Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberts, Noam Chomsky
Breaking Glass Pictures
Carl Christman's humorous yet cutting doc Selling God
satirizes the rise of evangelical Christianity as a money-making force in pop culture in a way reminiscent of Bill Maher's Religulous.
What is the price of a soul?
As Christman points out, at a time when televangelists fill stadiums at the same rate as a rock star, organized religion has, in many ways, put a price tag on salvation.
While Selling God
doesn't necessarily cover any new ground from recent docs like Religulous
or Lord, Save Us From Your Followers,
the film is still a surprisingly entertaining and absurdly insightful survey of evangelical Christianity from Biblical times to the rise of megachurches to life after 9/11.
The film features a host of interviews including Dr. Noam Chomsky and a host of religious scholars who don't always account well for how pop culture all too often wins out over theological doctrine.
Even among Christians, Christman's (Okay, even I'm wondering if "Christ"man is his real name) film will likely elicit chuckles and a few laughs given his dedication to both irreverent humor based in a world that can be, let's be honest, wildly absurd. There's no question that Christman is primarily poking fun at fundamentalist Christianity here, a segment of the population who would be unlikely to pick up his doc anyway. Christman, in rather light ways, goes about talking about the mass marketing of Christianity, the necessity of growing a church's population and, in one of the film's more crass and commercial scenes, brings out just how some evangelists truly have reduced their crusades to what could be best described as a "price per soul" approach to salvation.
At times, the low-budget nature of Selling God
and its rather sarcastic narrative serves to undermine the film as it takes on a sort of late night cable television quality that goes a bit too far on the irreverence and a bit too light on the actual documentary feature. That said, Selling God
is an entertaining and, for those of us who are practicing Christians, a bit disturbing in its truth.
is coming to DVD on April 26th courtesy of the fine folks at Breaking Glass Pictures. For more information, visit the Breaking Glass Pictures website
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic