Hellbound? Christian filmmaker challenges concept of hell

Filmmaker Kevin Miller brings the debate over hell’s existence to the screen in Hellbound?

A scene from Hellbound?

Christianity and death metal are no match made in heaven.

When Christian metalheads grow up subscribing to a religion built on the concept of hell as punishment and delighting in a musical culture where hell is revered as freedom from religion, more than a few questions are bound to arise.

Filmmaker Kevin Miller brought the debate over hell’s existence and his own beliefs on the doctrine, as both a devout Christian and a certified metalhead to the screen in Hellbound?

“I’ve struggled my whole life to reconcile the idea of a God who loves us with the notion of eternity in hell,” said the Abbotsford-based filmmaker and contributor to The Huffington Post. “Punishment should be designed to teach and to restore and the way hell is popularly conceived is that it’s basically pure retribution. I really struggle with that and I think a lot of other people do.”

Theologians, academics, authors and the lead singer of costumed metal band Gwar weighed in on what Miller calls a nuanced look at Christianity, different from the fundamentalist opinions often given the most attention in mainstream media.

Barring Christianity Today’s rather scathing review of the film – the review criticized Miller’s choices in interview subjects – Miller was surprised by how positively audiences across North America have received the film.

“It’s asking some new questions and opening the debate,” Miller said. “In Christianity, certain beliefs are beyond questioning. A lot of Christians tend to mistake their interpretation of the Bible for the Bible itself, so if you question their interpretation, it’s the same thing as questioning God and that becomes highly offensive to them.”

Miller, whose writing credits include the documentaries Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein; Sex+Money, spOILed and With God On Our Side, shot the film in 12 cities across the United States, Canada and Denmark, including at the Copenhell heavy metal convention in Copenhagen in 2011. The interviews he collected during his directorial debut led him to challenge his own beliefs.

“This isn’t just an abstract theological discussion because what we believe about hell is a reflection of what we believe God to be. And we all tend to become like the God we believe in,” he said. “If the God we believe in is ultimately violent, it’s not going to be surprising when we become an ultimately violent people. If you believe that’s what God’s going to do in the end: separate the good people from the bad people, well, we’re going to start doing that on earth. There are definitely real-world ramifications.”

Hellbound? screens at Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas, 780 Yates St. at 7 p.m. on  Jan. 10. For those left with their own questions, Miller will be on hand for a post-show Q & A session.

“There are a lot of us walking around quite certain that we know what’s true. Working on this film really taught me that we have to have an open stance. We have to be ready to engage with information that may change our beliefs. If you’re not changing and in constant motion, you’re out of step with the whole universe because that’s the only constant.”

 

Just Posted

Police investigating ‘unprovoked attack’ at Uptown bus stop

Man was attacked while waiting at Douglas St bus stop Sunday night

Intense winds could reach 70km in Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issued wind warning for Dec. 17

Each Canadian household spent almost $64,000 on goods and services in 2017

Households in B.C. each spent $71,001 with housing costs contributing to higher average

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Juno Award-winner laying the Hammer down in Victoria

Jazz and boogie woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer returns to where it all began

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle and President Trump’s Twitter feed.

‘Spider-Verse’ swings to the top; ‘Mortal Engines’ tanks

“Spider-Verse” has been very well-received among critics, and audiences in exit surveys gave it a rare A+ CinemaScore.

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Struggling Vancouver Island family needs help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Most Read