Tuesday, October 12, 2004

'6-6-6' Movie Will Claim Jesus Didn't Exist

'The Beast' movie: Jesus didn't exist
Former Christian director's secretive film scheduled to open on 06-06-06
Posted: October 12, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Ron Strom
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

A movie whose purpose is to prove that Jesus Christ never existed and that
demonizes Christian fundamentalists is scheduled to open on June 6, 2006 –
that is, 06-06-06, the "666" biblical mark of the Beast.

Directed by Brian Flemming, who is described on the film's website as a
"former fundamentalist Christian," "The Beast" promises to spread the theory
he claims is "gaining credibility among scholars" – that Jesus was made up
out of thin air.

"The authors of the Gospels, writing 40 to 90 years after the supposed life
of Christ, never intended for their works to be read as biographies. There
are no credible non-Christian references to Christ during the period in
which he is said to have lived," states the film's site.

Currently in pre-production, the film's cast and crew are "legally sworn to
secrecy," the promotional site says.

Here's how the film's promoters describe its plot:

When her father, a biblical scholar, mysteriously disappears, a Christian
high-school student named Danielle investigates. She discovers that he had
stumbled across a cover-up of Christianity's best-kept secret: that Jesus
Christ never existed.
Now that she possesses proof of this dangerous fact, Danielle must confront
two strong forces: a band of fundamentalist Christians who will stop at
nothing to suppress the truth, and her own desire for Jesus Christ to be
real.

Diving into factual territory well-explored by scholars but largely hidden
from the view of the public, "The Beast" is an epic story of innocence lost,
faith in crisis and the astonishing power of the truth to survive.

On the trailer, which is viewable on the film's site, ominous music plays
while these words flash across the screen: "Centuries ago, a legend was
invented… forgery … fraud … coercion … wealth … greed … torture … murder …
war … gave it the power to dominate the world." The words are displayed on a
background of a painting of Christ's face.

The producers offer a newsletter for those interested in following the
making of the movie.

Fleming is touted on the film's website as "internationally acclaimed."

States the site: "Flemming's work has been called 'a parallel universe' by
the BBC, 'jaggedly imaginative' by the New York Times, and 'immensely
satisfying' by USA Today. The Fox News Channel dubbed him 'a young Oliver
Stone.' Flemming won the New York Times Claiborne Pell Award for Original
Vision for his groundbreaking feature film 'Nothing So Strange,' which was
released theatrically in 2003 and is currently distributed on DVD in more
than 200 countries."

Supporters of the film have participated in a discussion forum on the site.

Says one excited poster: "I must say, I highly commend this director for his
immense courage on putting something like this out!! The fact that he has
the courage to put out a movie about the possibility of Christ never
existing after all the controversy surrounding a movie about the LIFE of
Christ (well death really) is just amazing!!

"Mad Kudos (and thanks) to EVERYONE involved in the making of this movie and
good luck in handling all the 'adverse' reactions!!"

Another participant enthused, "I'm so excited! I can't wait until it's
released! This is DEFINITELY the age of Aquarius!!"

Greg Koukl is head of Stand to Reason, a Christian apologetics organization.
He says this kind of story line is not unusual among books and movies.

"It always turns out that fundamentalist Christians are the bad guys," he
told WorldNetDaily.

"The problem with this is the evidence they draw from is always out on the
fringes of academic scholarship" – evidence, he says, that is not even used
by the leaders of the leftist Jesus Seminar.

Koukl noted historians that have no affinity for fundamentalist Christianity
certainly write about Jesus and his impact on history.

"Nobody is trying to explain the indelible mark of Jesus of Nazareth on
history by saying he never existed," he said. "That's way beyond the pale.
No credible historian would make that claim. … It's a bizarre statement from
an academic perspective."

Koukl wonders what motive anyone would have to invent Jesus and then "fool
everybody."

He dismisses "The Beast" promoters' argument that because no non-Christian
accounts of Jesus exist from the time of his life, he must be a fictional
character.

"It may be the case that only Caesar wrote about the Gaelic wars," he
explained, "but just because there are no other writing about the Gaelic
wars doesn't mean we can't trust Caesar," mentioning the four Gospels are
themselves four separate accounts of Christ's life.

He mentioned there are a "number of historical references to Christ outside
Christianity, which buttress the fact he did exist."

Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MovieGuide and chairman of the Christian
Film & Television Commission, predicts "The Beast" will bomb with American
moviegoers.

"Generally, these movies do very poorly at the box office," he told WND.
"'Saved!' which had a lot of publicity, did about $6 million at the box
office. … That's pitiful."

Baehr said bringing the film's contentions into the light of day in the
media works well to expose the agenda of its promoters.

"The way you pull the teeth of a false argument is bring up the argument
first and show that it's frivolous and fallacious," he said. "Of course it's
frivolous. The original apostles wouldn't have gone to their death for Jesus
if they didn't believe he was real."

Baehr said, "There is a small group of teenagers who will see ['The Beast']
who will be convinced it is the truth. … It will have an impact on a
susceptible few."

One of the film's producers, Amanda Jackson, was contacted for this story
but did not respond by press time.