When “God’s Not Dead” author Rice Broocks noticed a rise in atheism in the post 9/11 landscape, he was determined to find out what was causing people to abandon their faith. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Broocks joins Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen for a discussion on his surprising discoveries of faith and existence.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imagining to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit brainmdhealth.com.
Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: Hey everybody. Welcome back. Well, we have a very special guest and a very special week. We decided to call this Where is God Week. Now, it's obviously no surprise that Tana and I are devout Christians, and we've talked about that before. I helped to create the Daniel Plan. We've had really some amazing guests. But we have Pastor Dr. Rice Brooks with us, who is the author of God's Not Dead, which then turned into a blockbuster movie, which we saw which was amazing.
Tana Amen: It's amazing. Yeah.
Rice Broocks: Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: He is the pastor at Bethel Church in Nashville, and Every Nation, he's also creator of Every Nation.
Rice Broocks: Well, just one of the cofounders, yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: One of the cofounders, which has churches in 80 churches, you said?
Rice Broocks: About that, yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: But your first love was actually working with young people.
Rice Broocks: Well, I'm still the world's oldest living teenager. So I'm out on campus, I'm out primarily on campus, which is a lot of what we do in our church movement, is we plant churches that target campus communities. Like two weeks ago I was in Poland, right there near the campus. Last week, Indiana University. So I'm taking this message in a multimedia fashion to the campuses. Then from there, good things happen.
Tana Amen: Well, and that makes sense, 'cause the movie sort of was-
Dr Daniel Amen: So you really have to take care of your-
Tana Amen: ... fashioned around that.
Rice Broocks: [crosstalk 00:02:34] ... yes, yes.
Tana Amen: That makes sense. Okay.
Dr Daniel Amen: And you have to take care of your brain, because if you're on that many planes, there's a whole bunch of toxins going along with that.
Rice Broocks: That's why I'm here. I came to you for that.
Dr Daniel Amen: We are going to teach you-
Rice Broocks: I am here for that, so-
Dr Daniel Amen: ... how to detoxify your brain.
Rice Broocks: Yeah, this is definitely-
Dr Daniel Amen: 'Cause you've got a big mission, then most people don't really ever think about their brain.
Rice Broocks: I read that in one of your books, and you talked the danger of airplane flight. I thought I've been almost three millions miles in a plane. I have passed that, that is already ... whatever you can do to unravel three million miles of air travel.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: We are definitely going to do it, because God created your brain to heal. There is this whole thing called neuroplasticity, that if you put your brain in a healing environment, it can be a whole bunch better. So that is our goal.
Rice Broocks: It's so good [crosstalk 00:03:26]
Dr Daniel Amen: In addition to the author of God's Not Dead; Man, Myth, Messiah; The Evidence Behind God's Not Dead 2, which we saw and loved; and the Human Right to Know Jesus Christ and to Make Him Known.
Rice Broocks: That was connected to the third one, so it'll just keep going like [crosstalk 00:03:47]
Tana Amen: Right, is there another one coming out?
Dr Daniel Amen: Why did you get-
Rice Broocks: It already happened, and it's going to be like Fast and Furious or Rocky,-
Tana Amen: Right, 'cause there's another one.
Rice Broocks: It will just keep going, yeah. It's already happened.
Tana Amen: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
Dr Daniel Amen: So we are going to talk about Where is God? 'cause this is like a seriously crazy time. Although I'm always reminded,-
Tana Amen: It feels scary.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... when I say that, I remember when I was six years old, and I was in Catholic school. We had 48 students in a class, right? Six rows, eight deep. We had nuclear war drills, right?
Rice Broocks: [crosstalk 00:04:20] yes.
Dr Daniel Amen: If the sirens go off, it's like get under your desk. So-
Tana Amen: The part that feels scary to me, though, is how we're turning on each other. It feels unsafe to me now, 'cause the hatred amongst us as a country where we used to have similar values, and even though there were differences, there was some level of respect. There's none now. None.
Dr Daniel Amen: So before we get into that, just so I want the listeners to ... I want them to really know Pastor Brooks' heart. Why did you write God's Not Dead?
Rice Broocks: Okay, great question, and I'll try to make it short. Well, my story is not very exciting in terms of how I became to faith. I was just a guy that needed God, but my atheist brother was in law school at SMU in Dallas. He came home to talk me out of my faith one weekend. So he started studying the Bible to find the contradictions. So the weekend that he came home to talk me out of my faith, we baptized him.
Tana Amen: Oh wow.
Rice Broocks: When he came up out of the water,-
Tana Amen: Whoops.
Rice Broocks: ... he said, "You haven't really answered all my questions, but I think I've been asking the wrong questions." So what I did, was I pulled a thread that kind of unraveled his world view. Many times, people have all these questions for God, but maybe he has one for you. So my entire family, my dad was in the oil business. My dad kind of figured that I needed some kind of help. So if it's God, great. But when my brother came to faith, that was earth shaking. My entire family came to faith, my dad at 57. In fact, my dad said, "I prayed for a miracle all my life, and I never thought I'd see one, but I think he's shown me one. God has shown it to me in the form of my two sons." And she said, "I don't know much about God, but I got down on my knees-," he told my mom, " ... and ask Jesus Christ to forgive me for pride and my arrogance." So my family was revolutionized.
