November 2007
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Elgin’s Books


  • Christianity and Secularism

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  • Zeitgeist – The Responses II

    Listen to the MP3

    Nov 16, 2007, Wausau, Wi — Interest and discussion concerning Zeitgeist, The Movie and my three part review continues to grow, so this week I thought I would address a point that recently came up in a couple of relies to my review. These replies started out by agreeing with my review. One began, “this movie is based on incorrect facts.” Another said, “I am a Christian and I realize Zeitgeist part one was a complete total lie.”

    But after agreeing, they went on to claim other grand conspiracies. The first writer went on to claim that while Zeitgeist was based on incorrect facts, the same could be said for the Bible, and religion was simply a means to control the masses and enslave them. The other writer said, “I believe the rest of the movie is true and that the US government had everything to do with [911]” and that “most Christians now believe 911 was an inside job, Satan is in control of our government.”

    Both of these replies demonstrate in their own way the persistence of these grand conspiracy theories. Part of this is simply the flawed and often dishonest way in which they presented. We have a general, and somewhat necessary, view that people are honest. Even people who claim not to trust anyone still do a lot of trusting in their day to day lives. So when we hear someone telling something, there is a tendency to accept it unless we have a reason not to.

    For example, one of the reasons the Christian writer gave that Parts II and III of Zeitgeist should believed even though part one was flawed is that there is a “video of Larry Silverstein admitting he demoed building 7.” Now a video of the building’s owner admitting that he was the one responsible for bringing down the building, rather than the terrorist would be pretty powerful evidence. But the actual situation is a good example of how these grand conspiracy theories work.

    Now there is video of the owner, but what he says is “pull it.” The conspiracy theorists claim “pull it” is jargon which refers to bringing down a building by explosives, and thus their claim that the owner ordered the building brought down. So even when those who do check out this claim see the video, they will see just what the theorist have led them to see, Silverstein given the command to “pull it.” While this is conclusive evidence for the conspiracy theorists, and at first blush seems at least plausible, the problem is that there are other, and better, understandings of Silverstein’s statement.

    Frankly given that he was talking to the Fire Department commander and his stated purpose in the video was to not to risk further loss of life, I find Silverstein’s own explanation that this referred to stopping the effort to put out the fires to be far more likely. After all if the building were to be demolished by explosives, it is extremely unlikely that the NYFD would have been in on any such conspiracy, given the number of firefighters who heroically gave their lives that day.

    This is just one piece of evidence, and conspiracy theories are built upon a seaming endless stream of such claims. When people do take the time to refute them, they are often simply rejected, a part of the conspiracy. Thus when I pointed out some of  refutations of the 911 conspiracy to the Christian writer defending them I was told that they were done by organizations that were “all run by a secret society called FREE MASONS.” Not only do these theory slant evidence to support them, they have a built in way of rejecting any evidence against them as part of the conspiracy.

    Paul tells us that in the last days, people “will gather around them a great number of teachers, to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 tim 4:3-4)

    There is a very simply principle, that truth cannot be grounded in error. As we try to reach the world with the truth of the Gospel, we must be doubly careful not mix it with error. This is not a new problem. There is always a great temptation to having secret knowledge, to know what others do not; to be in on the secret. During the time of the early church, this desire expressed itself in the form of Gnosticism, a religious movement based on secret knowledge that competed with Christianity in the second century.

    The conspiracy theorists of today are the modern Gnostics. Laura Curtis summarized this nicely in her blog Suspending Disbelief, when she wrote “Like Gnostics, they are the Chosen Ones, privy to information the rest of us can’t comprehend. They’re special. Part of an elite few. We can’t handle the truth! They are the messiah, here to save us from our own dangerous ignorance.”

    One of the worst aspects of these conspiracy theories is that there is real evil in the world and these theories only divert our attention away from it. One does not need to be a Bush supporter to believe that Islamic terrorism is both real and evil. It existed long before Bush, and will exist long after he is out of office.

    As Paul said, “test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1 Thess 5:21-22)

    This is Elgin Hushbeck, asking you to Consider Christianity: a Faith Based on Fact.

