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Do the Hollywood Superheroes Point to Jesus?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2022 1:56 pm

Do the Hollywood Superheroes Point to Jesus?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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May 4, 2022 1:56 pm

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Friends, there is major news that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Good heroes, how your favorite movies reveal God. Hey Frank, welcome back to The Line of Fire. Thanks for joining us today. Dr. Michael Brown, it's always wonderful being with you. Thanks for having me on.

Yeah, my joy to do it. Alright, I've got so many questions about this, but first, how did you stumble on this idea and how did you determine to do it together with your son, Zach? Well, my son Zach, although he's in the Air Force, he's a major in the Air Force right now, he went to Southern Evangelical Seminary while he was in the Air Force, got his own degree in philosophy, a master's in philosophy, and he's always been a movie buff, Mike. He's loved movies from the time he was a very small child, and in fact, he's a reader too, so he really got into Star Wars and read many of the books from the Star Wars Alternative Universe, and then he got into the Harry Potter books, and I know some Christians have some consternation with Harry Potter, maybe we can talk about that, but he really loved reading and watching these movies, and so after he went through the seminary, I said, hey Zach, you know these movies so well, maybe we ought to write a book because there's so many parallels between these stories and the greatest story ever told. So we go through Captain America, Iron Man, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and point out how so many of these characters not only parallel Jesus, but they give biblical life lessons.

Okay, so immediately, some listeners are thinking, what are you talking about? Are you saying that the people that put these movies out in Hollywood, that they're intentionally planting subtle messages about Jesus, or is there something unintentional and maybe even unconscious happening? It's both, okay, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are distinctively Christian stories. What? Harry Potter, we'll get into it.

Alright, alright. But the others aren't necessarily Christian. In fact, I think they're unknowingly putting these in, Mike, because the greatest story ever told resonates with people. We all want to be taken from this world and taken to a place of promise, taken to a place where there is no pain and suffering. So when we see a story like that, it enchants us, Mike, they can't help but put in stories of sacrifice stories of being rescued from evil, because that's the way the real world really is that we we are in this evil place and we want to be taken from it. So these stories resonate, whether the movie makers know they're they're related to the greatest story ever told or not is irrelevant.

They know that it's a great story if they tell it. Alright, so I'm a little bit older than you, but we come from roughly the same generation. We're both baby boomers. And so I remember growing up watching Superman, even on black and white TV. And then after that, you had Batman and Robin. But it seems now obviously you've had it in the comic books for years, but one movie after another movie after another and they tend to be doing well, you know, at least in the Spider-Man series or another dark movie about Batman, whatever it is. Is there an increased interest or fascination with these superheroes these days? It seems to be, Mike, that people are really into this now. In fact, Mike, if you look at the top 25 greatest grossing movies of all time, 12 out of the top 25 are the superhero type movies that we that we evaluate in Hollywood Heroes and 23 out of the top 25 have fantasy elements in them.

In other words, they deal in the supernatural or paranormal. Only two of the top 25 movies, I think Titanic and Furious 7, which has a lot of special effects in it, obviously, are not fantasy movies. And it just tells me that people want to be taken out of this world into a place of bliss.

And that's what these fantasy movies give them. So even the idea of a superhero, that somebody has some special qualities or special energies or especially trained or something at birth they're given, you're saying that that that's also pointing to something within us that that we want a superhero, that we're looking for somebody to come and deliver? Yes, we are looking for a deliverer. We're all looking for a Messiah.

You know this better than I do. You're the world expert on on the Jewish Messiah. Even the Jews are still looking for him, right?

Yeah. So somebody to come and take them from this place. So, yes, everybody wants to be rescued. And that's that's why the greatest story ever told resonates, even when it's retold and retold and retold. Frank, you are on college campuses as much as anybody I know, speaking about atheism, speaking about the reliability of scripture, etc. So you're interacting with the younger generation on a regular basis. A lot of Christians might say, you know, I never really grew up in a movie culture.

I don't watch a lot of movies, but other people do and young people do. So is this a bridge by which we can share the gospel? Not so much. Well, you saw Harry Potter. I guess you're interested in Jesus. But are there are there more discreet ways that we can we can cross over this bridge?

Yes, I think. Well, actually, let's take Harry Potter, for example. A lot of people miss this. But you know that Harry Potter has four big things in common with Jesus. Number one, he's prophesied to be the savior of that world before he's born. Secondly, he has to live a moral life in order to accomplish saving that world. Thirdly, he has to die in order to accomplish it. And fourthly, he rises from the dead in order to defeat the evil Voldemort, who is the Satan figure. And he then inspires faith in his followers in order to do that.

I mean, what could be more of a parallel to the Christian story than those four things? And if you if you know somebody who likes Harry Potter, you can point this out. Got it.

All right. So, friends, the new book, literally hot off the press, wherever you get your books, look for it. Hollywood Heroes by Frank and Zach Turek. T-U-R-E-K. And by the way, if you've never read a Frank Turek book, you're in for a treat. Now, Frank and Zach, it's a double treat.

You get the joining of the generations here. What would you say was Zach's unique contribution to bring to this book together with you? Well, he knows the movies inside and out, Mike. He's read the books, too. He knows them way better than I do. So he took the first stab at writing all the chapters.

And then I would come in behind him and add a little bit more of the connection to the biblical story, even though he had much of that himself. So he he knows it inside and out. In fact, if he weren't right now working, he works in the Intel world, in the military, you know, you know what's going on with Russia right now. He's he's working 13, 14 hour days. If he if he wasn't doing that right now, he'd be on with us right now. But he can't.

He's he's got other obligations. Got it. Yeah. Well, well, well, maybe in the future, get that. Well, I and my endorsement, I referred to it as the Batman and Robin of apologetics.

But to see you joining together is awesome. And listen, for all of you that are listening and watching and you you have such a distaste for Harry Potter and you say it's brought in wizardry, it's brought in darkness. That's not even the issue.

The issue is what are lessons that can be taken from it in our interaction with the society? And Frank, you're not saying that every pastor every Sunday morning needs to weave in a movie illustration with it. But the world we live in, people are watching these hundreds of millions of dollars coming in on a regular basis. They're talking about this stuff.

They're waiting for the newest release. So if they're in this world and we can draw on something they're looking for, longing for, hoping for somebody beyond someone that's like dreamlike, someone that doesn't disappoint, someone that always comes through. And right. And, you know, right before the really bad moment, they're going to rescue that. And good is ultimately going to triumph over evil.

Why not point them in the ultimate right direction? That's right. That's right. Let me say one thing about the Harry Potter series with regard to the wizardry and all that I notice. And look, I defer to parents, parents.

If you don't want your kids watching or reading something that that's your call. But I will say this. I noticed that many Christian parents have been inconsistent, Mike, because take the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf is a wizard.

Right. And yet people are saying Lord of the Rings is fine. Look at the Chronicles of Narnia.

It has the same kind of thing in it. Why are we OK with those but not OK with Harry Potter? And the kind of wizardry and Harry Potter doesn't exist in the real world. J.K. Rowling doesn't think that this kind of magic actually exists. She just said, I put magic in there because it's it enchants the children's mind so they can have power over something. But magic isn't the center of the story. Human nature is the center of the story, according to Rowling. And she says two Bible verses epitomize the entire series.

Number one, they both appear in the movie. These Bible verses, of course, the books as well. Number one, the last enemy destroyed is death, which is from First Corinthians 15. And the other Bible verse that appears in the movie that epitomizes it is where your treasure is. That's where your heart will be also. Got it.

All right. You know, in my Jewish apologetics, Frank, I've talked a lot about redemptive analogies, borrowing that phrase from missionary Don Richardson, which is saying that in different cultures, God has implanted certain truths. And then at a certain point in time, a missionary can say, hey, look, this is in your culture. This is in your religion. So you're going to find it the most in Judaism because it's it's it's the people of the Messiah and the Bible. The Old Testament is being used in Judaism day and night.

So it's very natural to find these redemptive analogies. So within Judaism, there is the concept of the atoning power of the death of the righteous. That's been an incredible bridge for me to get to the cross, because otherwise the cross is totally foreign, this external Christian thing. And therefore, you won't even think of it, especially religious do. But I talk about the atoning power of the death of the righteous. The light goes on that that they can register with. And now that's what we're talking about with the Messiah.

It's not human sacrifice or some pagan thing. So the world in which we live now, these ideas are pervasive. And as we go through the show today, we're going to highlight a few again. This is just to give you a taste of what's in the book, Hollywood Heroes. But let's just start here with Captain America. Why is Captain America somehow an image or a prototype of things that have to do with Jesus? Well, think about Captain America.

He always does the right thing. You never have to worry about Captain America doing the wrong thing, unlike his cohort, Tony Stark. Tony Stark has to go through a lot of development before he becomes a hero, whereas Captain America is a hero immediately. Now, Captain America isn't perfect like Jesus, but he does exhibit morality, unlike to a level unlike other superheroes. And also, what's Captain America willing to do? He's willing to jump on a grenade for you, right?

He's willing to sacrifice himself to save you. That's what Jesus does. And, you know, there was the old Hollywood code of ethics where you couldn't show like drug use in a movie. And if there was a bad guy and a good guy, the bad guy had to get caught and things like that. Well, we don't have that code.

We haven't for a long time. So you never know with a movie, the bad guy might be the hero, the really evil figure. And the police and the ones trying to catch him, they're the ones that are foiled all the time.

But you're saying with the Captain America, he's going to do what's right. And you have this kind of feel good aspect to it. All right, friends, we come back. I'm going to continue this conversation with Frank Turek again. The new book hot off the press today, Hollywood Heroes by Frank and Zach Turek, subtitle, How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God.

You may say people are so obsessed with movies these days. Fine, let's let's walk into their obsession and pull them out with a message about the Savior. We'll be right back. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.

Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. I'm speaking today with my good friend and colleague, Frank Turek. He and his son, Zach, have written a really fascinating book. One of the most interesting apologetics books I've ever written. I've ever read.

This is what I didn't write. One of the most fascinating ones I've ever read, Hollywood Heroes. And it looks at a number of the Hollywood mega stores today. I don't mean Tom Cruise or something like that, but rather the Ironmans and the Captain Americas and the Harry Potters. And what did they have to do with the gospel? Let me step back for a moment and ask this. Frank, how many years have you been speaking on college campuses? Oh, about 20 by now. Yeah, started 20 years ago. I, along with Dr. Norman Geiser, started doing it with him. And then ever since about 2004, almost 20, we've been going to college campuses to present.

I don't have enough faith to be an atheist. All right. And then you always do, when you're able to, live Q&A.

So you're getting feedback, you're interacting. Has the climate changed on college campuses towards the general view of God, of Christianity, of the Bible? Oh, well, totally, yeah. You used to be able, even before my time, you used to be able to say, well, the Bible says, and people would listen, now as you know, Mike, if you say the Bible says, they're going to say, well, you're a bigot, right? You're a homophobe. There's something wrong with you.

How can you even believe that? And I've noticed that I'd say a majority of the questions I get on college campuses, Mike, have to do with morality. Morality is the issue, right? Because if there is a God, people can't do whatever they want to do, and they want to do whatever they want to do. This is why I always ask people on college campuses, particularly atheists or non-believers, I ask them, if Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?

I've had atheists stand at the microphone in front of hundreds of people and say, no! I say, no? How's that reasonable? How's that rational? It's not. It's not reasonable. It's not rational. The problem isn't in the head.

The problem's in the heart. They don't want it to be true. They don't want there to be a God. They're not on a truth quest. They're on a happiness quest. And they think that if God exists, God is going to interfere with their happiness. So I always ask them, if it were true, would you become a Christian? And a lot of times I'll get an honest answer. And with people like that, I think all you can do for them is pray for them, plant seeds, because they don't have an intellectual problem.

They have a moral or volitional problem. Yeah. So the thing that's so interesting, and I raise it so as to tie back in with Hollywood heroes, I was talking to a friend of mine, ultra-orthodox rabbi. We've been in steady dialogue and debate for roughly 20 years, back and forth, probably several thousand pages if we published all of our emails and interaction. And he once said to me, he said, if you said the word Christianity to my father, he would vomit. And I asked him, in your community where you live, ultra-orthodox Jews in Lakewood, New Jersey, I said, do they believe there's a direct connection between Christianity and the Holocaust?

He said, oh yes, absolutely. So when they hear this word, they're hearing something very different. We're hearing something beautiful and wonderful, the story of God's love and mercy expressed through the cross, and they're hearing something very, very different from the filter of their own experience where it was a false Christianity or a corrupt Christianity. In the same way now, when we talk to a lot of people about Jesus, they immediately hear a certain thing. They immediately have certain conceptions, and the Jesus we're talking about is not the Jesus that they're hearing. So if we use the Hollywood heroes approach, if we start to talk to them using the analogy of, well, what do you appreciate about Captain America, or did you see this? So from there, you can now tell them who the real Jesus is, and that Jesus has tremendous appeal, doesn't he? Yeah, excellent point.

You know what else I like to ask people too, Mike, it's this. If someone plays Beethoven poorly, who do you blame? That's great. You don't blame Beethoven, right? You blame the player. Well, if somebody plays Christ poorly, who do you blame? You don't blame Christ. If the followers or players of Christ play Christ poorly, that doesn't mean Christ isn't still true and beautiful. Christ is still true and beautiful even when the players, the Christians, don't play him well. We need to remind people that Christianity is not Christians. Christianity is Jesus. And so if you're listening out there right now and you've been wronged by a Christian, you're upset with the church or whatever it is, you need to look past all that, because that is not true Christianity.

