that was it. Because he’s very protective of his daughter with her friend….

I love that about the movie too—the platonic, wonderful, buddy relationship between my daughter and her pal in his movie is so real. And as a movie-goer, you think, Okay these two have got to get together somehow. But it just is so wonderfully real. So my character, the dad in this movie, does a great job, I think, of protecting her against a teenage boy’s stupidity [laughs] … his judgment, from an eighteen-year-old boy’s perspective.

And I’ve said this to my kids many times. I haven’t said it recently, but … “One of the biggest differences between me and you is that I’ve been seventeen, and you have not been fifty. So your perspective is very narrow, very short. It is your perspective, and I’m not going to discount it, but my job as a dad is … if I’ve sat on a stove that you’re about to hike your butt up onto, my responsibility is to let you know it’s hot. I’m not going to keep you from sitting on it, but I’m going to let you know that it’s going to hurt when you do.” I think there’s that in this film as well, and I like that.

As far as what he learns, I think he learns in this movie that the resiliency of a seventeen-year-old girl is more than he thought, that a young person can actually handle more emotional information, more potentially hurtful information than you think they can. So there’s that wonderful scene where he tells her the whole thing about her brother, and it’s so moving. He’s a dad, and it pains fathers when their children go through that “Dad is an idiot” stage. It really pains them. It’s not just confusing, it’s hurtful. But the good news, dad, is that it does have a shelf life. They do love their dads through all that stuff too, they just don’t let you know it. But later on they do. I used to tell friends of mine, “Don’t worry. They turn back into people just as magically as they turned into aliens.”

I think it’s safe for us men to watch this – we won’t be blamed and bashed. The father character is strong and good. I have seen the trailer posted on men’s rights blogs AND pro-life blogs, so it looks like it’s worth a shot.

Please post comments below if you go see the movie.

“Act of Valor” war movie takes first place at the box office this weekend!

The Los Angeles Times explains what happened.


As Hollywood’s A-listers prepare for the Academy Awards on Sunday, it was the Navy SEAL stars of the movie “Act of Valor” who dominated the box office.

The intense action movie opened to a solid $24.7 million, according to an estimate from distributor Relativity Media, proving by far the most popular choice for audiences.

“Good Deeds,” the latest movie from writer/director Tyler Perry, opened to $16 million. It’s the second-smallest opening ever for the prolific filmmaker and actor, ahead of only 2007’s “Daddy’s Little Girls.”

“Wanderlust,” a new Judd Apatow-produced comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, and the thriller “Gone” starring Amanda Seyfried were both flops, opening to just $6.6 million and $5 million, respectively.

[…]”Act of Valor,” which has won plaudits for its ultra-realistic action sequences that feature the SEAL stars in training exercises, was a big bet for Relativity. The financially struggling independent studio topped other bidders by paying $13.5 million for rights to the movie produced by production company Bandito Brothers. It also committed tens of millions of dollars to an extensive marketing campaign that included four ads in and around the Super Bowl and online material targeting video game players.

But the investment appears to be paying off, as box-office receipts came in at the high end of pre-release expectations. Just as important, audiences loved the film, giving it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That was not only true for men, who made up 71% of the audiences, but women.

Here’s the “making of” clip showing how they made it:

Not only were the SEALs in this movie, they helped direct the action sequences!

Here’s a review from the liberal Boston Globe.


The casting in “Act of Valor,’’ of course, leads to the movie’s innovations. Dialogue that chiefly entails laying out tactics for missions executed in the next scene pretty much obviates any need for Kenneth Branagh. Having the military play itself is propaganda on one hand, and simple efficiency on the other. It also concentrates the movie-going public’s attraction to combat as spectacle. So why bother with a star if what we’ve come to see, ultimately, are the talents of the stunt crew?

As it happens, “Act of Valor’’ was directed by Mike “Mouse’’ McCoy and Scott Waugh, a couple of veteran stuntmen, who don’t simply admire the SEALs’ defiance of death. They appear to relate to it. Written by Kurt Johnstad, who’s a credited writer of “300,’’ the film involves a typical doomsday plot that manages to combine separate international affronts. A SEAL platoon heads into the tropics to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent (Roselyn Sanchez) who’s been tracking the connection between a Ukrainian drug smuggler (Alex Veadov) and a mass-murdering Chechen jihadist (Jason Cottle), whose bond is tighter than initially suspected.

