Church produced film 'Courageous' lights up box office on opening weekend
Produced by a Georgia church, “Courageous” opened in the number four slot last weekend.
October 4th, 2011
09:05 AM ET

Church produced film 'Courageous' lights up box office on opening weekend

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

(CNN)– A Baptist church in Albany, Georgia, is getting Hollywood's attention - the church, Sherwood Baptist, has developed a movie-production operation, and its latest offering opened last weekend as the Number Four top money-grossing film in the country.

The Christian-themed film, "Courageous," was developed in connection with TriStar, Sony, and Provident Films. It is meant to inspire fathers to not leave their families, to love their children, to not fail.

"Courageous," which opened in just 1,161 theaters this past weekend, depicts four police officers who share a commonality both as fathers and in their effort to become better ones. The movie and its characters, played by amateur actors and members of Sherwood Baptist are enveloped in various ways in a devastating tragedy.

According to boxoffice.com, which tracks movie response nationwide, put "Courageous" at the fourth position for the weekend with gross revenues of just over $9 million. The fifth- and sixth-place movies ("50/50" and "Dreamhouse") both opened at far more theaters but did not come close to the weekend box-office income of "Courageous."

"Courageous" takes on a timely topic - fatherhood.

The National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization dedicated to "educating and engaging fathers across the country," lists wide-ranging adverse affects that correlate to children growing up in fatherless households. Fatherless households are common in the United States, and there is no causal evidence linking fatherless households to increased suicide rates, incarcerations, aggression, behavioral disorders, delinquency, criminal activity, confused identities, low achievement, and criminal activity.

But the correlating evidence is so strong that in a country where the most recent census lists 24 million children - one in three - living apart from their biological fathers, it is remiss to discount it.

"No matter what your scenario is - you're single or married or whatnot - we want to really inspire and encourage men to see the value of their role as a dad," says Alex Kendrick, the co-writer, director, and actor who plays the character Adam Mitchell in "Courageous."

Kendrick, who co-writes with his brother Steven, says, "The reason we put it in a law enforcement setting was that, as you know, a motto from law enforcement is to serve and protect, and then we drew a correlation to what a father is supposed to do."

"We drew that correlation and said, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if we put this in the context of police officers who are also dads, and they may be heroic on the streets but it also takes courage to be a great dad - not just a good enough dad.'"

Ken Bevel, who plays Nathan Hayes, a sheriffs' deputy in the film, says that everyone has a dad and can relate to a fatherhood story. "We just pray that this movie resonates in the hearts of men and women and families across the globe," he says.

"If you go to Sherwood (Baptist Church) on any given day you will see a bunch of people that are in the movie," says Bevel, who played Kirk Cameron's fellow firefighter in "Fireproof," the last film from Sherwood Pictures.

"Our desire is not to become the next movie-making sensation or to make millions and millions of dollars at the box office," he says, "our desire is to see hearts changed and families touched."

Kendrick's character, Adam Mitchell, makes a general statement over grilled steaks to his fellow officers in the movie: "Half of the fathers in this country are already failing," he says, "and I don't want to be one of them."

The Christians at Sherwood Baptist Church, says Kendrick, "want especially men to walk out of the movie theater saying, "This movie makes me want to be a better dad and really a better man as a model and mentor to my children.'"

"You will see a difference and it will make a difference in our culture," he says.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Georgia • Movies • United States

soundoff (1,517 Responses)
  1. invisible friend

    there are a lot of us out here in invisible land. theres pete's dragon over there, theres santa chillin token one, the almighty sun gettin a tan, jesus was here but he did the whole second coming thing like 3 days or something after he died...totally wasted his 1 free return way early! i still have mine, i was thinking i was gunna come back as the biggest komodo dragon ever, largest on record was 10 feet 11 inches – something like that – i'll be bigger!


    October 5, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • steveinmo

      Again, you're on this site why? And what does this post have to do with the movie, did you see it? If so, then comment on the movie THAT YOU WATCHED! Otherwise, troll elsewhere.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • invisible friend

      oh i saw it, it was retarded... to the core. conmpletely racist and se xist! watch it again.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • steveinmo

      RACIST!?! There you go throwing the race card out for no reason. There was nothing racist about it. Let me guess, you were rooting for the drug dealing gang-banger to kill the black cop, because the cop wanted something better for people? Or you weren't rooting for the down and out mexican family trying to just make a go of things and survive? Blind fool, I pity you.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • hippypoet

      @steveinmo, your an idiot... it was racist – very very racist... and by you not seeing it most likely means you yourself are a racist without knowing. see, you accecpt the down and out mexicans, the drug dealing gang-banger... you view them as they appear, and chose to leave them as they are , then call the cops! i seek to understand and then help, this movie was protraying life in a very white is better type subtext, you are just too dumb or A BLIND FOOL lol to you it... my bets on both

      INIVISBLE FRIEND- i missed your posts – where ya been?

      October 5, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @hippy and invisible: This quote pretty much sums it up for you all and nothing else needs to be said (AKA people like you aren't worth the time to give any further responses to, like arguing with a brick wall):

      "You can't argue with stupid"

      October 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • hippypoet

      @Alfonzo Muchanzo... then why do you stupid people keep trying to argue...

