Friday, August 31, 2007

That Zeitgeist movie on You Tube

If you are on the Internet for a reason other than your job or porn, you've likely heard about this little number. The Zeitgeist movie, which originally 'aired' on Google video and is now the buzzvid on You Tube. I don't know exactly how long it's been around for, but it's obviously reached it's tipping point, it's critical mass if you will, because I'm getting quite a few questions about it from young Christians who are feeling a bit confused.

If you watch Zeitgeist (or as I have come to call it, Shite-geist) and you get confused, it's only understandable. I'll confess right off, I haven't watched the whole thing. I just don't have the time. I'm working on a thesis, raising a kid, trying to be a slightly-stay-at-home-dad, and I'm doing my level best to read something really important, like the latest Dan Brown book. That last little line was a test. If you thought I was being serious, then you are the sort of person who is prone to lose their faith over watching poorly researched, cobbled-together conspiracy theory muckrack like Zeitgeist. I think Dan Brown books are important like I think being hit in the sack with a bag of ice would be a good time.

And don't go giving me static for not watching the whole thing. I had people say the same thing about the DaVinci Code, and when I finally got around to reading it, all I could think was "Hey! Dan Brown repackaged "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" for a whole new generation of suckers!" and, "Damn, that's 3 hours of my life I'm never getting back - I should have watched the golf channel!"

Besides, you can tell the agenda of this crockumentary in the first installment. I don't need to view the whole thing to formulate the opinion that I could be doing something better with my time (like blogging about it!). Do a little fact checking, and you'll discover just how craptastic Zeitgeist is as a source of good information. Go ahead and post your arguments for and against it. I couldn't care less. It's the DaVinci Code all over again. If you lose your faith over the amazing revelations in Zeitgeist or DaVinci, you were just looking for an excuse to make an exit. I read "The Covenant of the Flame" by David Morrell, which plays loosely with the idea that Jesus' mythos was borrowed from Mithraism when I was in high school. This was before the Internet when I could get someone else to make conclusions for me, and I was forced to wrestle through what I thought about the issue without much recourse for researching it myself. I continued to choose to profess Christianity. Maybe I'm a moron for doing so. Maybe I've checked my brain at the proverbial door. I'd say the same about people who buy into conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot of the Bush administration (this is giving the Bush administration far too much credit, in my esteem) or that there are rich Illuminati-types just waiting to take over the world. Let's face it, if either of those things are actually true, what the ef is the average Net monkey going to do about it? If these conspiracy theories are true, you're screwed, plain and simple, and there isn't much you can do about it.

This is what I mean when I tell people that I don't buy into rational apologetics for faith. It's not that I don't think reason is a valuable faculty, but if you read any of the comment threads on Zeitgeist, you'll likely be reading a pissing match between those who want to believe what the film says, and those who don't. Both groups bring their 'citations' to the table (mostly wikipedia copied and pasted) and then go "HA! See! I told you so!"

If I was to give Zeitgeist credit, it would only be that it might stimulate critical thinking. But I doubt that's going to be the case. I'd quote P.T. Barnum as saying "there's a sucker born every minute", but I googled that and apparently he didn't say it. If I want to, I can find websites that tell me that Napoleon never existed, and back their claim up with associations with mythology to prove it. So apparently Jesus and Napoleon have the same problem.

The bottom line is this. The Internet is a good source of information about one thing, and one thing only - American pop culture. The rest is likely dubious, including this blog.

For those too lazy to sift for the sites...here are some links to pages I thought were rather good on the topic.
Singing in the Reign
Reality Sandwich
BoingBoing

37 comments:

  1. I honestly thought The DaVinci Code was such a bunch of total hooey. Not just because I don't happen to believe in the conspiracy theory that Jesus procreated whilst on earth (though I don't), but because the tone of the narrative was so obviously fictional and so obviously flawed and so obviously BORING AS CRAP. The movie was the most cobbled-together piece of shit... I can't even be bothered to waste my precious time reading what I know will be a waste of time book.

    The thing is that I've never heard of this Zeitgeist thing because I spend all of my time on the internet doing pop culture related crap. Which is, as you so rightfully pointed out, where the true value of the internet lies. But if Zeitgeist is along the same lines as DaVinci Code, I have to say that there are two clear groups of people who will be drawn to it. Religious zealots who are so absolute in their faith that the very thought of anybody or anything questioning it will have them in protests and rants before you can blink, and the apathetic or already-questioning masses who are just looking for a reason not to believe anyway. Look, questioning faith is not a bad thing. But freaking out at people for questioning it, questioning it just because you "saw this thing online", blindly accepting every single aspect of your faith regardless of anything... these are the truly frightening things. People who believe DaVinci Code's "gospel", people who protest DaVinci Code outside theatres... man, I just can't side with you. Either you have a faith and you can believe it even whilst maintaining a healthy interest in questioning the details of it, or you don't and you can manage to maintain that lack of faith without clinging desperately to every online conspiracy theory religious craze to come along just to prove why you don't believe.

    I shouldn't rant about topics where I essentially agree whole-heartedly with you, Gotthammer, since you've already said it all better and more concisely than I have. But I feel very strongly about this issue if only because DaVinci Code was so bad that it didn't even WARRANT a protest based solely on entertainment value alone. I at least want my conspiracy theories (and the movies they spawn) to not bore me to tears with needless rhetoric and the grinding halt of all plot momentum for some lame-ass flashback half-way through.

    Seriously.

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  2. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Haha....this blog cracks me up. It's supposedly trying to discount "Shite-Geist" which you haven't even watched, but immediately moves into more comfortable territory, attacking The DaVinci Code, which was stated to be fiction in the first place, and which has practically nothing to do with Zeitgeist! You have truly pulled off an amazing feat with this one.
    Tell you what, if you're trying not to leave your "brain at the door", how 'bout you take the 2 hours to.....gasp! Watch The Movie! THEN, you might actually have something significant to SAY about it! Whoa.....did I just blow your mind?
    The truth is, Zeitgeist uses a little something called facts, which point out the early days of Christianity and how not only it, but many religious sects of the time were cobbled together from ancient pagan religions, which generally worshipped the sun.
    OK, so what, believe what you want.
    As far as The Bush administraion being responsible for 9/11, even members of the 9/11 Truth movement don't believe that, the administration was simply the tool used to help execute the 9/11 plan, which has been long-planned and in the works for atleast a decade. Don't believe it? I bet you don't. You can't be bothered with documentaries, films, books, things which point out OBVIOUS discrepancies in the "official" 9/11 story, things which point out the absolute absurdity of the total, free-fall speed collapse of THREE towers on 9/11....the absolute lack of any credible plane wreckage at EITHER the Pentagon on the field in Pennsylvania...there is evidence aplenty that would blow your mind, if only you could stop being so pretentious and pseudo-preachy, and actually engaged the facts.
    Of course there is a bunch of garbage on the 'net, no one disputes that, but there is much truth to be had as well, and the reason "if it's true, we're all screwed" is PRECISELY because of people LIKE YOU, who would rather put on a blindfold, and trust it ALL to God, rather than open your damn eyes, stand up straight, look at whats really happening in the world, and have FAITH that GOD will help you to do the right thing.
    Don't be a phony-but-cool preacher type who loves Jesus but (giggle!) also cusses sometimes! (giggle!)
    Be a true God-loving man, who will do whatever it takes to make this world a better place, and that includes admitting the truth about your own religions' awkward origins, and the truth about 9/11, indeed the coming attempt at a New World Order, one world government...does the Bible itself not warn of this!?!
    OPEN YOUR EYES. IT IS HAPPENING NOW.
    Zeitgeist doesn't PROMOTE these ideas, it EXPOSES THEM.
    Watch the movie.
    Then, try having something important to say. We'll be waiting.

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  3. You admit to not even watching the film because you don't have the time to watch so how can you comment objectively? ......ass.

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  4. you admit to not even watching the film so how can you even comment?.....ass.

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  5. Ah yes. Brilliant arguments, both. You've utterly convinced me of the error of my ways. I'm obviously a blithering idiot.

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  6. As for not watching it, I'd like to repeat...I WATCHED THE FIRST INSTALLMENT. If I go to a movie and the first portion is utterly distasteful to me and I walk out, I can then report that, while I did not see the entire film, I didn't enjoy the beginning. If the film has summaries online, I can go see what these say to have an idea of how it all comes out. Zeitgeist has been summarized by several sources online, and I checked several, both critics and supporters. I don't need to SEE the film to get the information from it. I can tell you the plot of almost any major film currently released by googling it. My issue isn't with the aesthetic quality of the film, which is pretty good; it's with its conclusions.

