Atheist Tuesday Movie Rec: Soul Surfer


I have a challenge for you unbelievers on this day: Go see a movie that is positive, inspiring and might possibly cause you to shed a tear or two. I call it “Rocky with One Arm.

Here’s how Plugged In describes the film: It was 2003 when, at the age of 13, real-life Bethany lost her left arm in a tiger shark attack. Soul Surfer tries to tell the story of her courageous, indefatigable fight to return to competitive-level surfing. It also serves as a testament to the spiritual, emotional and physical restoration she attributes to “God’s healing touch.”

Don’t worry, unbelieving friend, the Christian references are kept to a minimum.

I am curious to see if you will be as touched as I was when you see the movie.


You may be offended that God’s name is not abused, but honored in this film.

(For a fuller review of the story including what to think about all those bikinis ,click here.)


I don’t recommend very many movies, but click here for a suggestion of another great video to rent.


  1. Now, why would we be offended? Are you offended when you see pictures of Jews at the Wailing Wall? Or a parade in an Indian street carrying Ganesh draped in flowers?

    Y’all can (and will) believe whatever you want. The part that offends the average non-believer is when you try to spend our tax money (or government time/resources) on it. See, THAT’S offensive.

  2. You may be offended that God’s name is not abused, but honored in this film.

    Why would that offend us? Using God’s name in a way to honor “Him” has never offended me, nor is “abusing God’s name” something I look for in deciding what films to watch.

    The use of “God” in a film has very little to do with whether or not I want to see the film, unless we’re talking about documentaries like “Hell House” or “Jesus Camp”, in which the use of God’s name is something that encourages me to see the film.

    Because, as I’ve said before, I’m very interested in people who think differently than I do.

    Having said that, it’s very unlikely that I’ll watch “Soul Surfer”, but that’s mostly because I don’t go to watch films much anymore; I already have all the films that I really enjoy in my own DVD collection.


    You may be offended that God’s name is not abused, but honored in this film.”

    Wow. You have a very strange perception of us.

  4. “Still, when bronzed bodies modified by nothing more than small swatches of cloth fill the movie screen, there aren’t always waves waiting to divert your attention. Guys go shirtless. Teen girls and women wear bikinis, and some of the suits are pretty skimpy. We see Bethany’s bare back as she’s trying to tie her top with one hand after the accident”

    Sorry for the double post, but this was under “Sexual Content.” I just can’t imagine being so repressed.

    • Nohm, I understand. I see fewer and fewer films these days as well.

      perdita, That site is just so parents can know if the films they may see with their kids are appropriate. i appreciate the details. The reviews have deterred me and my kids many times from seeing movies with questionable content. Also, many Christians struggle with this type of thing, so it’s a good caution for them.

  5. Oh how well you know us Steve, it’s not a good film if God’s name isn’t abused at least twice!


  6. Steve, any reason why you thought we’d be offended that God’s name is honored, and not abused, in the film?

    It seems that perdita, Nameless Cynic, and myself all found that to be a really strange comment.

  7. Again I say… Steve stop trolling for lolz… to use a little ‘net speak’ I’m starting to think you’re really playing up the humor portion of this website.

  8. That “[y]ou may be offended…” comment was supposed to be a joke?

    I don’t get it. Seriously, I don’t get it.

  9. I was actually quite offended by the purposeful removal of Christ’s name from the verse they quoted and edited God’s word by saying “Him” in stead of “Christ”. How dare they alter God’s word. The people who are not Christians probably dont know that it is “Christ who gives us strength”, and the film makers removed the pointing to Christ for salvation and strength by editing God’s Word and removing Jesus from the film. I wouldnt want to be them on Judgment Day, Jesus said he will deny anyone before the father who deny’s Jesus name on Earth. I want to know why Christans are not outraged over this. No musolum would allow an alteration of a verse from their satan written religious book, but woe to those who edit the True God’s Words from Scripture and alter it to suit their purposes. What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul. Gaining the favor of men instead of upholding the truth of Scripture , they syould be reverantly holding the Word in such esteem and value as to never even consider doing what they did. I will never watch another one of their movies if all they are going to do is strip the Word of it’s power, blaspheme in that way, and just make halmark type movies. The world has enough of that, and enough “your best lie now” junk…what they need is the unedited truth of God’s word.

    • Renee,
      They simply used the NIV version of the passage. And remember, this was not a Christian movie; it was a Hollywood movie portraying a Christian family during a tragedy. Big difference. I loved it and will see it again with my daughters. Sorry you didn’t care for it.

  10. I would not recommend this “Christian” movie to anyone!

  11. We went to the movie last night. I thought it was a great movie. And yes there are guys with no shirts on and women in bikinis, that is what the beach and surfing is about. I have lived here all my life and seeing this dose not detract me from seeing God’s glory and the wonderful things he has made for us to enjoy. The story line is great ! Surfing shoots good, overall all a well made movie!!

  12. Hi Steve

    I would have to agree with Terry on this one and the link he sent with the review on this movie.
    This is one movie I will gladly pass up as this deals direclty with the biggest sin in my personal life which is the flesh!
    Had this been done by say the Kendrick Brothers with a strong evangelistic message and a good clear Gospel presentation – ok I can understand the recommendation. (as long as the movie was done modestly of course)
    But as it stands – a Hollywood movie just glorifying the flesh why would you recommend this trash?

    My recommendation to the young men out there is DON’T go see this movie (and other’s like it) Deny the flesh and the lusts thereof. God is calling us to be Holy and as Job made a covenant with his eyes – I would suggest we do the same.

    I really wish that Christians would start being more accountable with each other in this area of the flesh and dealing with lust.
    If we open air preach: “Jesus says that whosoever looks at a woman to lust for her – has committed adultery with her already in his heart”
    And then tell people go see this Hollywood movie with tons of girls in bikinis? EH? Maybe you are ok with it (that’s between you and God) but to me it just seems like a HUGE stumbling block for men struggling in this area.
    And anyways – I address the men here – what “real man” would really want to see a chick flick anyways? Other than an excuse to see girls in bikinis. Just be honest with yourself. IF you are struggling in this area my suggestion is exactly that. Be honest to yourself because you are not fooling God – only yourself. Second suggestion is to find someone that can keep you accountable so you’re not fighting on your own. Third is to deny the flesh and don’t make provision for it. And pray, pray, pray.


  13. Methinks the atheists on the board need to bone up on “sarcasm”. Put differently, did the Bard need to use “emoticons” to convey these?

    OK, to be fair, sometimes I don’t get jokes, too. :^)

    My review of the movie; enough drama already in my life that I didn’t need to see a shark attack, and I have to wonder about participation in athletic and other events where a young lady “needs” to wear a bikini.

    (review completed without seeing the movie)

    Glad our host enjoyed it, but the Hebraisms of Leviticus 18 (“uncover nakedness” is close to what the Hebrew actually says) do come to mind here.

  14. Old Testament doesn’t count BB. =)

  15. You’d have something of an argument with the apostles, vintango2k–come to think of it, you may already. :^)

  16. “I really wish that Christians would start being more accountable with each other in this area of the flesh and dealing with lust.”

    You know, this isn’t a problem for people that have mature, healthy ideas about sex. It sounds like you have a few weird issues regarding women, gender roles, and sex.

    “And anyways – I address the men here – what “real man” would really want to see a chick flick anyways?”

    Is it a chick flick because the subject is a girl?

    “…and I have to wonder about participation in athletic and other events where a young lady “needs” to wear a bikini.”

    You know, they have ‘burkinis.’ But if a young lady wants to wear a bikini, she should wear a bikini.

  17. Old Testament is like Pick & Mix, keep the stuff that you feel like keeping, get rid of the stuff that is horrible sounding, like killing people who try and convert you to other religions, etc. etc. God’s flexible like that. Leviticus and Deuteronomy are pretty horrible books when you look at them through a modern context, but at the time Deuteronomy was written it made sense. Yahwehist priests (Part of the whole Pro-Yahweh Only Movement at the time) were upset that people were still worshiping Asherah (they were building a shrine to her within Yaweh’s temple no less!) and appealed to the King at the time, Josiah, with newly discovered texts from Moses that pretty much declared worship of other gods as false. They needed those texts and an enforcement body like a King, in order to shut down opposing religious beliefs and traditions that had been going on in Judah for centuries.

  18. Bike Bubba wrote:

    Methinks the atheists on the board need to bone up on “sarcasm”.

    Read Steve’s comment again, this time assuming sarcasm. Does it make any sense now?


    That’s why I didn’t get it. I get sarcasm, but I don’t see how being sarcastic about “atheists getting offended” makes any sense. Was he implying that of course we non-believers wouldn’t be offended? Why do that?

    No. The only explanation that makes sense is that Steve honestly believes, as we’ve seen him imply other places, that atheists actually get offended when God’s name is not abused and is actually honored.