      October 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • steveinmo

      @hippypoet. No I don't accept them as they are, I hope for better for both and that was the message in the movie. You lie when you say you seek to understand and then help. What you really are saying is you'll let them be and act as they are so long as it doesn't affect you and you can ignore it and not have to do anything about it. And so you can go on with your drug induced hallucination filled life. Is this the type of nonsense coming out of colleges and universities these days? Of course, looking at the clueless college grad zombies walking on Wall St, I'd have to say it is.

      Also, if you don't like that it was set in GA, then fine, make a movie, about decency and family values set in Detroit. I would welcome it, because I don't see much of it there. And that's what's truly sad, you and your kind aren't doing anything to fix it, rather you're only perpetuating the problem and hiding behind your own lies. My heart breaks when I hear and read of people that believe the way you do.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • hippypoet

      @Alfonzo Muchanzo

      good 🙂 i hope your heart breaks more untill the du mb leaks out. i have lived in the worst of the worst, been shot at, been stabbbed... i helpped my self to get out. i really do help others, you on the other hand i can see you praying to some retard for help and then going back to sleep in your nice and comfy bed- you ever slept on mud? woken up face to face with the true meek of the earth.. i doubt it, i have and i am better for it. that fact the you have a computer is a sign of money- give it to them and let me never read your stupid dum b@ss posts again making the world a better place. 🙂

      October 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  2. In STL

    I saw the movie this past weekend and it was GREAT. A very good message for parents in general not just fathers. You don't get a second chance to raise your children...everyone should remember that. Go see it. There is something in this movie that every person can take away with them.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  3. jimbo

    This doesn't sound like an entertaining movie at all, why would I pay to see a movie like this? I don't have a problem with a movie trying to support good parenting but it doesn't really seem to appeal to my needs when I go to the movies. This won't really attrack the real movie crowds, the only reason it's number 5 or whatever if becuse church sells, people feel like they have to go if it was a church that made it. The same reason christrain rock sells cd's, it sure isn't becuase it's good music.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • steveinmo

      Perhaps it was number 5 this week because there are more of us than La-la land realizes that wants a return to decency in their productions. Mindless violence, CGI, alien invasions (the kind from above not Mex), nudity, s e x, sodomites, don't make a good movie. Heck it doesn't even have to be religious themes, but most of what Hollywood puts out is only a tool to tear down those beliefs and fool the mindless masses who watch such filth that wrong is right and the Truth doesn't exist.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • CharlieBrown

      "It isnt good music" is an opinion not a fact. I like all sorts of music from disturbed, and ozzy to skillet and demon hunter, wich are both christian. Opions shouldnt be stated as fact. Thats a fact. >:O)

      October 5, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  4. Brother Maynard

    As an commited Atheist ... I have to say I don't have much of a problem with this. I do not feel that giving an inspirational message to "Be a good father" is a bad thing. Now that being said, I have NOT seen the movie ( nor really plan to – and "NO" not because it is a Xtian movie but more because it does not apply to me ), so I cannot comment on the content of whether there are hidden or obvious religious conversion tactics that are employed in the movie. Additionally, I have no problem with Believers haveing "courage to stand on what they believe" as long as they don't stand on my head when they do it. Now, I think they are totally WRONG ... but if they want to believe it ... that is their business.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  5. CedarTree

    To all those who say there is no evidence of a resurrection, I must ask: what would it take to believe there was one?

    For example, would historical accounts of such an event, written by several people in the 1st century do it? Accounts that were written by people who otherwise write reasonably and accurately regarding other historical events? Would it convince you if they were part of a lost cause because their Messiah had just been killed and now they've turned 180 degrees and started preaching about him being alive? Does it help to know there were several witnesses to the resurrected one, and we don't have evidence of people countering the claim in the earliest years (of course, there were deniers)? The claims were made in several communities where it could have been proven wrong – just go to the grave guarded by soldiers. Or would it convince you that, with the key teaching of resurrection on their lips, a small group of disciples turned the world upside down in a few short years even though they were countered by Judaism and Paganism? Does it mean anything that other faiths that don't want to believe in the resurrection instead say that Jesus swooned, etc – why say that if he wasn't seen again alive by his disciples? Does it mean anything that they were willing to die for that belief, by the scores?

