#GodsNotDead Soars on Bald Eagle Wings: Or, Postmortem Apologetics

WARNING: Spoilers abound (not that they really matter).

(Preface)

As a film, a work of art, a motion picture, a combination of acting, light, camerawork, editing, postproduction, color, music and more, as that sort of thing that is interested in beauty for beauty’s sake, a story and good writing and all the complexities of directing and the tragicomic, in that respect let me be very clear: God’s Not Dead does not qualify to be called a ‘movie’ in the artistic sense. To judge it alongside the Coens, Anderson, Tarantino, and Malick is to make a serious category mistake.

Of course the acting is horrid. Yes, as you may expect, the writing is awful. Do I really need to mention that the scenes are predictable? Obviously the plot was nonexistent and the cameos of Duck Dynasty and the Newsboys were, oddly enough, a laughable relief. But there is still something important and powerful to see here. I will not dismiss God’s Not Dead on its absolute, total, and irredeemable failure to even aspire to become art. After all, cinema isn’t exactly artsy these days and my unrefined palate believes that Anchorman 2 was the best movie I saw last year.

But maybe I’ve been too harsh. After all, there is a view (that I tend not to hold) that art is simply a matter of producing real phenomenological affects. Art is what connects and makes the person under its influence think, feel, and be. If that’s the case, then, perhaps, God’s Not Dead is, by a long shot, the best movie I’ve seen this year. Napoleon Dynamite was more satisfying and cathartic, to be sure, but it didn’t leave the impression this film did. It was enjoyable and niche, this was painful and accessible.

You could almost say that God’s Not Dead is more documentary than fiction. I was left with the uncanny impression that there is something very real here, for better and for worse.

Needless to say, this review is going to be long and hard because I think this thing I saw last night — whatever we decide to call it — is interesting in many different, conflicting, and rich ways, especially for Catholics and people of faith in general.

*

Many people overlook the most important evangelical tool in the arsenal of youth ministry retreats, conferences, and alike: shitty plays. They are all the same play, really, and the acting can sometimes improve them, but most of them are fool proof. They often rely on music, like the overused “Turn Around” schtick of the late 1990′s. The point is that a play, even a bad one, often functions as more of an argument than an argument. It delivers a convicting message, packaged for an everyman that can cover middle school to mid twenties.

What is perhaps most astonishing is how these canned, formulaic, and homemade skits can so routinely have such powerful and vivid emotional effects and manifestations. Especially when followed by music, therapeutic prayer, and psychoanalytic preaching.

In this respect, those who dismiss God’s Not Dead as being built on a mountain of bad arguments, faulty assumptions, and the rest miss the point: the performance belies the content.

There is little doubt that this movie succeeds tremendously in utilizing every evangelical trope of what I would call “cool Christianity” from the last twenty years. From the conference echo, “God is good? ALL THE TIME! All the time? GOD IS GOOD!,” to the more understated (but hardly subtle, as there is nothing subtle in this film) behavior and mannerisms that display the sort of balancing act that this type of evangelical style uses to keep its edge.

For example, the film opens with romance: the feature protagonist — a tall, white, athletically built, baby-faced attractive college freshman, wearing a plaid shirt unbuttoned with a Newsboys t-shirt underneath (I told you there was nothing subtle!) — and his stylishly white, blonde, thin, and borderline sexy (but never too sexy!) girlfriend who ends up leaving him (the “pressure from the girlfriend” problem is a common one that always gets touched on by ministry of this sort). The image of them walking affectionately on the lawn together, is instantly attractive in all the ways that marketing experts understand. The message is univocal: Christian are attractive, mainstream, and can even have hot boy/girl friends. I don’t think the word ‘sex’ appears in the film, but there are two telling signs of physical affection that show more than can be said: a kiss from each young lover, one on the side of the head from the boy, the other on the cheek from the girl.

Here, again, the juxtaposition is identical to what I’ve seen in so many youth groups. You can have it all and still behave. Of course, us Catholics sometimes push this even further with the erotic morning sessions on theology of the body and porn and other things that usually create a unique sexual tension. The hugging and affirming culture of cool Christianity can, I think, be read almost entirely from this sort of fiercely repressed tantric piety.

That is but one small example of a text filled with instantly recognizable, and perfectly executed, themes and issues. As a result, you could say that God’s Not Dead is a perfect youth retreat, packaged inside 113 minutes. It has the identical effect that “Jesus Freak” had in its day, but it is now much more refined, intentional, and polished.

*

I don’t have space or time to do more than assert that there is a rigorous sense to the meta-apologetics of the film. I can already imagine a companion text, that replies to objections, citing each scene that proves that the film does not, for instance, say that all philosophy classes are taught by atheists (there is a very clearly marked scene where the film sort of telegraphs that “THERE ARE OTHER PHILOSOPHY CLASSES! WE ARE NOT GUILTY OF MAKING THAT ASSUMPTION HERE!”)

The addition of complexity, however, is more strategic than paradoxical, and for good reason: this is apologetics after the fact. This film is, really, something of a eulogy for a world that never was, but surely will never be again for quite sometime. This is about America. The patriotic theme is never done in a wholly objectionable way, but it’s there. The American flag, for instance, pops in and out, and always belongs on the side of God. Despite the bandana worn by Willie Robertson (from Duck Dynasty), the more interesting placement was a quick, glancing shot of the US flag inside the also fascinatingly generic, but rather “high church” looking, sanctuary.

*

When the sentiment of a scene ran completely raw, even the apologetic balance was lost and this was the main flaw in the evangelical delivery as far as I could tell. This blindness also revealed how an aesthetic disaster can lead to perversely unreflective violence.

Two examples, to prove my point: the most violent scenes are (a) when a Muslim woman — there is an early and consistent subplot of a Muslim women who converts to Christianity (using an oddly liberationist counterbalance between her traditionalist father and the glitz of the Newsboys’ American Christianity) that is very disturbing and, in my view, the oddest and most regrettable part of the movie — is physically abused by her father for refusing to reject Jesus, all this playing out in front of her son, the father’s informant, and (b) when the chief antagonist is struck, almost laughably (recalling the absurdly telegraphed car crash in Remember the Titans), by a car, which leads to his death in the rain, just after accepting Jesus and getting saved with prompting from a pastor and his African friend who is also a pastor.

a. The brutality of the woman-beating scene was jarring and it was clear to me that the people who made the film didn’t have clue what they were doing. This was a very MANLY movie. After beating his daughter and throwing her out of his house, the father collapses in tears in what is supposed to add complexity and humanity to a scene where a petite woman is back-handed by her large and “angry-Arab”-looking father, as her son weeps. If anything, her bravery was the only real sacrifice of the entire film, yet she was cast as a minor role, supporting the narrative of the guy who only loses his hot girlfriend and never shows more remorse or pain than a pensive shaking of the head.

b. The evil philosophy professor, who rather inexplicably forces his class to write “God is dead.” on a sheet of paper and aggressively treats his students like idiots, is chasing after his lost love, a former student, who is attending the same Newsboys concert everyone else in the movie managed to be at. As he crosses the road, he gets hit by a car, right in front of the pastor and his African friend who are trying (in another very odd subplot) to go to an amusement park. All of this in the pouring rain, mind you. The African pastor diagnoses the professor, on sight alone, as having crushed ribs, awaiting a certain death within moments. In that short time, the other pastor tells the dying man that God saved him from dying on impact so that he could accept Jesus and get saved. (What struck me about this scene, and another one where the Newsboys pray for another subplot women who is dying of cancer [long story here, but equally as oddly paced and laid out], is how the posture of the people in the scene was identical to that of people praying over each other, preaching, and alike in hip Christian circles. The way they fold their hands, which isn’t too religious-looking, but shows piety.)