True Christianity is Jesus. Yeah, and Frank, you've got that gift of reducing things to really simple bite-sized sayings. You know, if someone says to you there's no absolute truth, what do you say to them?

Are you absolutely sure? It's absolutely true. By the way, that insight about Beethoven comes from John Dixon. You know, if you don't know John, he wrote a great book called Bullies and Saints.

He's from the UK, and that's not from the UK, he's from Australia. And that book, Bullies and Saints, he goes through all the church history and he says, here's what the church did right, here's what it did wrong. But we always need to remember, we need to focus on Jesus and not what the poor players of Jesus do. So I'm sure there are many people when you get past the surface objections and the emotional objections, they want Jesus to be real. And so they're not consciously going to watch Captain America or whoever the superhero is.

They're not consciously going there saying, oh, I wish this was true, or I need a Captain America in my life. But there's something in us that wants it to be true. Like when you go to a magic show, you really want it to be like, they really did it.

You know, this guy's amazing, he pulled a rabbit out of a hat. And when you see the trick behind it, it's like, oh, it was nothing. So people want this to be real.

That's what you're speaking to in the book. Yeah, they want it to be real. And it is real.

That's the beauty of it. That there is someone who's going to take us out of this world, who's going to bring us to the promised land, who is going to take us to a place where there is no crying, mourning or pain anymore. And simply by trusting in what he's done, we can get there. I mean, when you look at the superhero movies we cover, whether it's Iron Man, Captain America, Harry Potter, Star Wars, any of these, Batman, these people in these movies can't make it to the promised land on their own.

They need these superheroes to come in and rescue them. And we do too. We can't make it to the promised land on our own.

We need a messiah to come into the world and take us there. And so all these movies, whether the movie writers thought about it or not, are reflecting the greatest story ever told. And the greatest story ever told happens to be true.

In fact, Mike, I know you know this, but I don't know if our listeners have heard about this. J.R.R. Tolkien, who of course wrote the Lord of the Rings series, he and C.S. Lewis were buddies. And Tolkien said to Lewis at one point, Jack, which is what they called him, Jack, why are you so enthralled with all these stories about dying and rising gods in pagan mythology? By the way, these stories of dying and rising gods come after Christianity, not before.

Why are you so enthralled with all that, Jack? But you're not enthralled with the same story that's told in the New Testament. And finally, Jack realized, because Tolkien convinced him of it, you're excited about all these myths. But Christianity is the true myth. It really happened. And then Lewis investigated it and he said, you know what? Tolkien's right. It did really happen. And then Lewis became the top apologist of the 20th century, supporting the true myth.

Yeah. And so Lewis says, when people point out, look at all the pagan counterfeits. Look at all the stuff that's out there. He says, well, you would expect this if this is the true one. You know, the fact that counterfeit money exists points to the existence of true money. The fact that the Pharaoh's magicians were counterfeit miracles is because they were confronting God's real miracles.

So Lewis says, yeah, you would expect if you didn't find any of the counterfeit myths, that would be a surprise. And human nature is doing it and Satan is doing it. So in the same way, the more our society is becoming almost obsessed with these movies and you keep you've got the prequel, then you've got the sequel after the sequel, then you've got the finale. But now going back to part three of the second finale, it's I mean, it's obviously making money. But why is it making money?

What's it appealing to? And it seems to me that as each year goes on, our generation and the generation growing up in the world, it's getting more desperate. It's getting more hopeless, you know, from covid to now the war, now to gas prices, to whatever, to political divides, to racial divides.

It doesn't seem like there is any solution or anyone to fix things. So I'm going to go to the movies and watch Spider-Man. That's what we're doing. That's what movies do.

They take you to a place you want to go. And particularly these movies that are superhero movies, they're taking you out of this world to a place where victory can ultimately be achieved. And and our victory is achieved already by Jesus. We're just trying to bring more and more people into the kingdom before he comes back. Yeah, exactly.

So and, you know, reading through the book is kind of interesting. But when you point out to the the qualities about these different people that draw us in, it makes you appreciate the true and the real all the more. In other words, we're not we can get so familiar with the gospel story that we lose sight of the courage. We lose sight of the degree of that. We're used to the cross.

We take communion. But then you must know the degree of sacrifice that this took, the demonic forces that were involved. Did you actually when you came to the last chapter, you and Zack and wrote the ultimate hero, did you feel even fresh inspiration to write that because of what you'd written before?

Yeah. And so many of the qualities of the heroes that we've gone through are our reflections of the qualities in Jesus, just not to the same level of perfection. And one of the things that in writing this chapter, Mike, the last chapter, the ultimate hero about Jesus, I was really struck by how Jesus is a unique character, not only in all of nonfiction, but even in all of fiction. You can't create a character like Jesus and have him be authentic.

And here's why. Think about Jesus for a second. Jesus holds what appear to be almost opposite qualities in perfect tension. You know, he's full of truth, but also full of grace. He's full of holiness, but also approachability. He's strong, but he's also tender. He's confident, but he's also humble. He's completely mission focused, but he's also loving. Do you know anybody in your life that can hold all of those qualities in perfect tension?

I don't know anyone. And what comes to mind just a few seconds before the break, but what comes to mind is this, that with all of the cinematography and graphics and creativity of the people making these movies and whatever their motives are, and they come up with the ultimate superhero doing the most impossible things that all of their fiction, all of their best fiction, cinematography, graphics, everything cannot equal the simple and true story about Jesus. Talk about an exalted superhero, the ultimate one and the one who comes to save us and bring us into obedience to God. The book Hollywood Heroes by Frank and Zach.

We'll be right back. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866 three for truth. Here again, is Dr. Michael Brown. Hey friends, welcome to the special broadcast with my friend and colleague, fellow apologist, Frank Turek. He and his son, Zach, have written a unique, fascinating, super readable, super edifying book, Hollywood Heroes.

It's fresh off the press today. We timed this interview so that we could tie it in with the release of the book, wherever you get your books, Hollywood Heroes by Frank and Zach Turek. This is Frank's son, Zach, like father, like son.

So this is a dynamic duo here. And in the book, they show us how a lot of the qualities that the masses are drawn to in the Hollywood heroes, the Batmans, the Ironmans, the Captain Americas, the Wonder Womans, that this points to a longing in us for some type of deliverer or superhero. Of course, all of these are fictional and mythical, but there's one that satisfies this. There is one who lives up to our expectations and goes infinitely beyond and who can not only save us from trouble, but who can transform us from the inside out and turn us into people that love God. We're talking about Jesus, the savior, the one of whom the spook speaks as the ultimate hero. So, Frank, sometimes traveling overseas, I've been over 150 times overseas, so you got a lot of flying time.

You may have 20, 30 hours of flying time. So I'll write, I'll rest, but then I look for something to watch, something clean that I can watch. And a lot of times it's going to be one of these superhero movies. You're not going to have sex scenes. You're not going to have all kinds of profanity. Even the violence is kind of a superficial thing. It's not like the blood and gore type of stuff. So I can watch this and really enjoy it and think, yeah, they have these qualities.

But some of them are a bit more broken than others. So how do we get from Iron Man to Jesus? Yeah, that's great. In fact, one of my favorite chapters in the book is Iron Man because I just like the character. I think that they were brilliant in getting Robert Downey Jr. to play Iron Man. In fact, the director, Kevin, why am I missing his name all of a sudden, Favreau, the director wanted Robert Downey Jr. from the beginning. And originally the production house said, no, no, no, no, he's got too much baggage. And basically he was saying that, no, Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark in real life.

This is the guy you want. And they picked him to be in Iron Man, which came out in 2008. If they hadn't picked him, I don't know if we'd have all these other Marvel movies because that launched pretty much the whole Marvel Cinematack or the whole MCU, the whole Marvel Universe at the time. Now think about Tony Stark. Tony Stark is a billionaire, playboy, amoral arms dealer. He's got everything that most men would want. He's got money, he's got power, he's got a great girl. But Mike, he's still miserable. He's got no purpose, no identity.

He has everything to live with and nothing to live for. Then one of his own weapons detonates because his company sold these arms to terrorists. And it blows up and it puts shrapnel in his chest. And he has to have a device put right in the middle of his chest to guard his heart from the encroaching shrapnel.

If that device isn't there, he is going to die. Now this, for me, is a beautiful picture of what I think, Mike, is the most important Bible verse for this culture other than the gospel itself. It comes from Proverbs 4.23, which says, Above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it. It doesn't say follow your heart. Our culture says follow your heart.

The Bible says, nope, guard your heart. And what Tony Stark does is he does guard his heart to the point where he gets a purpose. And he then ultimately becomes a hero.

He develops into somebody who's a hero who, spoiler alert, actually sacrifices himself to save the world. So Tony Stark is more about us. We can go from a selfish kind of playboy type person to a sanctified hero if we guard our hearts, if we renew our minds. Whereas somebody like Steve Rogers is already at the ultimate moral level. He doesn't have much character development, but Tony Stark does. So I think the lesson from Iron Man is that you really need to guard your heart.

