We interrupt our series on Nailed for a bulletin…
While I was recovering from our household mishap last week, some news surfaced regarding the Arizona shooter Jared Loughner and his fondness for the Zeitgeist movie – that online virus which is one part 9/11 conspiracy hatch, one part “the government is out to get you” blather, and one part “Jesus was stolen from pagan copycat” thesis – the latter of which is one of my specialty areas as an apologist.
Some background is in order. I declined to engage Zeitgeist for a long time because I had resolved not to deal in exceptionally foolish material that I had already answered in substance. I had already answered all the “pagan copycat” material in detail years before (as it came from the likes of Acharya S) so I saw no need to give Zeitgeist the credit of a fresh refutation.
My disdain for the film was so great that Nick Peters and a friend of his, Dave Sorrell, even turned it into a sort of prank in which they’d ask me when I planned to refute Zeitgeist. I didn’t, but I did give a few readers permission to use my material in their own refutations, and asked another reader, Jonathan Brown, to provide a refutation for Shattering the Christ Myth. I never did see the film myself until the Christian Research Journal asked me to write an article on it. But when I finally did see it, I found I had been correct – nothing new, nothing I had not refuted before. (See link below for the “hub page” for my series on the pagan copycat myth.)
So, now the story has broken that one of Loughner’s former friends, Zach Osler, has said on an ABC news interview that Loughner had a strong interest in the film. I’ll let he experts in psychology decide to what extent Loughner’s actions were influenced by Zeitgeist; on the surface, with Osler saying Loughner used to watch and talk about it all the time, it doesn’t look too bright for Peter Joseph, the film’s producer, who is doing some rather amusing attempts at damage control over on his website, saying, for example, that Osler hadn’t seen Loughner for two years. Yes, and in that time, Loughner managed to find some OTHER “the government is out to get you” and “pagan copycat” inspiration and forgot all about Zeitgeist. Of course he did.
Situations like this tend to have a chicken and egg conundrum: Did Zeitgeist inspire Loughner, or was he already inspired and looking for confirmation which he found there? I’m not near expert enough to solve this, so again, I’ll leave that to the experts, and my focus will continue to be the same, for whether or not Loughner was inspired by Zeitgeist, it’s arguments are still ribald nonsense – in all three parts. That means I am out to stop anyone being influenced to any extent by it – whether they are inspired to gun down a member of Congress, or leave their Christian faith, or even if it just inspires them to buy bonds, Zeitgeist isn’t a source anyone needs to be basing any decisions on, because it is patently and egregiously false. That’s something Peter Joseph ought to be ashamed of even if Zeitgeist had ended up with only 6 views on YouTube in ten years, and then unceremoniously disappeared.
In the meantime, this is certainly an aspect of the situation we need to hear more about – and I’m all for that, since it seems I can’t bring this issue to the attention of churches by normal routes. Perhaps this will finally convince a few pastors out that that it is time to bring more apologetics to the pulpit!
Nick Peters will have the helm tomorrow for a final post on Carrier’s Christmas post, then we’ll return to Nailed.
Here's an article on the subject which includes a transcript of the interview with Osler.
Pagan copycat series.