(This review of God’s Not Dead was first posted on May 19, 2014. I posted this review on a movie site called Rotten Tomatoes under the username Cinema-Maniac. This posting has some spelling and grammar correction, but it’s virtually the same review as before.)
A straightforward title like God’s Not Dead leaves little to the imagination for debate. In the same way the same person wrote the Ten Commandments said “Thou Shalt Not Kill” nearly wiped out every single specie with a flood. Now, my proof that God did spread this message it with my supporting evidence in Exodus 34:1, “The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”. Further supporting my evidence with Exodus 34:28, Moses writes “the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” onto the second set of tablets. These words were not the same: both God and Moses wrote on the tablets, but only Moses wrote the Ten Commandments. It is sometimes appropriate to describe an agent as doing something even when he delegates the work to someone else. God wrote the Ten Commandments onto the tablets, even if he used Moses to do so.
I know for a fact my argument can be defeated by those who actually read the Bible unlike myself which is intentional. This film does not inspire to this kind of level of thinking. While I am not a Christian nor a follower of any particular religion. I do, however, favor Buddhism teachings personally because of Buddha himself, and you better believe I would try convince non believers that not every person in a specific faith wants to force their beliefs down your throats like this film claims. Not only are it arguments favoring God existence and depiction of atheists one sided, but also how it represents the Christian community so poorly it has the power to devert Christians. Ladies and gentlemen of the court. I present to the jury or readers my arguments for why God’s Not Dead IS THE WORST CHRISTIAN FILM EVER MADE.
Hate Thy Neighbor
In this film if you’re an atheist you will suffer. For example, there’s a reporter who gets cancer because she’s an atheist and took offense when a “Duck Dynasty” actor prays on his show. Instead of choosing to dive into the complicated subject of how a man sticks by a faith even when it’s against his personal way of living. Preferring instead to proudly claim atheist hate Christians. Not only that, but according to this film shooting an animal will not cause it any suffering.It’s refer to as “Mercy Killing”, but this is one scene in the many subplots that go nowhere. Seems like the writers fail to acknowledge its audience is not brain dead as they are. So the reporter attempts to get support in her hour of need from her boyfriend who’s also an atheist. Once she tells him she has cancer her boyfriend responds with “How could you do this to me?”. Going by this movie logic it’s because she’s an atheist. I’m curious to witness what the resolution to this dilemma will be? Oh it never gets resolved. The atheist couple end up separated never working to fix the relationship and the reporter conforms to Christianity which according to this film makes everything better…except she still has cancer and is not shown accepting it as part of her life.
Another subplot is an over controlling Muslim father whose daughter he physically beats when he discovers his daughter is listening to the bible on tape. Yeah, because college students will be jamming to the “Book of Genesis” around campuses. I’m not even Muslim and even I got offended by this film portrayal of the Muslim community. It’s almost like this film is ignorant of the same message it’s trying to send. So what happens to the over controlling Muslim father and the daughter who chose a different faith? One screening later. Man, even the Devil would call that needlessly cruel. Okay, so this Muslim family never resolves the differences between religious beliefs, and the daughter has been tossed out to the street without us ever being shown a place where she can safely sleep. Call me insane, an atheist, (going by this film logic) the Devil, but I don’t think her going to a Christian concert is something that will fix the hardship that comes with breaking family traditions. I’m just saying…oh I just learned from the film I’m going to Hell for challenging it’s broken message. Oh, how nice of it.
Finally, the antagonist, who is also atheist is professor Kevin Sorbo. Well to be fair to Sorbo I would also lose faith if Kellen Lutz played the same character as me. Professor Sorbo is a terrible teacher who knows nothing about Philosophy. “God Is Dead” is a phrase popularized by Friedrich Nietzsche doesn’t mean that the Christian God was alive, but has died, nor does it mean that he never existed (as Kevin Sorbo’s philosophy professor character states otherwise). Nietzsche was simply saying that god wasn’t a consideration for how most people live their lives. You wouldd think a philosophy professor would know that, but apparently the straw-man professor in this movie hasn’t even read “Philosophy for Dummies” or lazy research on Wikipedia.
Atheist Professor Sorbo doesn’t have philosophical justification for what he believes, which you’d think would stack the deck in favor of Christians in this movie. Instead, it does the opposite. By misrepresenting the atheist position, the filmmakers are telegraphing their insecurity about the arguments. The entire atheist position is reduced to a quote from Stephen Hawking, a distortion of one Richard Dawkins argument, and the problem of evil, and even these arguments are only discussed as a cartoonishly over-the-top grotesque parody. What you don’t get is an intellectual debate; being replace with misunderstanding of how science works, but also fails in raising philosophical questions which Sorbo teaches though ignores.
In the film Professor Sorbo loses faith in God because God let his mother died. Yet, was okay with world hunger, wars, political corruption, terrorism, and so much more before his mother died while believing in God. I would call Kevin Sorbo character a overly dramatic mama’s boy, but Hercules name has been tainted enough. Not only that, but he also dates a Christian who leaves him because he’s an atheist. Sorbo girlfriend was okay with him being an atheist until the plot said so. So twice it provides to example of atheists beings unable to maintain a healthy relationship with another person.
What happens to Professor Sorbo? He gets run over by a car and the driver, who I must emphasize is an atheist, never bothers checking if Profess Sorbo is okay. You know, just the nerve of a hardworking atheist who gives college students an education is irritating. Even in Sorbo moment of death two Christian preachers happen to be close by and one asks if he wants to believe in God before he dies. Well the intention was nice, but heavy handed none the less. This gesture doesn’t matters when the same preachers get a text saying “God’s Not Dead” and one happily says “This is a time worth celebrating”. Despite the fact that an atheist died before their very eyes. Then again, this is a film bloated with pointless subplots (one of then being a preacher attempting to start a car) than a fair depiction on difference religious views.