Despite these two rather awful — one despicable and repugnant, the other laughable and outrageous — climatic scenes, the movie otherwise manages to not go obscenely overboard, even when it accelerates in other ways.

*

The effect is perfect, really. What kind of person do you want to relate to? The persecuted saint (who is actually not persecuted that much, so don’t worry about taking this thing too far and being uncool or weird) or the giant asshole (who is totally corrupt and empty inside until Jesus relieves it altogether).

And what will you do about it?

Send a text message. Seriously, send a text message.

Really, this was brilliant: the film had three “altar call” moments, two in the film itself and one with the option to participate. The first was when the philosophy classroom, sparked by another subplot of a Chinese student who rejects his father’s secular state atheism, stands up and declares, one by one, “God is not dead.” The second is when all these subplot members make their way to the Newsboys concert. This part is effective because it has the “gathering song” effect that is so typical of youth conferences and retreats. The third is when Robertson returns, via big screen at the Newsboys concert, and tells the Jesus-filled crowd of ten thousand (and everyone sitting in the movie theatre) to text “God’s Not Dead” to their entire contacts list.

I guess this is the New Evangelization, right?

Who knows. But I suspect that this is precisely what we’ve been fawning over Matthew Kelly for: better marketing, positive branding, fuel for the big bad world out there, set to destroy and eat us like the lions of the Colosseum.

*

I was shocked at my reaction. I choked up more than once. Some of this is simply the fact that my emotions are hair-triggered to begin with. But some of it was, frankly, shocking. I knew the game and the rules and the rules behind the rules, and still, the message had a particular resonance with my at a very basic affective level. Let no one doubt the bare reality of the evangelical Christian metanarrative: it works. Without the two blunders I mentioned, this movie may have even been persuasive in a way that would have been alarming and alluring.

I was also filled with a sense of fear and sadness when thinking of the present state of Christianity in the United States. I thought of my own work, this blog, my music, the album I’ll be recording in two weeks, the academic work. There needs to be more than just an alternative, I think; we must do more than give a better option. The problem is more fundamental.

I do not want to politicize these facts, but they are absolutely present and real: this is a film about and for suburban, college-going, mostly white (but increasingly cosmopolitan), privileged Americans (who say nothing at all about sexuality, despite facing very real questions of love, loss, and death) who live in a world where you have to be a certain kind of Christian to survive. This is the generation of young people who don’t bother to read the Book of Job.

*

I felt deeply moved and confused and even a bit dumbfounded at my response to God’s Not Dead. I hated it and I think I liked it. I think it borders on the idiotic and, somehow, manages to be an almost flawless and self-consistent form of apologetics. Most of all, I saw myself in it, past and present, and I saw where we are, as Catholics, stuck between this sort of caricatured garbage and the rancid and cynical “none.” Surely there is more than better options. But that doesn’t cleanse the sense I have that God’s Not Dead captured a better picture of the present state of Christianity (and philosophy!) than I’d like to believe is true.

*

Unlike the evangelical style of, for instance, “Campus Crusade for Christ” or other bygones of that era, there is something unique about this film that, in closing, I’d like to mention:

1. Jesus has a very minor role in the film. In this respect, this is not the “Jesus Freak” generation; this is the God’s Not Dead generation. I think it is fairly clear which claim is countercultural and which one is defensive and paranoid.

2. Science is engaged with in a way that was not of the Young Earth creationist variety, and even seemed plausibly evolutionist. That was refreshing, mostly, but also rather unconvincing, since the arguments boiled back down to a literal reading of Genesis. Nonetheless, as noted in point 1, rather than proclaim “Christ crucified,” or something radical like that, the movie seemed to assume that asserting the metaphysical existence of God is identical to belief in the God of Abraham, and Jesus Christ, which is problematic (especially when considering the Muslim aspect).

3. I could write a whole book on the ways that teaching and pedagogy were portrayed in the film, but I won’t do that now.

4. It is decidedly protestant. I know that calling protestants protestants ruffles a few people’s feathers nowadays, but it’s true. That I find it relatable is another difficult explanation that I won’t bore you with, but let’s just say that I’m not exactly feeling ecumenical about this movie.

5. The credits display and pay tribute to a number of cases where religious groups were censored by public universities. This gives it a “religious freedom” or “student/youth movement” feel. Despite this link, the movie still felt desperate. It seems to proclaim it’s antithesis: God is dead, hence the need for the mass text message trolling. Of course, we’ve known about God’s demise since Nietzsche stole it from Hegel, but here the horse is dead enough to become alive again.

*

(Epilogue)

We live in the age of the undead God, the God who is merely not dead, but can hardly be called alive. This is a zombie Christianity. These are apologetics that risk nothing and grant even less in advance; this is love with conditions and straw men who burn with a zeal that shows them to be faking it, too. New Atheism, Bill Maher’s smart-assery, Contemporary Christian music, that privileged sort of suburban tie-dyed t-shirt wearing youth ministry*, and God’s Not Dead all belong together. They are obsessed with each other. And they all have things to sell.

What was most real to me about God’s Not Dead was how fake it was, and how artificial a film it takes to portray the unwitting image of followers of Christ in America today. This may be an unfair image, but, making films (and retreats and conferences and music) like this, we damn well deserve it.

*You may also want to read an earlier post, An Aesthetic Critique of Youth Ministry: Miley Cyrus vs. Bonnie Raitt.

  • mochalite

    Oh.My.Word! Is there any youth ministry cliché that doesn’t appear in this film? Well, you didn’t mention the “trust fall,” so I guess they missed that one. I’m glad you felt some power in the thing, but what an unholy mess; and, as you said, desperate to boot.

    Here’s how I’d do youth ministry: Lots of Scripture reading/memorization and lots of work in the church and community, from Habitat stuff to holding peoples’ hands in the hospital to cooking for Wednesday night suppers to working in daycares. Keep ‘em learning and busy.
    Okay, some fun stuff too. But no talk of evangelizing. Teens can’t share what they neither know nor have experienced (which is why they need to read Job!) so being “evangelical” devolves to carrying your Bible to school, praying around the flagpole, etc. … not necessarily awful, but nothing that makes real sense to a developing mind/heart/spirit. No more “get honest” nights … get sleep after memorizing another passage so you can do service work the next day! No more weepy chapels. No more creepy theological discussions … learn Bible and work before attempting theology.
    Hmm … maybe that’s how we should do adult ministry too.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      Especially since you’re faced now with three generations who got the rest, but never saw a service project.

