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Creation/Evolution

Announcing our secret movie project: “ANSWER THE QUESTION”

Empty concrete interior background with wooden floor

In February of 2014 Bill Nye debated Ken Ham at the Creation Museum.  Millions of people watched online.  Although many good points were made on both ends, many were left wondering more in the wake of it.

In March of 2014 PureFlix released their most ambitious Christian movie project to date called “God’s Not Dead”.  The story about a college student challenged on his faith by an atheist philosophy professor resonated with Christians across the country.  Skeptics saw the movie as barraging worn out stereotypes and that no serious atheist would be affected by the message.

In September of the same year another debate-style Christian movie was released called “A Matter of Faith”.  This one focused in on the creation/evolution controversy.  I anticipated this movie since I felt that topic was severely missing from the former movie.  The fact that Answers in Genesis fully backed this one got me excited as well.  Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that good!  See my review for more on why that movie let me down.

Even before ‘God’s Not Dead’, I had a vision of writing a movie around the creation/evolution controversy.  After the let down of ‘A Matter of Faith’, I decided to finally take things into my own hand and pen the script of the debate movie I wanted to see on the screen.  That script is finished!  It is called “Answer the Question”.

The age-old question that affects everyone is addressed!  Tom, a well-known and well respected leader of a Christian apologetics organization, challenges a nationally known science champion to a public debate on creation vs. evolution.  A local news reporter is drafted to moderate which causes tension with his staff.  The debate is held at a local public library which causes controversy within the library staff.  Three student friends with differing worldviews attend the debate and question their beliefs.  Leaving the final conclusions up to the audience, all angles are presented in-depth.  How will you answer the question?

I attempted to write it as partial as I could.  I even got assistance from an atheist in helping point out when I was being too sterotypical in my characterizations.  One very unique thing about this project over the previous is that this one actually includes theistic evolution alongside young-earth and atheistic evolution.  All three main positions are presented.  The movie tries very hard not to necessarily promote one position over another.  It leaves that decision up to the viewer.  It will end with an invitation to the viewer to log on to the movie’s website and vote for which argument was the most convincing so they can actually answer the question!

To promote the concept to film companies I would like to produce an audio version of the script, like a read-through complete with music and sound effects.  I have already had volunteers submit recordings for four of the nine characters.  If anyone would like to volunteer to record lines for the remaining five characters email tim@gracewithsalt.com.  I have outlined the characters below…

TOM GARING:  Leader of a Christian organization   DONE

WILLIAM NIEDBALSKI:  famous atheist speaker   DONE

BRIAN JENKINS:  News reporter as moderator (atheistic evolutionist)   DONE

KERI NIELSEN:  News assistant (creationist)   DONE

BOB TRAMMEL:  Library official (theistic evolutionist)

PEGGY HUFF:  library boss (atheistic evolutionist)   DONE

GREG MULLINS:  creationist teen friend

AMBER FURLER:  atheist teen friend

MARCUS McKEEHAN:  theistic evolutionist friend

Here is a general outline of how the movies goes.  It is very debate centric as I felt those were the scenes in the previous movies that people were really going to see.  I’ve also attached some approximate timings of each scene so you can get an idea of the pacing.

ACT 1  (49 min.)

  1. Tom (creationist) contacts William (famous atheist) to challenge him to a public debate the week after a presentation he is giving at a local college.  Tells him his church and organization will cover all expenses.  William reluctantly agrees.  (5 min.)
  2. Opening credits  (3 min.)
  3. Introduction of Greg, Amber, & Marcus – friends from the college William is presenting at talk about going to the presentation.  (5 min.)
  4. Tom contacts friend Bob who works at the library to secure the space.  Bob tells him it will be a hard sell to his boss.  (5 min.)
  5. William’s presentation at the college.  (5 min.)
  6. Greg, Amber, Marcus discussing the lecture.  (5 min.)
  7. Bob asks Library head Peggy for permission to host the debate, is met with criticism.  (5 min.)
  8. Tom contacts Brian to be moderator.  Brian runs it by assistant Kerri, they discuss the topic.  Brian contacts Peggy at the Library to push for it to which she agrees.  (10 min.)
  9. Greg, Amber, & Marcus run into William while heading to the debate.  (5 min.)

ACT 2  (60 min.)

  1. Debate introduction by Bob and Brian.  Opening statements & first rebuttals.  (20 min.)
  2. Break one, Brian and Kerri discuss.  (5 min)
  3. Debate part 2.  Tom and William question each other.  (10 min.)
  4. Break two, Bob and Peggy discuss.  (5 min.)
  5. Debate part 3.  Q&A from audience – Greg, Amber, and Marcus each ask a question.  (10 min.)
  6. Break three, Tom & William discuss.  (5 min.)
  7. Debate part 4, final statements.  (10 min.)

ACT 3  (20 min.)

  1. Greg, Amber, and Marcus start a conversation following the debate.  Bob & Peggy join in.  Brian and Kerri join in.  (4 min.)
  2. On their way out Tom and William bump into each other and have one final exchange.  (2 min.)
  3. Brian’s nightly news report (2 min.)
  4. End credits  (4 min.)

TOTAL TIME =  2 hrs. 5 min.

And now, for the world premiere of an excerpt of the script.  You are going to get to read Scene 8 from Act 1.  This is where Tom, from the creationist group, is contacting Brian Jenkins, the local news anchor, to see if he will moderate the upcoming debate.  Notice in the following how I have infused apologetics into each scene of this script.  Yes, Act 2 is the actual debate – but each scene includes some form of intellectual exchanges like the following scene.  I would appreciate your feedback and if you’d be willing to volunteer to record some lines for the audio version please contact me!  Thanks.

