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'Hellbound?' Filmmaker Hopes His Version of the 'Good News' Builds Bridges

Canadian Kevin Miller Challenges Long-Held Christian Beliefs About a Literal, Eternal Hell

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By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
September 22, 2012|3:23 pm

Responding to a similar question by CP on Christians clinging to the doctrine of hell, Miller said he believes they are only being faithful to what they believe.

"I think that by and large people, even someone like Mark Driscoll, I think is in his way thinking being faithful to the Bible and I think that is true for the majority of people," the filmmaker said. "People aren't preaching hell because they are vindictive and just control freaks. They just feel this is what it is to be a faithful Christian. But I think lurking behind all of that ultimately is a fear. I have had people say to me this is a dangerous film because if you start asking these types of questions, really people's eternities is at stake if we answer these questions in the wrong way. I think fear is always there."

One viewer said during the Q&A session that she was brought up evangelical, and told Miller she appreciated "Hellbound?"

"I appreciate the film. I think it's fantastic," she said. "I was raised in the evangelical church, I taught Sunday school. My faith is not going to be shaken by someone who's going to make me think. I think that at the end of the day, even if there isn't a hell or there isn't a heaven, I would not give up the life that I'm living with God on a daily basis for anything. So I don't care at the end. ... I don't think that if you're strong in your faith that – things like this, it makes me think and there's nothing wrong with that. If you are shaken by something like this, then I have to question [your] faith."

Another viewer wanted to know if Miller was "hoping for a post-hell society or thinking."

"I would like to see this idea of a purely retributive God, a God who would give up on the beings that He has created, I would like to see that idea go away. Because I don't think anything is bigger than the love of God," Miller responded.

Miller, who distanced himself Friday evening from listed writing credits for the documentaries "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" and "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure," shared with CP that, due to the provocative nature of his film, he is "already being called a heretic."

"My personal views have grown and changed over the last decade," he explained. "I come from an evangelical background, most of my friends are still in that world. I feel like I owe a great debt to the people that shared the Gospel with me. It literally changed my life and continues to change [it]."

"The thing that I find ironic is that I'm being called already a heretic for this film and yet I love Jesus more, and I think the Gospel is truly deep wisdom from the dawn of time," he added. "I am more evangelistic than I have ever been in my entire life, because I truly believe that I have discovered good news that could save the world. But it's not going to save the world from God, because I don't believe that that's ever been in jeopardy. I think that the Gospel truly is grace and that it's given to us as we're in the midst of destroying ourselves and we even then reject it. And this is the beauty of the resurrection, is Jesus says 'no, you can't get rid of me that easy. I'm coming back because you need to see something, you need to understand and you need to be set free, not from me, you need to be set free from yourself.'

"To me that's the good news, like wow, that can actually happen. That's the good news I want to share with people. All this stuff about...some of these really arcane theological arguments for me aren't nearly as important as what kind of world are we building right now."

Sharing how he views the current protests in the Middle East against a U.S.-made film deemed offensive to Islam and its prophet Muhammad as the "outworkings of bad theology," Miller suggested that Americans are living an illusion if they believe "we're not as violent as those Muslims."

"People want to argue 'is America a Christian nation?' I would say yes, I think that a lot of the form America has taken has been birthed through a really retributive from of justice that comes from a view of God that goes back to reformed Christianity, and that we believe that violence is ultimately the only way to solve the problem. We'll try reason, diplomacy and all that stuff because we always know that we can outgun them, and I think we believe that God will eventually do the same thing. This is to me, what I think Christ is trying to save us from is this arms race that will ultimately end in our destruction."

"Hellbound?" opened in select theaters in the U.S. on Sept. 21 and will debut in Canadian theaters starting Oct. 12. Exact theater locations can be found on the film's official website.

Follow this reporter on Twitter: @namenzie
 

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