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

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

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

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read