If you don't guard your heart, you're going to wind up lost and alone. And you're going to be full of anxiety like Tony Stark was for a period until he found the fact that he had a purpose and he needed to guard his heart. Yeah. And obviously I saw some of those some of those movies. I don't remember if it was one or two or whatever while traveling.

And obviously Tony Stark is is that that broken man. But I never thought of making an application like that. Never, never dawned on me. Hey, let's go from here. Look, people are watching it.

People are talking. We use analogies all the time when we talk to people. Right.

That's right. You know, constantly we draw from real life situations. We, you know, from art, from whatever, whatever we could do, certainly growing up before I knew the Lord with rock music. And then after I got saved, looking back at it, you thought, wow, some of these songs, some people were pretty high on drugs when they wrote them. And to this day, I don't know what they were talking about, you know, and some had sexual images. I didn't know because I was too young to know them, but others like, wow, you're you're looking for something. You're telling us here you need God. You're telling us you're longing for something more.

And people are singing the songs along and really liking the songs and don't even know why they like them so much. Right. Right.

But maybe they're looking in the mirror more than they realize. I want to go back to a question about Harry Potter. Then we've still got we got we can't cover everything. But Batman, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, we'll do what we can. And again, in each case, we're giving you a little taste for what's in the book.

Hollywood Heroes by Frank Anzac Turek. But with Harry Potter and some of these related movies, it seems that there's also a hunger for the supernatural. And the Bible is a very supernatural book. The stories of the Bible, the movie, the spirit to this day, what God does in the lives of his people is very other, very supernatural. Can't all be rationally explained. Do you think that's part of the popularity of these, say, of a Harry Potter to have this power or to know there is more than what you can just physically see and touch?

Oh, yes. That's why I said earlier that 23 out of the top 25 movies of all time all have the supernatural or paranormal in them. They're not materialistic, atheistic movies.

Right. People know there's more to life than molecules in motion. And that's why these movies appeal to them, because they know that there's there's more to this. And yet they want to be even taken further out of it to a place of further bliss.

I love what C.S. Lewis said about this. We quote him several times in Hollywood Heroes when we have this desire for another world.

Here's the way Lewis put it, Mike. He said, if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. Yeah, we are made for another world. You know, you have those little glimpses of heaven that happened to you on occasion.

For me, sometimes first first real whiff of of freshly cut grass in the spring or flowers that pop out where you have a moment with your wife or a moment with your kids or you see a beautiful scene somewhere and you're just taken to somewhere else for a brief second. And you go, there's something beyond this world. There's something transcendent. It can even come through music.

Right. You get this sense of transcendence. That is a glimpse of heaven.

That's what C.S. Lewis called a glimpse of heaven. And we have a desire for that world. And if we have this desire that nothing in this world that there's nothing in this world that can satisfy it, then the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. Yeah.

And obviously, we both do debates and live Q&A and stuff. So, you know, in my mind, I'm hearing the atheist saying, don't you guys get it? That's why you're making up all these fantasies. Your Jesus is no more real than these characters in the movie. The reality is, though, from the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus to the fact that, no, he really changes.

He really does change lives. Before I knew him, I was a heroin shooting LSD using 16 year old hippie rebel. And then I wasn't looking for God. I didn't believe in Jesus. God entered my life and transformed me.

And he's been with me over 50 years now. So that's the difference. The world is creating these things because it's looking and longing and wanting. We're saying here's the reality. And a point you made just struck me.

Could you imagine a movie that's like best selling and people want to run to see which the end conclusion is? There is no God. There is no afterlife. There's nothing more than what you can physically touch and see. Our brains are just neurons firing.

Everything is material. Could you imagine people flocking to see that? Yeah. Or could you imagine, let's take Endgame, the Avengers series. Tony Stark gets to Thanos and at the last minute he goes, I think I'm going to follow my heart and go back to Pepper. I'll just let half the world die.

Do you think anyone would go, oh, yeah, that was great? No, but when Tony Stark gets the Infinity Stones and he snaps his fingers to kill Thanos, he's actually signed his own death warrant. And he dies just a couple of minutes later, but everyone is teared up because they go, I love this guy. And he just sacrificed himself to save the world. How noble, how wonderful is that? And as you know, Mike, in the book, Hollywood Heroes, we start with a real world sacrifice.

Michael Monsoor, who literally dove on a grenade to save his two fellow Navy SEALs in Ramadi, Iraq on September 29th, 2006. I mean, he's sacri he knew he was going to die by doing it, but it was the only way he could save his buddy. So he did it. Now, everybody looks at that, whether they're an atheist, a Christian or anywhere in between, and go, now, that's beautiful. And Jesus said before he went to the cross, there's no greater love than to die for your friends.

