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 Gallic 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.
If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll.
Related special offer: