Open Letter to Woody Allen Basically Chuck Colson and Larry King discussed your film Crimes and Misdemeanors and Colson asked if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top?

Woody Allen On Bergman

Woody Allen On Bergman

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Match point

Crimes and misdemeanors

November 11, 2019

Woody Allen, c/o Samuel French Bookshop

7623 Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90046 

Dear Woody,

Basically Chuck Colson and Larry King discussed your film Crimes and Misdemeanors and Colson asked if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice?

I have had the privilege of confronting several atheists and asking them several questions based on your film Crimes and Misdemeanors: 

How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? 

On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder? 

One reviewer of Crimes and Misdemeanors tried to say that a weekend away with his mistress and then Judah could just Reason with her!! However, in the plot we see that she was so vindictive that she was going to blow the whistle on his past illegal activities which meant he would go to JAIL!!! There was no room to reason with this mistress!!!

So many secular intellectuals I have discussed this film with have tried to avoid the obvious conclusion that there is NO WAY to convince Judah not to kill this troublesome mistress on a secular basis.


Francis Schaeffer
 once wrote, “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”__

Should we DO WANT WANT TO AS IF THERE IS FINAL JUDGE? That would lead to MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!!!!

Let me challenge those who doubt that logical conclusion to watch your film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. But let me make an observation about the movie. It is your firm conviction that faith in God’s word, the Bible, is really blind faith with no facts to back it up. 

Aunt May’s foil in the film is Ben (Sam Waterston), a pious rabbi who says that he couldn’t go on living “if I didn’t feel with all my heart a moral structure with real meaning and forgiveness and some kind of higher power. Otherwise there’s no basis to live…. Without the law, it’s all darkness.” Allen reveals his attitude toward the rabbi by subjecting him to a progressive loss of vision that ends in total blindness by the conclusion of the film — a blunt metaphor for the darkness induced by his own moral and religious faith.

We know that this was Allen’s intent because he’s said so. Ben, according to Allen, “doesn’t really understand the reality of life… and that’s why I wanted to make him blind. I feel that his faith is blind. It will work, but it requires closing your eyes to reality.” And what is reality? That “at best the universe is indifferent” to our lives and our various ways of construing right and wrong. This indifference is so awful that many of us feel driven to “create a fake world for ourselves, and we exist within that fake world.”

—-

Let me challenge you to take a closer look at the Bible and it’s accuracy. 

Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible

Article ID: DA111 | By: Paul L. Maier

Shishak’s Invasion of Judah. First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 tell of Pharaoh Shishak’s conquest of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, the brainless son of Solomon, and how Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was robbed of its treasures on that occasion. This victory is also commemorated in hieroglyphic wall carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.

The Moabite Stone. Second Kings 3 reports that Mesha, the king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel following the death of Ahab. A three-foot stone slab, also called the Mesha Stele, confirms the revolt by claiming triumph over Ahab’s family, c. 850 BC, and that Israel had “perished forever.”

Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. In 2 Kings 9–10, Jehu is mentioned as King of Israel (841–814 BC). That the growing power of Assyria was already encroaching on the northern kings prior to their ultimate conquest in 722 BC is demonstrated by a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk discovered in the ruins of the palace at Nimrud in 1846. On it, Jehu is shown kneeling before Shalmaneser III and offering tribute to the Assyrian king, the only relief we have to date of a Hebrew monarch.


Woody Allen, Nihilist

By stDamon Linker

Not a believer.

Not a believer. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)February 4, 2014

I don’t know what did or did not happen between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow more than 20 years ago, and neither does Nicholas Kristof. What I do know is that Allen is a moral nihilist. This should not be taken as evidence that he sexually molested Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter when she was 7 years old, or taken as a sign that he’d condone such behavior. But it does mean he espouses a philosophical outlook that renders him powerless to condemn it.

Let me be clear about two things right off the bat. First, I’m a great admirer of Allen’s filmmaking — and like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher, I think the artistry of his films can and should be judged apart from his (perhaps substantial) moral failings. Second, I consider nihilism to be a viable, albeit false and ultimately chilling, philosophical and existential position. In describing Allen as a nihilist, I am not issuing an indictment — simply describing an outlook that he has elaborated in several films and interviews over the years.

Allen’s most thorough cinematic treatment of nihilism and its moral implications can be found in what may be his greatest film, Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). The movie tells the story of an ophthalmologist named Judah Rosenthal (played by Martin Landau) who decides to kill off his lover Dolores (Angelica Houston) when she threatens to divulge their affair to Judah’s wife. (Allen’s Match Point (2005), an inferior film in almost every way, explores many similar themes.)