      • mochalite

        Exactly. And remember that all the Bible tells us about Jesus before he was 30 is that he learned a whole lot of Scripture and learned carpentry.

  • Paul S.

    “generation of young people who don’t bother to read the book of Job.”
    Yes. I’ve seen it on two separate occasions in friends/acquaintances. The feel-good atmosphere of the Saturday night praise session that takes the place of nights out drinking… and Sunday worship. Then when the going gets tougher, the so-called “faith” is found wanting.

  • Paul S.

    “generation of young people who don’t bother to read the book of Job.”
    Yes. I’ve seen it on two separate occasions in friends/acquaintances. The feel-good atmosphere of the Saturday night praise session that takes the place of nights out drinking… and Sunday worship. Then when the going gets tougher, the so-called “faith” is found wanting.

  • Shido

    You may not be the only one critiquing God Is Not Dead but you are the only one I am aware of.. imagine that (thanks to Justin Tse). Interesting that the only other mention of this movie is in the comparative criticism that Noah has lost ground to it.

    When will movie-makers get it that you don’t dumb down authentic stories? Weelll, given all of the failures made in the name of CB movies.. probably never.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    “New Atheism, Bill Maher’s smart-assery, Contemporary Christian music, that privileged sort of suburban tie-dyed t-shirt wearing youth ministry*, and God’s Not Dead all belong together. They are obsessed with each other. And they all have things to sell.”

    Mainly books and T-shirts, from what I can tell. Certainly they don’t have any philosophy or deep theology or even any science beyond “believe what peer reviewed journals tell you and try to ignore the confirmation bias”.

    • paizlea

      What kind of science do you have?

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        The kind that seeks the mind of God by rigid observation of His Works. The kind that is a love affair with the Truth until you realize who the Truth is. The kind that doesn’t dismiss evidence merely because it is impossible, or “supernatural”. The kind that doesn’t dismiss personal observation merely because it is subjective.

        In other words, Catholicism.

        • Asemodeus

          “The kind that seeks the mind of God by rigid observation of His Works.”

          Wow, the cognitive dissonance is amazing.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Only to somebody who thinks that the universe made itself. I always find it interesting how poverty stricken atheists are, that they don’t understand that *everything* observed by science, is proof that God exists.

          • Asemodeus

            “Only to somebody who thinks that the universe made itself.”

            To which we have actual evidence and working models for. You know, science?

            ” I always find it interesting how poverty stricken atheists are, that
            they don’t understand that *everything* observed by science, is proof
            that God exists.”

            Which is confirmation bias. Again, not actual science.

            You are one of those people that gets confused easily, aren’t you?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “To which we have actual evidence and working models for. ”

            A model isn’t reality, and the actual evidence points to a creator.

            “You know, science?”

            Real science goes where the observations lead, not where the confirmation bias restricts you to.

            “Which is confirmation bias.”

            The confirmation bias is in the assumption that you know everything.

            “Again, not actual science.”

            It is your science that isn’t actual, because it fails to take into account observations.

            “You are one of those people that gets confused easily, aren’t you?”

            Nope, but you apparently are, for you have mistaken the dream of a syphalic idiot for reality.

          • Asemodeus

            “A model isn’t reality, and the actual evidence points to a creator.”

            Never said it was. This is how science works, by the way. You set about internally consistent models and go about testing them.

            Your confirmation bias is not impressive.

            “Real science goes where the observations lead, not where the confirmation bias restricts you to.”

            Oh boy, you are just a bundle of cognitive dissonance.

            :”Nope, but you apparently are, for you have mistaken the dream of a syphalic idiot for reality.”

            Having to explain simple scientific methodology to you isn’t helping your case.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Real science is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary models.

            Your methodology is nothing other than confirmation bias, inspired by a syphalic madman of a German.

          • Asemodeus

            “Real science is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary models.”

            So you shouldn’t be a christian then. Congrats on figuring this out.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Catholicism is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary mathematical models. See Nostra Aetate for more information, or better yet, read something deeper than a bought-and-paid-for scientific journal.

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            “Catholicism is about observation of reality …”
            No, observation is the job of the empirical sciences. Catholic theology is not an empirical science. From the posits of Catholicism we can not determine the ground state energy of a quantum system. On the other hand, science does a very good job of predicting the ground state energy of quantum systems.

            “not observation about imaginary mathematical models”
            Imaginary? What does the word imaginary even mean in this context? Are you positing something about the ontology of mathematics, or are you rejecting all mathematics? It is unclear. Models make predictions, we compare those predictions to reality.

            ” … read something deeper than a bought-and-paid-for scientific journal”. I see you are now rejecting science. Your laptop works because of quantum mechanical models. Lasers work because of quantum mechanical models. It is quite annoying to see someone deny models scientific which make solid predictions, while still using the computers, which rely on quantum mechanical models to work. In fact, much of society relies on the results of science.

            By trying to attack atheism you instead find yourself trying to attack all of science. When you frame the debate as Science vs Faith. Science wins because science demonstrably works and science has demonstrably helped more people. Are you a really trying to portray Catholicism as being in opposition to science?

            If you want to play by the rules of science, as you certainly seem to, then you should adhere to the scientific method, and that includes identifying what is falsifiable and instantly dropping all non-falsifiable postulates. Where religion has put forward testable predictions, it has been falsified. In my current understanding, no testable predictions are currently put forward. Thus, from a scientific standpoint, all postulates should be dropped. If not, what testable predictions do you put forward? From your comment ” *everything* observed by science, is proof that God exists”, it sounds like you put forward no such thing. Anything is confirmatory evidence to you. Please consult Popper on the definition of pseudscience, particularly his point about theories which posit that everything is confirmatory evidence.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “Catholic theology is not an empirical science.”

            Nostra Aetate explained that it was. Go and read it. The rest of your rant is based on a mistake; theology is the king of science

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            I see no relevance of the Nostra Aetate, a “Declaration on the relation of the church to non-christian religions”. As I have pointed out, if you want to be a science, you play by the rules. You can ignore my arguments, but in the end when positions such as yours get aired in public (in opposition to science and/or pretending to be science), they lose, and they lose badly.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            See Nostra Aetate 2.2, and remember the scientific method when you do so. If you are too stupid to see it, that’s not my problem.

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            Err right. You evade my question and then point to an irrelevant document without making any point. Good luck with that.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            We observe, take what is good, and condemn what is evil. The scientific method applied to religion and theology- experiment, find what is right, revise your theory towards what is right.

            If you’re so smart, why can’t you understand that? Perhaps you’re one of these people:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ghIU_tlX0k

          • paizlea

            You’re trying to take a scientific principle and apply it to a non-scientific idea: faith. Faith begins with an unfalsifiable claim, then extrapolates from there. Your claim to have a “scientific religion” is ridiculous on its face, because there is no possibility that the original hypothesis can be disproved. You clearly have no understanding of how science works.

            Value judgments – what is good and what is evil – are not scientific. Science states what is real (from the best available evidence). Once a judgment is made, it is no longer a scientific statement. So again, your claim to have a scientific religion because it determines good and evil, is incorrect.

            That is why science and faith are compatible, despite God being completely unscientific idea. Many scientists are believers, and many are not. Faith has no bearing on their ability to do science, just as their scientific training has no bearing on their belief in a deity. But if you try to use science to prove what can only ever be believed, you will fail, because your can’t disprove God. And if you can’t disprove something, you can’t prove it either.

            Since you can’t seem to understand the difference between real science and pseudoscience, the fact that you’re accusing someone else of having low intelligence is nothing more than laughable.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            No, atheists think faith is non-falsifiable, because they’ve never actually bothered to understand theology. Too stupid too is my guess.

          • paizlea

            All you are doing here is name-calling, rather than explaining your position. That only serves to show the weakness of your opinion. If you have an argument to make, make it. Otherwise, you’re just a kid stomping his foot, yelling “I’m right!!”

            Please, propose a scientific experiment that tests the hypothesis that God exists.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Sure. You can test whether God exists by asking if the universe exists. Since the definition of God is “That person or process which made the universe”, the universe existing is proof that God exists.

            This is so incredibly basic that it leads us right back to the question three posts ago- are you really smart enough to be an atheist, or are you just pretending?

          • paizlea

            You’re confusing a philosophical test with a scientific one. Not surprising, since you have yet to show even a basic understanding of how real science works. I’m still waiting to hear how your great scientific religion can explain how God is a testable hypothesis. Well?

            And you’re still throwing insults around, as if that somehow strengthens your weak claims. Is that what you learn in your science church? If you can’t beat them, insult them?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Science is a philosophical test. The philosophy came first, and a good theology will follow the scientific method.

            It is a testable hypothesis whether the universe exists or not. Just do magic to prove that the universe doesn’t exist, and therefore God does not exist.

          • paizlea

            That the universe exists in no way proves what might have caused it. You can call it god if you want, but that doesn’t provide a scientific explanation of what the “first cause” is. Science requires more than labels, it requires descriptions and definitions that can be used to further knoweldge. “This undefined thing I call “God” created the universe, because something had to have done it,” is not a scientific statement. Once again, you are not making a case, but only showing your lack of knowledge of the basics of how science works.

            God is not a scientific concept. If you want to prove otherwise, you’re going to have to start using scientific ideas. Still waiting.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            That the universe exists proves that it had a cause, no more, no less. Since the definition of God is That Which Caused the Universe, you’d have to prove that the universe doesn’t exist.

            There are a few attempts at this, such as the multiverse, string theory, and the like, but so far, they’re even less falsifiable than God.

            You are right that God isn’t a scientific concept, but what you’ve failed to realize is that science is a theological concept.

            Which just leads me right back to the idea that you’re not smart enough to even begin to be in the debate.

          • paizlea

            You haven’t defined God at all, simply labelled it to be That Which Caused the Universe. As I explained earlier, and you either missed or ignored, a label means virtually nothing in science. You need to define God (create a hypothesis), and then design a scientific experiment to prove or disprove the hypothesis. You can’t set up an experiment to show that God exists, because you can’t define God (specific attributes, not some ambiguous First Cause concept). If you don’t understand the difference between as label and a definition, you’re nowhere near grasping the rudiments of science. But you’ve made that very clear already.

            “You are right that God isn’t a scientific concept” – wow, you finally understand the point I made many, many posts ago! And you said that I was the one who had trouble understanding things…silly man. You started off claiming that the scientific method could be used to prove God, and now you admit that it can’t. Science cannot be used to addressed non-scientific ideas. Science will never prove or disprove God. Your theology can rail against rationalism all it wants, but that fact will never change. So thank you for this lovely little discussion. I appreciate your gracious concession.

            On a parting note, just a friendly bit of advice: the more you insult your opponent’s intelligence, the stupider you look. If the strength of your ideas can’t win an argument, your attempts to belittle others won’t help your cause one bit.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            It isn’t my definition, it’s not my word to define. But hey, if you want to redefine the entire language to support your atheism, then go right ahead, as far as I’m concerned, you have shown me nothing to even begin to show me that you can think, let alone have enough respect to understand the level of advanced philosophy that I’m writing at.

            Science is just another version of philosophy. It is, in and of itself, a non-scientific idea.

          • paizlea

            Your continued attempts to derail the conversation have obviously confused you, so let me remind your what’s happening here. We’re arguing whether God can be proven by science. You said yes, I said no, we debated, and you then admitted I was right. Sorry if that hurts, but them’s the facts.

            Science – since you don’t know – is a process by which we can understand reality through adherence to certain rules. Step outside the rules, and it’s not science anymore. There’s lots to life that’s not scientific, including God. That’s the beauty of faith, you know – that regardless of the facts we learn through the use of science, it will never disprove the existence of the Transcendent. You can use philosophical and theological arguments all you like to justify why you believe what you believe – but that’s what they are, beliefs. They’re outside the realm of science, and always will be.

            But you’ve really got me laughing now! I explain how idiotic your insults make you look, and all you can do is double down. You’re stomping your feet like a red-faced, hysterical toddler, screaming “You’re stupid! You’re stupid!” over and over. Hahahaha!! Tell me, has anyone ever taken you seriously? Because the way you engage in discussion makes it seem like you’ve never been exposed to civil, adult behavior. I hope someday you find someone who can tolerate your antics long enough to show you that you’re only making yourself and whatever cause you espouse look ridiculous.

            To sum up: 1) you admitted I was right and, 2) you made yourself look like an ignorant fool by hurling insults instead of actual ideas. Part one was a given, but part two wasn’t necessary. Do yourself a favor, and learn to act like a grown-up.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “We’re arguing whether God can be proven by science. ”

            No, that’s what you are arguing. What I am arguing is that the scientific method was inspired by, and came from, Roman Catholic theology, and that in return during Vatican II, the scientific method was specifically incorporated into Catholic Thought as respects other religions.

            I’m not sure why you’re arguing about whether God can be proven by science, since the real question is, can science exist without God.

          • paizlea

            Nice attempt to move the goalposts, but it won’t work. You lost this argument.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            You are the one who attempted to move the goalposts. I’ve been on topic all along, as a review of the above thread will show. You’re just another idiot trying to claim something that isn’t true- that science and faith aren’t the same thing.

          • paizlea

            One civil post, and it’s back to the childish behavior. Neither faith nor God is a testable hypothesis, and to claim otherwise is to call the sky plaid. While I have explained at length why my position is correct – which you agreed with in a moment of clarity – you have spent this time having a tantrum. You’ve had your chance to make a point, but all you can do is use insults. If you had an argument to make, you should have made it. But since you have nothing but insults, you are obviously incapable of defending your position.

