El Dorado Hills resident John Christy has documented an unusual journey in “My Week in Atheism,” a film that debuts Saturday at the Crest Theater.
A devout Christian filmmaker and student of religion, Christy joined atheist activist/radio host David Smalley at secular conventions, university campuses and a live talk show. “My Week in Atheism” follows many theological and philosophical conversations relevant to modern culture, as the two struggle to maintain a close friendship while protecting their worldviews and activism. In addition to exchanges with Smalley, Christy has exploratory discussions with other prominent atheists along the way, including David Silverman, JT Eberhard, David Fitzgerald, Matt Dillahunty, Aron Ra and Dr. Anthony Pinn.
“The way the world is today, people too often view others with different beliefs as their enemies. But David and I have developed a deep friendship — even though we talk and argue about religious differences all the time,” Christy said. “As I’ve gotten to know David more, I appreciate his challenge to my faith. Rather than digging in my heels to defend myself, I’ve tried to take an honest, intellectual look at what motivates atheism and why I believe what I believe.”
“John is an amazing guy. He’s a great friend, and he’s a critical thinker,” Smalley added. “I look at him in awe, because he asks the same questions I did, and sees many of the same problems I found, yet he still believes. That challenges me to reexamine my position and I’m certainly open to doing that. “
Even though they have many differences, both men are open to dialogue and this inevitably leads to discovery.
“My goal with this film is to encourage viewers to examine the foundation of their beliefs whether Christian, atheist or undecided,” Christy explained. “Being pushed to explain my Christian faith has led me to a deeper understanding of the Bible and its applicability to everyday life situations.”
When asked what he hoped to accomplish with this film, Smalley replied, “I want people to know that atheists aren’t necessarily anti-Christian. We’re not angry. We’re not hateful. We can talk with our loved ones who have a differing worldview or interpretation and explain ourselves assertively without dividing families or friendships. These discussions need to happen, and this film will start many.”
Released by AMANOLA LLC, “My Week in Atheism” will debut on Saturday, Feb. 15, in downtown Sacramento at the Crest Theater, 1013 K St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; film begins at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $9 in advance at MyWeekInAtheism.com, $15 at the door. A Q&A discussion with Christy and Smalley will follow immediately after the film.
“My Week in Atheism” will be available for purchase soon. Pre-orders are being accepted now for the Blu-Ray ($9.99) and DVD ($7.99). It will ship beginning Feb. 17. The movie can also be purchased as a streaming video rental on Vimeo On-Demand for $4.99 beginning Feb. 16. Both can be ordered at MyWeekInAtheism.com.