Mining for God tells the story of Brandon McGuire who grew up with a middle class view of Christianity. After college he spent three years in Africa. There, he witnessed and experienced a practice of Christianity quite unlike that of the American church.
When he returned to the United States he began wondering why this difference existed and began asking people "What is Christianity?" and the responses he received revealed a more fundamental problem. As McGuire discussed Christianity with various people with various beliefs, he began to see that people here in the States are especially confused in regard to the Christian faith. In truth, some seemed to outright reject many of Christianity's central doctrines. He began to wonder what ideas had led to the apparent misunderstanding of Christianity or the rejection of it. Mining for God explores the American mind and brings to the surface the big ideas that have influenced the way we think about ourselves and about God.
McGuire's documentary is professionally done and features interviews with some of the top thinkers in apologetics, philosophy and ancient history today. I believe that one of the strengths of the video is that the content shared is powerful, but not overwhelming. It is both applicable to those versed in apologetics and those who may be new to this type of content. The back cover of Mining for God states it well: "Whether you would consider yourself a Christian or not- there is something of value for everyone in this film." Indeed. Regardless of your current views on God, religion and the nature of man, I believe you will find this video helpful as you think through these important questions.
M- Main Arguments
The video identifies three main ideas that have significantly impacted the American mind and the way we think about Christianity and religion: naturalism, relativism and the problem of evil.
It is argued that if naturalism is true then it follows that our existence is ultimately absurd. Those familiar with Dr. William Lane Craig's work in this area will be pleased to see that he is interviewed in this segment and shares some of his points regarding "The Absurdity of Life Without God."
Also featured is Reasonable Faith's animated video on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Coupled with the argument from the information found in DNA, this evidence is used to suggest that naturalism fails as an adequate explanatory paradigm and that theism is superior.
The documentary goes on to argue that America has been infected by relativism and that relativism has led to the view that all religions teach basically the same doctrines. Religion is now treated like a desired flavor or personal preference, not something that can be objectively true or false. We have a cafeteria approach to religion; we take what we like and leave what we don't. Mining for God does a great job of pointing out the clear differences between many of the world's main religions and refuting this oft repeated mantra.
The problem of evil then takes center stage and the documentary rightly argues that all religions must deal with the evil found in the human heart. We are all morally broken people. It is contended that Christianity uniquely deals with the problem through Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Jesus's death on the cross solves the sin problem. The payment for sin is made in full by Christ.
Of course, this solution is only meaningful if it is true. Scholars Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig and Nabeel Quershi are interviewed to argue that Jesus' resurrection from the dead is a historical reality. Those familiar with Habermas' "minimal facts" argument will pleased to see it featured here. This segment further argues that the resurrection defeats naturalism.
One of the points made by the documentary that struck a chord with me is the idea that people are to busy to stop and ask important questions about their existence. This is so true. I know numerous people who are bright and successful, but these questions don't seem to be a priority to them. They are busy following their favorite celebrity or keeping up with their friends on social media. All the while I suspect many of them, as the film argues, find within themselves a longing for something more. As C.S. Lewis said,“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” This documentary will help people seek and find the "other world" referred to by Lewis.
Mining for God is a unique tool for educating both believers and unbelievers about the truth of the gospel and the evidential grounding enjoyed by Christianity. Some may never read a book by Gary Habermas or William Lane Craig, but this video will introduce them to their works, and the works of many others, in a highly engaging way! Mining for God is ideal for a church movie night, small group, or a study with unbelievers. McGuire has created a thought provoking, but not preachy, documentary. I highly recommend it!
You can order your copy here.
Courage and Godspeed,
* Many thanks to "White Sail Films" for the review copy!