At first wracked with guilt over the murder, Judah eventually gets over his moral qualms. (As another character quips in the film, “comedy is tragedy plus time.”) In a shocking subversion of Hollywood-style happy endings as well as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment — in which the character Raskolnikov is driven by unremitting guilt to confess a pair of murders to the authorities — the film ends with Judah seemingly at complete peace with himself and thriving in every way: Happy, wealthy, successful, adored by a beautiful wife and daughter, with the latter soon to be married.

The viewer is left to conclude that Judah got away with his crime scot-free — and that such an outcome is possible for anyone courageous enough to violate accepted moral customs and lucky or clever enough to avoid getting caught by the legal authorities.

The theme and its broader implications are reinforced throughout the film. In one of its most powerful scenes, Judah observes and interacts with a memory from his youth in which members of his family debate morality, God, and the Holocaust. Espousing the view endorsed by the film, Judah’s atheist aunt May (whom Judah’s religiously observant father dubs a “nihilist”) remarks that if National Socialist Germany had won World War II, then Hitler’s actions would have ended up being “right.” After all, in such a nightmarish, counterfactual world, the Nazis would be empowered to set and enforce the reigning moral standard — and there simply is no higher moral authority to appeal to against such a standard. In a nihilistic universe, the overarching moral truth is that might makes right.

Aunt May’s foil in the film is Ben (Sam Waterston), a pious rabbi who says that he couldn’t go on living “if I didn’t feel with all my heart a moral structure with real meaning and forgiveness and some kind of higher power. Otherwise there’s no basis to live…. Without the law, it’s all darkness.” Allen reveals his attitude toward the rabbi by subjecting him to a progressive loss of vision that ends in total blindness by the conclusion of the film — a blunt metaphor for the darkness induced by his own moral and religious faith.

Allen, 1970. | (Evening Standard/Getty Images)

We know that this was Allen’s intent because he’s said so. Ben, according to Allen, “doesn’t really understand the reality of life… and that’s why I wanted to make him blind. I feel that his faith is blind. It will work, but it requires closing your eyes to reality.” And what is reality? That “at best the universe is indifferent” to our lives and our various ways of construing right and wrong. This indifference is so awful that many of us feel driven to “create a fake world for ourselves, and we exist within that fake world.”

On a lesser level you see it in sports. They create a world of football, for example. You get lost in that world and you care about meaningless things…. People by the thousands watch it, thinking it’s very important who wins. But, in fact, if you step back for a second, it’s utterly unimportant who wins. It means nothing. In the same way we create for ourselves a world that, in fact, means nothing at all, when you step back. It’s meaningless.

As Allen explained in a more recent interview in Commonweal magazine, it was the desire to explore this sense of existential meaninglessness that inspired him to make Crimes and Misdemeanors: “Some people distort [the meaninglessness of the world] with religious things. Some people distort it with sports, with money, with love, with art… but nothing makes it meaningful…. [E]veryone goes to his grave in a meaningless way…. [O]ne can commit a crime, do unspeakable things, and get away with it, and some of them are plagued with all sorts of guilt for the rest of their lives and others aren’t. There is no justice…”

There is no justice. From Plato’s sociopathicsophists to Friedrich Nietzsche’s ambition to “sail right over our morality,” this has been the conviction and the insight of the nihilist. These are Woody Allen’s philosophical compatriots.

I should note, once again, that this doesn’t mean he’s a sexual predator. Nothing in the outlook of a nihilist necessarily implies that he will engage in immoral actions.

All that nihilism implies is the absence of a compelling reason not to do so.

DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Evangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

Access this on the web at www.excelstillmore.com/html/beinformed/article1.shtml .(Originally published in December 2003 edition of Excel Magazine)

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

Part 2

Part 3

Woody commenting on Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris trailer

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliotfound in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. Thetwenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourthtwenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.

The twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth posts are summing up Mark Twain. In the 29th post we ask did MIDNIGHT IN PARIS accurately portray Hemingway’s personality and outlook on life? and in the 30th post the life and views of Hemingway are summed up.

In the 31st post we will observe that just like Solomon Picasso slept with many women. Solomon actually slept with  over 1000 women ( Eccl 2:8, I Kings 11:3), and both men ended their lives bitter against all women and in the 32nd post we look at what happened to these former lovers of Picasso. In the 33rd post we see that Picasso  deliberately painted his secular  worldview of fragmentation on his canvas but he could not live with the loss of humanness and he reverted back at crucial points and painted those he loved with all his genius and with all their humanness!!! In the 34th post  we notice that both Solomon in Ecclesiastes and Picasso in his painting had an obsession with the issue of their impending death!!!

___________

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December 23, 2015 – 4:15 am

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December 16, 2015 – 4:56 am

In the last post I pointed out how King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and that Bertrand Russell, and T.S. Eliot and  other modern writers had agreed with Solomon’s view. However, T.S. Eliot had found a solution to this problem and put his faith in […]

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