Jesus did that. Yeah. And that's that that's what all these Hollywood heroes do as well. Why? Because that's the way reality really is.

Yeah. Could you imagine that if one of them fails at the end or gets killed at the end and there is no sequel that's in it, people would leave depressed. They'd be angry at the movie makers because they want some kind of hope. We're saying, OK, look, the movie hope is not a real hope. It's just it's all manufactured. It's all smoke and mirrors.

It's all what the writer put on a page. But here's the real hope. And here's the deal. The biggest issues you have are not the issues outside of you, but the issues inside of you. And when you go to sleep at night all alone, God knows what's happening in your heart. And Jesus has the answer to it. I mean, we're really the more you tell you about the fantasy and pull it back into reality, the more glorious the reality becomes.

Yeah. There's only two things you can have in life. You can either have despair or you can have hope.

And it's interesting, Mike, the latest Batman movie, we have a whole chapter on Batman, but the latest Batman movie that just came out a month or two at the end of the movie. He basically says vengeance isn't the answer. He said people need hope. They need to know that there's someone out there for them. That's what the latest Batman movie says. And that's true. There is someone out there for us.

Who is it? Well, he actually came to Earth, put human flesh over his deity and died for us so that his infinite justice could be satisfied because we can't make it on our own. We're in just so God takes the punishment on himself to save us. And so many of these superhero movies say the same thing, that superheroes die to save people. Yeah. Friends, the book, Hollywood Heroes. And by the way, that that opening chapter is gripping and it's the real life one, which makes it all the more gripping. And then we end the book, Frank and Zach Turek end the book with the ultimate hero.

So hold this in my hands, my advance copy, but it's literally hot off the press today. Hollywood Heroes, how your favorite movies reveal God. We come back. We're going to just dive in really quickly to Wonder Woman and Star Wars right here on the line of fire. Don't go anywhere. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks for joining us on a very special edition of The Line of Fire. I am with my friend and apologist colleague, Frank Turek. I have so enjoyed ministering with him, listening to him teach, watching some of his debates and Q&A sessions with college students. Now the new book, Out Today by Frank and Zach Turek, Hollywood Heroes, opening up how the favorite Hollywood heroes actually reveal something about God, whether intentionally or not.

So again, with each chapter, we're kind of scratching the surface and giving our listeners just a little feel for what's in the book. Wonder Woman, what does Wonder Woman have to do with Jesus? Wow, actually, Wonder Woman is a unique superhero. You know, in the second Wonder Woman movie, she actually defeats her opponent with truth and love.

Does that sound familiar? She doesn't even use any superpowers on Max Lord, this Max Lord character. Perfect name for a guy who's a prosperity gospel kind of preacher. He's maximizing his lordship over people. And it's a long story, but basically she defeats him by convincing him that the truth is important and that he ought to follow the truth.

He ought to get back to his son, who he's been neglecting, and it turns out to save the world. You've got to see the movie to see why. But she does that, and she also doesn't follow her heart. She says, I have to follow the truth. She wants to stay with her love interest in the movie, but if she does, the world is going to lose a lot of people.

So she actually says, I can't follow my heart, I have to follow the truth. Also there in the first movie, she's up against Ares, who turns out to be her brother in Greek mythology. And Ares wants to kill all human beings because they're evil. And at one point, Ares says to her, these people don't deserve your protection. And Wonder Woman responds, it's not about deserve. It's about what you believe, and I believe in love.

What does that sound like? We don't get what we deserve either. If we believe in Jesus, we get love. We get acceptance because he has paid the price for us. So there's much in Wonder Woman that actually lines up with the Christian worldview. Even though the guy who invented Wonder Woman, a guy by the name of Marston, I don't think had Christianity in mind.

But again, Mike, it's unavoidable. These people can't help but tell a story of redemption. They can't help but tell a story of sacrifice.

They can't help but tell a story of love because that's the way the real world is and that's what enchants us. In your previous book, Stealing from God, you talk about how atheists have to use divine truths to fight against God. There's injustice, there's not goodness, etc.

So the very things that are only extant if there is a God, if there is reality beyond the material world, those are the things that atheists have to use to argue against God. In the same way, what are human hearts longing for? What are human hearts desiring? And you want the myth to be true. Unfortunately, these are just movies. So the one myth that's not a myth, it's ultimate truth, is the story of Jesus. And then again, transcends everything. You couldn't even imagine someone writing the gospel story because it would be too outrageous.

