Questions about Faith

Freud’s Last Session movie: Freud and C.S. Lewis square off. Harvard psychiatrist Armand Nicholi taught a popular course on “The Question of God,” examining Sigmund Freud’s atheism and C.S. Lewis’ faith. Now a related Sony theatrical film imagines that the two met in London shortly before Freud’s death. The result is a fascinating historical drama probing their intellectual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. Anthony Hopkins is masterful as Freud. Matthew Goode plays Lewis. (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version.

Surprised by Oxford movie: Remedying broken relationshipsEver feel awkward opening yourself emotionally in a relationship?  Got any family issues that make trusting others difficult?  Does that affect your social life, job, or home life?  Do you ever use work, studies, or accomplishments to bolster your self-image when, inside, you’re hiding from others?  Perhaps you’ll resonate with this film’s protagonist.  (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version.

Women Talking movie: sex, religion, #MeToo. In the Oscar-winning film Women Talking, mysterious sexual assaults are plaguing a secluded religious community.  Women and girls awaken drowsy, bruised, bleeding – some pregnant – as men drug them with cow tranquilizer and rape them at night.  While the men are gone, the women debate whether to do nothing, stay and fight, or leave.  (Short op-ed)

God and coronavirus: Gone missing?  How could a loving, just, powerful God allow a tragedy like the coronavirus pandemic?  Doesn’t he care that innocent people are suffering and dying?  It seems unjust.  If God exists, isn’t he strong enough to stop this madness?  (Short op-ed)

Christian leaders behaving badly: Why should anyone embrace their faith?  Ravi Zacharias, the popular Christian faith defender, was exposed posthumously as a sexual predator. This sex scandal has created international turmoil.  If Christian leaders are hypocrites, why should anyone give their beliefs a serious look?  (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version

The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ movie: Televangelist sex, drugs, and holy rollin’.  The 1980s PTL televangelist scandal became a global soap opera, complete with corporate intrigue, Jesus-praisin’ power struggles, big bucks, betrayal, sex, tears, and mascara…plenty of mascara.  The Eyes of Tammy Faye interprets Jim and Tammy Bakker’s saga for new generations, providing valuable life-lesson reminders.  (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version

Lessons in managing public-speaking fearsFear of public speaking haunts countless people.  I’m one…a shy introvert whose career – oddly – has involved lecturing worldwide.  Presenting in a tense situation during my final Duke class taught me invaluable lessons.  That speech topic – racism and religion – evokes today’s headlines. (Duke Magazine article)

Interview with God movie: What would you ask?  Suppose you could interview God and ask any questions you wanted.  This is journalist Paul Asher’s opportunity as he returns from covering the war in Afghanistan with more questions than answers about life’s troubling complexities.  He gets three sit-downs with an intriguing man claiming to be God.  Their interaction – and Paul’s reactions – may resonate with your own life and curiosity.  (Short op-ed)

Mark Burnett’s Bible TV Series: Epic Adventure.  The Survivor producer and his wife, actress Roma Downey, have produced an exhilarating take on classic stories about the epic struggle of the centuries between good and evil.  Powerful depictions; gripping scenes.  Well worth seeing by skeptics, searchers, and the faith-filled alike.  (Short op-ed)

Who Said That?  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”  “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  “Money is the root of all evil.”  “God helps those who help themselves.”  Who made these statements?  Learning who actually said them – and, in some cases, what they really said and meant – might surprise you.  (Short op-ed)

Jesus is Coming May 21?  We read it in the Washington Post.  “Save the date!” say the billboards.  That’s also our wedding anniversary.  Maybe we should invite him.  (Short op-ed; by Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi)

Americans Flunk Religion 101.  Think you know a lot about religion?  Pew Research Center says many atheists and agnostics know more about world faiths than do believers.  I once flunked an important faith question and learned that what you don’t know might hurt you.  (Short op-ed)

Freudian Slip:  The father of psychoanalysis had some compelling personal reasons for disliking Christianity.  What belief barriers and faith factors might have influenced him? (Probe radio series transcript.)  Italian

Mel Gibson’s Passion Film Ignites Passions.   Is Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic?  Did Jewish people kill Jesus?  Are all Jewish people guilty of his death?  (Short op-ed)

When the Good Guys Don’t Win.   Though nice guys don’t always finish last, they don’t always finish first.  How to cope when your dreams don’t come true, or when life hammers you in spite of your best efforts.  (Magazine article)

Hope for a World Gone Bad.  Life can be messy.  Maybe you’ve felt like giving up.  Here are some reasons for hope.  (Magazine article)

7 Questions Skeptics Ask.  How we can “be prepared to give an answer.” (Probe radio series transcript.)  Spanish  Portuguese  French

Heaven is for Real, movie claims.  Colton Burpo says that at age 3, he went to heaven, saw Jesus, heard angels sing, and met both his deceased great grandfather and his miscarried sister.  The best-selling book about him is now a major motion picture.  Is heaven for real?  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright)

90 Minutes in Heaven movie: There and back again?  What’s it like to die and go to heaven?  Don Piper believes he knows.  A horrendous 1989 auto accident left him battered, bloody, and – according to four Emergency Medical Technicians – dead.  Yet 90 minutes later, he was alive.  He says he visited heaven’s gates, heard celestial music, met deceased friends and family, saw streets of gold, and sensed God’s presence.  Was his heavenly experience real?  (Short op-ed)

The Shack movie: God and your tragedy.  When your personal tragedy strikes – and it will – is God good?  Millions wrestle with that question.  The Shack, a bestselling novel and now a movie, uses fanciful fiction to help people process age-old intellectual and emotional struggles about evil, suffering, and divine character.  (Short op-ed)

History Channel’s Jesus TV series: Who was he, really?  He’s one of history’s most controversial personalities.  Was he a good man spreading love and peace?  A rabble-rouser stirring rebellion?  A charlatan deceiving the masses – then and now?  Something else?  History Channel’s series examines Jesus through the eyes of eight contemporary friends and enemies.  (Short op-ed)

‘Walking with Herb’ movie: Fun sports drama, inspiring second chances.  Need a fun, refreshing break from COVID-world?  How about some laughs, mixed with high-level sports drama plus some inspiring second-chance stories woven in for good measure?  Veteran actor Edward James Olmos and comic George Lopez will make you chuckle as you ponder in Walking with Herb.  (Short op-ed)