Past Movie Nights

November 14 Movie

A powerful dramatization of the historic 1925 Scopes ‘Monkey’ Trial – a pivotal moment in USA history that pitted the forces of scientific discovery against the tenets of religious tradition. It unfolded in July of that year, as John T. Scopes bravely faced conviction for daring to teach Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to enthusiastic high school students, defying Tennessee’s rigid state laws at the time. At its core, the film champions the cause for intellectual and academic freedom. The convincing portrayals of Matthew Harrison Brady, Henry Drummond, Bertram Cates, and E. K. Hornbeck, mirror the legendary figures of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Scopes himself, and H. L. Mencken, adding a compelling intensity to the riveting narrative.

October 10 Movie

This is a two-part 2006 documentary presented by evolutionary biologist, professor, and author, Richard Dawkins. In this film, Dawkins asserts that humanity would fare better without god beliefs, and that unlike science which develops theories and tests hypotheses, religion relies only on blind faith.

In the first part, “The God Delusion,” Dawkins researches religious beliefs, particularly those presented as facts, and interviews prominent religious leaders, such as Ted Haggard, and Yousef-al-Khattab. He argues that science gives us a much better framework for understanding our world than faith. Dawkins uses Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot analogy to show that the burden of proof lies with the person making a claim.

In the second part, “The Virus Of Faith,” Dawkins looks critically at the moral guidance that many religious extol, visits the radical Hell-House organization that “morally polices” children, and he makes a plea for the end of religious indoctrination of children. Based on his book, The Selfish Gene, he compares faith to a virus passed from parents to children, and from teachers to students, coining the term, “meme”.

Rather accepting scripture and religious rules as a basis for morality, Dawkins advocates learning about science and using critical thinking to better understand our world and act ethically.

September 28 Movie

This light-hearted documentary shows how a small Jewish sect morphed into the Catholic Church. According to the Director, Cameron Reilly, this film was created “… with the help of twelve biblical scholars, Renaissance masterpieces, and humorous animation. It’s neither a film about faith nor a film attacking or making fun of Christianity. It’s an honest attempt to piece together a very complex and fascinating story…”

August 8 Movie

Through a cleverly-woven storyline, “The Invention of Lying” is a thought-provoking comedy that explores the concept of a world where lying does not exist, exposing the complexities and consequences that arise when one man discovers that he has the ability to deceive. The film stars the renowned comedian and writer, Ricky Gervais, whose parents are of English, French-Canadian, and Haudenosaunee descent. Other prominent cast members include, Jennifer Garner, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Fionnula Flanagan, Louis CK, Jonah Hill, as well as cameos from Christopher Guest, Edward Norton, Stephen Merchant, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.