_______________________

SCENE 08

Tom contacts Brian to be moderator.  Brian runs it by assistant Kerri, they discuss the topic.  Brian contacts Peggy at the Library to push for it to which she agrees.  (10 min.)
INT. NEWSROOM
(phone call between Tom & Brian)

Phone rings

BRIAN:

WTMG, Brian Jenkins speaking.

TOM:
Brian, Tom Garing, Grace With Salt.  We are an apologetics organization.

BRIAN:
Ok….

TOM:
We are putting on a formal debate with Dr. William Niedbalski next week and were hoping you might moderate the event.

BRIAN:
Oh wow, Niedbalski, eh?

TOM:
Yeah, big deal, right?

BRIAN:

Might just be.

TOM:
So, what do you say?

BRIAN:
Well we try and stray away from too many controversial subjects here at the station, but this one might just be worth it.  Where’s it gonna be?

TOM:
Were shooting for the public library, but I haven’t heard back yet.

BRIAN:
Yes, good idea.  I’m good friends with Peggy over there – I’ll put in a good word.  Shouldn’t be a problem.

TOM:
Hey, that’d be great.

BRIAN:
So.. I’m on your website here.  And… I’m guessing this is like a creation-evolution thing then?

TOM:
Yeah, exactly.

BRIAN:
And.. you are defending creationism?

TOM:
Yep.  But we don’t try to phrase it as “creationism”?

BRIAN:
Why’s that?

TOM:
Well right off the bat you’ve biased the terms.

BRIAN:
How so?

TOM:
If it’s evolution vs. creationism… one of them has an “ism” on the end.  That is automatically the weak point before the debate even begins.

BRIAN:
Ah, I see.  Well, I’d love to do it.  I think it’s going to be a trainwreck for you… but if you’re willing, so am I.

TOM:
Well… thanks I think.

BRIAN:
No prob, I’m gonna call Peggy right now and I’ll get back with you about the format.

TOM:
Sounds great.  Thanks Brian.

Brian hangs up phone, and is approached by his assistant Kerri.

KERRI:

What in the world was that all about?

BRIAN:
Oh.. actually kinda interesting.

Was a guy from this Christian group who has challenged William Niedbalski to a public debate.

KERRI:
Oh really?

BRIAN:

Yeah, the guy’s outta his mind if you ask me…

KERRI:
Nah, I find that pretty bold.  I wish more Christians were willing to take a stand.

BRIAN:
Uhuh.  Sorry, forgot you’re all in that camp.

Let me ask you this Kerri, do you really think this world is less than 10,000 years old?

KERRI:
Actually, I do.

BRIAN:
Really??  Cmon, there are dinosaur bones way, way older than that.  Heck, the station here sits on rocks that are billions of years old.  Do you just ignore that?

KERRI:
No, we just interpret the evidence different.

BRIAN:
What do you mean?  Sorry – my investigative journalist side is kicking in.

KERRI:
All right, I’m no expert but the way I understand it is that we have the exact same evidence.  Same rocks, same bones, same trees, same earth.  But we interpret what they mean based on the history recorded in the Bible.

What a lot of evolutionists do –

BRIAN:
Hold up… evolutionist?

KERRI:
Yeah, someone who believes in evolution.

BRIAN:
One doesn’t just believe in evolution, we understand the science.

KERRI:
What do you want me to call them?

BRIAN:
Educated people.

KERRI:

Wow… ok.  You do realize there are people with PhDs working in creation science right??  You don’t even have a PhD Brian.

BRIAN:
Yeah, ok… well continue… interpretation?

KERRI:

Evolutionists… interpret the data through the assumption of uniformitarianism.  Basically meaning that the present is the key to the past.  How we observe things work today is the way they’ve always worked throughout all of history.

BRIAN:
Seems reasonable.

KERRI:
It actually does, until you realize that if the Bible is true – then it describes a very different start to our world.  We interpret the evidence through an assumption of catastrophism.  A few short, but drastic events shaped the world rapidly rather than gradually.

BRIAN:

Sounds like a lot of assuming.  That’s not science.

KERRI:

Ok… but both sides are assuming.

BRIAN:
But if we’re assuming it is based on observations, you’re assuming based on some ancient text.

KERRI:
Brian, how do you know George Washington was the first president of the United States?

Did you read it in a book?

BRIAN:
I’m gonna call Peggy and set this up, make sure you’re available too.  Gonna be a heck of a night!

Kerri smiles and walks off, Brian picks up phone to call Peggy.

PEGGY:

Peggy Huff.

BRIAN:
Peggy, it’s Brian Jenkins.

PEGGY:
Hi Brian!  What can I help you with?

BRIAN:

Tom Garing called me just now.  Wants me to moderate this debate thing.

PEGGY:
Oh wow, you huh?  You gonna do it?

BRIAN:
Well, it is certainly going to be a spectacle isn’t it?

PEGGY:

Yes it will be.

BRIAN:
So, we’re a go?

PEGGY:
I feel sorry for the Christians, they are going to be humiliated… but I can’t discriminate so I’ll give them their chance to shine.
BRIAN:
Great… I’ll see you there.

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Announcing our secret movie project: “ANSWER THE QUESTION”

  1. This is a cool project Tim, good luck with it.

    Posted by The Isaiah 53:5 Project | October 1, 2015, 5:19 pm
  2. Sign me up 🙂

    Posted by Adam Benton | October 5, 2015, 12:01 pm
    • If you are serious, email me and I’ll give you a private link to the whole script. I think it would be awesome if you would be the main evolutionist. It’s a hefty part. I wouldn’t even mind if you wanted to add parts. I can’t guarantee I’d include it… but I’d welcome it 🙂

      Posted by Tim | October 6, 2015, 12:53 pm

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