Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem
SOLA SCRIPTURA—Is is true that there is only one special revelation from God that man possesses today, the written Scriptures or the Bible? Answer
Is “Sola Scriptura” a biblical or a man-made concept? Answer
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|
|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
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.