Is the Movie “God’s Not Dead” Worth Your Time and Money?
by Matt Rawlings
I am a movie snob who typically doesn’t like “Christian movies.” I fell in love with film as an atheist teenager and studied classics like Citizen Kane and Rashomon literally frame-by-frame. I read books on film making and film criticism by the likes of The Village Voice’s Andrew Sarris and the late, great Pauline Kael. I ran away to Hollywood at 16 because I worshipped at the altar of great movies. I don’t like predictable plots, canned dialogue, dinner theater acting and emotional appeals barely worthy of the Lifetime channel. Yep, I’m that jerk!
So, when I went to see God’s Not Dead last night, I did not go in with an open mind. I did like the fact that it was inspired by the fine book by Rice Broocks and was given positive reviews by folks I respect like Clinton Wilcox and Greg West but I was till skeptical.
I walked into a packed cinema on a Monday night and squeezed into a seat with a large bag of buttered death to comfort me. I sat with a smug “let’s get this over with” look of an evangelical doing his Christian duty but, by the end, I was won over.
If you don’t know anything about the movie, here is the synopsis from the web page:
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Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.
Let’s get a few snobby things out the way…