October Positivity: End of the Harvest (dir by Rich Christiano)


This 1995 film takes place on a college campus that is ruled over by the worst possible people …. THE PHILOSOPHY CLUB!

Okay, that might be an exaggeration.  It’s a big campus and undoubtedly, most of the students are just doing their own thing and don’t particularly care about any of the clubs or any of the Greek organizations or any of that stuff.  That said, it does seem like a surprisingly large amount of people are interested in the weekly Philosophy Club debates, despite the fact that the Philosophy Club itself seems to only have three members.

After seeing his religious friend get totally trampled while trying to debate the existence of God, Scott (Brad Heller) decides that it’s time to take a stand.  Scott used to be a wild frat boy and he even lost his license due to a DUI.  But now, he’s super Christian and he’s totally excited because he found a 50 year-old thesis about when the Bible says the world is going to end.  Scott challenges the Philosophy Club to a debate and soon, flyers are being put up all over campus.

The only problem is that Scott isn’t ready for the debate.  The Philosophy Club has uncovered the secrets of Scott’s dark past and, after they harass him on campus and start calling his ex-girlfriends, Scott starts to feel that he won’t be able to make his case.  He begs Matt (David A.R. White) for help but Matt says that it’s pointless to try to debate anything in front of the Philosophy Club.  The Philosophy Club doesn’t care about anything but Marx and Nietzsche.  Matt not only thinks that the debate will be a waste of time but he also thinks that it will actually drive people away from religion.

Of course, Matt has another reasons for not wanting to talk about the end of the world.  He’s been having odd dreams, in which he’s standing in a wheat field and watching an old farmer using a scythe to bring in the last harvest….

There have been several faith-base films that have been set on campus and they all have the same basic plot.  A religious person goes to college and has their faith tested by people who were raised differently and who insist that science or philosophy can serve as a substitute for religion.  It always seems to lead to a classroom debate and the religious student usually wins because all of the arguments have been slanted to their side.  Of course, it’s not just Christian films that do this.  If there’s one thing that Christians and atheists share in common, it’s an almost total ignorance about how the other side views the world and the questions of existence.  Anti-Christian films always fall back on the stereotype of the fanatical parents who refuse to allow their children to leave the house.  Christian films, on the other hand, always seem to feature an atheist who is angry at God.  End of the Harvest doesn’t go quite as far into those stereotypes as some other Christian films do but it’s still hard not to notice that the bizarrely smug members of the Philosophy Club are left speechless by some pretty basic arguments.  It’s the fantasy that both atheists and Christians tend to indulge in, the one where you come up with the pithy one-liner that no one can refute.  Christians always want to know how you can be angry at a God you don’t believe in.  Atheists always want to know, if God created everything, who created God.  In the real world, both arguments can be easily refuted but, in the movies, they’re always game changers.

End of the Harvest is a fairly standard religion-on-campus film.  It’s not going to convert anyone.  That said, the scenes of Matt standing in that wheat field have a nicely surreal feel to them.  In those scenes, it really does feel like the end is coming.

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