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  7. It's nice, anonymous, that you take issue with gotthammer for what you essentially believe to be a lack of integrity in his post and yet you do so by posting your (mostly inflammatory) arguments anonymously. There's nothing wrong with disagreements but at least disagree with a modicum of respect by way of having the courage to put a name to your objection.

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  8. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Wow. I am amazed people take you seriously considering your complete lack of..uh, whats that word... uh, ya, intelligence. Why even bother to review it? Because it questions your jesus story and the sheep are fretting? And here I was worried the Xstains were taking over... I also find it amuzing that you solicit donations for your nonsense.. how very 'religous' of you. Pay the tithe and shut the 'ef' up! jokers. If I gave a darn I would use my name but I can't be bothered to sign up for this crap so just coming thru. Suffice it to say I would stand in your face and say the same thing. Time we fed you to the lions again.

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  9. Anonymous6:31 PM

    I didn't used to like York Peppermint Patties, but now I do, especially the bite-sized ones.

    -Also Anonymous

    *Am now reading the 9/11 Myths Debunked book by Popular Mechanics.* If you want to talk about faith, I hope they have some good arguments, cause I'm on my last thread about believing anybody.

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  10. scottie9:17 PM

    Anonymous posters attacking your intelligence while using 5th grade quality writing... is the irony not lost on them?

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  11. EF. It's Brit slang. As in "stupid effer" or "effing git". Some people are offended by the use of the word "fuck". I'm just trying to be sensitive to them. Not trying to be cool. Not trying to be the pastor who swears occasionally. As any of my close friends can tell you, my use of four letter hyperbole is anything but occasional.

    Thanks to the other anonymous poster, whose light sense of humor was a nice break from the invective our initial anon. likes to spew. And yeah, Scottie, he could use some grammar lessons.

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  12. Interesting phenomena, this movie. Equally interesting, is that the people who do believe it's message, believe it whole heartedly. The hook-line-sinker type of blind faith in the messages we receive on a daily basis is exactly what the movie is railing against. Whilst it's gnostic message is thought provoking, the filmmaker himself states on the website that it is not inteded to be taken as truth.

    The film ultimately damages it's own credibility with it's lack cross checking it's own theories origins. A deeper look at the "facts" cited, reveals that these are not new, or particularly ignored lines of thought, or thoughts hidden from the people. In fact, part 1 of the movie is not even a secular conspiracy theory. It's origins are of Christian persuasion, used by traditional Christians to point out the evils of the Roman Catholic church, and pre-date even Martin Luther himself in the 1500s.

    And of course part 3 is as old as the book of Revelation. A one world govt scenario led by a group of evil men, (and ultimately one dark individual), is perhaps the oldest conspiracy theory still in existence. The filmmaker didn't even bother to leave out the "mark of the beast" part in order to make it his own.

    However, the film, does indeed bring up some good points, and questions do need to be asked. And things DO need to change. The Federal reserve is an un-monitored organization that is in complete control of our country's ability to do business. It is unconstitutional, and so is the IRS. It also brings up some valid points about the wars we've been in, and what we know about the events of 9/11. And it does encourage people to think for themselves; While simultaneously creating "sheep" of it's own. In this it is exactly right on one point. People's absolute refusal to think for themselves, is an absolute fact. Even when told that they are not thinking for themselves, they respond, "YES EXACTLY, WHAT YOU SAY IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH, AND WE BELIEVE YOU 100%"

    Irony, thy name is zeitgeist.

    Do your own research, and draw YOUR OWN conclusions.

    With all that said. I will leave you with some more ancient wisdom.

    Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard for shame!
    The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
    And you are stay'd for.
    There ... my blessing with thee!
    And these few precepts in thy memory
    Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel but, being in,
    Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
    Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
    Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
    Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
    And they in France of the best rank and station
    Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
    Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!

    -- William Shakespeare


    Regards,
    Rich

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  13. Thanks for your contribution Rich - much appreciated.

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  14. No problem Gotthammer. I just thought a little sense needed to be introduce as so little had been forthcoming. Anonymous's comments were purely irrational. It's always been my opinion that there should be a minimum distance allowable of how close one's eyes are to eachother and how close ones knuckles are to the ground before being allowed on the business end of a keyboard. I suppose that's troll profiling, but hey.

    At any rate, the first installment of the movie is completely flawed.

    My First Point: It claims Josephus's reference to Christ in the Testimonium Flavium is a forgery. This is not at all true.