            What an unfortunate intellect you have, that you can’t comprehend something grade school kids grasp easily. But you do have the behavior of a child, so at least you have that going for you.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I made my point 20 posts ago, it’s you who keeps this going.

            You’re the one who can’t seem to grasp that all human thought is connected- all rational human thought anyway- which includes faith, which is tested all the time. And it all comes from God in the first place.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    “New Atheism, Bill Maher’s smart-assery, Contemporary Christian music, that privileged sort of suburban tie-dyed t-shirt wearing youth ministry*, and God’s Not Dead all belong together. They are obsessed with each other. And they all have things to sell.”

    Mainly books and T-shirts, from what I can tell. Certainly they don’t have any philosophy or deep theology or even any science beyond “believe what peer reviewed journals tell you and try to ignore the confirmation bias”.

    • paizlea

      What kind of science do you have?

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        The kind that seeks the mind of God by rigid observation of His Works. The kind that is a love affair with the Truth until you realize who the Truth is. The kind that doesn’t dismiss evidence merely because it is impossible, or “supernatural”. The kind that doesn’t dismiss personal observation merely because it is subjective.

        In other words, Catholicism.

        • Asemodeus

          “The kind that seeks the mind of God by rigid observation of His Works.”

          Wow, the cognitive dissonance is amazing.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Only to somebody who thinks that the universe made itself. I always find it interesting how poverty stricken atheists are, that they don’t understand that *everything* observed by science, is proof that God exists.

          • Asemodeus

            “Only to somebody who thinks that the universe made itself.”

            To which we have actual evidence and working models for. You know, science?

            ” I always find it interesting how poverty stricken atheists are, that
            they don’t understand that *everything* observed by science, is proof
            that God exists.”

            Which is confirmation bias. Again, not actual science.

            You are one of those people that gets confused easily, aren’t you?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “To which we have actual evidence and working models for. ”

            A model isn’t reality, and the actual evidence points to a creator.

            “You know, science?”

            Real science goes where the observations lead, not where the confirmation bias restricts you to.

            “Which is confirmation bias.”

            The confirmation bias is in the assumption that you know everything.

            “Again, not actual science.”

            It is your science that isn’t actual, because it fails to take into account observations.

            “You are one of those people that gets confused easily, aren’t you?”

            Nope, but you apparently are, for you have mistaken the dream of a syphalic idiot for reality.

          • Asemodeus

            “A model isn’t reality, and the actual evidence points to a creator.”

            Never said it was. This is how science works, by the way. You set about internally consistent models and go about testing them.

            Your confirmation bias is not impressive.

            “Real science goes where the observations lead, not where the confirmation bias restricts you to.”

            Oh boy, you are just a bundle of cognitive dissonance.

            :”Nope, but you apparently are, for you have mistaken the dream of a syphalic idiot for reality.”

            Having to explain simple scientific methodology to you isn’t helping your case.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Real science is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary models.

            Your methodology is nothing other than confirmation bias, inspired by a syphalic madman of a German.

          • Asemodeus

            “Real science is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary models.”

            So you shouldn’t be a christian then. Congrats on figuring this out.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Catholicism is about observation of reality, not observation about imaginary mathematical models. See Nostra Aetate for more information, or better yet, read something deeper than a bought-and-paid-for scientific journal.

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            “Catholicism is about observation of reality …”
            No, observation is the job of the empirical sciences. Catholic theology is not an empirical science. From the posits of Catholicism we can not determine the ground state energy of a quantum system. On the other hand, science does a very good job of predicting the ground state energy of quantum systems.

            “not observation about imaginary mathematical models”
            Imaginary? What does the word imaginary even mean in this context? Are you positing something about the ontology of mathematics, or are you rejecting all mathematics? It is unclear. Models make predictions, we compare those predictions to reality.

            ” … read something deeper than a bought-and-paid-for scientific journal”. I see you are now rejecting science. Your laptop works because of quantum mechanical models. Lasers work because of quantum mechanical models. It is quite annoying to see someone deny models scientific which make solid predictions, while still using the computers, which rely on quantum mechanical models to work. In fact, much of society relies on the results of science.

            By trying to attack atheism you instead find yourself trying to attack all of science. When you frame the debate as Science vs Faith. Science wins because science demonstrably works and science has demonstrably helped more people. Are you a really trying to portray Catholicism as being in opposition to science?

            If you want to play by the rules of science, as you certainly seem to, then you should adhere to the scientific method, and that includes identifying what is falsifiable and instantly dropping all non-falsifiable postulates. Where religion has put forward testable predictions, it has been falsified. In my current understanding, no testable predictions are currently put forward. Thus, from a scientific standpoint, all postulates should be dropped. If not, what testable predictions do you put forward? From your comment ” *everything* observed by science, is proof that God exists”, it sounds like you put forward no such thing. Anything is confirmatory evidence to you. Please consult Popper on the definition of pseudscience, particularly his point about theories which posit that everything is confirmatory evidence.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “Catholic theology is not an empirical science.”

            Nostra Aetate explained that it was. Go and read it. The rest of your rant is based on a mistake; theology is the king of science

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            I see no relevance of the Nostra Aetate, a “Declaration on the relation of the church to non-christian religions”. As I have pointed out, if you want to be a science, you play by the rules. You can ignore my arguments, but in the end when positions such as yours get aired in public (in opposition to science and/or pretending to be science), they lose, and they lose badly.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            See Nostra Aetate 2.2, and remember the scientific method when you do so. If you are too stupid to see it, that’s not my problem.

          • Cathal Ó Broin

            Err right. You evade my question and then point to an irrelevant document without making any point. Good luck with that.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            We observe, take what is good, and condemn what is evil. The scientific method applied to religion and theology- experiment, find what is right, revise your theory towards what is right.

            If you’re so smart, why can’t you understand that? Perhaps you’re one of these people:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ghIU_tlX0k

          • paizlea

            You’re trying to take a scientific principle and apply it to a non-scientific idea: faith. Faith begins with an unfalsifiable claim, then extrapolates from there. Your claim to have a “scientific religion” is ridiculous on its face, because there is no possibility that the original hypothesis can be disproved. You clearly have no understanding of how science works.

            Value judgments – what is good and what is evil – are not scientific. Science states what is real (from the best available evidence). Once a judgment is made, it is no longer a scientific statement. So again, your claim to have a scientific religion because it determines good and evil, is incorrect.

            That is why science and faith are compatible, despite God being completely unscientific idea. Many scientists are believers, and many are not. Faith has no bearing on their ability to do science, just as their scientific training has no bearing on their belief in a deity. But if you try to use science to prove what can only ever be believed, you will fail, because your can’t disprove God. And if you can’t disprove something, you can’t prove it either.

