Saturday, April 11, 2015

God's Not Dead, the Movie

God's Not Dead has made it to Netflix. I suffered through God's Not Dead in two ways. First, I had a philosophy teacher in college who actually loved to beat up Christians. I had more than one class with him, and I still consider his book Wisdom Without Answers an excellent introductory text to philosophy. I still use arguments presented in this book to challenge Christian people with. I've used his arguments while teaching in church as well as few times while speaking to Christian organizations on college campuses for apologetics related topics. While the man repeatedly pulverized me, he taught me to think critically, and that skill of critical thinking eventually led me to presuppositional apologetics. I consider the experience of being with this teacher akin to being torn down to eventually be built back up stronger. I would've never thought of bringing him to court while he was berating me or other Christians. Rather, I see the experience as one of the most important times in my life, however painful it actually was at the time. If I were to see this man again, I'd thank him for provoking me to think beyond accepted paradigms.

Second, If my old philosophy teacher had been the teacher in the movie, God's Not Dead, the movie would not have ended with a Christian rock concert.  I'm not going to give a detailed review of this movie, other than saying this atheist summed it up perfectly for me: "Even during my Christian days I’m certain I would have been nauseated by this terrible movie’s wooden dialogue, forced drama, and two-dimensional characters."

What's provoked me to mention this movie is that this same atheist blogger asserts "This story idea began as a variation of a couple of (now infamous) chain emails about a brave young college student who argued with his atheistic professor about the existence of God (“and that young man was ALBERT EINSTEIN”)." He then gives links to a couple of snopes articles:

Legend: An atheist professor challenges God to keep a piece of chalk from breaking when he drops it from his hand.

While a college student, Albert Einstein humiliated an atheist professor by using the "Evil is the absence of God" argument on him.

I'm actually curious to know if in fact God's Not Dead was intentionally intended to be a film adaptation of these myths. This website asserts: "Having apparently run out of books, comics, and 80s comedy remakes, a feature film loosely based on the atheist professor chain email called God's Not Dead was released in March 2014." I don't think I have many atheist visitors, but if any of you can actually verify that those behind God's Not Dead had these myths in mind, I would appreciate it.


Mike Gantt said...

What made it particularly painful to watch this movie is that there are real-life college professors who do destroy undergraduate faith, and there are real-life undergraduates who, on occasion, successfully stand up to such assaults. (Case in point: Michael J. Kruger was an undergrad in Bart Ehrman's UNC course.) In other words, there could have been a realistic story line with realistic dialogue. Instead, we get a script which is pathetically unrealistic. I actually wondered if the screenwrite was trying to sabatoge the film.

TheDen said...

I thought the characters in this movie were a little too extreme to be believable.

Interestingly, this movie was made by two Catholics but could only get funding from Evangelicals.