If there is a hell, it most surely consists of watching the movie God’s Not Dead ad nauseam…and not being allowed to rebut. But while it’s still allowed and I’m still breathing…
Problem 1) All atheists are douchebags. This much is clear from a professor that verbally abuses his inappropriately young girlfriend at dinner, and the guy who bullies his mom with Alzheimer’s.
Problem 2) No professor would act like that at all. Forcing students to ascribe to your personal beliefs or lose 30% of their grade does not happen, and that kind of behavior would get you fired.
Problem 3) The professor uses more arguments from authority than I’ve ever heard from a real atheist in my life. While there are many respected atheists, none of them or their works are sacred. That’s something reserved for the religious.
Problem 4) It’s pretty shoddy theology to say that a being who is perfect (that is, being deficient in nothing) needs anything, let alone needing a college freshman to stand up for him.
Problem 5) One of the climaxes of the film involves Josh asking his professor why he hates God, a truly ridiculous question for someone that doesn’t believe in God. And when his professor says, “I hate God because he took everything from me,” it’s proven that he’s not actually an atheist at all, which was kind of the point of the movie.
Problem 6) Unfortunately, Josh’s proof of his professor’s theism is orthogonal to the question of the proof of God’s existence, which was also kind of the point of the movie.
Problem 7) Josh tells Reverend Dave that there are about 80 kids in his class, none of whom he suspects are likely to walk into a church on Sunday. Dave tells him that this might be the only meaningful interaction with God that they will have, which is an extraordinary claim considering that about 78% of the American populace ascribes to some form of Christianity. In order to heighten the persecution complex narrative, Josh has imagined that NONE of these kids are likely to go to church, have religious family histories, or be predisposed to the idea of God in any way.
Problem 8) Those two pastors seemed to be creepily cool with the idea of proselytizing to a dying man, and then calling his death and conversion a cause for celebration.
Problem 9) The girl with cancer and the dying professor both push this narrative that pain or sadness is a good reason to believe in God, or the belief that while people may be comfortable now, those other things will shake them out of their disbelief and bring them to God, which I think undermines the claim of God’s existence. Saying that people only believe it when they’re vulnerable is bad logic.
Problem 10) Josh also succumbs to the fallacy of thinking that without the Bible, there is no standard for morality, which I think is refuted by modern Christianity, which says that The Holy Spirit convicts us of right and wrong.
There were many more problems, but one good bit of this film was where the professor started quoting Job 14. It was like a Def Jam poetry slam, and I appreciated it. But all in all, these and other problems made this movie impossible to enjoy.
When I watched God’s Not Dead, I made the mistake of doing it alone (well, there was RumChata, but…). This meant that I was pausing every five minutes to argue with the screenwriters and just repeating the word “No” to my computer screen for an hour and a half. Now that I think of it, I think that worked out for the best. Moral of the story is: Don’t do drugs, kids, but do whatever you gotta do to get through this one, and bring a friend. And remember, God’s not dead. But he is imaginary.
Maybe everyone should text their friends that.
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