Saturday, July 16, 2005

Review of "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

A few months ago, some long-time countercult apologists and I saw the film "What the Bleep Do We Know?" I knew I would be outraged, since I've written about a 1000 pages (give or take a hundred) against the worldview it advances since the middle of the 1980s. Because this film was (and is) making waves, I thought I would post this review, which is adapted from one on

Instead of commenting on the aesthetics or acting of this film, I will focus the worldview it propagates, which is pantheistic monism (nondualism): all is one; all is divine; we are divine; we are unlimited; we are beyond good and evil. The supposed experts use discredited interpretations of physics, outright frauds (the water crystal revelations), and pronouncements from a purportedly channeled entity (Ramtha) to drive this outrageous point home. However, this worldview is illogical, amoral, and dangerous. Thus, no one should believe it.

1. One expert, a theologian (!) speaks of the terrible idea that there is evil in the world. If the idea is so terrible, it would be evil. So evil would exist after all. This is a contradiction and cannot be true. Ramtha says, "You are not good. You are not evil. You are god." However, no one--outside of a sociopath--can live out this amoral worldview consistently. If you don't think the attack on America on September 11 was not evil, there is simply something wrong with you. If you don't think rape, child molestation, and racism is objectively evil, then you are radically out of step with reality. You need help from outside of yourself.

2. If we "create our own reality," why are we so horrendously bad at it? Why does one the experts (a chiropractor, no less) struggle with his postnasal drip every time he is on camera? Why has JZ Knight (the channeler for Ramtha) aged so terribly in the past fifteen years? They are gods, for God's sake! Why are we gods such underachievers, so retarded? It simply makes no sense. What makes more sense is that we are creatures of God, east of Eden and under God.

3. The view promoted by the film is also dangerous because it uproots us from any stable sense of objective reality--morally, metaphysically, or spiritually. We do not create our own reality; although we are morally responsible for how we live our lives. We have to live in terms of the reality that has been given to us, including our finitude, fallibility, and moral failings. Our conscience may connect us with a Higher Reality, but this Reality will tell us to stop all the silly god-playing. See Genesis, chapter three, for an explanation of this Original Error.

"What the bleep" does this film know? Not much.

For more on New Age views of physics, see my chapter, "New Age Science," in Unmasking the New Age (InterVarsity Press, 1986). For more on pantheism in general, see Confronting the New Age (InterVarsity Press, 1988). There are two chapters critical of channeling in my book, Jesus in an Age of Controversy (Wipf and Stock reprint).


Jeff Burton said...

I'm interested in knowing how the film dealt with pain and the list of things you mention (war, rape, etc.) that even the film's subjects must feel are bad, even if subjectively.

Anonymous said...

You mention the Chiropractor in a somewhat condescending manner,,and you bring up a reference to the Bible, does this mean that you have a leaning towards the teachings within the Bible? which i am neither criticising or endorsing, but merely mentioning, because in the Bible, i think they mention Jesus may have been a Carpenter. Based on your questioning of the Chiropractor as a respectable expert, what level of expertise do you associate to Jesus as a humble Carpenter and how could he possibly have accumulated his expert opinions and teachings on all things physical and spiritual?

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Jesus' credentials were not primarily that he was a carpenter, but that he died and rose from the dead in space-time history. This is well-attested in multiple sources, and I have written on it Jesus in an Age of Controversy and in On Jesus.