Three "stars" for postulation of the questions.
First, let me say openly that I came to Christ at 40 - I am 59 today.
I too struggle with the opening questions of filmmaker. But what I believe starts out as an honest framing of set of problems - which are, why does a select community which has a long history of strong faith in Christ continue to struggle with problems such as substance dependence and lack of financial prosperity?
I will not attempt to answer these questions here. Not that The Word of God cannot answer them, but the subjects demands more time than I could give them here - even a documentary - just not this one.
The filmmaker, while his intentions may have been honorable, actually embraces the same one-sided bias and manipulations he accuses - and sadly correctly - that many pastors do, Perhaps on purpose, perhaps subliminally. I will not judge his intentions or his heart as neither of which I could possibly know.
The filmmaker continually brings up 100+ year old references to Christianity and slavery, but not even attempting to separate the what the Word says verses the way the it was twisted and abused to support such evil. He questions believers in physical locations that while likely were real, they also supported his biased one-sided questions in appearance - intending to show the believers as simple, uneducated, and easily manipulated people.
He questions the intelligence and education of church leaders, while never stating his own. By what right, by what intellectual achievement, should we be placing our trust in him, in his positions?
The truth is, education, while important, does not directly relate to the intelligence of a person. "Education" equates to the size of one's tool box. Intelligence, wisdom, reflects on your ability to you use the tools that you have. I will take intelligence and wisdom over education alone every time.
Let me give you examples of just a couple of the above criticisms. The filmmaker interviews someone portrayed as a scientist talking about how we are all created from stardust, the result of stars that exploded millions of years ago. Notice that almost all the atheists - like this one - is interviewed in front of a library, trying to convey intelligence & education. The filmmaker even positions a book with the title "Something from Nothing" clearly visible alongside the scientist.
But does the filmmaker ever ask the scientist where the exploded starts came from? How or who created them? Are we to subliminally accept "something (created) from nothing"? Does that sound like science to you?
Of course not, the filmmakers bias does not allow him to see his own manipulations as he seeks to push his own conclusion during the time in his movie which was meant to be a sincere exploration of the problems.
He interviews atheists promoting their one sided statements and beliefs, expecting us to accept them as facts on face value alone only. Not once does he challenge these views, which he clearly agrees with.
I could go on and on with examples of how biased this movie is, but most thinking people - believers or not - will recognize this to be true.
But with the above said, I want to commend the filmmaker for his opening questions and what I want to believe was with honest intentions. And let me add as Believing Christian, there a number of observations he makes of what is being preached in many churches today I agree with - but due to his lack of understanding of the Bible he attacks what he observes with misguided conclusions.
That is the big irony with most atheists. While correct that many Believers don't read and/or fully understand the Word of God for themselves - nor do they! The hold themselves up as experts in Christianity while they apparently know little about it themselves.
So by all means, make your observations. Frame the problems. But if you really want to solve them, stop blaming belief and believers for them and join with us to fix them.
We believers don't have to agree with you to do that. While atheists don't believe in Christ, we believe that He created them too and that we are all His children. While I don't agree with atheistic positions, Christ compels me to honor their free will as I talk to, work alongside, and even debate them if called upon..
Twelve uneducated men, terrified after seeing their Lord resurrected after being dead for three days, took His simple yet profound message across the know world and changed it FOREVER. This is historical and proven fact.
No degrees, no PHDs, after their names.
Most went to horrible deaths for professing what they knew to be true - would you die for a lie?
They didn't have an easy life; nothing in the Bible implies that I should expect one either - just the opposite.
One last observation. One of the people interviewed stated a long and repeated miss truth - which would be a lie if repeated, knowing it to be false.
Many will say "more wars and deaths were started in the name of religion". Yet history shows the that bloodiest century in all of mankind was the 20th., that more people died in the wars fought in the 20th century than in all the wars fought during the previous centuries combined.
But those wars were waged ALL by non-Christians,, secularists and atheists. All of them.
Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito, Pol Pot - just to name the big names.
I am not making excuses for the crusades. the various Catholic- Protestant wars, centuries of forced conversions, or the twisting of Bible passages to support slavery.
They were crimes, but crimes first foremost AGAINST the Word of God - not because of it.