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Review of Deadly Ignorance: All Christians Should Guard Against Following the Herd
Sheep live in ragtag groups. They are blind by nature and are used to following the bellwether, so we can see some news reports about the flock following the bellwether to leap from the cliffs. This kind of behavior is called the herd behavior, which describes that people all have a herd mentality and it easily results in blind following. The film Deadly Ignorance tells us through the personal experiences of the Christians: Do not blindly follow others, or else we will fall into the abyss and end up in demise.
The protagonist Zheng Muen is a devout Christian. He is a co-worker of a Chinese church in the U.S.A. When his aunt and uncle tell him and his family that God has returned as the incarnate Almighty God, though he has some misgivings, he agrees to study Almighty God’s work of the last days because their fellowship really is reasonable and in line with the Bible. In the following days, Zheng reads many of Almighty God’s words, and he feels that these words are all the truth and God’s voice. Thereupon he shares the movie of The Church of Almighty God with the brothers and sisters in his church, through which he wants to ask them to investigate together.
Here, the directors use parallel montage to show the believers’ reactions to the movie from The Church of Almighty God, which is also a turning point in the film. Among them, one refuses to believe and investigate, one is curious but choose to wait and see, and the other two are willing to study and accept. The main reason why some of them are afraid to seek and investigate is because they listen to the words of the pastors and elders that incriminate Eastern Lightning as well as have seen the negative publicity on Eastern Lightning from the Chinese Communist government. Therefore, even if they yearn for the Lord to return quickly and pray for it, when someone bears witness to the Lord’s return, they dare not investigate it. From this we can see that this phenomenon is worth looking into. If we choose not to study any preaching that says the Lord has returned just because we fear it may be false, will we miss out on the Lord’s? So how should we Christians treat the news that the Lord has come back?
While Zheng Muen is examining Eastern Lightning with a heart full of joy, he meets with the obstruction from his pastor. The pastor tries to persuade him to stop examining Eastern Lightning and shows him the CCP’s propaganda that condemns it. Then his attitude changes greatly, which is unexpected but not surprising. He who yearned for and sought the true way begins to guard against, avoid, and distance himself from Eastern Lightning. Afterward, he even says, “We should listen to the pastor, and worship the Lord in our church. Thus, we will be safer in believing in God,” and asks his wife to stop studying Eastern Lightning.
When seeing the great change in Zheng Muen’s attitude, many people must be curious: What on earth makes him who originally sought humbly give up investigating Eastern Lightning so resolutely?
The directors use several shots to make a comparison between Zheng Muen’s behavior and that of his wife. Zheng gazes out of the window, deep in thought, and after he opens the links sent by the pastor and reads the CCP’s propaganda, he decides to believe it as well as the pastor’s words. In contrast, his wife goes before God to pray and seek guidance, and after reading Almighty God’s words, she decides to go on investigating. The difference of viewpoint leads to the conflict between them, which also furthers the development of the plot. Later Zheng’s wife invites the witnesses from The Church of Almighty God to their house to communicate to them, and then there is a turn in the situation. After some communication, Zheng Muen comes to understand that while investigating Eastern Lightning, he should read Almighty God’s words and see whether these words are the truth and God’s voice, that in this way he will be able to confirm whether it is the true way, and that everything else is not primary. As we all know, since the Chinese Communist Party came to power, they have been condemning, suppressing, and persecuting Christianity. In order to ban religious belief and establish China as an atheistic region, they have burned countless copies of the Bible, and in recent years they have torn down churches and forcibly dismantled crosses. The CCP government also wildly arrests Christians, so that many of them are on the run for years and cannot return home. Furthermore, they launch “blanket” searches to arrest Christians. Seemingly the CCP is determined to let off no one even if thousands are wrongly arrested and killed. It is trying to drive out and exterminate all Christians! If people believe the CCP’s nonsense when researching the true way, are they not too ignorant? This is also one aspect of expression of Zheng Muen’s ignorance: In looking into God’s new work, he listens to what the CCP says and thus nearly misses the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s coming.
In addition, Zheng’s acts of foolishness are fully related to the pastor’s teachings. From this we can see another aspect of his ignorance—he looks up to the pastors and elders more than he worships God. The pastors and elders have established the highest authority in his heart, so when the pastor shows him the propaganda of the CCP government that discredits and slanders Eastern Lightning, after some hesitation he chooses to believe the words of the pastor and flatly refuses to further examine the true way. Seeing this, we cannot help but sign: Since he has recognized that Almighty God’s words are God’s voice, why does he choose to give up investigating Eastern Lightning?
In the Bible, we can see the prophecies of the Lord Jesus: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). These teachings of the Lord are what people should obey when welcoming the Lord’s coming. However, as for the pastors and elders, they judge whether or not it is the true way based on the things the CCP says, and when hearing someone bear witness to the return of the Lord Jesus, they don’t lead the brothers and sisters to seek and study it. Their actions simply do not conform to the Lord’s word! Apparently, if Zheng Muen listens to the pastors and elders, he will surely suffer setbacks.
Zheng’s wife Zhong Jiahui, by contrast, appears wise. In studying Eastern Lightning, she is not affected by the pastors and elders in the least, but insists that his husband should focus on seeking and examining. She believes all that comes from God will thrive and all that comes from men will fall to ruin. Zheng’s ignorance contrasts well with his wife’s perspicacity, from which it can be seen that the two different choices will bring two vastly different results. It is gratifying that Zheng Muen finally awakens to the truth and turns away from the fork which leads to destruction, so that a bandwagon effect is avoided.
At the end of the film, Zheng Muen feels incredible regret over his ignorance. By then, he has gained some understanding of the verses, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), and “fools die for want of wisdom” (Proverbs 10:21). At the same time, he points out that in welcoming the Lord’s return, if man blindly follows people, listens to people, believes the negative propaganda of the CCP, and refuses to listen to the voice of God, this is the greatest ignorance and also the root cause of destruction.
This film is a thought-provoking one, which is a must-see to Christians. The message it conveys sounds a warning to all Christians, and meanwhile, the film also clearly points out what attitude a Christian should adopt in his treatment of the Lord’s arrival as well as gives guidance to those who are confused, perplexed, and are there still wavering and indecisive.
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