For so many it is a given that the world is round. We know that the earth rotates on its axis which causes the sun to appear to rise and set. We know that the moon moves around the earth and that during a lunar eclipse it is the shadow of the earth on the moon that makes it seemingly disappear. We know that we can take a cruise literally around the world and not fear falling off the edge.
Once upon a time that was not such a firm belief for some. Stepping outside your front door in the desert with its intense lack of vegetation, it may be easy to assume that the distance you can see could bring about a belief that the world is indeed flat. Relying on personal observation, however, is widely accepted with limited value because there are far more “worlds” beyond our ability to see or touch.
Believe it or not, as recently as the past 60 years people were still convinced that the world was flat. It was in 1956 that the Flat Earth Society was founded by Charles K. Johnson on this very idea. Johnson claims that he shared this belief in the “truth” along with an extensive list of people throughout history who were “flat-earthers.”
From the DVD jacket:
In this new comedy… comedian and TV host Bill Maher takes a pilgrimage across the globe on a mind-opening journey into the ultimate taboo: questioning religion. Meeting the high and low from different religions, Maher simply asks questions, like “Why is faith good?” “Why doesn’t an all-powerful God speak to us directly?” and “How can otherwise rational people believe in a talking snake?” For anyone who’s even a little spiritually curious, this divine entertainment will deepen your faith…in comedy!
Let’s just say that even from the jacket, it is obvious that there are quite a disparity of opinions being expressed in this “documentary” that comes in the spirit of a Michael Moore film. Bill Maher has quite the abrasive personality that is also darkly engaging. This seems to be at least at some level a personal journey for him. The film starts with a conversation with his mother and is salted with his own experiences in being 50% Catholic and 50% Christian.
Year One is a film that is resplendent with elements from the book of Genesis. Characters such as Adam, Cain, Able, and Abraham take the screen in settings such as the Garden of Eden complete with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the ancient Canaanite countryside, and the city of Sodom. Yet, don’t get fooled: this is not a Biblical film.
No doubt it would be very easy to criticize this movie and say that it was not accurate and therefore should be boycotted and banned. Recent history has only shown that banning tends to bring attention to the subject of the boycott. So let’s take a different look at it.
Even if you choose not to see the film (which I am certainly not encouraging), it can prove to be an interesting point of conversation with our culture. The arch of the story has the main character (Jack Black) eating of the Tree and ultimately becoming the hero of the story by saving the city of Sodom from a famine as well as gods of all kinds, specifically by proving that he could enter the “holy of holies” and by killing the high priest. The reputation of Sodom in the movie is the same as that of Sodom in the Bible, which is prized as a proper and worthy way to live.