    The dominant theory regarding this among Jewish, Christian, and Secular biblical scholars is that the original references to Christ in the work were written by Flavius Josephus. Later copyists added, in the "margins" (there were not margins in flavius's latin codices so notes were added in line with the text with monikers to indicate they were notes) the direct references to him being the christ, etc. Still later copyists removed the monikers indicating the facts that they were notes.

    I'll show you what I mean by posting what we have, and then what scholars think it originally looked like. But first let me post a passage from Josephus's Antiquities that is thought to be absolutely authentic. One that has never been contested.

    Antiquities 20:9.1 says "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."


    So already we have one uncontested reference to christ by Josephus. This will help us to indicate the contrivences, which are commonly called "interpolations" by Bible scholars and historians, in the Testimonium Flavium.

    What we have today:

    Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

    and without interpolations:

    "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

    Now, this is the essence of what FJ originall wrote. Some think other bits are also interpolations. "Such as for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure."

    You see, we find one interpolation due to his previous mention of Jesus, he called him the "so-called" Christ. In the Testimonium he calls him simply, the Christ. This would indicate one of two scenarios.

    A. Flavius had converted during the writing of antiquities.

    B. It is an interpolation.

    B. being the most likely scenario. Of course the former cannot be disproven. You cannot prove a negative logic 101.

    Likewise we may derive other interpolations from the conclusion we drew on the first. Since FJ was a Jewish Priest and member of the Saducees, we know his faith Judaism.

    Hence, "If it is lawful to call him a man" being a likely contrivance. And to a lesser degree "such men as receive the truth with pleasure", and the "doer of wonderful works" to an even lesser degree.

    The first being virtually universally accepted as an interpolation, and the second and third being debated.

    But all this ado about the Testimonim is a moot point, due to the fact that, as I mentioned before, there is already a preceeding reference to Jesus in FJ's writings.

    This is all COMMON knowleg among historians, and the most knowlegable and leading minds on ancient history agree, with this. Anyone can look this up. Google "Louis H. Feldman" who is the most noted authority on the subject of the Testimonium, and FJ in general. And he's a Jew, not a Christian apologist.

    Next, the movie claims that there are no other contemporary reference to Jesus. Again, this is outright and blatantly dishonest.

    Tacitus wrote of Nero's Tyranny and complete hatred of the Christians thusly:

    "Nero fastened the guilt [of starting the blaze] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius [14-37] at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

    The contested bit of this passage is the use of the word "procurator" rather than the word "prefect", however, most agree that this is a ridiculous argument, and is quickly abandoned in any real debate. The second point of contention on flavius is that it is written later. Just prior to the fall of Jerusalem, and not during his life time.

    The reason this is a false argument is because many other bits of what we know about history have been gathered by examining documents that were written about things that occured BEFORE they occurred. Some of the hundreds of years later. If we cannot trust this bit, just because it is written about Jesus, how can we trust what it says about Nero? Or anythning else for that matter.

    Besides all of this, it is perfect Tacitean style, and appears in every copy of the work. Something which simply DOES NOT HAPPEN with forgeries. Finally on Tacitus. The blatant anti-christian sentiment in his letters, and especially on this specific one, makes it highly unlikely that it is a Chrisitan forgery.

    So.. we now have two references to Jesus, and one during his lifetime. We don't have to stop there, but for the sake of brevity... I'll call it a day.

    So there's something to get the sheep braying. Get the juices flowing so to speak, fuel for research if you will. Again folks, most important in all of this stuff, and it's not just this movie, is to examine the claims, and make up your own mind. Just because a bit of knowlege is not mainstream, does not mean that something is being hidden from you. Also, there have ALWAYS been conspiracy theorists, and they have been writing books for years. So, just because one these guys quotes some other guy in a book, don't swallow the hook just yet. Check the credibility of the reference. You may just find that they are cook as well ;) (check the source page), and think we're all being controlled by freakish lizard people from the draco system.

    Regards all,
    Rich

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  15. Rich...what's your blog address? I clicked on your name yesterday and found it, but didn't bookmark it, and blogger's being difficult today...

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  16. Well, I don't have one. I'd be interested in knowing what you found that was linked to me, but no blog. I'm too lazy to keep one updated.

    Sorry.

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  17. That's bizarre...ah well! No worries.

