Celebrating the Creator, Not Darwin’s Theory
A Report from the Birmingham Mysterious Islands Premiere
Editor’s Note: November 24, 2009 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and on this night more than 1,300 gathered at the Historic Birmingham Theater for a special screening of The Mysterious Islands. Joining Jon and Andy Erwin in their home town was Executive Producer Doug Phillips, Dr. John Morris, along with Dr. Tom Ford and Steve Solid, both of whom were on the Galapagos Expeditionary Trip. Miss Mercy Morecraft wrote this article following the event, and she captures the enthusiasm that many have expressed in response to the film.
The lights dim, the stage is set. More than 1,300 people sit with bated breath, and then — Welcome to the Birmingham, Alabama premiere of The Mysterious Islands, a film by the Erwin Brothers, produced in association with Vision Forum Ministries! This new documentary follows the trek of a father and son and crew mates as they survey the Galapagos Islands and study the man who made them universally famous through his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin.
Even before it was set into production, the idea of this movie has generated much anticipation and expectations. Joe Clark, from Peachtree City, Georgia, commented that he has been excited since it was mentioned at the January 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. He has now seen The Mysterious Islands at three different premieres, where he has brought along at least one of his six children each time. Mr. Clark also owns the DVD for his family, and has bought thirty-four other copies!
“I want to share [the film] with as many people as I can, both believers and non-believers,” commented Mr. Clark. “There are a lot of non-believers and family members who it’s hard to witness to, but they’ll watch a movie with me. And then there are the believers who I know that will be so excited about this.”
Why is Mr. Clark, like so many others tonight, so thrilled about this film?
“It is so much better than I ever expected. I expected a great message; I expected it to be very informative; but I didn’t expect it to be so entertaining,” Mr. Clark explained. “I thought it perhaps would be somewhat of a dry documentary, but it absolutely was not. It was much better than I expected. I want to watch it fifty more times.”
Oliva Bodock, 19, from near Asheville, Alabama, has also been very excited about the documentary. “I loved this [film]. It was very well made,” noted Oliva. “I was impressed by the quality. I liked the humor throughout. The real life aspects added a lot.”
Her number one reason to see this film? “It’s the most thorough,” Oliva said. “When most people debate, it covers just one issue. This [film] covers the whole worldview. It shows that it’s a worldview debate, not just one issue [in life].”
Mrs. Lynn Nelson and her son Tobin, from Mobile, Alabama, couldn’t agree more. Tobin, age 14, first heard about the film, and its premiere in Birmingham, on Doug Phillips’ blog and quickly asked his mom if they could go see it in Birmingham. Avid documentary watchers, Mrs. Nelson says they were excited “because we were wanting something worthwhile to watch, and also just to get truth out. There is too much support for things that don’t present the truth, but showcase falsehood.”
For Tobin, the idea of the Galapagos Islands is immensely interesting, and seeing The Mysterious Islands has only furthered his desire to go and study creation there.
Unlike Tobin and Mrs. Nelson, Rebecca Wesson, 16, and her best friend Rebekah Bush, 14, both from Birmingham, Alabama, are not big fans of documentaries. After this movie, however, they might just change their minds. “We didn’t know what to expect, but now that we have seen it, we automatically thought of so many of our friends that we want to show this too.” When asked how she would explain this movie to her friends, Rebecca said she sees this as an excellent tool of “using whatever talents you have to tell others more about Christ.”
One father, Ken Barnett of Birmingham, Alabama, got more than he had hoped for through The Mysterious Islands. “I had hoped for a strong message on creationism versus evolutionism.” Now that he has seen the movie, he said, “It helps to reinforce a lot of the beliefs that I already had, and is a great tool for introducing some of these concepts to children.”
Dale Cutlit, and his son Jeremy, from Hoover, Alabama, would agree with Mr. Barnett’s assessment. “[This film] is excellent, very good,” stated Mr. Cutlit. “The music particularly helped amplify each scene in the movie. I wasn’t expecting the protagonist, Mr. Phillips, and his son. I thought it would be more of a straight-up documentary, but it was more family-oriented . . . It was different, but I liked that.”
With “Discovery Channel quality”, beautiful music that defines and sets the backdrop for every moment, and a clear, concise message, The Mysterious Islands is a powerful tool that has won many enthusiastic supporters. While evolutionists and atheists would strongly oppose what this film declares, the evidence shown here is strong, going through Darwin’s worldview, displaying his presuppositions and biases, proving many of his theories incorrect, and showing through history what has come about as a result of his faulty point of view.
This year, many have gathered around the globe to celebrate Charles Darwin and his book, On the Origin of Species. Yet on November 24 — the anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s famous book — 1,300 gathered not to celebrate Darwin, who rejected God as the Creator, but to praise the God who created it all, and who declared life “very good”.