September 12, 2009
Ebert Reviews Christianity
Critic won't review film, but critiques "fundamentalist minority of American Christians"
Invoking journalistic ethics by saying he "adamantly" won't review Creation till it releases to theaters, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert then went on to "review" Christians in a recent blog post from the Toronto International Film Festival.
Ebert had been to a screening of Creation, the ironically titled film about Charles Darwin, opening in the UK this month and in the U.S. sometime next year. Adhering to an unwritten critics' code to not review a film till it releases, Ebert goes on to voice a few observations about Christians, Darwin and more.
He noted that one member of the audience walked out shortly after a scene in the film in which Darwin walks out of a church during a sermon on Genesis 1 -- the creation story. Ebert wonders: "Was he offended by the film? There's no way to say. There were an unusually large number of walk-outs, but who knows if they were leaving for theological reasons, or to get in line for the screenings of [other TIFF films], or because of boredom?"
Just wondering: If several had walked out of any other film, would it even have crossed Ebert's mind that they might be leaving because of "theological reasons"?
I usually try not to read too much between the lines of what people write, but it's hard not to do that when Ebert goes on to write: "Did it occur to Darwin . . . that nothing in his ideas precluded the existence of God? Today, no major religion finds conflict between God and the theory of evolution. The majority of Christians can live with both ideas; religious opposition to Darwin is limited primarily to a fundamentalist minority of American Christians."
It's fascinating that Ebert uses no adjective to describe Christians who find no conflict between God and evolution. But for those Christians who do find conflict, they are "fundamentalist," a "minority," and "American."
Pretty hard not to read between the lines there. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Finally, I'm not sure what Ebert was trying to communicate by including these two images with his blog post, in this sequence: