Movie Review

Conversations With God

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some language and a brief accident

Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Adventure, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
October 27, 2006 (nationwide—limited)
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Relevant Issues
Copyright, 20th Century Fox

What does God say? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

Featuring: Henry Czerny, Ingrid Boultin, Jerry McGill, Michelle Merring, T. Bruce Page, Vilma Silva, Michael A. Goorjian
Director: Stephen Simon
Producer: Gay Hendricks, Stephen Simon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Within every one of us, there is a voice that speaks the truth?

With barely anytime spent in the theater seat, it is easily perceived that whatever conversations author Neale Donald Walsch thought he was having with God, were but his own mental meanderings, and those, none too Christian. He states that God speaks to individuals in their own voice, and for the duration of the movie, Neale speaks to himself mentally, and calls it “God.” Most would call it “talking to yourself.”

The movie flashes back and forth in time, but the real beginning has the near fifty year-old Walsch getting along fine in the world, when, while riding through an intersection, his vehicle received a violent side impact by another car traveling through at break-neck speed. The collision does just that, breaks his neck, and with it, his quality of life… which spirals to the absolute bottom. Unable to pay his bills and hold a job, not to mention, physically hold his head up, Walsch becomes a starving, homeless man, living in an Oregon park and eating out of garbage cans. It’s a frightening prospect for anyone who thinks they have job security and their retirement all planned.

One miserable day, while sleeping on newspapers, Walsch spied a job listing for a radio show. Having once been employed in the business, he answers the ad and tries to recover his life. Things get better for a short stint until bankruptcy shuts down his new employer, and once again, dirt bedding and refuse cuisine were looking all too probable for Walsch’s near future. It’s at that point when “God” supposedly began providing him conversational wake-up calls. Walsch would then write whatever was being dictated to his consciousness by the conversing god that is indistinguishable from himself. In fact, god later tells him there is no distinguishing, so I’m guessing Walsch believes himself to be deity. This is the manner of “conversations” which Walsch records voluminously in yellow notepads, and which eventually get published, making the author a very rich man, as well as an expert on God (after all, he wrote the book, or let’s say, another book).

The end? Not quite. The reality is that his books continue to publish and the world continues to read them. This movie is about the closest thing to an infomercial for the author’s spiritual musings and the religion they promote, as one can get without actually calling it such. If the premise is genuine, that God speaks to Walsch, then people will want to know what is being communicated, and they will pay to find out. I hadn’t heard of him before, and I can fairly well guess that I am not alone; so many less discerning folks will likely be inclined to purchase his materials after having been exposed to this film.

Theologically, Walsch, like the god with which he converses, is all over the place. Walsch was a Roman Catholic in his youth, but one wonders how devout his family was, given the identification of his mother as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (a Freemason satellite fraternity which is disallowed by the church for its syncretism and occultism). The OES symbol appears on her gravestone in the movie. His mother also appears in dreamlike recollections where she apparently read his palms when he was a child.

Earlier in the film, we encounter Walsch giving a lecture at a Unitarian church. The very name belies opposition to the Christian belief in a trinitarian God, and Unitarians are notorious for being sympathetic with just about every religious expression except the Christian one which necessarily excludes the others.

On the movie poster itself, there is an endorsement quote by New Age guru, Deepak Chopra, an advocate of Hinduism and variant Transcendental Meditation [TM]; and the company that produced the movie is the Spiritual Cinema Circle, a group that puts out just about anything with a spiritual bent, truth unquestioned.

Then there’s the voice of “God,” which contradicts virtually everything God has previously revealed about Himself in the Bible. This is the ultimate test for truth when it comes to assessing spiritual prophets (Deu. 13; Gal. 1:8-9), and Neale Donald Walsch has certainly become a false one at that. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to “Our Father in Heaven,” and he also warned “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day” (John 12:48). Walsch’s god informs us that the parental designations, such as Father, and the idea that he is a judge or “condemning god,” are both human projections presumptuously assigned to him; that He actually judges nothing, and that He wants whatever we want. He claims no superiority to human beings, but tells Walsch, “You think you are below me, when in truth we are all one.”

This is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is almighty, eternal, and omniscient; superior to human beings because he created us, and did so for his own purposes. His incarnation as the Savior Jesus Christ was because we all needed saving; “for all have all sinned” (Romans 3:23) and are therefore justly deserving of condemnation. God provided the only means for us to be reconciled to Him, through Jesus Christ.

The God of the Bible does not want what we want; he wants us to want what He wants! So many disparities could be cited between the biblical revelation and the Walsch revelation, that there can be little doubt that Walsch’s god is not God at all. In the end of the movie, “God’s” voice merges with a female one to remove any final sense of the biblically masculine identity of Father or Son, and so the sales pitch is complete for the product’s intended audience.

But, there are various “proofs” offered for the validity of what Walsch is peddling; people would relate that reading one of Walsch’s fortune cookie-like sayings changed their thinking and so their lives. My thinking was that they just needed to read more, period! In one instance, a woman tells of losing her adopted teenage son in an accident, and she angrily questions God’s goodness for allowing such a thing. Walsch responds by saying it was so that the boy could be with his birth-mother who had previously died. This is proof of divine insight according to the script, but audience members are left thinking that God could have let the boy grow up and die an old man before being with his mom in eternity. At least, this audience member thought that.

The movie is not for children; they would be bored stiff. The rating is PG, and some of that is on account of “mild” language. I must have been munching popcorn the first time I saw this film, because I didn’t recall any. I saw it again to verify my facts and see what language there actually was, and it turns out that a few synonyms for “perdition” were used to express minor annoyance, a lowbrow reference is made to a man’s pain in the posterior, and “omigod” is used excitedly by a waitress. Suffice to say, the film is rather verbally tame and possesses less worldly objectionable material than there is biblically.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

[What does God say? Answer]
[Learn God’s Story and the HOPE He provides]

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I am a devout Christian and can’t believe all of the negative comments …about this movie. I believe you all are missing the forest for the trees. Instead of focusing on such negative opinions of the movie, you should focus on the overall message of the movie: To allow God to help you make yourself better than you were yesterday—which is what any Christian believes and holds true. This movie inspires! One does not have to believe in every aspect of the movie as gospel in order to extract the main message—and an inspiring one at that. The Bible is still the Bible and Christ is still Christ and God is still God. This movie just serves as another reminder of who we are (children of our Heavenly Father) and what we can become if we just let go of fear, because, “…perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Brady, age 33
Negative—“Conversations with God” is not a Christian film. The story, if true, is winsome and touching. I rated it negative only because there is a dark overtone to it. Writers will like this film because it accurately reflects the state that many writers find their inspiration coming from. Even in a non Christian film who could resent hearing the words 'I will never leave you, I will not abandon you', and 'worry is the action of a mind separated from God'. 'Make a life, not a living'. These are needed words for a culture inundated with obsession over “making a living.” God has his spirtual kindergartens. We should respect them. The very fact that God’s Spirit in us alerts us to the false in this movie should cause us to rejoice that He is our Shepherd watching over us. The protagonist also is seen learning the lesson that romantic love is not the answer to life. What’s wrong with that? There are many non-Christian books, etc., that God obviously uses to move some a little closer to the Truth. A visit to the kindergarten never hurt a mature believer—and may just be the thing for those needing a reminder that only those becoming as a little child are in the kingdom anyway. I would love to hear what others think.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—T. Forster
Negative—Going based on my interpretation of who the Biblical “God” is—I rented this movie with high hopes! How disappointed I was to slowly discover that this story was just another sad attempt of the New Age / self-empowerment movement. The movie itself was drab and not well-written either. More of note, God is reduced to just a friend in space and time who wants us to be happy who shares equal status with us and is there to guide us and not be revered as Holy. Naturally then, there is NO mention of repentance, and trust in Jesus Christ whatsoever! SO in that regard, I do not recommend it if you are looking for a Biblical redemptive story—for that, see “Facing The Giants” or the newly released “Amazing Grace.” For anyone who saw this movie and enjoyed its message—please remember that one’s “self” can only get you so far. The character and man in this movie will one day run out of gas—again—and so wil you. The only One who can give you true meaning of life and death is the One who died for sin and paid the price for you to have a REAL relationship with the One True God of the Bible—JESUS CHRIST. Repent and believe in Christ.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Jose B, age 35
Negative—This movie is very misguiding for those who want to be Christians. Talking to yourself is not the same as talking to God. God will talk to you if you pray to him, not if you talk to yourself and answer yourself. What is funny about this is that the main character is not even a Christian, he is a mix of Roman Catholic, Unitarian, and Order of the Eastern Star. The one part of the movie that I did agree with is that God will provide for us. Although the main character was disabled and jobless, he still managed to survive and actually make a living. The “god” in this movie is an unperfect, wicked, sinful human; the REAL God is perfect, holy, and free from sin.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Eric Perez, age 18
Negative—The movie could not be labeled a spiritually moving film. It didn’t give you a sense of pride in your faith or even courage to stand up for what you believe in. I think that anyone who is not a Christian, would have considered this man as crazy. I didn’t think the movie depicted, “conversations with God” correctly. I would have rather the man been praying during these “conversations” or “voice hearings” to show true intimacy. It seemed like as if they were almost mocking those who say they follow the voice of God. It was also a false representation of God. God is not going to give you advice to make profit. This is not to say he won’t bless you, but the God depicted in this film does not illustrate even a glimpse of the true characteristics of God.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Elizabeth Perez-Arche, age 18
Negative—The acid test of any film or book resides in its agreement with the Ultimate Standard which is the Bible. While this film does say some things which are useable by any human being, It does not agree with Gods Word. I encouage everyone to read the home Web site of the author’s business. It shares in the FAQ’s that they believe that everyone is a “god” and must recreate themselves. This is diametrically opposed to what is taught in the Bible. Just “google” “Conversations with God” and read what you find there. Man is a sinner by nature and must be helped by Jesus Christ. The Blood of Jesus is the only answer for mans sin and the resulting problems from sin. The Lordship of Jesus is the key to all of mans needs.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—David, age 60
Neutral
Neutral—I recently watched Conversations, and at first I thought it was a very good film. Well, actually it is a good film, just not a very Christian one. I can remember watching this film and thinking to myself “how touching,” “how motivating,” “God is good.” Then I started wondering why I had this eerie feeling, like something wasn’t right.

Well, I’m telling all of you right now this movie is horrible from a Christian perspective. This movie will no doubt appeal to many non-believers and people unsure in their faith. This man claims to have heard from God, except God talks to each of us in our own voice? He is not superior to us but equal? God wants what we want? There is no judgment? These are only a small number of things I began to question about this movie.

I do not discourage viewing this movie. In-fact it is a good film. It is very touching and emotional. It is a great story of a man who overcame the obstacles in his life. However, this is in no way a movie about the God in the Bible whose son died on the cross to save us from our sins.

In closing I would like to say that Neale Donald Walsch does a disservice to people by appealing to them with a teaching that does not lead to the true salvation plainly stated in John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Michael Gulley, age 24
Neutral—I am a Christian and an amazing experience happened to me, and it is my testimony. I had many occurances with God as well. But I have to tell you that God Has spoken to me (verbally) the night I got saved. This is the truth about one of my experience and also had others, but the main point what I am going to TELL EVERYONE it is related to God’s WORD. I have noticed, understood, and interpret that God’s Word was involved. He spoke to me saying, 'I AM THE ALPHA AND OMEGA THE BEGINNING AND THE END.' All I could understand that it represented his word. It must contain his word in order to be valid. I have heard his voice, seen our Lord in a dream, and others as well and al contain his word. I have seen this movie, but you have to tell yourself is it valid? The only answer is that God knows. Hopefully, he ain’t making it up or using his own mind to create stuff. Because he will be accountable for his actions. I will never leave away God’s word in my life. It is the truth, the way, and the light.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Rudy, age 28
Negative
Negative—I believe the title of this movie is very misleading. I believe a lot of people in this world are looking for something easy, something that makes them feel good and something that gives credit to themselves.That is why this movie is so offensive it gives the ok to live a self prospering life also decieving those who are new christians or those who think they are well grounded in God’s word. The part in the movie about worry I felt was very misleading for christians as well. I have had to deal with worry/anxiety in my own life and I took it to God through prayer and reading scripture. I found that too often we look to our own insight and understanding to figure out life as I feel Mr. Walsch did. I will end with these verses from the bible, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil” Proverbs 3:5-7.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Brenda, age 30
Negative—I was thinking about acquiring and reading the books, and possibly recommending this film to my pastor. But first, thought that I should check on a few things that had stood out, as previously mentioned in the review. Who is the author, and is he Christian? In the movie, he is shown speaking at a Unitarian fellowship. This, and several other red flags, alerted that he indeed was, and is not, a Christian. The memories of his palm reading from his mother, foretelling his lack of love in his love, was disturbing to say the least. The supposed God voice, espousing certain truths, which unsurprisingly reminisce of Eve’s encounter with the serpent, “you can be as god,” (the ultimate lie underlying most religions, and most especially the New Age Movement), are dead giveaways. One has to wonder whose voice is he listening to? Is it his own or worse? And the most disturbing thing is, after doing some light research on him and the books, it seems a new religion has been conceived with him as the center. Even though, there are many negative qualities, there is one redeeming quality… I agree that God may use some unusual means to speak to us if we will listen. How many times has he shown us through our circumstances and proven this this to be true? With that said, the biblical standards must apply, as outlined in Timothy and Matthew. The movie was well made and has some interesting moments. The producer is Stephen Simon, the same from “What Dreams May Come True,” another New Age film, which alludes an agenda. Regardless, I will not be purchasing the books or recommending the movie to anyone.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Shane Charters, age 42
Comments from young people
Negative—In my opinion this film was offensive, because Neale is basically saying that he is God, which implies that people are their own God, or that the real God, God of all Gods, does not exist.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Natascha Aljach, age 16
Negative—…when I first heard of this movie I thought it was going to be a Christian film, but to be entirely honest this is not a Christian film. It is about a man who is not even Christian he is a mix of different religions: Roman Catholic, Unitarian, and Order of the Easter Star. He states that God speaks to individuals in their own voice. Do you see what I mean there is only One God. THe god in this movie is not perfect, and is a sinful human being. The REAL GOD is perfect, and is sinless. God has never sinned and He never will. There is only one God and in the bible it says it in verse John 14:6 where Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Daisy M,, age 17
Comments
I definitely agree with the critic on this one. There is only one God, which means we are not our own. The name of the film misconstrues its true meaning/message, and can cause people to believe what it says. If I were to see it on a shelf at BlockBuster, I would first read the back of the box. True, it can still be misleading, but it would provide some sort of insight on the film. After reading this critique, besides the fact that I never heard of the film, I’m not going to watch it anytime soon, or ever.
—Laura B, age 17
…First of all, when one “speaks” to God it is not by speaking to yourself, but rather on praying and glorifying God. There is no possible way that God will respond to you by using your own voice or by using a womens voice. In the bible it specifically states from father to son. Not from mother to son. Second of all, how can it say that we are all equal to God. Negative! God will always be the all powerful God and there is no one, not even us humans can be like God. God is sinless and perfect, when we are the complete opposite. This movie is offensive to Christians and it is also teaching the wrong message to those who are not Christians. By praying, God will show you knowledge and wisdom. And by walking in faith with the intention of glorifying God, you will be a son of God.
—Barbara Castilho, age 17