The Lord of the Rings star John Rhys-Davies, a self-described “rationalist” and “skeptic,” says the world owes Christianity “the greatest debt of thanks” for making the world a better place.
Rhys-Davies made the declaration on the red carpet at the 28th annual Movieguide Awards, held late last month at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The awards show celebrates faith and family content in movies and television. The actor’s voice was featured as Evangelist in the animated film “Pilgrims Progress,” which was honored at the gala.
"I count myself a rationalist and a skeptic, and I find myself constantly defending Christians and Christianity,” Rhys-Davies said in an interview with The Christian Post. “I find that wonderful because we seem to forget that Christian civilization has made the world a better place than it ever was. One of the great glories was the abolition of slavery, for instance. And there is still slavery and that makes me very mad.”
The Welsh actor, who played Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, also has a starring role in the upcoming faith-based film, I Am Patrick, which releases for St. Patrick’s Day. Fathom Events is set to screen the inspirational docudrama nationwide on March 17 and 18. It examines the life of the fifth-century missionary saint who is often called the Apostle of Ireland.
The movie garnered positive feedback from Lisa M. Hendey, author of The Secret of the Shamrock, who said the feature-length film is “faithfully rooted in his own writings and historically accurate storytelling.”
“St. Patrick overcame his own failings and experienced a challenging yet profound conversion and then devoted his life to share the Gospel with zeal, joy and love,” Hendey said. “This film tells his story with truth, candor and beauty.”
Sister Helena Raphael Burns, a movie reviewer for Life Teen & The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, noted the remarkable transformation of St Patrick.
“The strong takeaway is the almost unbelievable hardships Patrick endured, as well as his transformation from a nominal Christian to a close friend of God during his times of extreme privation,” she wrote. “There is much for us to imitate regarding his profound prayer life and zeal for souls!”
During his red-carpet appearance, Rhys-Davies cited the early history of Christianity in bringing forth the ideology of democracy.
“All the things that we value, the right of free speech, the right of the individual conscience, these evolved in first and second century Roman Christendom, where the individual Christian said, 'I have a right to believe what I believe and not what the Emperor tells me.' From that our whole idea of democracy and the equality that we have has developed,” the actor said.
"We owe Christianity the greatest debt of thanks that a generation can ever have, and to slight it and to dismiss it as being irrelevant is the detritus of rather ill-read minds, I think.”
The Hallmark Channel will broadcast the award show on Feb. 24.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Carlo Allegri/Staff
Lori Arnold is a national award-winning journalist whose experience includes 16 years at a daily community newspaper in San Diego and 16 years as writer-editor for the Christian Examiner. She owns StoryLori Media and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association.