There’s been a lot of hype over this movie, especially among conservatives who felt like they would finally have a voice on the big screen. Normally I’m not a huge fan of ban-wagon stuff, whether it’s Narnia or even Passion of the Christ, but at the St. Louis National Youth Workers Convention last year my wife won a free screening of the movie for our church and community. Since our church didn’t feel comfortable blindly slapping its stamp of approval on the film (and rightly so), Dana and I drove two hours tonight to see Expelled at the closest movie theater playing it.
The first half of the film was dreadfully boring. Walking into the theater I already knew that Ben Stein’s quest was to expose the “behind the scenes” censorship of Intelligent Design in the academic world, but in the beginning I seriously had a difficult time trying to figure out what his point was and where he was going with it. The arguments were less than compelling, Ben Stein was not funny, and the constant little TV clips from the ’40s started to get on my nerves. If I had been watching it on DVD at home, I probably would’ve turned it off and found something more interesting to do.
It wasn’t until half-way through the film when Ben Stein started making the connection between Darwinism and German Nazis that I started paying attention to the film, mostly because some emotion was finally pricked as Ben Stein, a Jew, toured the concentration camps. From that point on the movie seemed to flow with a sense of direction and interviews that were actually intriguing. Richard Dawkins’ perspective was fascinating as he clearly tied religion and worldview to the position one takes on science, specifically human origin. Religion and science cannot be two different categories.
Dana and I decided that for the price of free, it’s worth bringing to our community for a screening since it’s not playing anywhere close. We’ll target mostly high school and college students in our community while intentionally keeping our church’s name off the event.
For your purposes in youth ministry, don’t expect the movie to convert all your students to Intelligent Design, nor to even turn them off to evolution as a science. It may help spark some discussion in your group, though, so be prepared to respond accordingly.
Posted on April 18, 2008