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  18. Anonymous9:39 AM

    The problem with any conspiracy theory – be it 9/11, central banks, or, for the sake of argument, Christianity – is that conspiracy theorists thrive on loosely based evidence and arguments because it is easier to sound intelligent on opinions with no real academic standing than it is carry opinions via research. This would be the case, as our Author has pointed out, in the Rockefeller comment (with no citation at all), as well as a lack of proper citation throughout.

    The irony is that if ‘Zeitgeist’ does engage ‘critical thinking’ as Gotthammer boasts, than one should be able to engage the errors of the movie, hopefully finding a more stable resolution. Unfortunately our reviewer does not have the time to question the problematic nature of WTC building 7’s collapse, or the Federal Reserve – both of which preceded the religious attack, and I am sure this is why our biased author chose to skip over to the end credits – instead berating the movie for poor citation, while feeding his kid, and writing his thesis (which, I doubt is anything other than an opening argument for a two page response paper) without any proper counter-argument.

    Gotthammer, I believe you need to take your own remedy and engage in some critical thought, which your Christian zeal has trumped. Religion aside, for I feel the topic has been exhausted, their were some interesting points in Zeitgeist that I would like to a) ask a structural engineer and b) speak to a Historian about. The fact that you chose to even write on a movie you did not watch in its entirety is in itself the fault-line of your argument, which falls like the WTC’s did 5 years ago.

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  19. Marc W.11:46 AM

    Blah, blah, blah.....
    The bottom line is that if any logical, fair minded, adult human being does not admit that religion was created by the ruling, minority, elite class as an annex to their army in order to keep the masses in line and well behaved then they either consider themselves to be part of that ruling party, they have been simply brain washed from birth or they have resorted to religion themselves as a means of keeping their own family in line during difficult times. Either way you cut it, organized group religion that makes it their business to spew their version of religion into the public domain as a means of recruiting bodies, minds and wallets can be criminal. Just take a look out there now at the thousands of US priests who in order to rebuild their declining flock of followers are willing to say or do anything and are even willing to put other god fearing Americans at risk in order to save one of their only loyal group of followers, illegal aliens.

    That is why, historically, religion has been then #2 cause of death world wide and during a few long eras religion even passed natural causes to become #1 killer of human beings. Just glance towards any continent on earth and you will see the continuing religious conflict real time.

    I am all for spirituality and the following of personal beliefs but when any organized army of religious right wing zealots begin to slither into my life to convert me or to tell me what rules of theirs I must follow then I draw the line.

    So stop trying to convince the zealots to be logical and to even acknowledge the very existence of the documented, sad and destructive underbelly of organized, group religion because they will not see, hear, feel or speak the truth about the hypocrisy behind their own beliefs.

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  20. Anonymous:

    I am undecided about the Fed Reserve part, and the 9/11 part. Being a Libertarian, I do believe the Fed. Reserve should be eliminated but for different reasons. It is an unconstitutional organization, and that the US needs to get back to what made it great, and step back from the world stage, and globalization, that we fuel almost single handedly. Allowing ourselves to become carrion to future world powers.

    As to the reason gotthammer may not have contested the 9/11 stuff or the Christian stuff, I would assume it's because it's a losing battle. The information for both sides of any of these arguments is widely available on the web. The 9/11 truth, loose change, zeitgiest sites are well known, as well as the debunking911 site and others which refute (pretty effectively) the 9/11 Conspiracy buffs.

    Also the religion piece of the film is the first part of the three part film, and hence is not preceded by anything. I'm not sure where you got that.

    For me, being a history buff, although I find a good piece of conspiracy fiction interesting and challenging, I saw the flaws in the first part of the film and it put the rest in doubt for me, since it was blatantly obvious that these guys had an axe to grind, and were willing to use any bit of deceitful rhetoric to do it. Regardless of whether or not one is a Christian, if they do their homework on the first bit of the movie, that becomes painfully obvious. This immediately placed the rest of the film on shaky ground.

    Let me make this clear, they DO make some interesting points in parts 2 and 3, and I'm sympathetic to the Ron Paul thing. But we need to encourage fact checking.

    The conclusion of the first part was so ridiculous I almost shot milk out of my nose, and I haven't had a glass of milk in quite a while.

    Jesus did exist as far as the leading scholars and historians are concerned, only Parts of the Testimonium are considered false.

    And the idea that the Romans created Christianity to control the masses is so completely patently silly you just have to chuckle.

