Why God’s Not Dead is taking movie theatres by storm

UPDATE:  UK RELEASE CONFIRMED FOR APRIL 18TH CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

 

God’s Not Dead starring Shane Harper, and Kevin Sorbo, who starred as Hercules in the hit TV show, has been taking the movie world by storm. Grossing over $9 million in its opening weekend with a limited release it is already No. 15 in total box office takings for Christian movies of all time.

God’s Not Dead is an emotional tale of a Christian student who wouldn’t be silenced by a bullying Atheist professor. Rather than deny his faith, the student fights back by tackling the intellectual poverty of many arguments for atheism. As scientists become ever more confident of the Big Bang explanation for the origins of the universe, the student points out the obvious but all too rarely asked question, “OK, but if that is true who made the Big Bang?” The classroom debate scenes use the classic Socratic method of using questions to probe the weaknesses of someone’s position.

The film was inspired by the book God’s Not Dead by American pastor and evangelist, Dr Rice Broocks. The concepts for the debate are all taken from the book. which explains nine arguments for the existence of God in a modern, accessible way. I strongly encourage you to get ahold of a copy and read it.

One reason the film is proving remarkably popular with Christian audiences is that it offers an approach to faith conversations that does not require Christians to sound ridiculous. The student humbly, respectfully, and yet robustly compels his professor to admit the conclusions of his atheism

The Western world is fast forgetting how to have a real conversation. On issue after issue we are split down the middle. Sometimes it feels as if we were to take a poll asking what people thought about almost any social issue the results would come out 51% to 49%. We also have a tendency to assume the worst about the other side. We metaphorically take up stones against those who disagree with us. This can either lead to us openly mocking the other group, or retreating into a philosophical ghetto and simply not interacting. As the old saying goes, “Never talk about God or politics.”

Our isolation from each other is perhaps greatest of all on the subject of God. And because we don’t speak about this subject all kinds of myths get created. Many, especially in the younger generations seem to believe that almost nobody actually believes in God. There is a strong agenda in certain parts of the media to promote such an illusion. Religion in all its forms has tended to be portrayed as a cause of trouble in the world, rather than the comfort it is to most people of faith. Hostile atheists are given an almost unchallenged opportunity to attempt to shape the worldview of millions. In the public square, Evangelical Christians are increasingly muzzled.

Christians are faced with open ridicule, hostility, and even in some cases outright discrimination. They feel increasingly alienated from a cultural landscape that they once dominated. Many secretly feel that their faith cannot be adequately defended in an intellectual debate. Faith for many has become something personal, which is not to be discussed openly for fear of rejection or worse being the response.

The movie has several highly evocative subplots. Some have criticised a few of the characters as seeming extreme. But anyone who thinks the atheist professor is a caricature clearly has never heard the increasingly shrill pronouncements of Richard Dawkins, for example.

One character unceremoniously finishes a relationship because his girlfriend is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Admittedly few people would be that selfish, yet if Darwinian evolution is the only explanation for our existence surely he is just acting in a consistent way with his purpose of propagating his genes with a healthier woman?

The film will also appeal to a broader audience since 74% of the US population continues to believe in God. If committed Christians lack confidence in articulating their arguments for the existence of God, then the silent majority is surely even less able to articulate the reasons for their belief. They will be rooting for the student in this film.

Many Christians find watching the movie leaves them with a new boldness and confidence. The film seems to grip them and propel many to a new level of courage. It is hard to be a Christian in a world that is hostile. But, Jesus is calling us to be faithful to him, and acknowledge him in our generation.

Below you can see the trailer of the film followed by a segment of Ed Stetzer’s The Exchange where we discussed the film with Rice Broocks, the author of the book that inspired the movie. You can also see the whole program here.

300 Leaders: Evangelism and the Evangelist by Rice Broocks Session 3
Q and A on Evangelism and the Evangelist with Rice Broocks and Tope Koleoso
Adrian and his pastor, Tope Koleoso on TBN's Praise the Lord
The great porn experiment and how it changes brains
About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, and a writer. Since 1995 he has been a member of Jubilee Church London which has sites in Enfield, Wood Green and Ilford. Adrian serves as part of Jubilee's leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • Dorfl

    It’s close to midnight where I live, so writing a well-formulated post on the current state of cosmology will have to wait until tomorrow.

    ’til then, if you really want a discussion about the cause of the Big Bang (cosmologists of course discuss the question all the time), this lecture by Sean Carroll is very accessible and covers the basic things you need to understand:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEr-t17m2Fo

  • Dorfl

    As scientists become ever more confident of the Big Bang explanation for the origins of the universe, the student points out the obvious but all too rarely asked question, “OK, but if that is true who made the Big Bang?”

    I sometimes feel like every post I read about the Big Bang theory will at some point have the author asking what came before the Big Bang and lamenting that this question is not asked more often. There recently was a Christian girl linking to her blog from Unreasonable Faith saying much the same thing.

    This used to baffle me, because cosmologists are of course discussing the question all the time. My best guess as to why people are under the impression that it’s rarely asked is that they aren’t getting their information directly from actual cosmologists: instead they mostly discuss their impressions of what cosmologists are saying with each other, which allows the “nobody asks why the Big Bang happened”-meme to be bounced around.

