On the radar in books and film
Intelligent Design Uncensored
By William? A. Dembski and Jonathan Witt
Why "uncensored"? Well, according to Dembski and Witt, neither the media nor the scientific establishment has accurately described the theory of intelligent design. Their book aims to change all that, and if given a fair read by enough people, it undoubtedly will. Most compelling is the authors' demonstration of how science is rarely as cold and objective as it's made out to be.
By Hephzibah Anderson
Anderson's is not a great defense of sexual propriety. Her decision to remain celibate for a year had nothing to do with a sudden devotion to morality, which may be why her resolve eventually weakened. This book recounts her attempt to win a husband by forswearing sex, but what it proves is that chastity simply cannot be sustained outside of a rigorous moral framework.
How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World
By Jordan Christy
If The Real Housewives of New Jersey is the problem, then this book is the antidote. With humor and style, Christy guides women out of the world of thong bikinis and lewd behavior, insisting that a little class is just what our society needs right now. Her book is an etiquette manual of sorts, explaining both how to behave and dress appropriately and why doing so matters.
Losing Our Religion
By S. E. Cupp
Cupp, the conservative political pundit who regularly appears on Larry King Live, is also an atheist, but that doesn't stop her from believing that the media is biased against Christian America. Here she expertly defends Judeo-Christian values and tries to explain why some liberals detest them. She also does a fine job of galvanizing support for her pro-Christian cause.
Our Culture, What's Left of It
By Theodore Dalrymple
However much you disdain American culture, the situation in Great Britain is much worse—at least according to Dalrymple. His thesis is a simple one: Socialist theories and welfare policies have destroyed English character, encouraging a lack of productivity and enslavement to popular culture. His book will make you think twice about idolizing European progressivism.
Do Fish Feel Pain?
By Victoria Braithwaite
Yes, we can all agree that it is painful for fish to suffocate on the decks of fishing boats, but should the fact that fish are smarter than we previously thought transform this unfortunate circumstance into a tragedy? Braithwaite's silly book answers this question in the affirmative and then tries to persuade readers that fish deserve the same rights as people.
Against All Gods
By Phillip ?E. Johnson and John Mark Reynolds
There have been many critiques of the New Atheists published in recent years, but few have had the intellectual heft of this book. While Johnson effectively deconstructs atheistic arguments against the existence of God, Reynolds ably defends religion from all manner of false charges. The result is truly a tour de force—one of the best books on atheism ever written.
By Gail Dines
Dines's book does more than just describe our national porn addiction; it likewise details the ways in which the use of pornography can seep into other aspects of our lives, causing irreparable harm to our relationships, our communities, and ourselves. A bit light on documentation, the book is nevertheless a welcome addition to the growing library of anti-porn material.
Lord, Save Us from Your Followers
Dan Merchant is a culture-war denier, and the intent of his film is to convince you that issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia are mere distractions from the central message of Christianity. You guessed it: Merchant believes that all we need is a little love. His film features interviews with Christian "celebrities" who for the most part share his viewpoint.
Lines That Divide
Director Brian Godawa has put together a marvelous little film for the Center for Bioethics and Culture on the stem-cell debate. Well-reasoned and balanced, it is at its best when documenting the many impressive breakthroughs in adult stem-cell therapy, advances that are rarely covered by the media but that represent our best chance of finding cures for a wide variety of diseases.
Waiting for Armageddon
Regardless of how you feel about the Evangelical apocalyptic worldview, you will find this a manipulative and agenda-driven documentary. Not only does it portray Christians who adhere to this teaching as misguided dupes, but it also depicts their love for Israel as a threat to American security—as a potentially explosive alliance that could end in an international holy war.
The Case for Faith
Based on Christian apologist Lee Strobel's book of the same title, this movie examines the two doubts that most often cause people to lose their faith: Jesus cannot possibly be the only path to God; and there can't be a good God when the world is so full of suffering. Theologians such as N.?T. Wright and J.?P. Moreland deftly answer these charges with penetrating wisdom.
Director Jamie Johnson is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, and here he interviews fellow beneficiaries of inherited wealth, such as Invanka Trump and Josiah Hornblower, about what it's like to grow up with so much money. Believe it or not, the conversations are fascinating and reveal much about our materialistic society, including the manner in which wealth corrupts.
About the best thing one can say about this movie is that it does make a strong case for the life of the mind. Unfortunately, Astra Taylor chooses some of the loopiest academics around to debate the merits of philosophy with, including Peter Singer and Judith Butler. While passionate, these particular thinkers mar with their illogic what could have been an invigorating film.
The Butch Factor
Documentaries don't get any more boring than this. Comprised solely of talking-head interviews, this film examines what homosexuals have to endure when their deportment is either extremely masculine or totally feminine. Whether the speaker is a prison guard, a drag queen, or a football player, the tale is always the same. We get it already; it's super-tough being gay. Yawn.
Hell Houses were conceived in 1990 at a church just outside of Dallas. Their purpose is to provide haunted-house-style thrills while at the same time scaring unbelievers into conversion. It's a bizarre phenomenon, to be sure, but this excellent film, which chronicles the preparation of one such Hell House, is spot on in its assessment of misguided evangelistic techniques.
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