Sometimes when reviewing news on upcoming Christian movies my heart sinks. That’s because I recognize well known actors from my childhood that I fondly remember watching on TV. In this instance it is Lee Majors in Jerusalem Countdown, based on the book by preacher John Hagee (did Hagee really write it all by himself?). Lee Majors, if you don’t know, is from The Big Valley, The Six Million Dollar Man, and one of my favorites The Fall Guy. Any actor, if they would like, can correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that Christian filmmakers prey on actors who are no longer A-list.
One case in point would be Tribulation (2000) which featured Margot Kidder. Margot Kidder is on the CelebAtheist.com list, as well as having some general substance abuse issues. I don’t see how she was fit to be in a Christian movie and her reason for doing the film was that “she was broke.” Apparently, she didn’t even realize the filmmakers actually believed in the premise of their script on the rapture. Gary Busey also appeared in Tribulation and we’re well aware of his drug issues even as he is a confessed Christian. After much embarrassment, I’ve seen the Christian community shy away from him, but they rushed to exploit him when he first started spouting the gospel saved him.
I believe that the worst fear of actors is to “not work” and to “be forgotten.” Therefore, when the opportunity comes along to star in a film that has a reasonable budget they jump at the chance. For Christian producers this lends credibility and legitimacy to their filmmaking. They will continue to exploit forgotten actors until Christian actors become as well known as Christian music stars like Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith.
Looking at the trailer, Jerusalem Countdown is the same old prophetic nonsense. The description posted on ChristianCinema.com says: “With the Middle East in turmoil, Israelʼs preeminent ally is thrust into an impending war— America is now the target as the battle for Jerusalem begins.” They go on to say that “Jerusalem Countdown highlights the reality of an inevitable conflict between Israel and Islam.”
Inevitable? Again, Christian pessimism.
My hope is that Islam will go through it’s struggle to become modern and then we can find peace. I also hope that someday Israel and Palestine will find a way to coexist. It isn’t going to be anytime soon but let’s recognize that so far American Muslims have proven it is possible with the exception of some crackpots (but every religion has crackpots, even atheism has one or two). Religion doesn’t have to dominate rational thought even when we can see the humorous contradictions. Therefore we have theistic evolutionists or other fields that hold onto the last vestiges of belief–but the fantastic elements are subservient to the rational ones.
To Lee Majors, I have to say I’m a huge fan. If it makes you happy to star in this nonsense then so be it, but we still remember you as a bionic man–created by science–that helped make the world a better place. Hopefully, this nonsense is well done so that after we realize it is hokum we can watch it as a purely fictional film.