What Bothers Me About The Movie “God’s Not Dead”

In this trailer, a bitter reporter tries to entrap Duck Dynasty people.

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I have to talk about the box-office sensation “God’s Not Dead” which I just watched over the weekend with my sweet Aunt Sandi who has been raving about this movie since its debut.The arguments presesented in favor of Creationism were well done. Still, from practically the very first scene, I was worried.

I believe that those behind this film have only the best of intentions. But somehow, there is the least bit of deception illustrated here. It’s similar to what I felt after reading “The Shack.” Was this a wonderful book? Yes. Did it bring people to Jesus? I’m sure that God can use anything to his glory. But the same thing that bothered me about “God’s Not Dead” bothered me about “The Shack.”

Both stories are presented as being true (or at least a compilation of truth) when in fact they are both fiction. 

According to the Christian Post, the only true part of the story was when one of the minor characters in the film, a Chinese student, was based on a real person named Wing Mang was actually witnessed to by a college professor who led him to Jesus: http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-turned-christian-character-in-gods-not-dead-movie-was-inspired-by-real-life-harvard-educated-chinese-born-doctor-117336/. In the film, he becomes a Christian as well, but not because of his professor–in spite of his professor.

At the end of the film, there’s a list of court cases that are supposed to be roughly representative of the plot of the film.

None of them really are. This is so disappointing.

I think one of the things that bothered me most is the fact that I am a professor and so much about this scenario does not make sense. If I humiliated a student the way the instructor did in the film, I would be in the Dean’s office before you could say discrimination. It’s not only against the law to impose my religious beliefs upon my class, it’s against the law for me to threaten a student’s grade on something so subjective. There are procedures in place both for academic grievances as well as non-academic grievances. What the film discusses–a professor who threatens a student’s grade unless he can prove God is alive–simply would not fly. 

I believe that movies like this do little but foster fear within the religious right. It makes people afraid to send their kids to anything but private Christian colleges.  Conservatives don’t need anyone fanning the flame of fear–they are already scared! They worry our country is off-track–that we need to “take it back” (from whom, I’m not sure). They worry that The World wants our souls–and the souls of our children. The last thing they need to worry about is this idea that if they send their kids away for an education, they will come back indoctrinated by atheists and Satan worshippers.

Aside from the overt attack on philosophy and liberal arts professors, the movie also demonizes a Muslim father (when he finds out his daughter is reading the Bible, he hits her and throws her out of the home). Do conservatives need a reason to hate Muslims? Not really.

Also, the Christians in the film were REALLY GREAT PEOPLE and everyone else was…well, evil. Without fail!

I don’t have anything against Christian films. I always root for them! I want them to be good, to compete with other films in different genres. I want them to reach out to those who are curious about Jesus. I really, really want them to be interesting enough to intrigue non-Christians. Sadly, many times, Christian films are only liked and applauded by people who are already Christians and don’t need saving.

Come on, Christian filmmakers. I think we can do better.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2528814/