Opens Friday at International Village
Hellbound?, the new documentary from Abbotsford filmmaker Kevin Miller, opens on a controversial note: it's the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City, and a small but noisy group is chanting and waving signs reading "Thank God 4 9-11" and "God H8s Fags."
This is why we want hell, Miller posits: "In the face of such overwhelming evil, sometimes our only comfort is the hope that somehow_ the people who do such things will have hell to pay." (Whether you feel that "overwhelming evil" lands at the feet of those men who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, or upon the people waving the signs a decade later, is also at issue.)
So begins a theological, political, emotionally fraught journey to decide who's right: the people who believe in eternal damnation (hell, but only for some), annihilationists (those not saved will be destroyed outright) or universalists (everyone can be redeemed regardless of the kind of life they lived on earth).
Miller consults with pastors, exorcists, scholars, death metal artists, authors and theologians in his quest to understand whether fire and brimstone can really be God's final answer. Does God play favourites? An answer one way or the other ultimately lessens his omnipotence or defies the "God is Love" doctrine. And politically, a discussion of heaven and hell and who gets in won't always land favourably with the side you are on, points out one theologian: "There are no good guys and bad guys_ we're all in the same fix."
It's a film chock-full of doctrine, history and scripture but reasonably laid out, meaning that you can follow along whether you know your bible or you don't. Jumping between locations in the U.S., Israel and the Fraser Valley, Miller presents a provocative, ultimately hopeful documentary sure to pique the interest of atheists and believers alike.