Film Review: Mining For God
Mining For God (A Search for Ancient Truth in a Modern World) is an excellent documentary about Christianity in the United States. As filmmaker Brandon McGuire points out, even though the U.S. has been called a ‘Christian’ nation and 70% of adults in the U.S. identify themselves as Christians, many of them are not sure what being Christian really means.
That’s where the story begins.
Brandon McGuire and his team did a great job in both pre and post production. It’s a high-quality film with a powerful message presented in an easy-to-view package.
Mining For God includes interviews with people on the street as well as some of the very best minds in Christian apologetics, including Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, John Stonestreet, J Warner Wallace, David Geisler, Alan Shlemon, Mary Jo Sharp, Donald Williams, Mark Mittelberg, Nabel Qureshi, Craig Hazen, Michael Sherrard and others.
I agree with Professor Donald Williams at the beginning of the film who said that if all we knew about Christianity were the images we saw of it in the media, he would have absolutely no interest in it.
Brandon McGuire set up the film’s theme by describing his own beginnings as a Christian growing up in middle America in the Midwest. Things changed for McGuire when he visited Africa after college. What he saw of Christianity there changed his view of what it means to live the ‘Christian life.’ When he returned to the United States he began asking people in the U.S. the question ‘what is Christianity?’. The answers he received led to the documentary, Mining For God. As he explained, “This film will investigate the different ideas within American culture that have shaped the way we think and distorted our understanding of who God is.”
Man-on-the-street interviews have a special power in documentaries. They are real people, just like us, answering questions important to all of us. Answers to McGuire’s question about Christianity included: ‘it’s about rules, good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, Christianity is not the only way to God or spirituality, all religions are basically the same.’ If you’ve talked with people about God and Christianity recently, you’ve probably heard the same answers.
The documentary takes a serious look at whether the United States is truly a ‘Christian’ nation. The reality may be that many people who identify as Christians are really ‘cultural’ or ‘nominal.’ As Alan Shlemon of ‘Stand To Reason’ pointed out in the film – “they’ve bought into the cultural trappings of Christianity, but when you press them on morality and how they should live or about the nature of theology, the trinity or the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they tend not to know how to answer those questions.” They are really Christian ‘in name only.’
The most powerful aspect of Mining For God, in my opinion, were the insights from Alan and other Christian experts in fields of theology, apologetics, science and education. They looked at one of the most pervasive belief systems in the U.S., ‘naturalism,’ and gave some fascinating insights into what it is and how Christians can respond to naturalistic arguments. Brandon McGuire did a wonderful job of bringing together these top thinkers within Christianity. Their insights into world religions, spirituality, morality, theology, philosophy, epistemology, cosmology, teleology, historiography, origins, relativism, pluralism, suffering and evil will help every Christian to better understand their beliefs, the beliefs of other people and how to reach those people with the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ.
I ‘highly’ recommend this excellent one-hour documentary for every Christian, every church, every youth group, every Bible study group. You can watch a video trailer of Mining For God here. The documentary is available as a DVD and Stream + Download.