January 13, 2008

Zeitgeist the Movie

Filed under: Culture and Media — Bob Gifford @ 9:03 pm

Ah, yes. We live in a post-modern world, a world of truthiness, where we each pick and choose our own set of “facts” to accept unskeptically as true. I blame the internet for drastically exacerbating this phenomenon of competing personal truths.

My seventeen year-old son asked me to watch a movie on the web called Zeitgeist. Apparently it is passing virally among his peers, so he and some of his friends watched it. The first part purports to debunk Christianity as an entirely fictional re-telling of pagan astrological myths created by Gnostics who replaced the traditional sun-god with a fabricated Jesus. Several of his friends were convinced by it, and decided they were atheists. This caused a bit of a crisis of faith in my son, so he wanted me to watch it with him.

It is really, really clever. I immediately spotted some logical flaws and outright falsehoods, but was impressed by it as a high caliber of propaganda. But propaganda it is, pulling lots of truths and half-truths out of context to support their agenda. (Just one example – Jesus was born on December 25th, the winter solstice, just like many other pagan deities, so his birth is a rip-off of pagan myths. Except that, um, Jesus wasn’t born on the winter solstice. We don’t know when Jesus was born. The early church celebrated his birth on the winter solstice to co-opt the pagan feast of Saturnalia.) Anyone who has ever actually read any of the New Testament will find that their arguments don’t match at all with the facts, but obviously that isn’t their target audience. Those who just don’t know better will find it convincing.

It turns out that the “Jesus Myth” has been around for a long time, and debunked repeatedly. It’s an urban legend.

The problem with finding the truth on the web becomes one of “authority” and “trust”. Anyone can put up a website, make a movie, throw around all kinds of specious claims. If they’re good, they can make it really compelling. If they’re really really good, they will tap into the, yes, Zeitgeist to convince people of things they would like to believe anyway, such as the world is really controlled by a cabal of evil white men so [insert personal disappointment here] is all their fault, or Christianity is an evil plot that has been used to control the masses through fear and intimidation so I don’t have to consider it’s truth-claims.

No one seems to know who is behind this Zeitgeist movie, their credentials, agenda or motivations. They don’t provide sources for their claims. Yet it is compelling enough that lots of teenagers (and I’m sure adults as well) are buying it. So I’ve tried to use it as a learning opportunity for my son — don’t ever believe anything you read (or watch) on the internet unless you know who it is making the claim, what their credentials are, what their agenda is, and what the other side is saying. Determine the authority for the claim, and only when satisfied with the authority should you extend your trust. Be skeptical. Demand primary sources. Look for credentials, opposing viewpoints. Doubt.

Oh, and if only the first part of this Zeitgeist movie is devoted to unmasking Christianity, what is the rest of it about? 9/11 was a government plot, as was the assassination of JFK. Rich bankers caused World War I, the Depression and World War II.

Zeitgeist indeed.

6 Comments

  1. […] them. Any young adult, or not-so-young adult, reader will recognize them as fantasy, not as a documentary expose’. However, that distinction seems to be lost on […]

    Pingback by Ergo Dubito » His Dark Materials: Anti-Church? Anti-God? — January 22, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  2. So what You aren’t check source of all Zeitgeist “facts” before You write Your opinion. You are silly like Your child. Don’t believe any institution or movie etc, search truth by Your self.
    With regards.

    Comment by Andrew — April 18, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  3. It’s not for sale. You CAN buy it, but it is FREE MEDIA. I love how you claim that it is propoganda, but you simply off no evidence whatsoever to support your claim. Unlike the people who created Zeitgeist. Did you even look any of it up, they have a multitude of citations(cited sources) posted. What “evidence” do you have? Did god cure your cancer? Were you a heathen who saw the light? Basically what I’m asking is: “What PROOF do you have to support your statements?”

    Comment by Haven — June 24, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  4. I would have to agree the Zeitgeist movie is not 100% accurate but its not mean`t to be ….it`s about opening peoples eyes and thoughts.We have become socially conditioned to accept things for what they are wheather they are morally right or wrong.The Zeitgeist Movie is aimed at the western audience and hence the questioning of the Christian Institues,although they have done plenty of good the fact they go hand in hand with government and banking institues means they are corupt .It is not anti God but is anti organised controlling religon.Like the other respondants I agree do some research and you will find a lot of truths that are not covered by main stream media and just because they are not covered by the main stream does not mean they are not creditable.Good luck in your search

    Comment by Paul Byrne — August 15, 2009 @ 6:55 am

  5. http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

    Comment by find — October 6, 2009 @ 6:37 am

  6. This article refutes and disproves claims of Zeitgeist movie, from the part of Christianity:

    http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/zeitgeist_movie.html

    I suggest to read the article!

    Comment by telson — August 24, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

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