“Christian” movies like Fireproof and Faith Like Potatoes bother me. They could, debatably, be considered Christian propaganda.

I recognize that the movies have had a positive impact on the faiths of many individuals. But did they receive the right positive impact? I would argue they didn’t.

The general plot of each movie is simple. First, a man’s life is horrible (anger problems, a dying relationship with his wife, dying relationships with others). Second, the man accepts Christ into his life. Third, his anger problems and life disappointments disappear after his conversion, and his actions seem to instantly transform into the right ones. Though I feel strongly about my negative opinion of the films, I don’t believe my plot simulation is exaggerated.

The movies portray Christianity as a fix to life’s problems. So do many mainstream churches. Sure, a sincere conversion to Christianity should result in a changed perception of life– in turn leading to the changed behavior of the new Christian. But painting Christianity as a fix is ridiculous since mere conversion doesn’t rid someone of their anger problems and life disappointments.

In Faith Like Potatoes, a man’s farm produces an extraordinary harvest of potatoes after a severe drought– a result of his faith. In Facing the Giants, a man’s football team begins winning games even though they’re not very good– again, a result of his faith. In Fireproof, a man’s anger problems and addiction to pornography cease to save his marriage– a result of his conversion. Though such things are completely possible and it would we foolish to put a logical limit on the power of God, is it acceptable for Christians to portray the faith in such a “look at what you could have” fashion?

Accepting Christianity isn’t about an inwardly-focused desire for what you could have. It’s about the discovery of truth. Truth is what changes one’s perception of life, and has the ultimate power to drive one’s behavior. Truth does not immediately change habits or cure diseases. Truth cannot save a marriage or even grow potatoes. It merely defines with authority the lens we view life through– making it one of the toughest things humans wrestle with in the coarse of their life (next to, I believe, love…a painful, beautiful experience).

Two of the three movies I mentioned left me with a message that wasn’t centered around the realization of truth, but rather the impression that Christianity improves your life. That’s not what it’s about. In fact, that’s not what the Bible communicates– when it comes down to it, adopting Christianity is the revelation of a beautiful truth and love, but also a declaration to live a tough life. Doesn’t sound like a fix to me, no matter what Osteen says.

Not only is the “Christian fix” unrealistic– it’s harmful to the perceptions of non-Christians. If non-Christians come to view Christianity as a fix-all, they’ll logically have a huge problem with Christians who still exhibit imperfect behavior. Despite being inevitable, the hypocrisy of Christians is already a major deterrent to those on the outside looking in. Many non-Christians already have a flawed perception of Christianity, and the fix-all message from popular Christian movies is not improving that at all.

Advertisements