The Case For Christ

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The Case For Christ is definitely a film where the premise strikes out at you immediately. In 2 of the previous Christian films that I’ve seen (God’s Not Dead 1 and 2) it was about the main character having to prove that God was real. This title flips that around by having the lead try to prove the opposite, that God is fiction. He seeks to do this by overturning the biggest event in Christian history, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is this feasible or will Lee soon find out that debunking such an event is as futile as trying to suggest that the world is actually flat?

The film starts off with Lee and Leslie heading to a diner to enjoy a nice meal. Unfortunately the situation grows dire when their daughter begins to choke. As despair begins to set in and all hope is lost, a nurse steps in and is able to save their daughter in the nick of time. She is a Christian and Leslie begins to believe that maybe there is a God who is watching over everyone. She goes with the nurse to Church and gets saved. Lee is not happy with this as he is a devout Atheist and tells Leslie that there is no way they can stay together unless she renounces her faith. Leslie refuses and so Lee decides that he will put his reporting profession to use by finding evidence and making a complete case that God doesn’t exist.

Naturally such a journey is doomed for failure. It’s interesting to see the evidence behind the existence of Jesus Christ and how we have hundreds of accounts from individuals who saw him. The mountains of evidence left behind is quite impressive. To Lee’s credit, it does make sense to attack the resurrection if you were trying to debunk the religion since that miracle is really what proved beyond a shadow of a doubt God’s power. There are many other moments in the Bible of miracles as well and even if there wasn’t a mountain of evidence to defend the Resurrection that wouldn’t be enough to rock our faith.

At the end of the day it is impossible to 100% prove or disprove many things. You often have to take a leap of faith and it wouldn’t be worth much if you didn’t need it to proceed. I’m not saying that I would refuse additional proof if it was ever discovered, but I’m fine without it. Everything within the Bible is ultimately all that we need to know. The film fortunately has a happy ending for Lee’s character as he concedes defeat. He was not able to prove that God didn’t exist and furthermore, he only just ended up convincing himself of the opposite. It was a good way to close his character arc.

That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the character. He definitely did not take the situation in stride and came across as completely unreasonable. He’s been married to Leslie for several years at this point, enough to have a daughter who is old enough to talk and everything. Yet, he almost immediately wants to end the marriage because she has become a Christian. I can understand not wanting to accept this and to continue debating it, but not wanting to leave immediately. It’s not like the person suddenly became a Satanist or anything like that. He also doesn’t have any sympathy for criminals and even puts an innocent man in jail because he couldn’t be bothered to look at the facts of the case more closely. That same guy then gets stabbed and nearly fatally injured. Lee is sad about that, but the guy just created so many problems during the film.

Leslie was a good character. She wasn’t too forceful about turning Lee into a Christian right away which was good. It makes sense that she would understand the situation and try to be tactful about the whole thing. Naturally she wouldn’t give up on converting him and that’s good because as a Christian you understand the stakes better than anyone. If she can’t convert Lee in time, he’ll end up burning in Hell for eternity. Of course you don’t want someone you’re close with to experience such a fate. Since the stakes are that high, she has to try playing 4D Chess and trying to slowly get him to her side. At times maybe she wasn’t perfect with her approach, but at least she kept on trying.

I also liked the characters that Lee went to for advice. They all had an extremely confident air about them. Their smirks basically never left and while they weren’t downright condescending to Lee, they certainly seemed to think that he was asking extremely basic questions. Of course they likely weren’t in the best mood since he clearly was asking them questions to get them to take a shot at their religion so they were guarded. I just always like these kind of characters. You know that they’re not going to be on the defensive during the verbal exchange and have all of the answers.

Overall, The Case For Christ is a pretty fun film. The writing is solid and the pacing for The Case for Christ is on point as well. I haven’t seen any debates in a while, but I always like seeing debaters challenge the two sides. I’m certainly not impartial as I’m a Christian, but all the more reasons to better understand the points that the opposition makes so I can know how best to respond. If you liked God’s Not Dead then I believe you’ll like this film. The main character is definitely annoying, but the rest of the case is solid. His coworkers are all pretty fun characters and the Nurse who saved the kid at the beginning isn’t bad. Maybe a little ineffective the whole time, but saving the kid is really all she needs on her resume. I’ll definitely be interested to see which film this company churns out next.

Ben Hur

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Ben Hur is definitely a film that I’m sure just about everyone has heard of at some point or another. It definitely became very well known as a film taking place during the crucifixion but seen through the eyes of a Roman centurion. It’s a pretty different take and in this case it is not the main plot.

The main focus of the story is on Ben Hur and Messala. They used to be friends for many years. That all changed when Messala became a high ranking official for Rome. He began to obsess over proving himself to the empire and wanted Ben to help him find the Jews who were not complying with his laws. When Ben refused they became enemies. Unfortunately Ben’s sister accidentally puts Messala’s superior in a coma which gives Messala a good excuse to imprison them. Ben is sent to a ship where he will spend his life. Can he ever get off?

Well, most of you know this story from the horse race so you can probably guess where the story goes from there. At its core Ben Hur is really a revenge story as he tries to take Messala down once and for all. The horse race is definitely quite long and intense, so fans of that kind of sport will enjoy it. I’ve never cared for horse racing because whipping them is just barbaric. They made a point to show that Ben doesn’t hit his horse at least, but you’ll definitely feel bad for the other horses. At least none of them were seriously injured or anything during the race which was good. Definitely a very tense moment throughout.

After the big climax it’s fair to say that the film slows down quite a lot. While parts of the climax are needed like Jesus appearing again and meeting Ben Hur, we could have done without the subplot of Hur’s sister and mother becoming lepers. At least shortening some of their scenes or something. The film also shows how Ben starts to go down the same dark path as Messala after a while which fortunately concludes with him not going that far but it does make the lead hard to root for at times.

Watching the film will definitely remind you of how tough things were back then. The Jews were enslaved by the Romans for a very long time and throughout history they were always being attacked or invaded by other groups. It’s easy to see why in this film a lot of them have given up on waiting for God to avenge them or to settle things diplomatically and just want to attack. It’s certainly the easiest option but not always the right one. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive as there have been many cases throughout history where fighting the oppressors is the right thing to do. You just have to look at each individual situation.

The film does its best to show Messala as being more than a one note villain. He’s not insane at all and his goals do make sense. From his perspective, Ben is essentially aiding terrorists instead of his long time friend. Naturally this betrayal stings and he isn’t the kind of guy to allow a slight to go unpunished. Of course he is evil as made evident throughout the film so don’t mistake understanding his goals for actually justifying them. He’s an entertaining character who is always fun to have on screen and makes for a compelling villain. He certainly gave Ben a good fight although it’s clear that Ben was more skilled as he won despite several disadvantages.

The scenery definitely appears to be accurate to what the land must have looked like back in the day. There definitely weren’t a bunch of shiny skyscrapers or anything like that in these days. It was just a lot of desert and stone surrounding the area. The designs for the chariots and the horses were on point as well. I do have to say that if the building tiles were so fragile back in the day then I’m glad we found a better system. Clearly the tiles breaking is a rare occurrence as the main characters would have been more prepared otherwise, but definitely still not a risk you want to have.

Ben Hur isn’t a pleasant film to watch, but it’s certainly a long one and a film that has really gone down in history as being iconic. It’s probably one of the first ever revenge stories to really hit it big. If you take away the Biblical aspects of the film then it would certainly fall quite a bit, but with that part of history included it certainly makes this film a lot more legitimate. If you are interested in seeing more of this point in history from a fresh perspective then it makes sense to watch this film. Be sure to take a break during the intermission though as otherwise it will definitely feel like a very long adventure.