Category: Theology

What I hated about the Carrie movie (if Jesus were Christian, he would have killed himself.)

Posted on December 9th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. 5 comments

I love Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz, and I think they were perfect in the roles of Stephen King’s “Carrie” and her crazy-religious-freak mother. But there was a lot about the 2013 movie adaption of King’s novel that was disturbing. And no, not just all the blood, violence, gore and death.

Carrie was a very Christian movie.

Of course the original story is already highly religious in nature, with Carrie being forced to pray for forgiveness by her abusive mother.

But the original is less judgmental and more open-ended. Carrie is seen as more of a tragic victim. Her wild, amazing telekinetic powers defy the neat boundaries of Christian orthodoxy. Sure her closeted, narrow-minded religious fanatic mother thinks those powers come from Satan. But there is no indication that King thought so – in fact Carrie seems to be using Carrie’s powers to criticize Christianity as backward-minded and violently judgmental.

On the surface, this appears to be the case in the movie also, which concludes with Sue Snell telling a courtroom:

“You want an explanation? Carrie had some sort of power. But she was just like me…but we pushed her. And you can only push someone so far before they break.”

So Carrie is just … Read More »


I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, but I have too much faith to be a Christian.

Posted on October 8th, by Derek Murphy in Atheism, Modern Culture, Theology. 3 comments

“Impact Apologetics” sells info products online on how to argue with Atheists.

On the product description of one of their main products, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” (which comes in book, CD and MP3 formats) they have the following quote, which they claim is a Five Star review on Amazon.com from an Atheist:

Having read quite a few Christian apologetics books, I feel I can say that this one is by far the best in scope, logic, and wit. The authors convincingly build up their case in layers, starting with well-reasoned arguments why God exists, and building in stages as to why Jesus is the way to go, once everything else is accepted. 

The authors include run-ins they’ve had with professors and debate opponents, making for an interesting read. The appendixes, which feature a mock dialogue between a Christian and an atheist, are entertaining. The book covers all the important issues that this topic entails, from cosmology, life origins, evolution, morality, and a defense of the Bible. 

No honest atheist can read this book without being impressed by the quality of the theistic arguments as presented by the authors. The objections of skeptics are confronted with confidence. Did it change … Read More »


What is blasphemy, and is it worth it? Questions about life, faith and meaning on International Blasphemy Day

Posted on September 30th, by Derek Murphy in Atheism, blasphemy, Theology. 2 comments

I started this blog about a decade ago, when I was young and bold and idealistic.

I believed that everything should be challenged: especially beliefs that we hold dear, because they can be dangerous. Every idea, belief, and concept should be tested and either found strong and valuable, or weak and useless. Nothing should be prioritized over reason, pursuit of knowledge, Truth.

But I’ve mellowed. Or you could say, I’ve been distracted.

I still research and write what interests me, and I’ll probably continue publishing books that many will view as blasphemous (although I’m rethinking my whole strategy now, from being bold and abrasive to being simple and inclusive).

I still believe that blasphemy is, at its core, simply the defense in our abilities to think and speak freely.

It is our right to congregate, to question, to challenge. If you take away our basic rights of dissent, freedom will absolutely disappear. We will be living with a corrupt, totalitarian government, and – if it’s a religious regime – will probably face unconscionable violence, persecution, racism and worse.

We are living in an age where rebellion is applauded on the surface: the Arab Spring; the Occupy Movement; Wikileaks. We love the idea of standing up in … Read More »


What the new Riddick 3 movie (2013) says about Christians and Lesbians

Posted on September 30th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture, Movie Reviews. 1 Comment

Vin Diesel’s new Riddick movie (2013) is just the type of movie I don’t like: a sequel with no plot where nothing happens.

He wakes up on an abandoned planet, and finds a way to get off it. That’s it. The whole thing could have been accomplished in 3 minutes, but then the writers would have come up with something else. So it’s a 1hr 59minute stall.

