Upcoming Movie ‘Risen’ Already Being Treated Like a Documentary by Christians

A couple nights ago, my wife and I went to the local theater to see The Big Short, which turned out to be a very well-made flick about the US mortgage bubble and the people who predicted it and bet against the housing market.  I recommend it, and you don’t have to be a financial wizard to understand it.  It’s far less boring than it sounds and actually has some pretty funny moments.  But anyway, while we were waiting for the film to start, we were treated to the trailer for a new “biblical drama” due out in February, Risen.

Risen PosterRisen stars Tom Felton and Joseph Fiennes among others, and “chronicles” the post-resurrection search for Jesus by two Romans appointed by Pontius Pilate.  It’s presented as the epic biblical story of the resurrection, as seen through the eyes a nonbeliever.  Well, what they don’t tell you off the bat, is that the two main characters played by Felton and Fiennes (Lucius and Clavius, respectively), are completely made up and never appear in the Bible.  What that effectively means is, aside from anyone’s personal beliefs about the biblical crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the entirety of Risen is fictional and should be treated as such.


Already, and for the past several months in anticipation, Christians all over social media are treating Risen like it’s a documentary.  Just about once a day, the film’s Facebook page posts another image on its feed, usually showing a scene from the movie with an overlay of scripture or what I’d assume is an excerpt from the script.  Whether it’s scripture or script doesn’t seem to matter to the commenters, since they appear to eat it all up as nonfiction.  Most, if not all, of those images are flooded with comments from other Facebook users, sharing how excited they are to see the movie, how awesome Jesus is, how they think Risen will open the eyes of nonbelievers everywhere, or simply an “Amen.”  I found one comment to be especially ironic, so I couldn’t help but comment on it.


This was the only comment I could find on the Risen Facebook page that was at all negative.  Admittedly, I didn’t search thoroughly, but what I did find was a handful of disjointed conversations from visitors (some that were entire threads of one person seemingly having a conversation with himself), which was an illuminating hint that the administrators of the Risen Facebook page were actively deleting comments they didn’t agree with or would upset their target audience — comments I can only assume came from non-Christians or nonbelievers, or those pointing out that the story they’re all treating as divinely presented is completely made up.

For a film that touts itself as portraying the resurrection story through the eyes of a nonbeliever, its marketers appear to be shielding the public’s own eyes from the thoughts of those same skeptics.  I assume it’s only a matter of time before my comment above gets deleted from the page as well.

So Risen is just another intentional scheme by Hollywood to prey on the beliefs of viewers, presenting them with something that will fictitiously solidify their faith… all in an attempt to sell fabrication as fact and make millions off the backs of the gullible.


About Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones. Kevin is also the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids focused on critical thinking. Guest bloggers are welcome at SecularVoices. Please email submissions to contact@secularvoices.org.