    In short, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong, because I don’t believe that it was ever intended as a joke… because where’s the inherent funniness of it?) that Steve believes that atheists get offended any time that something “pro-Christianity” happens.

    Which is not true. There are certain “pro-Christianity” things that offend us, but most don’t.

    Which, doesn’t make any sense to me.

  19. Dennis,

    Some of us, myself included, can look upon a woman in a bikini and actually pay attention to the surfing instead of lusting on her body.

    As for your “what “real man” would really want to see a chick flick anyways?” question, have you ever had a wife or a girlfriend? I try to pick my battles, and sometimes it’s best to go to a film she wants to see without complaining or arguing.

    It’s very telling that the only reason you could think of was “to see girls in bikinis.” Projection is fascinating.

    And I’m still a “real man”.

  20. Thanks, Dennis, for a thoughtful warning.

  21. Hi Nohm

    Yes God has blessed me with an amazing wife and this May will be 4 years that we have been married.
    I understand what you mean about picking / choosing your battles, etc.

    One battle I have been fighting personally is pornography. From a young age I have been very attracted to the opposite sex. Obsesively so. I grew up in a culture (Holland) where I was brainwashed into believing that nudity was perfectly fine and acceptable and it was shown on basic t.v. no problems. I grew up thinking that this was the norm.
    When we immigrated to the USA I came to see the other side – and learned that in the USA movies are edited for nudity and profanity. This was back in 1988 by the way. It was the first time I realized that maybe what I thought was normal and acceptable to one culture is not so in another culture. Also I quickly learned that these “values’ were only on the surface – as I found out that the USA is actually the number 1 producer of pornography in the world. In other words there is a double standard for what is shown on the surface – but dig a little deeper and you will see the true nature!!!! The same goes for those that claim to be Christian and you dig a little deeper and you will see what they profess and what they ARE is completely opposed.
    Christians who continue to go after feeding the flesh wether it be pornography, or alcohol, or continue to lie, etc. Well it mght be fooling the others around you but again does not fool God.
    God has given us a standard to live by and those of us who preach the 10 commandments know that number 7 says do not commit adultery. We also know that Jesus says that to look at a woman to lust for her is committing adultery already. And number 10 says not to covet – which includes your neighbors wife.
    So what’s my point? The point is simple – WHY go see a movie that you know has woman in bikinis – is produced by Hollywood (enough said there) – and does nothing with the chance it is given to glorify God? Instead it doesn’t even use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when it had the perfect chance to do so.
    My comments are meant for brothers in Christ who may also struggle in this area and then here is Steve telling them go see this trash. I am the one face palming right now. Talking about setting a stumbling block….

    The sad thing is that Christians today look no different than the world around them. They go see the same movies the world does, they have just as many abortions, just as many (if not more) divorces, they drink, some curse. It’s pathetic. No wonder you non-believers on this blog aren’t convinced. After all when we as Christians don’t even walk the talk? No Jesus said to deny ourselves, to pick up the cross and FOLLOW HIM. Guess what? Jesus is NOT walking into that movie theater.

    That’s all I have to say on that.

  22. Further this topic of lust and adultery.

    Proverbs 6:25 – Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? (read all of Proverbs 5, 6 and 7)

    It is Proverbs 7:6 – “At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, ad the dark of night set in.”

    In other words: this kid is in the wrong place, at the wrong time, about to do the wrong thing. We ought to tell people to STAY AWAY from these places instead of encouraging to go see woman in bikinis, etc. It’s the WRONG place and compromise only leads to more compromise. That’s the whole point. It’s a path you start walking which leads to death. Maybe this movie is fine, then you think about the next movie that comes along which is a little worst, and so on… the next thing you know you are no longer hanging out next to the prostitutes house – you are inside diving into sin. Don’t compromise! Listen to the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs. Lust will never be satisfied – it always wants more.
    Our satisfaction is found in Jesus Christ
    Our God is a jealous God and He is coming for a pure bride.

  23. Hi Dennis,

    What about Christian men who are able to view women surfing, understand that a bikini is a common outfit for doing that, and don’t lust over them?

    I’m sure there are some good burkini films over in Saudi Arabia… 😉

  24. haha… in that case completely fine.
    Nor am I saying people are going to Hell for watching this movie.

    burkini films – haha – thanks Nohm I needed a good chuckle today.

    You sure are a character and I continue praying for you.

    God Bless

  25. You may be offended that God’s name is not abused, but honored in this film.

    Seriously? Do you really think that little of us? Let me tell ya, lines like that are doing NOTHING to help the divide between Christians and Atheists, even if they are said in “sarcasm.”

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