I just realised that a week from today I’ll be attending a screening of Marketing The Messiah in Melbourne. Here’s a story.
Around 2004, I went to see the documentary THE CORPORATION. Towards the end of the film there’s a scene with director Michael Moore where he talked about how he makes films that oppose what corporations stand for but they distribute his films anyway because they don’t believe anyone will do anything about the things he says in his films. But Moore said he believed that a few people would watch his films and get up and do something about making the world a better place. I was still working at Microsoft when I saw the film. But his comments connected with me and not long after that I left Microsoft and started The Podcast Network to try to make the world a better place.
But here’s the kicker – the cinema where I saw that film, was the Cinema Nova in Carlton – the exact cinema where I’ll be standing up one week from today to introduce my own little documentary.
My first documentary film, Marketing The Messiah, will be screening in selected cinemas in Australia and the USA in March 2020.
It’s a secular history film about early Christianity. I interviewed twelve scholars and asked them to explain how a fringe Jewish sect from the backwaters of Judaea ended up taking over the Roman Empire.
Who wrote the New Testament?
When was it written?
In what order?
How did the message of the New Testament change over the course of the writing of it?
And how did the early Christians convince Romans to worship a dead Jew?
It might seem strange to make a film about this because most Christians probably think they already know the answers – and most atheists don’t give a shit.
But what I’ve found over the years is that most Christians are actually incredibly ignorant about the foundations of their religion. Moreover, most of them don’t want to know. There’s an attitude many of them have that suggests history doesn’t matter – only faith. Which is fine, I guess, but strikes me as rather silly. You’d think that anyone who decides to devote a chunk of their life to a philosophy would want to understand where it came from.
The atheists, on the other hand, tend to dismiss Christian history because they aren’t interested in religion. But I need to point out that Christian history is the history of Western Civilizations from around 400 CE onwards. As I often say – Julius Caesar and Alexander The Great were both worshipped as gods and you’re interested in their history – how is this any different?
The film, however, isn’t an attack on faith or a theological debate. I’m not interested in those topics (for now). This is just about the history of the early church. And to make sure it isn’t biased, I made sure that half of the scholars are Christians and half are atheists. As you’ll see when you watch the film, they all agree on the fundamental questions posed above about the writing, authorship and timing of the New Testament. That’s mainstream scholarship – even though most Christians will probably be shocked by what they hear.
You can find screening information here and learn more about how to set up your own screening here. You can watch the trailer here and more clips from the film here. Yes it will eventually be available for streaming, but not until later in the year.
Last weekend we *finally* got the principal photography completed for my first documentary, MARKETING THE MESSIAH. I shot all of my scenes to camera down in Melbourne with the lovely crew from Ignition Immersive. Now we’ve just got to edit it all together and sell it. For those of you who don’t know what the film is about – I’ve done interviews with biblical scholars, ancient historians and academics from around the globe to get them to help me tell the actual, historical story of how Christianity went from being a fringe, Jewish cult from the remote regions of the Roman Empire, to becoming the state religion. It’s the story from about 40 CE – 400 CE. It’s a secular film, not a faith-based film, but not an attack on Christianity, either. I’m just fascinated in the real history behind it.
While I’m on the subject of things I’ve finally finished, my new book THE PSYCHOPATH ECONOMY is also finished. It only took me SIX YEARS. Now I go looking for a publisher.