Well, probably teenager kids. It’s Woody Allen, after all. My wife and I recently re-watched Hannah and Her Sisters with our two sons (our daughter wasn’t available; she’s married), and it was an incredibly wonderful apologetics moment. I’ve argued that a secular culture that is often seen by Christians as a threat to their children is in fact their best friend, if we know how to use it. Woody Allen is always a great opportunity to do that. He is one of the few movie makers in Hollywood (although New York through and through) who deals with the big questions of life head on, and this movie is a wonderful example of that. Allen’s worldview is as secular as secular gets, and his movies are an excellent way to teach your children, or anybody else, the shallow, vacuous nature of such a life. It promises fulfillment, meaning, purpose, and hope, but never delivers. His movies always end in resignation to one degree or another. Since he can’t bring himself to believe in God, and in this movie he tries really hard (and it’s hilarious), whatever this unfulfilling life offers, that’s the best you can get. So eat, drink, and be merry, and go to art shows, as best you can.
If you are familiar with Allen, he often plays a hypochondriac, and a very believable one. The scene where he fears he has a tumor is priceless; the face says it all. And the whiny New York Allen voice is a perfect match. We see him having a brain scan, and next he’s waiting in the doctor’s office for the horrific results he knows are certain to come. Sure enough the doctor comes in, puts up the scans, and starts to tell him he’s got an inoperable brain tumor. Allen goes pale, and says to himself, “It’s over. I’m face to face with eternity. Not later, but now. I’m so frightened. I can’t move, speak, or breath.” Then the actual doctor, not in his imagination, comes in and, of course, nothing is wrong with him. The upbeat music starts, he runs out into the street and jumps in the air, starts running and skipping and jumping with inexpressible joy. He stops, and puts his hand to his chin. . . .
Next he’s in an office with a co-worker, and says to her, “Do you realize the thread we’re all hanging by?” She replies that he should be celebrating because he doesn’t have the C-word, but he’ll have none of it: “Do you understand how meaningless everything is? Everything I’m talking about. Our lives. The Show. The whole world. It’s meaningless.” She counters that he’s not dying, but he says, “Yeah, I’m not dying now, but, but . . . ” His friend reminds him that we’re all going to die eventually, and he asks, “Doesn’t that ruin everything for you? It just takes the pleasure out of everything.” He goes through a list of all these people who are going to die, and he’s determined to find an answer. Maybe God? His search for God is sadly hilarious, but what is the real answer from Woody Allen the screenwriter? His friend says, “I think you’ve snapped your camp. Maybe you need a few weeks in Bermuda. Or go to a whorehouse.” There is no answer! Eat, drink, and be merry . . . Distract yourself with pleasure, or people, or whatever. How does that work out for Woody Allen’s characters? Resignation.
When people, my kids or whoever, are wrestling with this whole God and Jesus thing, I always push “the consideration of the alternative.” In Woody Allen’s universe, a God-less universe, resignation and distraction is the best you’re going to get. That is the alternative. Notice too when you watch the movie (you really should watch it) what his search for God doesn’t include: evidence. Because in Woody Allen’s universe there is no evidence for God or Christ; there is just “faith,” a blind leap into accepting what is obviously unworthy of being believed. And eventually he can’t force himself to believe it. Do you see what’s happening? In logic this is called begging the question (which does not mean raising the question). He assumes there is no God, believes evidence is not relevant to whether God exists or not, tries to believe in God without evidence, and then concludes there is no God! All agnostics and atheists live these circular assumptions in their heads, and wonder how anybody could stake their lives, and deaths, on this God and Christ thing. They don’t have to wonder. There is evidence, plenty of it, an avalanche, a tsunami, a mountain of evidence for those who will only look. For Woody Allen’s position? Zip, zero, Nada.