    Romans hated Christians. First century Christians were hunted down and killed in the games, in fact they were pretty much Purina Lion Chow (made with real Christians).

    Every single emperor from Caligula to Constantine 1 who legalized it and converted, tried to stomp out Christianity. There were multiple empire wide attempts to completely wipe it out, Maximinus sought out clergy killing them, Others, like Diocletian and Gallerias, even Nero to a lesser extent, killed any Christian they could find. It was simply ILLEGAL to be a Christian in the Roman empire. They were blamed for every problem the "Known World" experienced, including Nero's blaming them for the burning of Rome(the fire that he set himself).

    This is documented by multiple historians, who hated them much of the time themselves, applauded it, and considered it necessary to the very survival of Rome.

    The Christian Religion was not a controllable entity for them, and they feared it from the very start. So to say that they invented Christ, based him off of some polytheistic religious system, and created an entire system of belief based on this, to control the masses shows nothing but an abject IGNORANCE of history, Roman values, Roman society, and the Christian religion itself. It is completely laughable from a historical standpoint, not a biased Christian standpoint.

    Now, this is NOT to say, that Constnatine 1's legalization of Christianity, and Theodocius's subsequent indoctrinations of Christianity as the state religion, were not attempts at control. However, these proved to be more harmful to Rome, than helpful. Too little, too late. Also, it is worthy to Note that Constantine, ans subsequently Theodocius, did not just accept Christianity as it was at the time. There were some pretty big changes to the Church's doctrine at that time.

    The institution of Mary as an intercessor, Transubstantiation, and other Roman Catholic concepts, were all creations of Rome and were not practiced before it Was the state religion of Rome and the Nycean councils, who incidentally gave us what we have today of the bible by deciding what should and should not be included.

    This is where the original conspiracy theory comes from. Later Christians found this quite suspicious, and began comparing the Catholic system to Constantin 1's previous beliefs, which was obviously... Paganism.

    As I said before... Draw your own conclusions.

    Having previously known all of this before I saw the movie, it obviously cast spurious aspersions on the rest of the film as I watched it. The first part could not be more deceitful if they tried.

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  21. Gotthammer, please delete my duplicate post.

    @Marc W.

    This is why it's a losing battle, as I said in my previous post. People will either believe documented history or they will believe what they have chosen to believe.

    Look at primitive societies in existence on earth today that have organized belief systems complete with days of observance, rituals, indoctrinations, rites of passage, spiritual holidays, festivals etc.

    People regardless of levels of complexity in the organization of their beliefs choose their belief systems, groups of people tend to form agreements about what they believe. If it has been foisted upon them by their respective "ruling classes" somehow (in papua new guinea one tribes ruling class simply has the most yams), it's not out of any conscious need to control their people(take their yams away). Take the aborigines of Australia for example. They have all these things but have an utmost respect for personal freedoms, and allow their people to find their own way(just like most countries). Some simply leave and never come back, opting for modern living. However the ones who do stay, adhere to the local belief system and accept their places in the societal system, when one of them gains clout and becomes a leader, it's only natural he observes the same belief system. The one is not the reason for the other. Societal rules and laws cover everything from ownership and and civil issues to social issues. Yet religious law is almost completely socially based.

    The "thou shalt not" Kill, Steal, Etc. Etc. are almost universal no matter how remote or primitive the civilization. It's no surprise that they are shared with other religions. These are things people simply know. It's the "love thy neighbor" concept, or as Bill and Ted would say "be excellent to each other"

    Also, I'm not sure what you meant by religion being the number two cause of death. It is true that there have been many many wars "in the name of god", but if you dig deeper, there is always, a resource or border dispute at it's heart. Borders, Resources, and Culture clashes are the main causes of war. Not God, those were just convenient ways to get people on board in the past..

    Lastly, a question, what is the number one cause of death? Second hand smoke? McDonalds? Chuck Norris? Darwin?

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  22. I've heard the whole "religion has killed more people than...whatever" many times. Never seen stats to back it up. I wouldn't disagree that people have used religion for ill, but there is also the side of religion which inspires people to begin organizations dealing with social justice or peace efforts. And I'm not a right wing religious zealot either. I'd say I'm more leftist when it comes to my politics, if I had to nail it down. I would readily admit that I'm theologically conservative, but it strikes me as utterly unfair to paint all religious people with one brush. As for the polemic of spirituality vs. religion, it's a matter of semantics. This guy calls it spiritualism, and he doesn't have a club to go to, so that makes it okay. But if you get together and stand in pews, you're a sheeple. Seems like an oversimplification.

