People of faith often struggle with the existence of evil in this world. They also have a hard time grasping why bad things happen to innocent people. Situations where children die from cancer or entire cities being destroyed by a tornado shake up the faith of those who claim to be Christians or another religion and push skeptics further away from accepting the existence of a holy sovereign God.
Actor and producer Kirk Cameron tackles these issues in his new documentary "Unstoppable." He addresses why the existence of evil is necessary and ties it all in to some of the narratives from the Old Testament and New Testament.
Cameron recently spoke to The Christian Post regarding his new film and explains his discoveries on why bad things happen to bad people.
CP- Could you explain the footage and images seen in the trailer to 'Unstoppable' and how it's relevant to the theme of why evil exists?
KC- This tribal looking guy in the trailer is actually Adam and basically this is [a representation] of the creation of man from the dust of the Earth. If you look at the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman in the garden and Kane killing his brother and Noah and the flood, you'll see that there's tragedy all throughout the Bible story from the very beginning to the very end all the way through the crucifixion, and you wonder how in the world is a loving God part of all of this. And that ultimately is where we find the answers. By going back and looking at things like the crucifixion, the fall and the flood. We see that God is mysteriously at work in all of these tragic things to bring about the very healing, hope and restoration of the whole world. Those images in the trailer are recreations of biblical stories.
CP- Towards the end of the trailer you say your faith was made stronger than ever before. Can you elaborate on that?
KC- The question of where is God and why does he let bad things happen to good people is one that wrecks people's faith. If you go through the history of the world, that is one of the top five questions of all time for everybody whether you're a Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Atheist. If there is a God, where is he when children get cancer or when a Tsunami hits or when there is a school shooting. That's the kind of thing that destroys many people's faiths. But for me, going through the process of making "Unstoppable" and trying to find the answer to that question really made my faith stronger because I found that answer. And I'm going to share that answer with everyone through the film.
When we look at pain and tragedy from our perspective, let's say a loved one is suffering. It can feel so overwhelming and we can't see a reason and a purpose in it. But if we get up to a 100,000 ft view and we start looking at the history of the world and how God has always used pain and suffering in history and through that has brought about so many of the greatest things in the world.
Look at the crucifixion, here you have the innocent suffering of the Son of God and yet that purchases the salvation of the whole world. So what I'm saying is that when we understand the bigger picture story and we view our tragedy from heaven's balcony we have a broader context and clearer perspective on what God is up to. And we can see that it's true that good is stronger than evil, life is stronger than death, and faith is stronger than doubt.
CP- When you discuss evil, you have two different kinds including circumstantial evil where things are caused by other people and then you have just the effects of living in a fallen world. One of those effects would be people that are born with a disability. How do you think those types of people could be worked into God's purpose?
KC- I think God is perfect, all-powerful and has an unstoppable plan for everyone including those who love him and those who don't. We know in scripture that God works all things together for good for those who love him because he's a God of purpose and his purposes are unstoppable. Whether a person is mentally sharp or disabled, whether someone is physically handicapped or a world class athlete, whether someone has cancer and lives to be five years old, or someone in the Old Testament times that lived to be 500. God is steering all of these things to fulfill his promise that he would one day reverse the curse and make all things new. So nothing is outside of God's ability to use for his glory and for our good. Not pain, not tragedy and not death. What can separate us from the love of God? Not life, not death, nothing in the present, nothing in the future. Not angels, not demons nothing is able to stand between us and his loving plans because you can't stop them.
CP- Christians sometimes start to doubt God when bad things happen for them. Do you think these doubts affect a person's salvation?
KC- My pastor had a wonderful analogy that he showed my kids. He said sometimes you hold on to God by faith, but sometimes it can feel very week. [He told the kids] to come and grab his wrists. I saw my kids grip on to my pastor's forearm and when they did that my pastor held on to their forearm. So if you could picture that it would be two hands passing each other with wrists touching, each holding one another's forearm. And he said [to them] hold on real tight, that's your faith, now let your faith go weak and let go of my arm. They did and he told them you see I'm still holding onto you and my grip is strong. [He said] I'm representing God and in the times when your faith feels weak you can rest assured that I've still got a hold of you because you're my child and I love you and I am able to keep you from falling. And boy did that bring comfort to my kids and deepened their love for God and their understanding of God's faithfulness. To hold us even when our ability to hold onto him grows weak.
