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Great Minds, Great Spirits: Wallace and Medved on the Link Between Storytelling and Faith

David Klinghoffer


Wow, the latest episode of Great Minds with Michael Medved is not just thought-provoking or informative. In a beautiful and highly moving conversation, screenwriter Randall Wallace talks with host Michael Medved about storytelling, opening unexpected windows onto the depths and the source of faith. I find in this, not incidentally, a significant challenge to materialism.

You can find the podcast, as video and audio, at the Great Minds website. The audio is published first, followed by the video. Watch or listen now.

Wallace is known for his screenwriting, directing, and producing credits including Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Secretariat. More than just a Hollywood success story, however, you get a strong sense of him, too, as a great and profound spirit.

The meaning of “spirit” — with its Biblical associations with breath and wind, Michael points out — is the subject of their opening discussion. Wallace observes that in great music, or great stories, there’s an experience for the audience of an “intake of breath.” Something much more profound than entertainment or aesthetic stimulation is going on. He talks about his own childhood experiences associating storytelling with God, and, we might add, the human propensity for creating fictional narratives is a gift that the materialist view of reality has a hard time explaining.

It’s not merely that, from the usual viewpoint of natural selection and the propagation of our species, it’s difficult to see any survival value to it. Much more than that: great storytelling like great music seems to peel back our material selves and reveal the moving, breathing spirit within. We’re particularly pleased with this episode’s timing because it comes as Easter and Passover are upon us this weekend, both centered on stories that evoke the grandest, transcendent visions.

The Great Minds with Michael Medved series, produced by Discovery Institute, looks beyond the headlines, whether in science, culture, politics, to the permanent issues that explain why we care about science, culture, or politics in the first place. For added convenience, be sure to subscribe. It’s free.

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