AS writes: “There is a video being viewed by many, especially the young, which is “debunking” Christianity called Zeitgeist Religion. It is very upsetting and I don’t know where to begin to refute it. It can be found here. If you can suggest any material I would be very appreciative.”
Thanks be to God, I found plenty of resources to refute the movie, Zeitgeist, which is an online video released in June 2007. (Zeitgeist is a German phrase meaning “spirit of the age.”)
Produced by Peter Joseph, an independent filmmaker and social activist, it contains three parts:
Part I claims that Christianity originated in ancient sun-worshipping religions and that Jesus never really existed. Instead of persecuting and trying to destroy the Church as history proves, the film claims that the Roman empire actually instituted it for political purposes as a means of social control.
Much of Part I is based on the work of an atheist author named D.M. Murdock who uses the pen name Acharya S. She is a big proponent of the Christ-was-just-a-myth idea and her book, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, is said to be one of the main sources for Part 1 of Zeitgeist. Unfortunately, this book has been heavily criticized for its lack of credible sourcing. In fact, Acharya, (and many other atheists who want to believe Jesus was just a myth) relies heavily upon the work of a man named Gerald Massey who they claim to be a great Egyptologist. He wasn’t. Massey was a poet who died in 1913 and had no credentials whatsoever to be writing on this subject matter. Massey repeatedly claimed to have gotten his ideas from an ancient text, but he never cites the text he supposedly used.
Part II of the film is just another conspiracy theory story which some authors claim to be copied from Loose Change – a 9/11 conspiracy video. You’ve heard them all before – elements within the U.S. government allowed the attacks to happen so they could justify the War on Terror, then use the attack as an excuse to curtail the civil liberties of Americans. The film claims the U.S. allowed the planes to reach the towers and that the World Trade Center towers underwent a controlled demolition.
Loose Change is also considered to be a non-credible source that was the subject of some very blistering critiques which site its out-of-date sources and its selective use of existing evidence to support its claims.
Part III makes all kinds of outlandish claims such as that the three wars the U.S. was involved in during the 20th century were waged for economic gain with “international bankers” orchestrating everything from behind the scenes. It also alleges that the U.S. was forced by the Federal Reserve Bank to not only get involved in the wars but to prolong them in order to force the U.S. to borrow more money, thereby increasing the profits of the “international bankers.”
Again, Joseph’s sources were not considered to be credible and he apparently revised portions of Part III in a later film known as Zeitgeist: Final Edition. The New York Times reported on March 17, 2009, that Joseph indicated he had “moved away from” his opinion on whether 9/11 was an “inside job”, then later clarified this statement on his Zeitgeist Movement website that the was merely shifting his focus, not retracting his views.
For a more detailed point-by-point refutation of Zeitgeist, this hour-long documentary is excellent.
For those who are dispirited by the film and the impact it may (or may not) be having on impressionable young people, I found this comment on an atheist blog to be very enlightening.
“Zeitgeist is perhaps one of the most damaging films I’ve ever seen, because people who don’t exercise proper skepticism buy into a flawed story and then repeat it. They may convince other folks, and what we’ll end up with are a bunch of people who reject Christianity, for example, for very bad reasons – and the minute they come face to face with someone who can defend Christianity from these easily dismissed claims, they’re likely to not simply be convinced they were wrong but also convinced that Christianity is therefore true (after all, we’re talking about folks who weren’t bothered to investigate the truth in the first place).”