    10 comments on “Zeitgeist – The Responses II

    1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

    2. I’m disappointed… i’m still looking for some good counter arguments that will vanish the doubts that has risen in my mind since watching zietgeist. yes, i’m well aware of the fact that the movie uses various propaganda techniques in order to evoke psychological and emotional reactions, which tenders the harsh message that the movie is trying to promote, but i’ve also encountered some troubling facts or at least some questions and mysteries that i haven’t yet found a convincing argument or better- a convincing evidence that the movie is groundless. what i did encounter (yet again in this post) are similar psychological tricks being used. first of all and most obvious is that the criticism is not attacking the evidence but the presenters of those facts. secondly, you classify the theorists as a new form of an old failed religion and by that you serve your agenda by few ways- by categorizing the theorists as the other, and furthermore as an opposed religion to the readers, you immediately create an antagonism toward all of the theories. in other words, it is impossible to remain a christian and still believe any percentage of the theory. its all in black and white… you either a christian or a gnostic (or whatever you want to call it).third of all, you take one weak evidence and you replace it with your own “reasonable” (what is reasonable anyway?!) interpretation, instead of addressing the more convincing fact.
      i can continue on and on but i think my message is clear. it is still very hard for me to believe any of whats been told in the movie, in fact i don’t want to believe it! that would mean that i grew up in a lie, and everything is fake… certainly a frightening thought for a sane man (what is sane anyway?!). the only true and hard fact that is known to me is that us humans are very easily manipulated and that is something that we all should remember, and if even a small percentage of the movie is true… we all should be aware of it and not deny it on groundless basis… cause’ that exactly what “they” would want us to do…

    3. Hapoel,
      You claim I don’t attack the evidence put the presenters. I am not at all clear what you mean, as my focus is squarely on the evidence and not he presenters. Both here and in my three part review and my first response note. The last paragraph does address the issue of why supporters ignore the clear problems, errors and irrational arguments put forth in Zeitgeist the Movie and continue to believe any way. But to characterize as attacking the presenters instead of the evidence is simply false. Did you bother to read the previous four notes upon which this was based?
      As for your second criticism, I can see why you would think this and that is probably my fault for not being clearer. My focus was on the characteristics of Gnosticism that I pointed out, and thus was using the term more as a metaphor than a strict definition. The modern conspiracy theorists do display the traits mentioned very clearly.
      Finally as for taking only one, piece of evidence, again perhaps you did not realize that I wrote a detailed three part review, and that this post was the second one addressing some of the responses I have received. The reason I addressed this piece of evidence because that was the evidence cited in the email I received challenging me. Also perhaps you did not notice the link to a site that does a pretty good job of refuting many of the other claims.
      As for some of the movie being true, you should remember that the best lies are built on a grain of truth. They take things that are true, and twist them out of context and use them to make claims that are not true. The key point is that truth, cannot be based on error. While there is a grain of truth here and there in Zeitgeist, much of it is in error, the reasoning is flawed, and therefore the conclusions cannot be rationally accepted.
      For example, as I pointed out in my review Luke 22:10 is quoted correctly. This is the grain of truth. But the disciples’ question is not. This is the error. These are then combined to create the conclusion that Jesus was making a reference to the Age of Aquarius which is impossible given the actual context of the passage which was referring to where they would eat that night.
      I would suggest that you go back and read my four earlier posts.
      Elgin

    4. There’s an unfortunate and common misconception that this movie is about religion. It’s not. It uses religion as a grounds to demonstrate the power of myth for controlling social behavior. Christian or not, this film ultimately asks you to acknowledge the fact that persuasive people use religion as a means to manipulate people. This is historical fact. One need look no further than the Crusades for evidence of it, a point that the film’s writers point out.

      This movie is about how fear, myth and persuasion are linked to control the general population. It challenges us to ask questions and seek our own answers. The movie challenges us to look past what the government tells us, which, given the amount of tangible evidence presented surrounding 9/11, seems to be a great idea.