    I don't believe you are saying there is no evidence – what I really think you're saying is that you'll never be convinced.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • hippypoet

      if the man came back already then the waiting for his second coming is a bit mute isn't?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • CedarTree

      I think you meant "moot". Good question – unless of course, that man had a plan. You have plans, right? Let's give Jesus the same courtesy. He ascended to his Father, and he will return for his final and complete victory and vindication. He will come on his own timeline, but he is coming. No one anticipated his first coming, although it was clearly prophesied in incredible detail for hundreds of years before in the Old Testament.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • BRC

      While there will never be real evidence (no event that old can be understood with complete certainty) what would be much more convincing would be corroborating reports and historical coverage by multiple sources, who were NOT Jesus's direct disciples, written from the exact time of his death; not just some time during that century. His followers believed he could do miracles, and thought he was the son of "God", dying for them. Of course they're going to stick to their guns. A small group of people holding up an irrational position no matter what their opposition does not make their position more convincing. They are already supporting an irrational point, they're not going to care how many people disagree with them.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      hmmm... It is human nature to want something that you cannot have. You search and reach for something that subconsciously you KNOW can't ever come to fruition. IF jesus actually existed and he "returned" most likely we would just kill him again.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Not speaking for all atheists ... but I think many would accept what I coin as "Doubting Thomas" evidience to be convinced that Jesus did indeed resurect from the dead. John 20:24 gives the story of one of Jesus' diciples, Thomas, asking even demanding empirical evidence of Jesus' resurection. Jesus' obliges by letting Thomas 'Put your fingers into my hands ..." THIS is the type of evidence that I demand.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • CedarTree

      Good points guys. But once again, Jesus is held to a different standard – and I guess he should be since he's deity. All reasonable academic historians believe what Plato wrote was really his throughts. Same with Aristotle, or Greek mythologies, etc. But did you know that (1) the time between when these pagan writers wrote and the time that we have actual manuscripts of what they wrote is hundreds of years (and yet we have very early copies of the New Testament so there was no time for "myth" to develop) and (2) we have hundreds of copies of manuscripts compared to other historical characters (e.g., we maybe have 7 manuscripts of Plato's writings but hundreds of New Testament copies that are very old). Further, your accusation is that "well, of course the writers of the Gospels say he rose again, because they were associated with him and believed it." But let's say you were an independent person (not a disciple – oh, I don't know, like the Apostle Paul) and then you believed that Jesus rose from the dead in the 1st century, doesn't that automatically make you a Christian? So if you then wrote about it, it makes you a subjective witness? I guess every eyewitness account you ever read is tainted then, because the eyewitness actually believes what they saw.

      As for you Lucifer's twin, why would kill him again? What are you afraid of?

      October 5, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • CedarTree

      Brother Maynard – do you need to touch Alexander the Great to believe he lived? George Washington? Do you have to actually touch atoms to believe they exist? We take a lot on faith. Now granted, the resurrection takes even MORE faith, I won't deny. But it is a reasonable faith given the historical evidence, the political climate in which these things happened, the expontential growth in the church within a decade of the resurrection, and their willingness to die for something that would have died down if it was just a hoax. And even pagan "enemies" to Christianity (Pliny, Celsus) get to the heart of the matter – they know that the earliest Christians believed Jesus was God – that would make sense if they also believed he rose from the dead. We act sometimes like ancient writers were idiots – like they just believed in miracles. No, they ALSO knew it was out of the ordinary – that's why they were shocked. They knew that, normally, a virgin doesn't conceive. That's why they describe it as a miracle and quite out of the ordinary. Read the Gospel accounts with an open mind and see if they don't write things quite reasonably.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Ah here is the problem ... your question was NOT what would convince you that Jesus is a historical figure, like Alexander the Great or Washington. It was what would convince you that Jesus rose from the dead. As for touching atoms, no I don't have to touch them to know they exists because instruments have been built to prove their existance. I've never touched a virus but I can see it through an instrument, a microscope, to know that it exists. By the way ... this is NOT a 'belief' this is fact.
      Additionally, just because there was exponential growth means nothing. Islam and Muhammed accomplished exponential growth too, but I'm sure no Xtian puts any validity in the 'miracles' in what he did. I surely do not.
      I demand empirical evidence.
      Just an after thought ... Trivia question – When Jesus was discovered missing from the tomb ... how many people witnessed this ? hint: it is a different story in each Gospel. Look it up.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • BRC

      Comparing Alexander the great, George Washington, and the Atom to the resurection of Jesus is unreasonable. You can see an atom, and there is exponentially more evidence for the existence and deeds of EITHER Alexander or George Washington than there is for even the existence of Jesus (which can't be proved beyond doubt, though I do believe he was a real person), let alone his ressurection.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Cedar – why would I be scared or wish ill of a figment of your imagination? Personally, I don't give a rat's @ss about your religious cult. Except of course, when its stench wafts in my direction.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Chuckles


      BRC has made the point, I just want to hammer it home. Many posters have already said it would be nice to inde.pendent sources confi.rming this miracle and having le.git evi.dence to prove it. Obviously this is very tough because it was pretty long ago and there isn't much that can be perse.rved. One cru.cial point you are ignoring about all the accounts of the gospel though is with the counc.il of Nice.a, we honestly have no idea what was thrown out, what was kept and what was changed to fit the new religious doctr.ine. This council is well docu.mented as the point where christianity hammered out exactly what was and what wasn't kosher (so to speak) and I'm sure there were plenty accounts of Joshua that referred to him only as a man, or humanized his miracles (like the fish and bread one where he magically creates enough of each to go around, whereas it really may have been him advocating that everyone share so everyone could have a little).

