I’ve spent a lot of time criticizing God’s Not Dead only based on clips and trailers I’ve seen, so I was rather relieved to find the film on Netflix. “Finally,” I thought. “All my dreams have come true.” I then said to myself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I jotted down my thoughts as I watched the film?” Yes, indeed, I thought it would be a glorious idea. I was horribly mistaken. So in order to keep this post from turning into a book, I’ll keep it relatively short by focusing on a few plots the film identifies. I anticipated there to be too much for me to comment on, and I was right.
As the film opens, we’re introduced to a number of characters (which I’m limiting to two in this post). The main character, Josh, taking a delightful stroll with is his girlfriend. This appears to be his first day as a college student. We’re then introduced to a down-on-her-luck red-headed reporter busy to utterly destroy one of those bearded dirty men from Duck Dynasty with a surprise interview and, of all things, she’s a humanist who “hearts” evolution!
We’re then introduced to Professor Radisson, Josh’s philosophy instructor, which is where I think the film really begins. As Josh is attending this class, apparently (right off the bat) Radisson declares there is no god and they mustn’t waste the time debating. Now, Josh looks pissed; like, really pissed. “Why’s that?” you may ask. Radisson tells his students to affirm God is dead!
Surprisingly, as Radisson rants about his atheism, he does make a few decent points. But that is short lived, unfortunately. As everyone begins writing, Josh appears to be troubled; either Josh has lost his ability to spell or he just can’t bring himself to agree. The latter is the case. Clearly, this is a case of that Christian persecution we atheists are familiar with. Now, it’s up to Josh to defend his faith! He gets a few class periods to do so, even if this atheist world is against him.
Next, we move to the reporter, Amy, as she attempts to take down one of the Duck Dynasty brothers. He makes many redneck-friendly references, like muddin’, big tires, and the phrase “y’all”; fits right into the whole “’Murican way of doing things.” Amy, of course, asks him how he feels when he hears about everyone “complaining about his praying on television” (which, incidentally, was never the case). He says something like, “We’re just good Christian folk doing Christian folk things.” The millionaire ironically goes on to say his money and success is only temporary and Christianity is what’s actually most important.
Josh is now studying his bible, mustering up what little courage he can to face the class. With a little inspiration from a local pastor, he’s got this!
Amy visits the doctor and, what do you know, she’s got cancer!
Now, Josh will give his first presentation. The first thing he says is, “Atheists say that no one can prove the existence of God, and they’re right. But I say no one can disprove that God exists.” That’s what he leads with! He then argues God “banged” the Big Bang, light existed at the creation of the universe and Genesis says, “Let there be light.” And, I kid you not, he says the Bible had it right and science knew nothing! Checkmate, atheists.
Then someone asks about who created God and Josh says, as you may have assumed, God is uncreated. Checkmate again, atheists.
Amy is meeting with her boss (and lover) for dinner now, who’s rather unsympathetic to her situation. She’s crushed to find her boss doesn’t love her and he doesn’t care for her anymore. Her current situation might have something to do with all that humanism, I don’t know.
Josh takes the stage for the second time. He begins by addressing a Stephen Hawking quote because, of course, we atheists all know he’s our leading spokesperson. And how does Josh argue against Hawking’s quote? By reading another quote by John Lennox; and since John Lennox says so, Hawking is wrong.
Now Josh goes on about evolution; how atheists believe it disproves God and Darwin thought some chemicals churned together and *poof* life. How does Josh argue for his faith here? Why, by quoting the famous non-scientist Lee Strobel, of course. Oh, and the bible too. He finishes by saying yes, evolution looks unguided, but it could be guided by God! Checkmate for a third time, atheists.
We finally find out the god-hating Radisson lost his mother to cancer. Now it all makes sense! Atheists are only ignoring God because they’re so grumpy and bitter.
Amy is starting to lose her mind because she can’t find peace now that she knows she’s dying. Hmm, I wonder what her future holds.
Now we’re on Josh’s last presentation: Addressing the problem of Evil. So why does Josh think evil exists? Free will! And why does God allow it? So humans can have happiness and free will later! So yeah, all that bad stuff is so worth it. Never does Josh explain why God just didn’t create a living world free from evil while also with free will since it’s so easy for God to do it in heaven; I didn’t expect him to either. Next, morality comes up. Typically, Josh believes, we atheists have no basis for our moral judgments (not that his explanation makes moral judgments based on his faith arbitrary or anything). Josh says, “Without God, there’s no reason to be moral!” Checkmate once again, atheists.
After a brief argument, Josh asks Radisson why he hates God. Radisson says, “Because he took everything from me!” Josh quietly replies, “How can you hate something that doesn’t exist?”
And low and behold, the class thinks Josh won.
Amy is now apparently meeting with The Newsboys for an interview. They find out she is upset about God because, of course, her cancer. How does her story conclude? After listening to a few religious platitudes, she’s convinced. Since she gets no hope from her life, it’s time for some God. She’s a believer now! She can be happy with her terminal illness!
Later, Radisson is hit by a car and yes, he turns his soul over to God before he dies! And how is he convinced? The pastor Josh spoke with in the beginning tells Radisson something like, “God could’ve killed you instantly but kept you alive just a little longer so I could proselytize to you.” That’s the final checkmate, atheists.
What a wonderful movie.
Most of my commentary here is sarcastic only because it was terribly hard to take this film seriously. The arguments are terrible, Josh never proves anything, the film argues that atheists have no basis for morality, lack hope, are illogical, and most of all they’re just angry with God. I surely hope no one found this film convincing and if they did, it’s quite apparent they lack any understanding of atheism and the reasons for non-belief.
I didn’t cover everything, so if you wish to get the full story, I suggest checking it out.
On second thought, I don’t. Don’t watch it.