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  23. The underlying premise is that banking elite rule is worse than rule
    by various kings and dictators, but that's simply not true. Average
    person is far better off under their rule. If they have done bad
    things for their cause, what horrible things were done by average
    kings and dictators? Those countries most effected - US, UK, Canada,
    Germany are the best places in the world to live. Places where these
    forces were not in action (North Korea, Cuba) are dismal places.
    Notice also the improvement that comes about when the rule of the
    baking elite is established as in China, Russia, etc. Poverty is not
    eliminated to be sure (nor can it) but overall its much better for
    everyone. So why not? Maybe a more or less rational world government
    is better than capricios, unstable, narrow minded local government. I
    suggest the makers of the movie investigate the changes/trends in the
    standard of living when banking elites are in charge vs. regional
    governments - then we can better decide if the forces in Zeitgeist are
    a blessing or a curse.

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  24. Anonymous11:41 PM

    This argument is hopeless, how are we ever going to know truth from lies? I must say the religion part of the movie seems believable.. but then again how do we ever find out?

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  25. Anonymous10:33 PM

    just a question to the Christian community; do you beleive that dinosaurs were put here to test your faith in god?

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  26. all that i can say, is that for the infinite ammount of religions and beliefs in this world, chances are only 1 would be true, correct? Then that means all the others are wrong correct? Do you not find it disturbing how 99.9% of religious people who fought for their beliefs and died, were worshiping a fake god, who was nothing but a farce, as much as u describe the movie zeitgeist to be?

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  27. anon - I personally don't believe Dinosaurs were put on earth to test my faith. That sort of thinking is doing more than checking one's brain at the door...it's drop-kicking it. I have no trouble with evolution being the means God used to create life on earth.

    And Evan...the number of religions on the planet are not infinite. And I don't think it's a clear-cut I'm right, you're wrong sort of dialogue. If it turns out my God was a fake, a farce, etc., I guess the joke will be on me. I'm not 'fighting' for anything. Just responding.

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  28. kbut there is an infinite number of possibilities as to why the world was created, and who or what it was created by. So as long as people keep on thinking of other possibilities, they will create another religious form, one way or another. Which will lead to debate, whether or not it takes lives or brings peace to lives, its still almost a garuntee of false information being put upon people. My suggestion to you, watch the movie again, but this time try to widen your peripheral vision a bit. It doesnt matter if some of the facts arent completely accurate. Look at the 9/11 section of the movie. If you dont believe that it was staged, then u have narrowed ur mind to the point of blindness. As for the religious section of the movie, if your facts can contradict what their facts are, then good on you, lets hear them. But i believe solid fact, not fictional characters made up to make people believe that there is faith in an artificial god.

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  29. i know your just responding, but from what i've read, it seems like you have selective hearing, or in this case, reading.

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  30. Of course I have selective reading Evan. Everyone does. We select what we'll read, watch, or listen to based upon many factors - how much time we have, the sum of our beliefs (I've had mine for 20+ years, and studied them for nearly as long. How long has anyone been studying the beliefs they've garnered from Zeitgeist?). Currently, I am selectively reading scholarship on fairy tales and folklore for my Master's thesis. I selectively read to prepare to preach at the church I attend. Yes, preach. And not all Christians are right wing morons who hate gays and believe in Creationism, so stop painting us all with the same brush. I selectively read things which interest me, such as Dark Tower series by Stephen King, which is currently my nighttime reading. Everyone selectively reads and hears Evan. We can't digest everything we hear or come into contact with.

    Further, if in response to your accusation that I am selectively hearing or reading, I agree to watch the Zeitgeist movie in its entirety, will everyone else who has selectively only watched Zeitgeist for their information pertaining to this topic agree to read something by N.T. Wright on the Resurrection, or Raymond Brown's "Birth of the Messiah"? I doubt it. Brown's book alone is well over 500 pages of very dense theological, historical, and text-criticism than most readers would find difficult to absorb. Some would call it propaganda, and I would agree with them. Brown wants us to believe something very particular. But he makes one hell of an argument for it.

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  31. Here's one for the Zeitgeist fans - consider this...maybe my stalwart adherence to Christianity isn't the result of sheep-head-in-the-sand stupidity, but many years of thoughtful consideration which one poorly constructed argument can't topple?