      You bring up Paul as an example of an independent scholar who wrote of jesus, but one: he never met jesus, never witnessed any miracles, he only had a vision from god as jesus – this doesn't insp.ire much conf.idence that he's writing fact. two: The fact that he clearly had a bone to pick with jews, though how he reconc.iled that and still fully believed in jesus is still something I'm trying to figure out myself, this shows he has an agenda of his own and is using jesus to further that agenda.

      long story short, to answer your question on what it would take to make me believe there was actually a res..surection. Honestly for me, his reapparence on earth would probably do the tr.ick. I mean he's promised it and he's proven death aint no thang and he can come back. The other way would be for evidence in say, China, or South America, or North America where jesus actually appears and preaches the same message. I mean don't you find it sort of a hard pill to swallow that jesus, being god and all, would only preach to a small band of middle easterners?

      October 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Magic

      Cedar Tree,

      1) If "God" is all-knowing, as is alleged, 'he' would know precisely what would convince each and every one of us of 'his' existence. If 'he' is all-powerful and all-loving, 'he' would do so. He does not.

      2) Whatever Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, George Washington or any other historical figure imparted in the way of wisdom that has been proven by other means to be valid good advice can be taken for what it is worth. It does not even really matter if they existed (except to history purists). The same for Jesus - some good practical advice for a peaceful life is attributed to him. Nothing in the realm of the supernatural has any verified evidence, and, if proven (as above), it can then be considered.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  6. If you don't know. Now you know.

    The reason 99.9% of marriages end: "I'm just not happy anymore." This quote is taken directly from the mouths of more women than I can count. They are willing to end the marriage, toss their vows in the trash and cause intense trauma to their children who will be dealing with it for the rest of their lives. Because they are "just not happy anymore." The men who continue to try and make things work are labeled as "psychos." This is our world, and I promise you, this is 100% how it works.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • HellBent

      Bitter much?

      October 5, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • hippypoet

      not saying your wrong but its more then that... see women have the power and i mean at will to get a man, now a man on the other hand doesn't have such luck...we have to work for the prey – we hunt, we gather intell, and maybe if the situation is good we talk to you after all that. or atleast thats how i man who hasn't been dating for a long time does it. confidence is the key, for both women and men – they have it knowing all they need do is say "i'm h0rny an want s e x " then how many dudes are pushing others over to get there – men, again if we have the self confidence, well we can't do that but we can pretty much get any women we want. trust me – its all in the confidence.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Erm

      And? Why in the world would someone stay in a situation that does not make them happy?? Life is too short.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • hippypoet

      i guess what i failed to state was that men being it is harder to find a new "mate" will try harder to keep together, and sometimes just flat out just not leave because of the reason given above in my other post. women – no so much!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Zee

      Really, Mr. Expert? When I left it was after enduring years of abuse in the name of keeping the family together, hoping he'd change. Last straw came when he threatened to kill me. Hmmm....What's worse? Kids who have no parents at all because dad is in prison for killing Mom, or splitting up?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • razzi

      hippypoet...poetic...go ahead, just explain to your children that "life is too short". nice.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • steveinmo

      Hippypoet, before you come here with your rants and garbage you write, at least learn how to make coherent statements the rest of us can understand first. Try abstaining from some of those drugs you're obviously doing first.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • hippypoet

      i never said life is too short, i would never say that – i say life sucks, get over it! 🙂 but i do explain all i can to my kids. and i am sorry for you ZEE, i wasn't talking about abuse, thats a new bad entirely.... but on that topic of abuse, i am with a woman who was beaten, rap ed, cut with a knife, just bad things... i helpped her grow out of the hole that he put her in by fear and hate. in a relationship that is full of abuse it can be very very hard to leave, i can't image having kids – that would just make it either impossible or that would be the reason for the strenght ....atleast in my mind. again, i am sorry for you.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Gort01

      Seriously??? They had to make a movie to tell fathers not to leave their kids???? wow....not much hope that will do it for most men. that leave their families....

      October 5, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • hippypoet

      @steveinmo , oh i am so very sad that my words are hard for you to read – and i know that you can't read very well, that is why i am, writting this slow...for you! lol 🙂

      October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Gort01

      you need to wake up..."men that stay and try to make things work"????? What about " I dont want to be married to you any more!" doesnt he and you understand. She didnt say "lets get counseling", or " Lets work on things" or " I want to keep our marriage together"...did she???? she said " I want out of this mariage..." pretty simple language to me.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • sam

      of courses maybe if wives could stay out of the fridge.......

      October 5, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Best thing that ever happened to me was my parents divorce. Some people should never marry and if they do, shouldn't stay married. The entire family was happier (and a lot less violent) after they split. Every divorce has a different story.

      October 6, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  7. Independent Dude

    I love their movies and am inspired to be better every time I watch them. Sorry if that offends you- it encourages me. Why was the Julia Roberts movie Eat Pray Love such a hit and very little criticism levied against it? Because it was not "narrow-minded" or "simple-minded" as some on here like to label Christians. I am not an arm of the GOP or TEA Party, I vote independently- some times a Democrat and other times a Republican, I believe we have a responsibility to care for the fatherless/husbandless and unemployed, yet I believe in our free market system. I believe that only God has the right to end life and that includes the criminally guilty, unborn child, and elderly/sick. I believe that marijuana has a medicinal purpose and should be used for REAL infirmities but oppose opening pot shops or prescribing it for something an aspirin or some bed rest will cure. I think I am pretty open-minded and will give anyone a fair shake, why can't you do the same?

