Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I confess to having been an X-Files junkie. What fascinated me most was an early recognition that what Scully and Muldler were searching for was God, only they didn't seem to know it.

There is a new X-Files movie in the works, and Chris Carter admits that faith is the heart of the stories.

A day of interviews with David, Gillian and co-writer, director and “X-Files” creator Chris Carter at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, California naturally involved discussions about believing. The movie’s themes come from Chris’ spiritual search.

“I’m very interested in faith and religion,” Chris said. “This movie reflects something that I’ve gone through in the last five years. It’s something that I continue to go through. I’ll call it the struggle for faith. ‘I Want to Believe’ represents that struggle. Everyone who’s truly honest about his faith doesn’t just accept things without question. They work through it.”

The silver-haired filmmaker added, “Instead of ‘I believe,’ it’s ‘I want to believe.’ I am working to believe. I want that religious experience, as the quote suggests.”

Since we interviewed David first, he got to tell the incident that inspired Chris to include a crucial line—“Don’t give up”—in the script of this second big screen treatment of the phenomenally popular but now-defunct TV series. David narrated, “Chris went to a lecture by Huston Smith, an expert on world religions. According to Chris, Huston gave a long, inspiring talk. Then Huston opened the floor to questions and somebody raised his hand and asked, ‘What is the motto that you live by?’

“Chris said that he shrunk in his seat thinking, ‘Here is this brilliant guy and you’re asking him for a T-shirt slogan?’ Huston answered with, ‘Don’t give up.’ Chris went, maybe I was wrong to not like the question because Huston’s answer resonated with me.”

David shared his take on these three words that are significant, especially in the movie’s exploration of faith. “It’s about continuing to try and in many ways that also became our catchphrase for making this movie,” the actor explained.

The story line, disclosed in the article, revolves around a priest who has committed sexual abuse and yet still finds that God loves him.

"Don't give up."

That's a phrase I'm going to come back to because there are too many times when I want to give up on Catholicism and the questions it raises for me on a daily basis. Why believe in a faith whose leaders are so fallen? But no sooner has the question been asked than it's opposite--How do you stop being Catholic?--comes calling. I think the faith is in my genes, while Catholicism's failures are talking loudly in my head.

There are days when the head is in charge, when the sordidness of story after story of sexual abuse and dissidence tells me I need to walk away and my own dissidence makes the faith look like dust. The reason I don't is that if I abandon faith, there is no longer any reason to keep on breathing. I can't just import someone else's value system wholecloth. The genes rebel. And so I trudge on, trying to make sense of what makes no sense and believing that if I could just find the elusive key the war between thoughts and genes would cease. But perhaps it never does, and the only key to hanging on is to never give up.

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