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  32. Anonymous12:34 PM

    you're trying to worm out of coming to the logical conclusion - that most of the things said about this jesus character are fictitious.

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  33. Anonymous12:53 PM

    happened to me to just watch zeitgeist and then i decided to google a little to see what reviews are around. well i'm still with a big question mark over my head about that movie but i really think that your comment about the first part of the movie are simply misleading.
    Let's talk about the fact the religion is affecting life of everyone (at least here where i live) and let's talk about the fact that being religion as the "word of god" is not criticizable, putting out the doubt that maybe all the jesus story is a myth maybe could put some "worms" inside some heads and make religion less powerful.
    None wants you to stop believe in whatever you want but when someone comes to me and forbid me to:
    - have sex before marriage
    - have sex with someone of the same sex of me
    - have rights to make an abortion
    - have rights to divorce
    well then is no more something "private", it's no more something about private faith and believe, it's about having your life imprisoned because someone believe it's good for you (and he really believe what he's doing because those are WORDS OF GOD!) .

    And to put it clearly it's not that i'm a divorced former "italian stallion" with thousand of death child on my back who likes to lost his soap on a man public shower.
    what i'm saying it's about having the freedom to choose and let choose what is best for me (and for the others around me).
    Zeitgeist in this happily encourage to go deep and find your thruth, it doesn't wants you to sit down and believe .

    I think you really should loose some time and watch all the movie and you should figure that maybe it's not so predictable as you expect .
    Because the good thing of that movie (even if it's all crap or all truth) it's something that makes you use your brain, which really rare today :-)

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  34. Thanks anon. I don't disagree with thinking, I'm just not planning on watching the movie. Period. Stop trying to convince me.

    And I do have an open mind. But open minded isn't the same as weak minded. I can consider an argument without being swayed.

    I've read Jonathan Z. Smith's "Divine Drudgery", which convinced me the Bible didn't drop out of the sky. And I've read works on Jesus that claimed he was a magician or a magic mushroom. I've read works on the historical Jesus that weren't written by Christians. So it's not like I have my head in the sand. You can't be close minded and do religious studies at a secular University. So quit harping on me about being close minded. I just disliked Zeitgeist. How about letting me have my opinion already?

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  35. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Don't feed the troll!

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  36. Rob Bardin7:18 PM

    Hello Mike.

    I'm paraphrasing here, but you said something on the order of; "even if the illuminati are trying to gain control of us, what the ef are we going to do about it?"

    This is the whole problem with your Christian beleifs. You control nothing; "It's in God's hands."

    YOU ARE GOD, I AM GOD, and yes it is all in our hands. The question remains, what are we (GOD) going to do about it?

    Rob

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  37. That's hardly the trouble with Christian beliefs Rob. Especially the brand I hold to. I'm a mix of a few Christian denominations, but one of the stronger influences on my theology has been that of the Anabaptist movement. They are hardly of the opinion that it is simply in God's hands. I am not a Quietist, as you have implied. I believe in taking action. I just don't buy into the conspiracy theories espoused by Zeitgeist. I have a good Christian friend who does. We agree to disagree. Nevertheless, we are both committed to changing our world as best we can, through disaster relief organizations, and groups like World Vision or Compassion International. While I believe God has the whole world in his hands, to use a cliche, I don't believe it takes me off the hook from loving my neighbor through social justice.

    Anyhow, I've grown far beyond tired of this asinine banter. I'll be closing the thread after this comment.

    A few closing words.

    The first anonymous commentator accused me of mixing my DaVinci (fiction) with Zeitgeist (ostensibly a documentary). How is that any different from using the logic paradigm that 'A' (Myth of Horus) is mythical and therefore historically untrue. 'B' (Stories of Jesus) have many things in common with 'A'. Therefore, since A is a myth, B must be as well. I say that the Zeitgeist phenomenon resembles DaVinci, therefore Zeitgeist must be false. You get pissy.

    And finally, the point of Zeitgeist, as I understood, was for us one of us to think for ourselves. If I think for myself and choose Christianity, or likely any other faith for that matter, then I'm a retard. Apparently, according to many of the commentators represented here, thinking for oneself means we'd better all agree with Zeitgeist. Sheep and shitheads come in all shapes and sizes, and Christianity does not have the monopoly on either.

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