    October 5, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      A lot of what your saying is hypocritical to what most christians believe. But what I what I really wanted to say is did you see the same movie I was forced to sit through? Eat Pray Love was horrendous and pointless. Like, shoot myself in the foot to get medevac'd out of the theater bad.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Erm

      Yeah...Eat Love Pray was filmed beautifully, but was pretty insipid. I HATED Julia Roberts' character.
      Won't be watching this one, either....I've already been in the Evangelical movement....glad I got out when I did! Bunch of nutters.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Glen

      Well said Independent Dude speak the truth in love as Jesus commanded us to do He said that they will hate you and revile you becasue of me it is very clear that is what is happening. They mocked him and cruficified Him back then for speaking the truth, they still do it and would do it agani if He came a second time in the same context.

      As for ERM it seems everything has to revolve around you. You were part of the Evangelical circle and they were a bunch on nuts? listening to you you you sound worse then them you probably went in there looking to see what they could do for you. You go to church for what you can do to serve God and others the rest will naturally follow. But someone who believes life is too short to not be happy you fail to see the bigger picture about God and His plan to us its not about us its about Him. Get your priorities right read the Bible, go back to church for the right reasons and live the life that God intended for you to live. Happiness and joy in your definition is fleeling because it is outside of God but the Joy Hope and Peace that God gives to His people last an eternity nothing can come close to that or anything this world will offer because your happiness will fade away like everything else in this world.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Wow Glen, what did Erm ever do to you? Are you so terrified of the truth she has found, that you have to blast her with your christian godslave drivel to make yourself feel good and righteous?

      October 5, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  8. Reality

    Summarizing Parts I, II and III of Courageous with a Power Point Slide: (see Parts II and III on p. 1 and p. 2.)



    Added details upon request.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • jed

      Praying for you. Remember: Jesus loves you anyway. Talk to him anytime you want.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Erm

      Jed...leave him alone?

      God, I cannot handle people who push their religion on other people.
      And no, there is no proof of any resurrections. Ever.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • CedarTree

      To all those who say there is no evidence of a resurrection, I must ask: what would it take to believe there was one?

      For example, would historical accounts of such an event, written by several people in the 1st century do it? Accounts that were written by people who otherwise write reasonably and accurately regarding other historical events? Would it convince you if they were part of a lost cause because their Messiah had just been killed and now they've turned 180 degrees and started preaching about him being alive? Does it help to know there were several witnesses to the resurrected one, and we don't have evidence of people countering the claim in the earliest years (of course, there were deniers)? The claims were made in several communities where it could have been proven wrong – just go to the grave guarded by soldiers. Or would it convince you that, with the key teaching of resurrection on their lips, a small group of disciples turned the world upside down in a few short years even though they were countered by Judaism and Paganism? Does it mean anything that other faiths that don't want to believe in the resurrection instead say that Jesus swooned, etc – why say that if he wasn't seen again alive by his disciples? Does it mean anything that they were willing to die for that belief, by the scores?

      I don't believe you are saying there is no evidence – what I really think you're saying is that you'll never be convinced.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/Disease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Scott

      @CedarTree: “Does it mean anything that they were willing to die for that belief, by the scores?”

      In 1993 82 Branch Dravidians chose to burn to death because of their faith in their Christ… David Koresh. Perhaps willingness to die for your beliefs isn’t a very good indicator of the truth of those beliefs? Either that or Koresh is a bigger Christ then Jesus because Koresh had 82 apostils die for him and Jesus only had 12. And choosing to stay in a fire and burn to death gets you way more martyr points than just having the Romans kill you.

      Even Christ didn’t have enough faith to just stand there and burn to death

      Oh and in the last year of WWII 1096 kamikaze pilots gave their lives for their god (the emperor)

      October 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  9. JiminTX

    White fathers are not leaving their families like black fathers. Over 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • teepee

      bring your big talking whiteass to the hood and say that punk...

      October 5, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  10. BradshawM

    When I was in JR High School I saw a lot of kids trashing others just to puff themselves up and sound cool. I see a lot of that here. So far this church has produced movies to encourage integrity in business, courage to stand on what they believe even if it is hard and the odds are against you, men to be faithful to their wives and seek her best interests over their own, and now for Fathers to take the responsibility that is theirs in parenting. It is shameful the way many of your are twisting what they have done just because you disagree with their religious faith which has motivated them to produce these movies. I know for a fact these movies are changing lives for the better, and making families stronger. What have you done to improve anything in society besides merely sit on these forums and trash others? Let us see the products of your good intentions so a bunch of people who know nothing of the heart and soul you put into your work can sit around like armchair judges and trash it.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Alaurien

      Amen! Too many people spend entirely too much time trying to tear others down.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Really? You think this movie, or any movie, however well intentioned is going to suddenly make men into better fathers? I think your transposing your blind faith in god unto people who obviously are not tracking the same as you. Because, I am positive that no movie i've ever seen, or any book i've ever read altered me into something that I wasn't already disposed into being.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I meant to say 'predisposed"

      October 5, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Erm

      "What have you done to improve anything in society besides merely sit on these forums and trash others?"