No one would ever, no, it couldn't happen. That's the extent of God's love in coming down to reach us. Okay, Star Wars. How do we get from Star Wars to Jesus?

Oh wow, there's a lot in Star Wars. First of all, we cover the difference in the Star Wars worldview, the Star Wars view of God, from the Christian view of God. You know, Lucas' view of God is kind of a pantheistic God, right, who is the universe. He's not separate from the universe.

And of course, Christianity believes God has created and sustains the universe, but he's not part of the universe. Nevertheless, that Lucas can't make a story work without morality. In fact, he calls Star Wars a morality play. And while he says that the force is morally neutral, when people go to watch Star Wars, the audience isn't morally neutral.

The audience already knows who the bad guys and good guys are, right? Because we have the moral law written on our hearts, we know that the Jedi are the good and the Sith are the bad. And that people need to be redeemed in this movie, from Anakin Skywalker, who turns out to be Darth Vader. Even one of my favorite characters in all of movies is Han Solo, right? Han Solo, who has the greatest lines, look, your worshipfulness, let's just get one thing straight.

I take orders from one person, me. He's a big ego and he's a skeptic. He says to Luke Skywalker, hey, kid, all this force stuff, it's just simple tricks and nonsense.

There's nothing like just having a good blaster at your side. But what then happens to Han Solo? Han Solo gets, he's in debt to Jabba the Hutt, who's bigger than a hut, by the way. And Jabba captures him and freezes him in debt in carbonite.

And who comes to redeem him? Luke Skywalker comes to redeem him. He not only frees Han, he kills Jabba the Hutt. So now Han is free of debt, right?

The Redeemer comes and takes you out of debt. And then Han, due to the love that Skywalker showed him, is on a track to become a believer. And in a later movie, he basically says, look, kid, I thought this was all false, but it's all true.

I've seen it, the force, it's all true. How does he become a believer? He becomes a believer as a result of the evidence. He sees the evidence and he goes, you know what, it's true. And we ought to do the same thing.

We ought to take our skepticism and we ought to look at the evidence for Christianity and then we ought to say, we ought to follow the evidence where it leads and where it leads is true. And of course, the other great character that gets redeemed is Darth Vader. We could talk about that if you want, but I know we have limited time here. Yeah, well, friends, get the book and find out about the redemption of Darth Vader. And remember, even if you're not a movie person or you just don't like these kinds of movies, millions and millions of other people do, young and old.

And they're a great bridge. If there are lessons in there, if there's a hidden message in there, if there's an overt message in there, let's use it as a bridge to get people to think about the one true God and the one true Savior. Hey, last thing, if Zach was here, your son Zach, who wrote the book with you, what would he say in particular to his generation?

Oh, well, it's very similar to what you said. In fact, he wrote the section in the book about the idea that many young people and many parents didn't want to get into Harry Potter because they were Christians. And he said just about every generation knows something about the Harry Potter story.

Even if you don't personally resonate with the story, you ought to know something about it because it's a bridge to the gospel. And as I said earlier, we're really inconsistent when it comes to Harry Potter, right? Harry Potter has fake magic in it that even J.K. Rowling believes isn't true. She's just using it as a way to enchant the story a little bit. But we don't get all bent out of shape over Gandalf being a wizard or the Lord of the Rings having this kind of stuff in it. Why do we get all bent out of shape over Harry Potter? I don't understand it. Yeah, and either way, so if you didn't see the movies, you didn't read the books, as many, many millions of people did.

I can't remember how many times on planes, especially before digital, there are people reading the Harry Potter books. There they are. So this will give you the information to then help you to talk to people as a bridge to get them to the ultimate hero, the only real, true superhero, Jesus himself, who saves us from sin and brings us to God. Hey Frank, thanks so much for writing the book with Zach.

Thanks for joining us on the broadcast. And I look forward to talking to Zach face-to-face one of these days. Hey, God bless. And check out the website for more.

It's Alright, thanks so much, Frank. God bless.

Thanks. So, friends, let me just take one minute again and say, if you're not a movie person, or you don't like some of these movies, or you think Christian should have nothing to do with them, that's perfectly fine, because the book will give you the information that millions and millions of people, including a lot of your family, friends, different ones, know about. And then from there, hey, let's talk about Jesus. Let's talk about the one you really need and are really looking for. Alright, two quick things really important before we go. Do you get my email updates? Do you get updates each week saying, okay, here are the latest videos that we put out. Here's what's in them. Here are the latest articles that we wrote. Here's what's in them. Here's a new special resource that we just produced for you.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 09:15:10 / 2023-04-23 09:36:09 / 21

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