God’s Not Dead: He Stands at the Door and Knocks…

by Terilyn Jeanette Goins, Ph.D.

According to our current administration, America is “no longer a Christian nation,” at least not exclusively. Instead, we have morphed into all things to all people – a mix of Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, and non-religious, with a hint of Christianity tossed in for good measure. This revelation comes as a surprise to many who still believe that America’s foundation is and has always been rooted in Judeo Christian values. And, from the number of faith-based films making their way to the big screen, it appears Hollywood missed the memo as well.

The list of movies with a Christian focus continues to expand, including the most recent, Son of God and God’s Not Dead and, upcoming releases, Noah, Heaven is for Real, A Matter of Faith, Exodus and Mary, Mother of Christ. While these films may not be considered blockbusters, the movie industry definitely sees them worthy of attention as most are being produced through big studios, such as Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. Jonathan Merritt (http://bit.ly/Kopq6E), a frequent contributor to USA Today, asserts that 2014 may very well be “The Year of the Bible” as the movie industry puts forth stories drawn directly from the Bible stories many of us heard as youngsters.

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Having seen a number of Christian based films, I can certainly agree with the critics that many of them give new meaning to the words “B movie.” I did not; however, have this same experience when I went to see God’s Not Dead. Truthfully, I generally go into these movies with somewhat low expectations and rarely am I disappointed. This time around, I was pleasantly surprised. I saw the movie at a Regal Cinemas theatre, in one of the larger auditoriums. The theatre was packed with only a few seats available down at the lowest level. Throughout the movie, and especially at the end, there were several instances in which the audience erupted in spontaneous applause, freely offered affirming comments and, at the close of the movie, it appeared as if many actually took up the challenge of texting/emailing their contacts the message, God’s Not Dead. There was a genuine sense of connectedness and camaraderie present amongst, what was otherwise, complete strangers. Somehow, in the midst of the story line, we all shared a sort of kinship and familiarity with one another.

In truth, I found the movie, God’s Not Dead, to be one of the more inspiring and heartfelt movies I have seen in a long time (and I go to see a movie at least once a week). I left the movie with a renewed sense of faith and connection to the Christian community. In fact, it made me wonder if the Christian church, as a whole, is somehow missing the point…

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