Conformity Equals Freewill
The protagonist of the film is named Josh Wheaton….nope can’t insult someone whose name is similar to someone (repetitive, but) hardworking like Joss Whedon. I think I’ll pick out a nickname based on a historical figures that best represent the film protagonists ideal and I’ll pick Little Hitler. Now before anyone says I’m going too far comparing a freshman college student to one of the most hated human being here’s the basic idea. As written in Mein Kamp by Adolf Hitler, “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity…in fact our movement is Christian” is the philosophy followed by the film protagonist Little Hitler. So Little Hitler has the opportunity to switch classes if he’s so offended by an atheist who tells his class to write “God Is Dead” on a sheet of paper in the first day of class. Disregard the film depiction that all college professor want to manipulate easily impressionable young minds, but instead focus on Little Hitler who is so outraged by the oppression of the school system which allows him to change classes, report teachers acting out of conduct, and a atheist teacher who nicely tells him to change classes if he offended takes it upon himself to be the voice of the oppress and manipulated college students who could care less about skipping some lessons ahead in the material. Accepting the challenge of the atheist that god is not dead. HEIL GOD!
Also like Adolf Hitler, Little Hitler is a hypocrite. So he spends the entire film trying convince others that god is not dead. Little Hitler asks Professor Sorbo why he hates God and Sorbo responds that his mother died while praying to God. From this comes the final words to win everyone over is “How could you hate someone who doesn’t exist”. Umm…Little Hitler you do know that could also serve as a counter argument? Why bother following the teaching of a man whose existence which you even claimed is not proven in your supporting arguments favoring God’s Not Dead is not conclusive to assure a victory. For that matter, what was the point of Little Hitler arguing in the first place? He sets out in a blaze of fury organizing everything he learned from books to prove the existence of God, yet the argument that declares him the winner goes entirely against his purpose because of bad writing.
Little Hitler also has the nerves to say he’s spreading freewill. Yeah right “free will”. Little Hitler forces his views down on his peers to the point it clouds the meaning behind Christ teachings. He neither presents other religions when presenting his argument because he’s want everyone to be a Christian. He’s not allowing the students to choose for themselves since he only wants them to follow in his lead. Not once does he bring up Buddhism, the Quran, or another religion for that matter. Nor does he ever accept anyone truly wants to be an atheist and no matter how well argue they will never convert their ideals. After seeing this film I wouldn’t blame anyone instantly turn into an atheist over night. Man it’s terrifying how much this film protagonist bares similar motive to Adolf Hitler of all people.
Thy Commit Secular Promotionalism
(You can skip this section all the way to the closing paragraph if I convince you of my position already)
A film that claims to take the moral high ground of religious debates it selection of music is one sided too. Rather than have music for “God’s Not Dead” that touch on various issues it’s too is shallow like the film depiction of Christians. Let’s take the theme song for the film which both share the same title that neither understand the meaning behind the saying. I’ll admit and say Christian music is not my thing, but I have heard some terrific piece of deep music from “Jesus Christ Superstar” which is my standards for what I consider good Christian music (and is a fantastic musical as well I highly recommend regardless of beliefs). The lyrics for the theme song are as follows.
The Newsboys – God’s Not Dead
Letlove explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow
Now I’m lost in Your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome
My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
Roaring, He’s roaring, roaring like a lion
Rinse and repeat that same verse through the whole song four times. By these lyrics alone it’s getting those who already believe in their faith pumped up. Like I said earlier it’s music is as shallow as it depiction of Christians. Every song basically says just keep the faith and spread good will. That’s nice and all, however the opening song in “Jesus Christ Superstar” is well complex.
Jesus Christ Superstar – Heaven’s On Their Minds
My mind is clearer now – at last all too well
I can see where we all soon will be
If you strip away the myth from the man
You will see where we all soon will be
Jesus! You’ve started to believe the things they say of you
You really do believe this talk of God is true
And all the good you’ve done will soon get swept away
You’ve begun to matter more than the things you say
Best part about this particular track from “Jesus Christ Superstar” is that does not repeat any verses and goes to tell Christ story while expressing the point of views from one of his followers. Out of sheer laziness I rest my case on “God’s Not Dead” music is shallow. The only thing left I haven’t raged upon are the cast which sadly play their roles straightforwardly. For a film this cartoonish and horribly executed the cast is clutter with not enough screen time to define their characters. This results in no one in the film having any resemblance of chemistry. Nearly every line is delivered with the same wooden and emotionless way. Even when Kevin Sorbo is dying (even Hercules is not immortal to this power) it’s wooden acting.
Thy Faith Shalt Be Wronged By This Film
God’s Not Dead is a poor existence of a product. It’s ignorant to the point that it paints those it is defending in a negative manner that make them just as evil and shallow as the people it’s attacking. This film is a sin not just to filmmaking, but also to the teachings of its religion. According to this film I would burn for all in eternity in the deepest regions of Hell with the worst torture imaginable. Being expose to this film non-stop with my head constantly exploding and regenerating in a endless cycle. God’s Not Dead lives in a far off distant land where Christianity is only way to salvation. That might sound nice to some followers who live in the real world. The same real world where there are intellectual, and respectful debates base on these same drastic beliefs. The same real world where the followers of these teachings are challenge everyday to maintain their faith in the world around them. The same real world with religion tolerance where both atheists and those who follow a specific religion can be friends.
It’s not just bad filmmaking. It’s not just a horrible movie. It’s not just an ignorant and insulting piece of a film. IT’S BAD CHRISTIANITY.