So from there, I graduated with ... I was an accounting major. I wanted to see that same miracle happen with other kids, other students. So I started traveling the campuses of the world. Anyway, cut to the movie. Basically, right after 9-11, this ties into the Where is God? Because right after 9-11, there was a rise of what was called the New Atheism. You had men like Richard Dawkins, was a biologist; Sam Harris, who's a neuroscientist out of L.A. out here; and then others that came along; Christopher Hitchens, a very eloquent atheist. He passed away a couple of years ago. But basically, they began to write books saying religion is the problem. So with that was this almost immediate reaction of, as these books were written, then there was this massive fallout away from the faith. In fact, some studies said that seven out of 10 young people will leave high school with a faith of some kind. When they get to the university, then they'll lose it. The reason why is because they don't have anything beyond a subjective experience.
Tana Amen: Right.
Rice Broocks: They felt something in the youth group, or whenever, but yet when they get into the atmosphere of arguments where there's ... it's not your subjective experience that's on the line, is do you have anything that's true. Is there any evidence?
In writing this book, I went to the global atheist convention, which was in Melbourne Australia, the largest indoor gathering of atheists in history. The refrain was that basically "Faith is just blind. If you believe something, you pulled the blinds down, you close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears, and that's how you come to your 'faith'"
So I started writing this book. I have some friends that are a singing group called The Newsboys, and they rolled up into my driveway one day,-
Tana Amen: They're great.
Rice Broocks: ... and the lead singer lived across the street. But they rolled up in the driveway and said, "Hey we got this new song," and, "What do you think?" I said, "Let's give them more than just a song. Let's give the reasons. Let's give them evidence." So then I was writing the book, and I was literally driving down the road with a friend, who was a businessman. I said, "I'm writing this book." I told him why. He said, "That needs to be a movie." So he brought the movie company to me. We came here to L.A., they followed me around UCLA, and we had conversations and met with the screenwriters. We just kind of thought it would be a nice little movie. It ended up ... Minimally what it did was it shattered records. And the Rotten Tomatoes didn't like it.
Tana Amen: Well, of course not.
Rice Broocks: But beyond that,-
Tana Amen: Of course not.
Rice Broocks: ... the box office liked it, and it's gone all over the world. So that was way more than you asked for, but that was it.
Dr Daniel Amen: It has 37,000 reviews on IMDB.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Unbelievable.
Rice Broocks: Yeah. It was quite a shock to see the response.
Dr Daniel Amen: And it's so thoughtful. I actually loved the part toward the end where they talked about Stephen Hawking's argument against God. They actually buried him in Westminster Abbey. It shocked me. I'm like, "Steven Hawking's buried in Westminster Abbey," one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
Rice Broocks: You're going to end up in church regardless of your beliefs.
Dr Daniel Amen: [crosstalk 00:09:14] Either way.
Rice Broocks: I mean, all due respect to him, obviously none like him in terms of his intellect.
Tana Amen: Right.
Rice Broocks: So I don't want to say anything negative about that, but yeah, Hawking ... Basically what Hawking said was, he said, "Because there's a law like gravity-," this was in his last book, " ... the universe can and will create itself out of nothing." Well, wait a minute, that's a quote John Lennox, who's a mathematician from Oxford and a philosopher, he said, "That's a contradiction. If there's nothing, then gravity is not nothing." So you either have an eternal law like gravity that's just self-existent that's there, or you have an eternal lawgiver. Both the atheist and the theist has to posit something that didn't start.
So when somebody says, "Who made God?" Well okay, fair question. But yet, you either have a physical reason for the physical universe, or you have a non-physical reason. The evidence is the universe had a beginning, that space, time, and matter had an absolute beginning 13.7 billion years ago at the big bang. So if space and time had a beginning, then the cause must necessarily be spaceless, timeless, obviously uncaused, powerful, and ultimately personal. Because to go from nothing, which is what rocks dream about, I mean that's nothing, to something, then obviously that was volitional, there was a decision being made.
So it's sad that a man could be so brilliant in terms of breaking down the physical universe, but just because you know how an iPhone works doesn't mean Steve Jobs never existed. When you're looking for God, I'm asking people, "What evidence do you want?" Well, they're looking for something physical. Well, God's not physical. The architect of this building is not in the walls. So what we're looking for is the evidence for an intelligent mind.
But anyway, once you get to the fact that God exists, then you get into these questions that you're bringing up about, "Well, if he is there, and the evidence shows he is, then why this?" So I'll go back to your initial theme of why.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, I wanted people to get to know you, and they are a little bit. When we come back, we're actually going to attack this question, "Where is God?" Stay with us.
Thank you for listening to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of the Brain Warrior's Way and the Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook we give away every month.