[…]Accordingly, there is beauty in this movie that you’d never experience in any film starring Chuck Norris or Michael Dudikoff. The sound mix keeps suspenseful quiet, while you marvel at what perfect amphibians the SEALs are and how, with them, killing people places a crucial premium on gentleness (the SEALs tiptoeing down a hallway, stirring the air with hand signals, tapping a shoulder, or falling through the night sky). If only the frantic editing had managed to linger longer on the dreaminess of those shots.

[…]Really, the film’s presiding spirit of American might and international intimidation is that of Tom Clancy. He’s credited as an advisor on this film, and his influence shows up from time to time. A scene between a SEAL and the smuggler is among the best in the movie. The two men trade insinuations, and the tension is strong. Veadov is a better actor than the SEAL. But this SEAL, with his graying beard and wry sense of humor, has better lines. A sharply done encounter like that implies just what Clancy may have advised.

The SEALs’ profile is higher since a team killed Osama Bin Laden last year. There hasn’t been this much popular interest since Demi Moore fought to join a similar outfit in “G.I. Jane.’’ “Act of Valor’’ creates an illusion of authenticity while doing strategically little to dispel the group’s mystique. Often with an action film, you know that what you’re watching has been staged. You applaud the rigorous theater. Here, when the film’s climactic sequence has ended, there’s no impulse to clap. The verisimilitude holds you in moral check.

Please go see this movie in the theater! We have to send Hollywood a message.

Red Tails movie aims to revive old-fashioned, patriotic war movie genre

The trailer:

And here’s a review:

“Red Tails” is almost certain to be derided as an ‘old-fashioned’ film, as if using cinematic forms and languages of the past were in and of itself a bad thing.

It isn’t.

One of the traps of thinking about popular art is the idea that if artists aren’t constantly pursuing the latest or the next ways of doing things that they’re somehow failing.  As a result, truly rich forms of expression are abandoned simply on the basis of arbitrary sell-by dates, even when they still have much to offer.  Consider the films of Guy Maddin, which use the form of silent cinema to thrillingly modern effect; somewhat similarly, “The Artist” no doubt makes some audiences aware of how plastic and lively the silent film medium was.

In the case of “Red Tails,” the old-school inspiration derives from any number of patriotic and sentimental World War II movies of the sort that producer George Lucas grew up on.  Following his lead, screenwriters John Ridley and Aaron McGruder and director Anthony Hemingway have told the story of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-Americans commissioned to fly and maintain planes by the U. S. military, almost as if they were doing so in the 1940s.

[…]In many ways, this film could’ve starred James Cagney, William Bendix or Audie Murphyand been made 60-odd years ago — with, of course, the crucial difference of race, which, in and of itself, is a worthwhile thing to achieve.

I might go see this on Saturday, because I love war movies. My collection of DVDs is about two-thirds black and white World War 2 movies! By far my favorite genre. More than that, the P-51 Mustang and the B-17 Flying Fortress hold special places in my heart (not so much the old Curtis P-40 Warhawks they are flying initially – blech!). The plot from the reviews I read reminds me of what it is like to be a Christian scholar and apologist. The Air Force is like the church, the generals are the pastors, and the Tuskegee airmen are the apologists and scholars.

B-17 Queen of the Skies
B-17 Queen of the Skies

As a child, my mother bought me Avalon Hill’s B-17 Queen of the Skies from the hobby shop downtown. I remember her telling me that I couldn’t get anything over $10, so I scoured the store trying to find a game that was less than $10. I found B-17 – it was the only one! But when we got to the register, we found out that it was actually $16.99 not $6.99. But she bought it for me anyway, and I played it a lot – it was a 1-player game. Understanding the fight between the Allied Air Force and the Luftwaffe taught me a lot about the importance of having military superiority in war. I hope the movie is as realistic as the game was.

If you want to see another good war movie about the air war in Europe, try “12 O’Clock High” and “Memphis Belle”. A good one in the Pacific theater is “Midway”.