      Even seven years ago, the official story didn’t add up. For seven years, no evidence has been found to suggest a large commercial passenger plane hit the Pentagon. The physical evidence and debris does not exist. It is also true that security footage from the surrounding buildings that should have recorded the crash, were confiscated and whose content has never been released for public scrutiny.

      From a scientific standpoint, there are mountains of evidence suggesting that the collapse of the World Trade Center towers was implausible, if not impossible given the magnitude of the attack. This movie, while admittedly sensationalized in order to achieve emotional shock, does cite a number of established scientific, architectural doctrines. In the context of those scientific doctrines, such as the fire caused in the towers not being hot enough to melt the steel supports, lends great credibility to the idea that there’s more to this ‘attack’ than meets the eye.

      I wouldn’t commit to the idea that the government orchestrated the attacks, but at the same time, it’s certainly possible. In any event, the official story doesn’t make sense. Everyone who’s done the research knows it. My advice is take some time to reflect and ask yourselves some hard questions. Do some research. And then ask yourselves what the government is hiding from us.

      Don’t take the movie as fact verbatim. Take it for what it is intended to be, an insightful inquiry into events which have had and which may yet have tragic consequences for all of us. Ask questions, and don’t stop until you have the truth.

    5. Oz,

      In the end you are still left with the fact that truth cannot be grounded in error, and this movie is full of distortions, errors, and fallacious arguments. As such it is itself a far better example of myth and error than the things it points too.

      Elgin

    6. Oz,

      Given 1) the clear and numerous errors in Part I; 2) the fact that every supposedly clear piece of evidence of a cover up I have check out turned have major problems (e.g. true the fire was not hot enough to melt steel, but at the temperatures that could have been expected the steel would have been weakened by 90%. Then there was the truck fire in Calif that caused a bridge to collapse); and 3) that all such Grand Conspiracy theories I have check out to date likewise suffer from numerous errors, I don’t see much to be gained for a further search in this area. Proponents of such theories have a seemingly endless list of such arguments, and I simply do not have the time to track them all down, nor given their proven lack of credibility see any need to. I have checked out a number an they all had major problems.

      Elgin

    7. ZEITGEIST THE MOVIE =

      The war is about an evil american governemt versus an evil islamic religion.

      However I disagree with part 1 Jesus myth hypothesis =
      research = christian views on ZeitGeist
      1. You can still go to heaven even though you sin, you just have to admit your sins.
      2. The Christian faith could expand without the christians gaining any money, becuase of pencil, papers, free internet service, free website hosting, computers ect. Note= one of the poeple in who wrote in the New Testament in the Bible said ” that the word of God should not be used for money or for gaining profit ” ( 2 Corinthians 2:17 ). Note = The Bible doesn’t say you have to go to church.
      3. the earth according to the bible is around 6400 years old.
      4. the christians are suppose to follow Jesus teachings ” turn the other cheek, always forgive, love your enemies “. The reasons why the crusades must of happened in our history, was probably becuase of the Roman Catholic Pope who went against Jesus’s teachings. Note= the Roman Catholics are a group of people who call themselves christians, but I really do not think they are tue christians, becuase of reasons that I have written ( read my section on catholics below ) .
      5. the christians do not control societies, they are suppose to obey the government rules with the bible rules taking precedence over the government rules
      6. God does see both evil and good
      7. Angels and Demons are from the spiritual rhealm that human eyes cannot see
      8. There is archeology in the Bible, Old Testament, New testament and Jesus just research it in the internet.
      9. There are som end of time prophecies from the bible in the ZeitGeist movie = RFRD chip from zeitgeist movie = mark of the beast 666, city of babylon and tower of babel = new york city where also the United Nations Building is, beast from the abyss = the evil mastermind in the federal reserve board responsible for World War 2 and 9/11 as in the zeitgeist movie

    8. Michael,

      The same sort of faulty reasoning that invalidates part one is found throughout the other parts as well and as such the conclusions of those parts are equally as flawed.

      As for your 9 points, a few I would agree with, many are mixed, and some I disagree with. But to detail this would take more a few posts in and of themselves.

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