It’s watchable, because there’s lots of action and cool stuff happening. But many parts are still pretty stupid: melodrama and rising tension and sound effects to keep you on the edge of your seat when nothing’s happening. And if were just a bad movie, I wouldn’t write about it.

But there’s actually some really interesting stuff going on – stuff that can serve as commentary about the state of our culture’s perceptions of women, gender bias, homosexuality, religious faith and prayer. So let’s dive in.

There are only two female characters in the story.

The first is Keri Hilson. She’s the smoking hot prisoner/love slave; the typical captured princess role. In a normal movie, the hero would come and rescue her. But Riddick is going to bypass all that typical hero stuff and go to something meatier.

So Keri Hilson … Read More »


Bill Compton is Jesus: True Blood and Christianity

Posted on August 12th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. No Comments

One of the reasons I’ve always loved “True Blood” is that – rather than ignoring the obvious religious associations in vampire and supernatural mythology – it plays them up and includes them into the diverse mix of plot and characters.

But it’s gotten a little ridiculous now, in Season 6, Episode 9.

First there was Lilith, the originator of all vampire, whose sacred blood makes vampires impervious to light (just like Fairy blood does).

Bill Compton, who can now see the future, sees a bunch of his friends meeting the light in a circular room.

So he decides to save them.

Not by breaking in and releasing them (which he could easily do, being near omnipotent now). Instead he thinks he needs to drink more fairy blood and then have all his friends drink from him, so they will be light-proof also.

This bizarre savior complex is never questioned.

Eric Northman also drinks fairy blood, breaks in, kills everybody… but somehow Bill beats him into the room first. The crazy thing is, once Bill has opened the door for everybody, he convinces all the other vampires to drink his blood and wait around for the light, just to prove his own power.

Nobody says “Screw you!” and leaves … Read More »


Can Muslims talk about Jesus? The Fox News Scandal and Reza Aslan’s new book Zealot

Posted on July 30th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. 4 comments

Since it’s been a couple years since I put out my own book on historical-mythical Jesus Christ research I haven’t been paying much attention to what’s going on in the field. But I just caught a bit of Chris Hayes’ interview with Reza Aslan, the author of a new book on Jesus called “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.”

On an interview with the author a couple days ago, Fox News interviewer Lauren Green gets straight to the point:

“I just want to be clear, you’re a MUSLIM, why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity.”

The interview turns awkward, and a little ugly. (Watch it below).

The issue at stake is, “Who is allowed to speak about Jesus?”

The majority of New Testament scholars are Christian: they are a tight knit group. Nobody else is allowed to comment on the historical Jesus unless they believe in him.

People with PhD’s in religion, literature, history, mythology, who are too outside the traditional and orthodox views of the historical Jesus are quickly criticized as quacks. If they’d have written about anything else, their book would go unnoticed. But the censors of Bible Scholarship are quick to protect their reputations and censor … Read More »


A little too much Christianity in 2013 Man of Steel Movie?

Posted on July 29th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. No Comments

There’s always been a little bit of Jesus in Superman.

The story of a man from one world going to another and finding himself with supernatural powers with which to lead a revolution against evil is ancient, but in 1912 with John Carter of Mars, elements of mythology, science fiction and technology begin to blend in new ways, eventually becoming the modern comic superhero.

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children describes the process of how a historical spiritual guru can be based on a comic book and vice versa.

All of our stories are converging; Hollywood has discovered the “film-by-numbers” calculation resulting in the best, more emotionally triggering plot elements and they make sure to put them everywhere. Matt Damon’s new Elysium looks to be about the same story as John Carter, and very similar to Superman.

Except – although Superman has been around for a long time and keeps coming out with brand new revisions, 2013 Man of Steel seemed more Christian than the others. Possibly this is because there was no dramatic tension, clever dialogue or conversations longer than 1 or 2 blunt sentences. Each word carefully chosen for maximum impact, which felt like a choreographed Maoist propaganda campaign in which actors give lip service … Read More »