I loved the scene, and in fact, have lived the scene many times (I’ll explain later).
The atheist reviewers generally trashed it, and to Christian reviewers it was generally the best film ever made.
My buddies and I used to have senseless arguments like this one all the time.
Mind you, my buddies were not as cute as Marisa Tomei and the arguments never ended with us kissing (usually one would tell the other to "fuck off"), but we'd pick a point and defend it senselessly until the other one gave up. The louder the better.
Back in those days, the goal was to win the argument at all costs, logic be damned.
As an adult, I try to maintain logic (although sometimes I do revert to my younger self).
I go with the facts I remember and rely on my wits (well, half of them, anyway).
In the film, Josh does his homework and finds data posited by theist and atheist scientists alike to make his case.
After the debate scenes, it falls apart a little. Some of the director's choices were questionable (at best) in my opinion.
Kevin Sorbo plays the college professor like a villain from an old A-Team episode, at one point threatening to make it his mission to destroy Josh's academic career.
There are a few interwoven subplots, but sadly these characters are all stereotypes:
* The controlling girlfriend who breaks up with him because he did not simply drop the class
* The Chinese exchange student and his strict father are carbon copies of the two characters in the Heroes TV series, which were derivative of characters going back decades
* The bullying strict Muslim father and the beautiful young daughter who has assimilated into our culture and is secretly Christian
* The visiting foreign priest whose vacation is ruined by one mishap after another but he never gets frazzled
* The local priest who thinks his parish work is trivial
* The business executive son who has no time for his mother with Alzheimer's and who dumps the blogger is having an affair with when she is diagnosed with cancer and needs his support
* The beautiful daughter of the Alzheimer's patient who is a devout Christian and the college professor's emotionally abused girlfriend
* The Christian band who seemingly make a believer out of the cancer patient and plays a concert that makes the end of the film drag on to it's cliched ending with the college professor. (For the record, the band at Christ's Church of The Valley in Phoenix blows the band in the film away)
The other problem I have is that all the Christian characters are portrayed as saints, and all non-Christians are either idiotic or evil.
That said, the film is worth watching for the debate scenes alone, and there are few other scenes I liked, even though some were absolute cliches.
I would suggest Christians and atheists alike not to expect the film to prove or disprove their point of view.
Watch it and enjoy the debate.
It may lead you to do some further reading.
You remember reading, right?
It's what you do when you receive a text.
Only books are longer.
I could not find a clip of the scene from the IMDb page, although here is a link to that page (it's the clip to the right under "videos"), or you could start watching at 13:30 in the clip I have inserted below.
For me, it was the best scene in the movie.
What I find so compelling about this scene is that I have argued religion versus science with Christians and Atheists alike and had the same experience.
My position is that religion and science are not mutually exclusive, which seems to be the position Josh takes in the film.
Many Christians would not agree and would take the Bible literally.
Atheists would throw out the Bible in its entirety.
But every atheist I have ever debated with always wants to convert the believer, which always makes me wonder why?
Are they insecure in their non-belief? That old saying that no one is an atheist in a foxhole would seem to support this.
My last discussion with an atheist started when he made the statement that there can be no intelligent political discussion in this country until religion is eliminated.
All Christians lack intelligence?
I countered that there can not be intelligent discussion about anything without respect for the other party.
For those of you who are not inclined to go rent the film (although most streaming services seem to have it), here are the debate scenes (for as long as the You Tube link remains active).
I had a good friend who was a confirmed atheist, but I lost touch with him in the decade between his retiring and his passing, so I did not see him at the end.
I have always wondered what he believed as he took his last breath.
Does God exist?
I think at the end of the day it comes down to faith.
But if there is no God, that means everything beautiful in this world happened by chance, not design.
And it also means we go through all that we go through for nothing.
Does God exist?
It's kind of a depressing thought to think He doesn't.