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If God is our pure, all-loving creator, can he really turn his back on sinners and allow them to suffer for eternity in hell? Where did this vision of hell come from? Is it possible we've got hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view merely an attempt to avoid the inevitable? "Hellbound?" is a feature-length documentary that seeks to discover why we are so bound to the idea of hell and what our views on hell reveal about how we perceive God, justice, the Bible and, ultimately, ourselves. Written by
Kevin Miller's Hellbound? comes equipped with one monstrous question and that is, "can God and Hell coexist?" Can God really send people, regardless if they're bad, to hell and still viewed as the almighty being? The question is one that has often been forced onto the sidelines, yet is beginning to come back in recent religious discussion.
Miller talks to various people with all different beliefs and backgrounds, including members of the Westboro Baptist Church (the church famous for spreading their hate-mongering "God Hates Fags" signs at military funerals), screenwriter Robert McKee, various evangelical priests, noted Christian author William Paul Young, and David Bruce, head of the Hollywood Jesus website.
We learn early on that there are three different beliefs of Hell that many people hold. The first one is the most basic, "eternal torment," meaning that there is a place called "Heaven" and a place called "Hell." If you're good, you go up, if you're bad, you go down. The second is ominously called "annihilationism," which states that the ones who have lived wholesome lives (to whatever extent of that vague statement) will go up to Heaven and be rewarded with eternal life while the ones who have sinned will be destroyed and cease to exist. The final belief is called "universalism," in which everyone is reconciled to God, sooner or later, no questions asked.
Hellbound? features lengthy, intelligent monologues by people who clearly grasp the idea of spirituality and are in touch with their faith, regardless of what it might be. Documentarian Kevin Miller's strength is that he can take the strong subject matter and juggle it objectively and without a noted bias. Considering all the documentaries that try and take a micro look at a macro issue, Miller also never shortchanges his film's concept and devotes eight-four long, insightful minutes to a debate that has long been alive and will not be solved anytime soon.
Directed by: Kevin Miller.
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