Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Film Claims We Need Illusions to Live

In the film Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen, 2014), a skeptical magician named Stanley Crawford meets Sophie Baker, an alleged spiritualist. Stanley doesn't believe in God or the supernatural so he thinks Sophie is a fraud. But after Sophie reveals things about Stanley's personal life, he starts to change his mind. But when Stanley discovers that his rival has been feeding Sophie information, he reverts to his unbelief. The following conversation ensues:

STANLEY: [to Sophie] You're a fake. As I always should have known. And did. I only wish I hadn't wasted so much time with you.

SOPHIE: We played an elaborate joke on you, Stanley. No one was harmed.

STANLEY: (indignant) My reputation will suffer and you played me for a fool.

SOPHIE: Yes, yes, things got out of hand. But no awful thing happened. I mean, you were happy. And you enjoyed life for once. You saw the world as optimists see the world. And we had some laughs together. So don't say that you wasted your time with me. What would you have been doing? Sitting in your room and shuffling cards in front of a mirror?

STANLEY: All my optimism was an illusion.

SOPHIE: Well, I started reading that book by that [famous atheist Frederick Nietzsche]. I didn't really understand much of it. But he said we need our illusions to live.

STANLEY: You mean lies.

SOPHIE: You were much happier when you let some lies into your life, Stanley.

STANLEY: We can't go around deluding ourselves.

SOPHIE: But we must. If we're to get through life. I mean, I didn't say it. I'm just quoting, you know Mr. Nietzsche. And, in the end, who really knows what's real and what's not.

The dialogue in this illustration was adapted from the scene found in Chapter 13: 1:16:00—1:17:29

Related Sermon Illustrations

'Stealth Secularism' Hooks Us Through Stories

Christian apologist Nancy Pearcey uses the following story to show how "stealth secularism" can bypass our critical grid and hook us emotionally:

In the nineteenth century, a movement ...
[Read More]

David Bowie: Not Quite an Atheist

David Bowie, the rock singer who died in 2016, once wrote a song called "Seven" in which he proclaimed his non-belief in God: "The gods forgot they've made me so I forgot them to." ...

[Read More]