            Since you can’t seem to understand the difference between real science and pseudoscience, the fact that you’re accusing someone else of having low intelligence is nothing more than laughable.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            No, atheists think faith is non-falsifiable, because they’ve never actually bothered to understand theology. Too stupid too is my guess.

          • paizlea

            All you are doing here is name-calling, rather than explaining your position. That only serves to show the weakness of your opinion. If you have an argument to make, make it. Otherwise, you’re just a kid stomping his foot, yelling “I’m right!!”

            Please, propose a scientific experiment that tests the hypothesis that God exists.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Sure. You can test whether God exists by asking if the universe exists. Since the definition of God is “That person or process which made the universe”, the universe existing is proof that God exists.

            This is so incredibly basic that it leads us right back to the question three posts ago- are you really smart enough to be an atheist, or are you just pretending?

          • paizlea

            You’re confusing a philosophical test with a scientific one. Not surprising, since you have yet to show even a basic understanding of how real science works. I’m still waiting to hear how your great scientific religion can explain how God is a testable hypothesis. Well?

            And you’re still throwing insults around, as if that somehow strengthens your weak claims. Is that what you learn in your science church? If you can’t beat them, insult them?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Science is a philosophical test. The philosophy came first, and a good theology will follow the scientific method.

            It is a testable hypothesis whether the universe exists or not. Just do magic to prove that the universe doesn’t exist, and therefore God does not exist.

          • paizlea

            That the universe exists in no way proves what might have caused it. You can call it god if you want, but that doesn’t provide a scientific explanation of what the “first cause” is. Science requires more than labels, it requires descriptions and definitions that can be used to further knoweldge. “This undefined thing I call “God” created the universe, because something had to have done it,” is not a scientific statement. Once again, you are not making a case, but only showing your lack of knowledge of the basics of how science works.

            God is not a scientific concept. If you want to prove otherwise, you’re going to have to start using scientific ideas. Still waiting.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            That the universe exists proves that it had a cause, no more, no less. Since the definition of God is That Which Caused the Universe, you’d have to prove that the universe doesn’t exist.

            There are a few attempts at this, such as the multiverse, string theory, and the like, but so far, they’re even less falsifiable than God.

            You are right that God isn’t a scientific concept, but what you’ve failed to realize is that science is a theological concept.

            Which just leads me right back to the idea that you’re not smart enough to even begin to be in the debate.

          • paizlea

            You haven’t defined God at all, simply labelled it to be That Which Caused the Universe. As I explained earlier, and you either missed or ignored, a label means virtually nothing in science. You need to define God (create a hypothesis), and then design a scientific experiment to prove or disprove the hypothesis. You can’t set up an experiment to show that God exists, because you can’t define God (specific attributes, not some ambiguous First Cause concept). If you don’t understand the difference between as label and a definition, you’re nowhere near grasping the rudiments of science. But you’ve made that very clear already.

            “You are right that God isn’t a scientific concept” – wow, you finally understand the point I made many, many posts ago! And you said that I was the one who had trouble understanding things…silly man. You started off claiming that the scientific method could be used to prove God, and now you admit that it can’t. Science cannot be used to addressed non-scientific ideas. Science will never prove or disprove God. Your theology can rail against rationalism all it wants, but that fact will never change. So thank you for this lovely little discussion. I appreciate your gracious concession.

            On a parting note, just a friendly bit of advice: the more you insult your opponent’s intelligence, the stupider you look. If the strength of your ideas can’t win an argument, your attempts to belittle others won’t help your cause one bit.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            It isn’t my definition, it’s not my word to define. But hey, if you want to redefine the entire language to support your atheism, then go right ahead, as far as I’m concerned, you have shown me nothing to even begin to show me that you can think, let alone have enough respect to understand the level of advanced philosophy that I’m writing at.

            Science is just another version of philosophy. It is, in and of itself, a non-scientific idea.

          • paizlea

            Your continued attempts to derail the conversation have obviously confused you, so let me remind your what’s happening here. We’re arguing whether God can be proven by science. You said yes, I said no, we debated, and you then admitted I was right. Sorry if that hurts, but them’s the facts.

            Science – since you don’t know – is a process by which we can understand reality through adherence to certain rules. Step outside the rules, and it’s not science anymore. There’s lots to life that’s not scientific, including God. That’s the beauty of faith, you know – that regardless of the facts we learn through the use of science, it will never disprove the existence of the Transcendent. You can use philosophical and theological arguments all you like to justify why you believe what you believe – but that’s what they are, beliefs. They’re outside the realm of science, and always will be.

            But you’ve really got me laughing now! I explain how idiotic your insults make you look, and all you can do is double down. You’re stomping your feet like a red-faced, hysterical toddler, screaming “You’re stupid! You’re stupid!” over and over. Hahahaha!! Tell me, has anyone ever taken you seriously? Because the way you engage in discussion makes it seem like you’ve never been exposed to civil, adult behavior. I hope someday you find someone who can tolerate your antics long enough to show you that you’re only making yourself and whatever cause you espouse look ridiculous.

            To sum up: 1) you admitted I was right and, 2) you made yourself look like an ignorant fool by hurling insults instead of actual ideas. Part one was a given, but part two wasn’t necessary. Do yourself a favor, and learn to act like a grown-up.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “We’re arguing whether God can be proven by science. ”

            No, that’s what you are arguing. What I am arguing is that the scientific method was inspired by, and came from, Roman Catholic theology, and that in return during Vatican II, the scientific method was specifically incorporated into Catholic Thought as respects other religions.

            I’m not sure why you’re arguing about whether God can be proven by science, since the real question is, can science exist without God.

          • paizlea

            Nice attempt to move the goalposts, but it won’t work. You lost this argument.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            You are the one who attempted to move the goalposts. I’ve been on topic all along, as a review of the above thread will show. You’re just another idiot trying to claim something that isn’t true- that science and faith aren’t the same thing.

          • paizlea

            One civil post, and it’s back to the childish behavior. Neither faith nor God is a testable hypothesis, and to claim otherwise is to call the sky plaid. While I have explained at length why my position is correct – which you agreed with in a moment of clarity – you have spent this time having a tantrum. You’ve had your chance to make a point, but all you can do is use insults. If you had an argument to make, you should have made it. But since you have nothing but insults, you are obviously incapable of defending your position.

            What an unfortunate intellect you have, that you can’t comprehend something grade school kids grasp easily. But you do have the behavior of a child, so at least you have that going for you.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I made my point 20 posts ago, it’s you who keeps this going.

            You’re the one who can’t seem to grasp that all human thought is connected- all rational human thought anyway- which includes faith, which is tested all the time. And it all comes from God in the first place.

  • Alexander S Anderson

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I have to say that the contraction in the title really bothers me for some reason.

  • Alexander S Anderson

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I have to say that the contraction in the title really bothers me for some reason.

  • Frank McManus

    I guess I’ve been out of the loop … is this a popular movie? From the details you provide, it sounds like something that would inspire me to become an atheist. So I don’t quite follow you when you say you somehow had some positive reaction to the film.