      Wow, you're certainly making a lot of assumptions about people on here.
      How very Christian of you....
      Having been in the Evangelical movement, I can almost guarantee you that there is an ulterior motive to these "films" as they are not happy (and generally none of them are actually ever happy, which is just strange b/c why would you be in a faith unless it made you happy?!) unless they are shoving their "religion" down other people's throats.
      I wouldn't watch this film if you PAID me to.
      And one of the actors is associated with Kirk Cameron...that pretty much says it all right there.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • CharlieBrown

      Erm i noticed you didnt list anything...just saying. Some people have alterior motives not all. Some of them are happy. Some arent thats life. Religion doesnt say everything will always be great you must have been in a cult. They arent pushing anything on anyone. you want to watch it go. if not dont. They put it out for christians and those who might want to be something better not just because of God, but bcause in the bible even without god there is alot of common sense ideas most the world is lacking. Just my opinion.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • BradshawM

      There is an intersting assumption I keep hearing, and that is that people do not choose to go to movies that will challenge them to be better than they are or convict them where they are weak or failing. This movie will never change someone who does not want to change, that does not mean there aren't a lot of people who would go see it because they do want to change. Millions of people every year go to churches, conferences, movies, retreats, classes, seminars out of a desire to grow and looking for help, resources and motivation in the process. I know many men who have already enrolled in a Bible Study as follow up to this movie because of that desire, just like after the last movie, "Fireproof". This movie may have no value to you, but many more voted the other way and attended it knowing ahead of time what kind of movie it would be. when I attended Fireproof it was to a packed audience and it received a standing ovation. That, to me, puts a lot of the naysayers on this forum in perspective as clearly not speaking for the majority of society.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  11. sdgman

    I'm sure it has a good message.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  12. Gianna

    So, let me get this straight. The folks at Sherwood Baptist Church really believe that a movie will miraculously erase all all of the behaviors of men, who donate sperm to make a baby and then never help to raise that child or who walk out eventually, when he gets bored or when something better comes along? Well, let's send a bus to gather up all of those "baby daddies" from the Maury fiasco and make them see the movie. That way all children will have a loving, caring father in their lives.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • Jared

      I doubt the church thinks the movie will do anything miraculous, last time I checked movies had no power to do anything except be played. If this movie brings only a small number of men to their knees to rededicate their lives to their families then it would be a huge success. At least they are doing something other than complaining, which is more than I can say for most people.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  13. Jason

    They should have made the story realistic and showed the preacher abusing young boys in the church. This should be a big hit in the southern redneck states.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Mike

      Church= Mindless, grinning, slaves

      October 5, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Anyone that holds a different view, belief, value = Mindless, grinning, slaves.

      Sigh.... gotta let that go dude.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Redweed

      Hey Jason. Being from one of those "southern redneck states" and being a CHRISTIAN, I resent your post. I'll be praying for you honey and all your northern friends. You might consider reading your Bible (you do own one, right?), perhaps church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. Don't forget Sunday school!

      October 5, 2011 at 5:45 am |
    • Paul NYC

      You're thinking Catholic or those mega-churches out west. The preachers you're talking about just sleep with the wives of their congregation.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • Buddy Kowalski

      @Redweed Pray for yourself: And here's why: slavery, racism, KKK, Westboro, Texas gov who brags about all the people he's executed, a Texas gov who invaded Iraq....those are just off the top of my head.

      October 5, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • tootmonkey

      You sound like a very bitter person.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • william

      Jesus loves you. Abuses are everywhere. Your comment is like saying all babysitters are abusers, etc.! The reality is this: If you don't know god through Jesus Christ His only Son, Who died on the Corss of Calvary for your sins, then you will spend eternity in Hell. Conversely, if you do personally accept Jesus as YOUR Lord and Savior then you will spend eternity in Heaven with God and as well your eyes will be opened here on Earth to the reality of the changing power of God's Spirit when activated in one's life. "all things become new"! You will see the impact of Christ in the lives of men as a change agent with purpose. Take care.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      October 5, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • blargh

      @ William I guess the billions of buddhists, muslims, hindus, etc are consigned to the flames by your "loving god." If that's love, I don't want any part of it.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • steveinmo

      They didn't add the child abuse angle into the story Jason because it's not catholic.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Erm

      "You might consider reading your Bible (you do own one, right?), perhaps church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. Don't forget Sunday school!"

      And you might want to consider not telling people how to live their spiritual lives!

      William, your religion is effed up.
      What sort of "god" punishes people for not worshiping him?
      I'd never worship such an egotistical, hateful being.
      I can't even believe that people in the 21 c. still believe there is a literal hell.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  14. Toads

    What a scam.