CP- What made you switch gears from acting to producing?
KC- I love to be creative and to put flesh onto the ideas that are inside of me. And there are not that many great programs that are coming out through Hollywood and I'm tired of waiting around for someone to hand me a good script so I'm going to go and produce something.
CP- How do you feel about the Christian movie industry?
KC- I'm really excited about what I see coming out of the Christian movie industry. There's independent films coming out all over the place. You look at movies like 'The Passion of the Christ,' the new Noah movie that's coming out with Russell Crowe in the Spring. Movies like 'Fireproof' and 'Courageous' which have done phenomenally well. It's very exciting to see a new wave of young filmmakers come out with a biblical world view. They have an understanding of the Gospel and how to tell stories. They have the technology and equipment that's so affordable that it's all beginning to look fantastic.
CP- Do you have any acting roles coming up?
KC- I do. I have a new film coming out next year called 'The Mercy Rule.' I'm going to be acting in that. It's a family baseball movie.
CP- There were issues 'Unstoppable's' website as Facebook labeled it as spam at first. Can you elaborate on why that happened and how you were able to move past that problem?
KC- For some reason, YouTube and Facebook both shut down the ability for people to watch the trailer for "Unstoppable." We don't know who was behind labeling it unsafe and abusive, but it prevented millions of people from being able to see it. So I let everyone on Facebook know that I was trying to show them the movie, but wasn't able to and so they all contacted Facebook and they fixed the problem. Facebook apologized and YouTube restored the access to the movie also. The silver lining in all of that were all the news outlets picking up on what was accomplished by the 700,000 fans on my Facebook page to get the movie reinstated. They wrote stories about it which just let more people know about this great documentary coming out called "Unstoppable." It's about faith, hope and love and why anyone would want to ban that as abusive or unsafe I have no idea.
CP- You are going to premier 'Unstoppable' at a one night only live event at Liberty University. What are the advantages of doing that as you seem to have succeeded with this strategy in the past?
KC- We did this very successfully with "Monumental." It was actually the largest attended event of its kind in March of last year for that film. I think what makes it exciting is that it is a live event, it's not just watching a movie in a theater. You go to a theater and you're part of something that's being experienced by thousands of people, and tens of thousands of families simultaneously all over the country. So we're going to be broadcasting live from Liberty University. 10,000 college students will be in attendance. And as part of the show, we're going to have special guests and musical artists with one being Mandisa (American Idol) and Warren Barfield who wrote the theme to 'Fireproof' called 'Love is Not a Fight' and he also wrote the theme song to 'Unstoppable.' They'll be there along with some military veterans and some special guests. What makes it exciting is that we're all there at the same time on the same night watching the same thing and we're all part of something that's happening real time and you get to see a great movie.
CP- Any final words regarding your new movie 'Unstoppable.'
KC- For those of us who have faith in God, it's real easy to get excited about our faith when things are going well. When we're happy, healthy, we have a job, money to put gas in the car, and our checkup at the doctor's office is all clear. But when tragedy hits and your whole world comes crashing down, that's when the questions really start. And you start doubting and you start faltering and you need God most at those times. You need to know that he's real, that he's present, that he cares and that he can help. That's why this movie is so important to me personally. I want people to have a rock solid faith. I want them to have faith that is unshakable. I want them to learn through their trials that God is developing character in you, and your confidence in him. He's developing an unshakable faith and compassion for other people. In essence, he's using these times to develop in you a heart that is just like his for other people. In the end you'll see that everything is just as it should be.
"Unstoppable" premiers on September 24.
Tickets and more information are available on the film at www.unstoppablethemovie.com