    Honestly, you seem to be assuming your readers already know what this film is, and the whole plot (so to speak). I guess it’s an intertwined series of apologetic stories about people who figure out that “God’s not dead.” Blecchh.

    Evangelical junk movies seem to be a thing now. What made you think this one would be worth seeing?

    • SamRocha

      It is quite popular, actually. I think has out-grossed Noah at this point. And my own story has a lot that was able to “read” it in a way that, as a sociological phenomenon, really interested me and even captured my attention in ways I did’t think it would. That’s all, really.

      • Sven2547

        It is quite popular, actually. I think has out-grossed Noah at this point.

        As of Tuesday, April 15:

        Noah
        $86.7 Million domestic
        $162 Million foreign
        ($248.7 Million total worldwide)

        God’s Not Dead
        $42.2 Million domestic
        $0.2 Million foreign
        ($42.4 Million total worldwide)

        • paizlea

          Thanks. It’s good to see art trumping crap in the cinema.

          • Darren

            Did you just call “Noah” art?

            I think you mean formulaic Hollywood action drama ganked from the last great copyright-free source un-plundered by Disney; “Snakes on a Plane” meets “Waterworld” meets “The Ten Commandments”…

            Not that God’s Not Dead isn’t crap.

          • Barret

            “Snakes on a Plane”? I think the reference you are looking for is “The Shining”!

        • SamRocha

          Looks like I was pretty wrong about that. But I wouldn’t say that it is *not* popular, at least in the US.

          • Sven2547

            I agree, it’s far from “unpopular”, and my citation was never meant to suggest that.

  • Frank McManus

    I guess I’ve been out of the loop … is this a popular movie? From the details you provide, it sounds like something that would inspire me to become an atheist. So I don’t quite follow you when you say you somehow had some positive reaction to the film.

    Honestly, you seem to be assuming your readers already know what this film is, and the whole plot (so to speak). I guess it’s an intertwined series of apologetic stories about people who figure out that “God’s not dead.” Blecchh.

    Evangelical junk movies seem to be a thing now. What made you think this one would be worth seeing?

    • SamRocha

      It is quite popular, actually. I think has out-grossed Noah at this point. And my own story has a lot that was able to “read” it in a way that, as a sociological phenomenon, really interested me and even captured my attention in ways I did’t think it would. That’s all, really.

      • Sven2547

        It is quite popular, actually. I think has out-grossed Noah at this point.

        As of Tuesday, April 15:

        Noah
        $86.7 Million domestic
        $162 Million foreign
        ($248.7 Million total worldwide)

        God’s Not Dead
        $42.2 Million domestic
        $0.2 Million foreign
        ($42.4 Million total worldwide)

        • paizlea

          Thanks. It’s good to see art trumping crap in the cinema.

          • Darren

            Did you just call “Noah” art?

            I think you mean formulaic Hollywood action drama ganked from the last great copyright-free source un-plundered by Disney; “Snakes on a Plane” meets “Waterworld” meets “The Ten Commandments”…

            Not that God’s Not Dead isn’t crap.

          • Barret

            “Snakes on a Plane”? I think the reference you are looking for is “The Shining”!

        • SamRocha

          Looks like I was pretty wrong about that. But I wouldn’t say that it is *not* popular, at least in the US.

          • Sven2547

            I agree, it’s far from “unpopular”, and my citation was never meant to suggest that.

  • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

    OK, now having re-read your review and calmed down from reading one horrific review after another, maybe I can write a comment that isn’t worthy of deletion like the last one surely was.

    This was a war movie. This was Bogart in “Action in the North Atlantic” or Wayne in “The Fighting Seabees.” You’re more the film student than I by miles and miles, but I would suggest a comparison to British war movies made in 1941. We are at war in the US and we’re losing. We needed this movie. We needed it very, very badly.

    If you think I’m over-wrought, consider this. The United States government just took Little Sisters of the Poor all the way to the Supreme Court to force them to renounce an article of their faith. In exchange for this, the government would win … what? The ability to force us all to pay for contraceptives which cost the user about $9 a month.

    No one, anywhere and at any time can justify that exchange. There is no other explanation of that other a war on the Church. Imagine the meetings that went into that whole process. The lawyer meetings, the budget meetings, the travel requests by the government participants, the email exchanges, the preparations for testimonies in all the courts all the way up. Little Sisters of the Poor suffered a sustained and multi-dimensional attack by the government to no objective purpose. Further, 16 Democratic senators filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court also attacking the nuns.

    We are at war.

    Kermit Gosnell and his staff slaughtered babies for years. We’ll never know the full death toll, but consider this: In Russia during WW II, so many members of the Einsatzgruppen units suffered nervous breakdowns and alcoholism from massacring Jews that Himmler himself had to go to the scene to give them pep talks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsatzgruppen#Transition_to_gassing

    That did not happen at Gosnell’s business. The workers there were able to stab, drown and neglect living, breathing babies until they died. Gosnell was able to recruit a staff, presumably at random from the US population, more callous than Hitler’s Einsatzgruppen. Meanwhile, the news reports that Catholics are homophobes, priests abuse little boys and worse.

    I could go on and on and on. We’re at war and movies are a potent weapon in wartime. I’ve seen it twice and I think God’s Not Dead is a great war movie. There’s a tremendous hunger for movies like this, particularly when viewed against movies that have numbed American consciences more than the Nazis could numb some in the SS. That’s why God’s Not Dead earned $40M+ and maybe that’s why you had an emotional reaction to it.

    • SamRocha

      In other words, you are openly suggesting that this movie is propaganda? Interesting. I wouldn’t disagree.

      • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

        That was no reply at all. Was “The Fighting Seabees” a bad movie? Do you compare it to Orson Welles’ best? Where does the movie live and to what do you compare it?

        Is there something inherently wrong with Christian propaganda?

        Here’s another. I’ve read a lot of reviews complaining that Professor Radisson was somehow an unfair caricature of atheists. I disagree, but whatever. He’s one guy. Dittos for the Muslim dad. The question asked of this movie is, “Is that how you see all (atheists, Muslims)?”

        In “Nebraska” everyone is of subnormal intelligence or average at best. There are lots and lots of Midwesterners in the movie, and they’re all dufuses. I’ve yet to read a review that asks, “Is that how you see people in flyover country?”

        To be sure, I liked both movies, but I wonder why GND with its one nasty atheist gets the “are you a bigot?” treatment when Nebraska is loaded with flyover country twits.

        • SamRocha

          I think you are at this point replying to other reviews, not mine. About propaganda: there is nothing inherently wrong with it, I suppose, insofar as we are honest about it.

          • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

            The movie is primarily meaningful in a larger context, one that is manifested in all of the reviews as a whole. It’s the hidden assumptions in them that implicitly define our culture. For example, that you dismiss it compared to Tarantino’s personal wet dreams of violence porn as if they’re some kind of art speaks volumes.