    Men are absent not because they are deadbeats, but because the irresponsible mother used the government to separate the father from his children. 'Child support' is really just shopping money for the mother, who is under no obligation to actually spend it on the child.

    Sad to see the Church being a willing cheerleader of leftism and feminism. Also, the Church fails to hold women to any standard of accountability, which is why the Church has become a joke.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Every story is different. There are jerks of every gender.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Rumour

      This idea that it is men who predominantly leave their families is simply not true. It is predominantly women who file for divorce. It is predominantly women who gain custody of the kids. Every year in every state equal parenting bills are introduced and completely shot down. So, what we really have in this country are a lot of women who have incentive to leave their husbands because they know they will keep the kids and the child support that comes with them. And we have a lot of men in this country who struggle just to keep a foot hold in their kids lives. And sadly, we have laws that enable and enforce the destruction of the family ... for no reason whatsoever.

      How about producing a movie that encourages women to stay with their husbands, to maintain the family unit, to not perpetuate fatherlessness. Stop the knee-jerk man blaming and look at the facts.


      October 5, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • tallulah13

      Why do you suppose those women are leaving there husbands? Sheesh. I know far too many women who are in marriages where they not only are the main financial provider, but they also do most of the household upkeep, because men don't do 'women's work'. I know far too many women who are or who have been in marriages where their husbands are abusive or childish. I have known women who have left their husbands because those men were engaged in personal habits that were dangerous to the family. And I have known women who have stayed in those miserable situations, for the sake of their children.

      I know women do bad things that lead to divorce, but there are two sides to ever situation. If your own spouse has left you, perhaps you should start looking at your own actions, before you blame them.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Just Me

      Yes, tallulah13, I was married for 30 years, and perhaps shame on me, I was pretty much a doormat - life revolved around his wants and needs. I raised our 4 children mostly by myself - no 'woman's work' for him - no diaper changes, bathing, bedtime stories, help with homework, trips to the doctor, sports practices and games, etc.... and it was considered "babysitting" if he did have to watch them for a couple of hours if I needed to go out. He was the envy of his friends because he could go off hunting and fishing at least 40 weekends per year. I did everything I knew how to help him in his career and business life too and was a devoted daughter-in-law to his parents. Then, Whoa, HE wasn't 'happy' and left.

      p.s. He was the social one and allowed (or promoted) the word-about-town to be that I had dumped him after some financial/business reverses. I claim no medals for being perfect (or even close), but, I am a pretty nice person and, damn, that's just not right. I survived in as-good-as-can-be-expected shape, however. He died a few years later.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  15. jane16

    The article is not about atheism. The article is about a movie that encourages dads to do their job. Can't you support that? Do the makers have to be atheists too for you to support dads being good dads?

    October 5, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • It's me

      I can't stand preachy movies. When I go to a theater I'm looking for entertainment, not religious indoctrinaton. If you want a good marriage leave the church. The divorce rate of Atheists and Agnostics is much lower than the divorce rate of Born again Christians.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Tom

      If someone needs to believe in god(s) to be a good father then they should consider not being a father. A person's responsibility should be driven from an understanding of what a child needs and not what a deity wants. It's should not be about brownie points for the afterlife but realizing that in order to survive as a species we need to give to the next generation.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • Rob


      As a bona fide, Bible believing, God fearing, born again Christian; I truly fail to see why any true Christian would become so thin skinned, when now is the time to thicken that Godly hide of yours. Believe me; you needn’t get upset every time the “opposing team” curses and despises you; or goes on to curse our God; do you really think that lightly of our God? He can easily handle both them and their insults; He already proved that at the Cross; and today’s mockers are nothing He can’t and won’t handle very soon. Also, don’t you remember what is a taught by the very One that will deal with all of them soon? He said, “Know that the End Times are fully upon you, when “those very people” who hate Me, will “also” hate you; and will choose instead to live by a very different standard; one in which “what is good will be called evil; and what is evil will be called good;” and in those same times, “many will turn from what is right and true, having itching ears for the things that are both evil and right “in their own minds;” seeking for themselves, “those teachers” that will say what “they want to hear,” instead of listening to the “My Truth;” turning their ears instead, and responding to doctrines of demons. I don’t get offended when they mock and say crass things, it only indicates that we are indeed at that point in human history, when both they and their ilk, will merely become history. Our God said, when they hurl insults at you, or at those things that you say or do, that are right in "My" eyes, merely pray for them, and forgive them, because they are like those that were in Jerusalem when I hung on the Cross dying … dying even for “them” … and then, just like now … they didn’t know what they were doing. Forgive them, and go on.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • mc

      @ Rob – don't forget, Jesus loves me so much, he'll give me eternity in a lake of fire, regardless of how much good I do in this life, simply because I don't believe in some invisible legendary magical being. If using the brain "he" gave me I still can't connect the dots to believe in him, I'm doomed. Man, it's nice to be loved! Thanks jeebus!!!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Erm

      Nope. I will never support some Evangelicals preaching at me.

      "and today’s mockers are nothing He can’t and won’t handle very soon."

