Transcript: Friends, I have a question for you: Have you ever been in a conversation with a non-believer, an atheist specifically, and you’ve provided some great things to think about in terms of rejecting the atheist worldview and believing in Jesus and, after all that you have offered, the atheist says to you, “You know, if God would just appear right in front of me, I’d believe! Why doesn’t He just do that?? He could avoid so much confusion and doubt and appear to me, and that would solve everything! I’d believe!” Have you ever heard an atheist say this before?
Now, I don’t think this is true at all (by the way); and I don’t need to be psychic to know this. If God in all of His glory were to appear right in front of an atheist — and somehow the atheist were to survive the sight of the living God — the atheist is not going to change their attitude towards Him.
I went to see “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” over the weekend, and… let me just say — WOW, what a movie! The filmmakers did a great job. Lots of suspense and action! I think it was better than the first film (the one that came out in 2014). And to see the various monsters fight on screen, it was very cool. I think fans of Godzilla got to see the fight scenes they really wanted to in this movie!
But don’t worry, I’m not going to get into heavy spoilers. Instead I want to zoom in on something I noticed about the movie. So as I said this movie is a sequel to the first “Godzilla” that came out in 2014, and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” picks the story up five years after the first film. Well, in the first “Godzilla”, the world is introduced to the idea that not only does this mythical creature actually exist, but there are other creatures like it in the world. There is an interesting moment in the first movie where one of the scientists refers to “Godzilla” a “god, for all intents and purposes” and, immediately, a soldier sitting across the table from this scientist corrects her and calls Godzilla, “a monster”. So in other words, people realize — in the first movie — that there is a being much larger and more powerful than anything they can comprehend, and they have different reactions to it, depending on the person. And this really bears out in the sequel.
In the sequel, people have had to get used to the idea of a world with Godzilla in it. And what’s very interesting is: people react differently to Godzilla. Dr. Serizawa has studied Godzilla, saw him fight in the first movie, and he believes that Godzilla is benevolent. As a matter of fact, he says in “King of the Monsters” that “we must have faith in Godzilla!” That sounds familiar, right? But there are others, like Mark Russell who are threatened by Godzilla and so they believe he should be killed immediately. And then there are even others, like Jonah Alan and his eco-terrorist group, who wants Godzilla to destroy the world. So really his reaction is to use Godzilla as a tool for his own purposes. What makes matters worse for everybody is: Godzilla doesn’t talk at all. So everybody has to infer what Godzilla’s intentions are… and so everyone’s reactions to Godzilla hinges on their own assumptions about him.
So what does this have to do with atheists? Remember, some atheists like to say, “If God would just appear right in front of me, I’ll change my mind.” Well, no they won’t. And “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” displays this rather well! If God really appeared in front of them, people will react to Him based on their prior assumptions. So for example if God appears to some atheists, they have admitted that they would conclude they’re hallucinating. When answering a question about what it would take for atheist Richard Dawkins to believe in God, he said this: “Well, I used to say it would be very simple. It would be the second coming of Jesus or a great, big, deep, booming, bass Paul Robeson voice saying, ‘I am God, and I created.’ But I was persuaded…that even if there was this booming voice in the second coming in clouds of glory, the more probable explanation is that it’s a hallucination, or a conjuring trick by David Copperfield…”
Why would he say something like that? Because Dawkins is committed to a materialistic worldview where there is no room for a supernatural realm at all. And more than that, the universe that he believes he lives in works for him! Because if there is no God of the Bible, then there are no responsibilities and consequences for his decision-making. Another famous atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel once said, “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
Now, imagine if God appeared right in front of a person who said that. Is it realistic to expect that their entire heart’s disposition will change such that they will bow and worship in reverence at the feet of the Creator? No! They’ll get scared, maybe angry, maybe they’ll try to manipulate God to further their own purposes.
And that’s how “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” helps us in talking to non-believers. A lot of folks will see this movie, and notice how different people react to Godzilla and the Titans. Great! We now have a conversation piece to point out to that this is how people would react if God were to appear. Heck, this is how people react right now to God! Some people react ambivalently, some fearfully, some angrily, and some faithfully. And to simply claim that it’s all about the evidence, and that’s all this is about, is false. It’s a heart issue that in turn shapes the non-believer’s worldview that in turn influences their beliefs and values. And if none of those aspects have room for God, when people discover that He is real, they will not change their disposition.
Two quick things and then I’ll close. First, God has already appeared to people. It took place in the first century, Jesus came into the world as a Jewish rabbi, and non-believers killed him. So let’s not pretend that this is purely an intellectual exercise; people don’t like their worldviews being challenged. They like the world the way they think it is.
And second, we’re all about asking the right kinds of questions in order to have effective conversations for Christ. I have a question that you can ask someone (but it really trades on whether the person you’re talking to is intellectually honest. So I wouldn’t just throw this out to anybody). But here’s the question: If God was real and the Bible were true, would you become a Christian? Now, see that’s a short question but a powerful one! It immediately sidesteps the pretense of some non-believers who say it’s all about the evidence for them. No, that’s not true! Human beings are the intersection of both intellect and emotion! And we cannot get away from the fact that emotions play a role in our thought processes and decision-making.
So… “Godzilla: King of the Monster” is a great time! Lots of fun, action, and suspense! And it’s also a useful tool to think through and talk about God to non-believers.