God’s Not Dead: Read the Book, See the Movie, and Get Into the Discussion!
by Greg West
Yesterday, we devoted an entire day’s worth of posting to raising awareness to the movie, God’s Not Dead, which opens today. Last December, I was thrilled to be one of a group of Ratio Christi directors and staff who were invited by Pastor, Evangelist, and Author, Dr. Rice Broocks, to watch a prescreening of the movie and to discuss our thoughts on the film. If you don’t know who Rice Broocks is, he’s the author of, God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, the book that was the inspiration behind the film. If you are a parent, youth pastor, or student, or just someone who is hearing about apologetics for the first time and are wondering what it’s all about, then this is the book you need to read as it is an excellent primer on the subject.
After watching the film, most of us found different aspects of the movie to criticize, but to a person, our reaction to the film was very positive. God’s Not Dead tells a compelling story—during the film, there were some very funny parts that made myself and others ‘LOL’, and there were also a few emotional scenes where I found myself struggling to hold back the tears. This film will not win, nor be nominated for a single Oscar. |t doesn’t contain any fight scenes or car chases, or dazzling special effects; it doesn’t address or answer every objection to Christianity and skeptics will not be coming to Christ in droves because we invite them to see it.
But to a person, what all of us became very excited about was the fact that this movie invites discussion, the kind of discussion that needs to be brought out in the open in churches, among parents and youth, and on high school campuses, at the university, and it the public square. Hardcore skeptics and those with an anti-Christian mindset may scoff and guffaw at the mention of this film, but even though they are a very vocal group that has a loud voice in the public arena due to the post 9/11 fallout against religion and the rise of the ‘new atheism’—which bears striking
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resemblance to the ‘old atheism’, by the way—they are a group that is in the minority. Most unbelievers I encounter are either apathetic towards religion, view religion in a relativistic light (i.e. ‘Whatever you want to believe is fine for you’), or both—and many of them are completely open to discussing matters of religion and worldviews, and that is why those of us who attended this prescreening event had such a positive reaction to it; because it will encourage Christians to rise above their Christian subculture and to open up and add their voice to the discussion.
Most Christians do not evangelize because they are too embarrassed to—they are afraid of looking silly or being stumped by hard questions about their faith. One great aspect of this film is that it presents Christianity as not some kind of irrational ‘faith without or against the evidence’ belief system, but as a completely rational and justified worldview—and not only that, but it presents the Gospel as well, something that many aspiring apologists are forgetting to put forward along with their apologetic arguments.
We as Christians need to be able to present the Gospel (that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, came and took the punishment for our sins himself in our place) in a compelling way, but we also need to be prepared to give reasons for our belief in that Gospel. Belief without evidence is not only irresponsible and unwise, it is also a ‘blind faith’ that has no basis in reality.
The bottom line is that every Christian needs to get out and see this film (opening today, March 21st), read the book, and get into the discussion. Pastors, you should be encouraging your parishioners and parents to see this film. Youth pastors, you should be encouraging your students to see this film, or better yet, take them all to see it together. Parents, you should be taking your family to see it and talking about it in-depth afterwards.
The Ratio Christi website and The Poached Egg both have resource material related to the film here and here, and there are also free resources for churches and church leaders available at the God’s Not Dead Movie website here that will help you get into the discussion and open up a dialogue, which is really the most important aspect of this film. Go see it today!