      Seek help. You worship a egotistical, vengeful, blood-thirsty being.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • steveinmo

      @it's me
      You don't like those kind of movies? THEN DON'T GO see them, and don't come here to attack. I don't like 99.9% of the garbage and filth coming out of Hollywood, and I don't pay to see it either. Nor do I spend time on your sites or those stupid entertainment channels patronizing such.

      And present your divorce rate proof you slander us with, from a credible source.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      “Know that the End Times are fully upon you, when “those very people” who hate Me, will “also” hate you

      @ Rob – LMAO. godslaves are hilarious.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @steveinmo – If I have to see your stupid and insipid signs on the side of the road every day, then you have to see our counter-arguments to your religious drivel. Isn't being an American great?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  16. jane16

    It is very common for dads to play heros in their jobs and social lives, only to leave their children neglected and the mom doing all the work and providing for the kids. This is devastating to the children and to the mother. Look at those men and see through them. Don't applaud them if they are neglecting their responsibilities. Never, ever trash a woman because she is raising children herself. I read a shameful article calling single moms "white trash." Yet, a woman who is doing the job of both the man and the woman is far from trash. Why didn't the article slam the absent dads? How are women responsible for everything when they are doing all the work? I happened to raise my son myself and just sent him to the top college in the world in his field of study on a full ride. I had zero outside help, even homeschooling him most of the way because he was so advanced. But, it left me completely financially and vocationally ruined while his "father" enjoys great professional success and financial wealth.

    For those who assume the church is making big money off that movie, do your homework. Be happy someone bothers to care about kids and moms raising kids alone. Do something good.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Rumour

      I'm sorry Jane, but your story is simply not believable. The only way that your son's father could escape child support is by being unemployed and even then it continues to accrue. The court is very sympathetic to women. Were he employed (professionally and financially successful) you could get a court order for support and if he didn't pay he would go to jail.

      I've found that stories like this are myths that tend to be perpetuated by drama queens who twist the facts to get attention or feminists with an agenda.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Rob

      @Jane 16

      See, what "Rumour" just stated to you, is a perfect example of what I previously posted; Rumour is correct in the realm of legal and judicial asessement of a "dead beat" dad or mom ... but sadly, sincerely lacks "basic compassion" ... the jails in America will continue to fill to capacity with both "dead beat" dads and "dead beat" moms alike (and yes, there are plenty of both); because "uncaring and selfishness" will continue to rule this planet until it is dealt with by the only One that can deal with it; but, I agree with you that (both) parents should step up to the plate for the sake of the children; neither should be left to carry the load alone; especially in today's economy; but remember, this world is neither an "infant or child friendly" place, anymore than it is a "God friendly" place; the end of all this is coming very soon ... and not a moment too soon I might add.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Erm

      Oh no! Feminists! God forbid!

      Yeah, you're right. I hate voting, anyway.

      And Rob...you have a very negative view of the world, thus you will only see the bad and never be truly happy. If there is a god (which I sincerely doubt), he/she/it put us here to have a good time! Life it to be enjoyed, by loving yourself and others....he/she/it didn't put us here to be miserable and whiny, wanting the world to end (?!) b/c you think there is something better out there. Jeeeez. You must be fun at parties.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  17. sanjosemike

    Even though I have been and remain an atheist for over 50 years, I never cheated on my wife, I always paid my taxes, I was never on welfare, I paid back my college loans completely, I raised my children as atheists, I never attended any churches or synagogue religious meetings, I have never been divorced and I give thousands to charities of all kinds for years. Oh yes, I also paid my kids college education costs.

    Religious people have no right to judge atheists. Atheists can live a completely moral and constructive life. Religion is not necessary. All that is necessary is that you mean what you say and you keep the promises you made. I was a good father (and still am).

    If you don't want to be married, don't get married. If you don't want to be a parent, don't have kids. Nobody forces you or anyone else to do either. But once you make those choices, all that is necessary is that you keep your promises. This has nothing to do with religion.

    This post is not intended to boast or call attention to myself. I know many, many atheists who do the same as myself.


    October 5, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Proinsias

      SanJoseMike you are absolutely correct. Religion has nothing to do with being a good person.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • localdeli

      let me know when you can walk on water, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead—

      October 5, 2011 at 4:22 am |
    • Cizzler

      Criss Angel walks on water all the time, big deal.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:01 am |
    • xapns

      I don't see anyone judging atheists or saying that all atheists are bad. I do though see a lot of judging and hating Christians.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Erm


      I don't see anyone judging atheists or saying that all atheists are bad. I do though see a lot of judging and hating Christians."

      Well, then, you haven't been paying attention. And if you wonder why Christians are "judged"....you get back what you put out.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  18. The Pope

    And their position

    October 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  19. The Pope

    I would really like to see a movie about missionaries.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  20. David Crosby

    Finally..a church not asking for more donations..but also if this becomes a hit will the pastor build a bigger church or donate it to his cause...does this sound like a non profit operation..sounds like a bunch of profit to me..

    October 5, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • I's say's

      It wont. Not everyone thinks that way. This was not their first movie.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:25 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.