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I love books and movies. I really prefer to read, but with my busy schedule lately I finish movies a lot more often than I finish books, especially if they’re on Netflix. How else does one stay awake while feeding a baby at 3am?

Blue Labyrinthby Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

My Rating — 4 out of 5 stars

This book is yet another story about Aloysius Pendergast, an enigmatic Special Agent with the FBI whose methods are about as unorthodox as they get. It sounds a little cheesy, but it’s really well written and I loved every minute of it. If you’re familiar with the book Relic, that’s the first book in the Pendergast series (If you’ve only seen the movie this won’t sound familiar — they changed it and left out Pendergast’s character completely).

Pendergast’s most recent escapades follow an attempt to extract revenge on Pendergast for the misdeeds of his ancestor. The twisted genius of the villain really makes for an interesting read. My only complaint is that after nearly a dozen Pendergast books, he’s never really lost so you always expect the last-minute twist that saves the day. My husband thinks that they’re going to have to kill him off soon (retiring young doesn’t seem like the sort of thing Pendergast would ever do) because there’s almost nothing new they can bring to the table with him after so many books. Even so, it’s a fun read and I really enjoyed it.

God’s Not Dead

My Rating — 3 out of 5 stars

I couldn’t help but be curious when I heard about this film. I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the cash to see it in the theaters, but when it hit Netflix I figured I could spare an hour and a half to see it.

I have really mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, there really are professors that discriminate against Christians and that is something that should be addressed and fixed. I personally had some issues with one of my professors at ASU, and that makes me kind of sympathetic to the cause of the protagonist. There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions that go around about Mormons, but to have a professor insist on having a class discussion about why Mormons dig up the bodies of holocaust survivors and baptize them crossed a bit of a line for me. I let her know that Mormons do nothing of the sort, but she insisted on continuing the discussion for weeks. No matter what your religious beliefs are, having an authority figure perpetuate the lie that you regularly desecrate graves is pretty upsetting.

On the other hand, this movie catered to almost every stereotype there is about Christians and atheists, and I think this drives them apart and creates issues where there are none. As bad of an experience as I had with that one professor, I’ve had plenty of professors that couldn’t care less what my religious beliefs are as long as I do quality work. I also have plenty of friends that aren’t LDS and even family members that think I’m crazy for converting, but that doesn’t shake my faith and it doesn’t have any effect on our relationship (and it shouldn’t!). I feel like this movie implied that all atheists are Christian bashing jerks and the only way to be a decent person is to believe precisely the same thing as the main character.

I gave the movie 3 stars because it’s a feel good movie that does a good job of explaining why and how religion and science naturally coexist, even though I think there were a lot of issues with it.

Have you read or watched anything good lately?