    While cosmologists are discussing it, there is no single consensus at the moment. To describe the physics of the Big Bang, we must take both gravity and quantum mechanical effects into account. So far, nobody has a good theory of quantum gravity, which stops us from saying anything definite. There are two main groups of hypotheses though:

    1. Nothing preceded the Big Bang. By Noether’s theorem, it is impossible for something to come from nothing unless that something has zero net energy. This is very convenient, since it stops bikes and elephants from popping into existence at random, which would be a nuisance. However, a flat Universe has zero net energy. Since astronomical observations indicate our Universe is flat, there is nothing that forbids it coming from nothing. Krauss and Hawking are both known for favouring this kind of model.

    2. There was a Universe prior to the Big Bang. In most of these models, the vastly larger part of the Universe is simply a empty void, with space constantly undergoing rapid expansion. Every once in a while, space in some region will decay to a non-expanding, lower energy space, causing a Big Bang and essentially birthing a new Universe. Sean Carroll is known for favouring this kind of model. It also recently got a considerable bit of support, with the recent discovery of gravitational waves matching what we would expect if our visible universe had started out with a brief epoch of such rapid expansion.

  • Elizabeth Sellers

    Loved ,loved,loved the movie! Best one I’ve seen in years

  • Kyle S.

    I don’t know any atheists like the ones in this movie. They’re like real-life internet trolls. Interesting to see what Christians really think of us.

  • Donalbain

    “OK, but if that is true who made the Big Bang?”

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    But anyone who thinks the atheist professor is a caricature clearly has never heard the increasingly shrill pronouncements of Richard Dawkins, for example.

    When did Richard Dawkins ever do anything as ridiculous as saying a student would fail a class for refusing to write a phrase on a piece of paper? When has ANY professor ever done something like that? Never. Because it is a really stupid thing to do, and only exists in the caricatures of atheists in the dumb emails that this story is based on.

    One character unceremoniously finishes a relationship because his girlfriend is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Admittedly few people would be that selfish, yet if Darwinian evolution is the only explanation for our existence surely he is just acting in a consistent way with his purpose of propagating his genes with a healthier woman?

    Evolutionary biology does not ever say anything about a person having a purpose or not. It is a description of the origin of the diversity of life, not an instruction manual.

  • http://www.frankviola.net/ Frank Viola

    Thanks Adrian. I’ve heard good things. Though the non-Christian world hates it.

    • http://adrianwarnock.com/ Adrian Warnock

      Well, I’ve heard reports of people actually becoming Christians after watching it. Some churches have been hiring screens and doing appeals afterwards. For sure some atheists haven’t been too pleased by it, though! You should definitely go watch it my friend.

      • crewe49

        Have you heard of people becoming Jews after seeing “The 10 Commandments”?. I’m guessing not.

        • John Airey

          Would only take one person to convert to Judaism after seeing the movie to make this incorrect.

      • Rratio

        Really? You are claiming that people entered the cinema without belief and found themselves converted by this film? I suggest that they must have been very gullible or suggestible people, or perhaps desperate or vulnerable. In short, the sort of people that tend to find religion anyway. Have you noticed how many people say they found god when their lives were at their lowest point, addicts, recently bereaved etc. You rarely here of a happy person reasoning their way to god.

    • Rratio

      The non christian world hate it? Where did you get that idea? It’s just a Hollywood take on absurd stereotypes with trite ‘arguments’ for god which just don’t stack up. All the usual circular arguments and non sequiturs in a medium which allows the writers to present them without fear of response. It may have gone down well in the US but in most other countries the Xtians find it a bit embarrassing and the non Xtians are shaking their heads in disbelief and sniggering a lot.

  • Steven Carr

    ‘One character unceremoniously finishes a relationship because his girlfriend is diagnosed with terminal cancer’

    Guess what? God wouldn’t let one of his children suffer like that. God would move Heaven and Earth to cure one of his children.

    What’s that? God passed by on the other side? Praise the Lord!

    • John Airey

      This issue is covered in the movie quite well I think – the dialogue about the person who has everything being far from God

  • Volcheka

    Gee “unceremoniously finishes a relationship because his girlfriend is
    diagnosed with terminal cancer. Admittedly few people would be that
    selfish,” …..http://www.salon.com/2011/03/08/gingrich_divorce_hospital_cancer/

    Some people sacrifice themselves for a mate, or a friend or a stranger, some are out for only themselves and their religious affiliation doesn’t seem to matter.

  • crewe49

    “One character unceremoniously finishes a relationship because his girlfriend is diagnosed with terminal cancer.” – Fiction.

    Newt Gingrich dropped off the divorce papers at the hospital where his wife was fighting breast cancer. – Fact.

    Weren’t you people wetting yourselves over Mel ” I’m not an anti Semite alcoholic” Gibson’s “Last Temptation of Christ”?

    There have been religion themed movies since they invented cinema. “The 10 Commandments”, ” The Robe”, “Ben Hur”, ” Quo Vadis” etc etc. I doubt very much if any of them have made people either for or against Christianity. If your faith needs occasionally propping up by a couple of hours of Hollywood twaddle then it probably wasn’t much of a faith to begin with.

    • John Airey

      Have you even seen the film?

  • John Airey

    There were two things that stood out to me about this film (not just that the production values were very high and it was supremely well acted) – first that not all Christians were portrayed in a good light and second that it took an African pastor to encourage an American pastor in his faith. Also it’s obvious that the movie doesn’t portray all that this student had said to his class (basic maths would have made that an hour of the movie on its own). I won’t say any more – just go and see this film! (yes – there is a mathematical error in this comment, they give maths degrees to anyone these days…)


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