            I dunno, man. I’m a scientist and I’ve spent that last couple years plumbing the depths of atheism, looking for something, anything that qualifies as philosophical argument and found nothing but gaseous nonsense. Simple physical chemistry causes atheists to run from the room, gibbering. I loved this movie because it exposed the whole moronic, decadent pile of trash that is 21st century atheism. For someone like me, it was like watching a slow-motion replay of a walk-off home run from my favorite team.

            I’m sure I’ve overstayed my welcome here, but I’ll just add one more thing. At an atheist’s recommendation, I read Sam Harris’ “Free Will.” As an intellectual work, it’s right up there with “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” Once you stop laughing at the out-and-out logical errors and get to his take on morality, you find that he wants Christianity without the sexual and intoxicant rules. It’s pathetic.

            Into that world was released GND. I loved it.

          • SamRocha

            You should check out better atheists, but I don’t happen to be one. At any rate I found both the atheistic and theistic exchanges absurdly stupid, independent of the bad acting, script writing, and cheeseballs plot. I should also note that the comparison to Tarantino was categorical, not axiomatic. It simply is not film or cinema in the artistic sense.

          • paizlea

            “There are no atheists in chem labs!” Cogent argument you’ve got there. :-)

            And more seriously: how does this film preach God’s love to all humanity, believers and nonbelievers alike? How does it reach out to anyone other than you and other Christian Warriors? You said we needed this film; is preaching to the choir what Christians are called to do?

            Where are the films of Christians accepting non-believing sinners as they are, showing them God’s mercy, and letting them make their own choices? You know, like Jesus did. That’s the film we need, not this cinematic version of circling the wagons.

  • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

    OK, now having re-read your review and calmed down from reading one horrific review after another, maybe I can write a comment that isn’t worthy of deletion like the last one surely was.

    This was a war movie. This was Bogart in “Action in the North Atlantic” or Wayne in “The Fighting Seabees.” You’re more the film student than I by miles and miles, but I would suggest a comparison to British war movies made in 1941. We are at war in the US and we’re losing. We needed this movie. We needed it very, very badly.

    If you think I’m over-wrought, consider this. The United States government just took Little Sisters of the Poor all the way to the Supreme Court to force them to renounce an article of their faith. In exchange for this, the government would win … what? The ability to force us all to pay for contraceptives which cost the user about $9 a month.

    No one, anywhere and at any time can justify that exchange. There is no other explanation of that other a war on the Church. Imagine the meetings that went into that whole process. The lawyer meetings, the budget meetings, the travel requests by the government participants, the email exchanges, the preparations for testimonies in all the courts all the way up. Little Sisters of the Poor suffered a sustained and multi-dimensional attack by the government to no objective purpose. Further, 16 Democratic senators filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court also attacking the nuns.

    We are at war.

    Kermit Gosnell and his staff slaughtered babies for years. We’ll never know the full death toll, but consider this: In Russia during WW II, so many members of the Einsatzgruppen units suffered nervous breakdowns and alcoholism from massacring Jews that Himmler himself had to go to the scene to give them pep talks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsatzgruppen#Transition_to_gassing

    That did not happen at Gosnell’s business. The workers there were able to stab, drown and neglect living, breathing babies until they died. Gosnell was able to recruit a staff, presumably at random from the US population, more callous than Hitler’s Einsatzgruppen. Meanwhile, the news reports that Catholics are homophobes, priests abuse little boys and worse.

    I could go on and on and on. We’re at war and movies are a potent weapon in wartime. I’ve seen it twice and I think God’s Not Dead is a great war movie. There’s a tremendous hunger for movies like this, particularly when viewed against movies that have numbed American consciences more than the Nazis could numb some in the SS. That’s why God’s Not Dead earned $40M+ and maybe that’s why you had an emotional reaction to it.

    • SamRocha

      In other words, you are openly suggesting that this movie is propaganda? Interesting. I wouldn’t disagree.

      • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

        That was no reply at all. Was “The Fighting Seabees” a bad movie? Do you compare it to Orson Welles’ best? Where does the movie live and to what do you compare it?

        Is there something inherently wrong with Christian propaganda?

        Here’s another. I’ve read a lot of reviews complaining that Professor Radisson was somehow an unfair caricature of atheists. I disagree, but whatever. He’s one guy. Dittos for the Muslim dad. The question asked of this movie is, “Is that how you see all (atheists, Muslims)?”

        In “Nebraska” everyone is of subnormal intelligence or average at best. There are lots and lots of Midwesterners in the movie, and they’re all dufuses. I’ve yet to read a review that asks, “Is that how you see people in flyover country?”

        To be sure, I liked both movies, but I wonder why GND with its one nasty atheist gets the “are you a bigot?” treatment when Nebraska is loaded with flyover country twits.

        • SamRocha

          I think you are at this point replying to other reviews, not mine. About propaganda: there is nothing inherently wrong with it, I suppose, insofar as we are honest about it.

          • http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/ K T Cat

            The movie is primarily meaningful in a larger context, one that is manifested in all of the reviews as a whole. It’s the hidden assumptions in them that implicitly define our culture. For example, that you dismiss it compared to Tarantino’s personal wet dreams of violence porn as if they’re some kind of art speaks volumes.

            I dunno, man. I’m a scientist and I’ve spent that last couple years plumbing the depths of atheism, looking for something, anything that qualifies as philosophical argument and found nothing but gaseous nonsense. Simple physical chemistry causes atheists to run from the room, gibbering. I loved this movie because it exposed the whole moronic, decadent pile of trash that is 21st century atheism. For someone like me, it was like watching a slow-motion replay of a walk-off home run from my favorite team.

            I’m sure I’ve overstayed my welcome here, but I’ll just add one more thing. At an atheist’s recommendation, I read Sam Harris’ “Free Will.” As an intellectual work, it’s right up there with “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” Once you stop laughing at the out-and-out logical errors and get to his take on morality, you find that he wants Christianity without the sexual and intoxicant rules. It’s pathetic.

            Into that world was released GND. I loved it.

          • SamRocha

            You should check out better atheists, but I don’t happen to be one. At any rate I found both the atheistic and theistic exchanges absurdly stupid, independent of the bad acting, script writing, and cheeseballs plot. I should also note that the comparison to Tarantino was categorical, not axiomatic. It simply is not film or cinema in the artistic sense.

          • paizlea

            “There are no atheists in chem labs!” Cogent argument you’ve got there. :-)

            And more seriously: how does this film preach God’s love to all humanity, believers and nonbelievers alike? How does it reach out to anyone other than you and other Christian Warriors? You said we needed this film; is preaching to the choir what Christians are called to do?

            Where are the films of Christians accepting non-believing sinners as they are, showing them God’s mercy, and letting them make their own choices? You know, like Jesus did. That’s the film we need, not this cinematic version of circling the wagons.

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  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Especially since you’re faced now with three generations who got the rest, but never saw a service project.

  • mochalite

    Exactly. And remember that all the Bible tells us about Jesus before he was 30 is that he learned a whole lot of Scripture and learned carpentry.


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