I recently saw the movie God is not Dead.
My own reaction to the movie is somewhat mixed to the movie.
But a wise evangelist could suggest this movie to a truly seeking friend and allow it to open further conversational opportunities.
This movie will likely not successfully engage those who’s minds are already made up or hostile to the Christian faith. Some of the story lines and character arcs may seem too simplistic for people who are not seriously considering the claims of Christ.
The basic plot
A Christian guy (Josh) enrolled in a presumably secular university takes a Philosophy class.
On the first day of class, Professor Radisson wants students to sign a declaration of their belief that God is dead so that he can dispense of such notions without having to prove it.
Josh is unable to sign the declaration and the Professor assign him a task to present is arguments to the class.
The movie follows the presentation of various apologetic arguments and counter arguments.
Some of the class members change their mind and at least one becomes a believer.
Along the way, other story arcs are introduced
- Why the professor is an atheist.
- A Muslim employee in the school is a convert Christ.
- A chaplain, apparently struggling in his own faith, finds renewed faith through an African sidekick.
- Josh’s decision to defend his faith has a cost.
- A Chinese student is influenced by Josh’s argument.
- A secular humanist left-leaning reporter faces a crisis her worldview can’t handle.
Reactions to God is Not Dead in our family.
Our family discussed some of the hard choices forced upon the various people because of their faith.
Each character had a point of view and a hard choice to make because of their belief and worldview.
While the Professor character was an exaggeration, the arguments that he puts forth are real arguments that Christians should have a reasonable answer for. (That is what Apologetics is)
The problem of evil and the why of our existence are two apologetic challenges that have been discussed for centuries, so the philisophical problems are not solved in the film.
Rather, our family discussed the reasoableness of the arguments.
We also discussed how many people have a personally painful reason to reject God. While not everyone has such a story, it is a common enough basis that we wanted our kids to see it.
Not For Everyone
This is not a movie to bring an intellectual atheist to evaluate or enjoy. The atheist position is a bit of a caricature and will be more of a distraction than a conversational help.
The problem of evil and the existence of God continue to be some of the greatest philosophical challenges. The movie won’t solve it, but it does show us a good way to defend our faith and show that our faith is reasonable.
I have friends whose logic had lead them to different conclusions and they are as angry as the professor.
It’s hard to argue with someone who hates God, but the movie shows Josh sharing a reasonable basis for his faith without being obnoxious.
Ways to use God is Not Dead in your ministry
I’ve seen online reviews that criticize the theology in the movie (and complain about too much leg skin by the Duck Dynasty lady causing lust), but most of the critics complain about the exaggerations and stereotypes in the movie.
Rather than walk down that road, I’d rather suggest ways to use this movie in your ministry.
I imagine a couple of ways this movie could be helpful to the evangelist in personal evangelism:
- Discussion starter for youth groups
- Standing up for your faith
- How to be reasonable and respectful in debate
- Faith may require sacrificial choices
- How evangelistic moments are not scripted, but happenings in life.
- Are you prepared to help a person come to faith at a unplanned moment?
- The role of apologetics on our belief.
- Discussion starters for seekers
- Why was the professor an atheist?
- Have you had doubts about God because of unanswered prayer?
- What is your answer to the problem of evil?
- Is it possible to have a conversation about faith without anger?
- Religion asks “why?” Science asks “how.”
- How you’ve had to make your own tough choices because of what you believe.
- A Review of the Movie: God’s Not Dead! by Rob Lundberg
- God’s Not Dead | Christian Movie Review By George Konetes
- How God’s Not Dead Makes Christians Look Even Worse Than Atheists, by Daniel Fincke.
- A critique of God is not dead by ADAM BLOSSER
Did you see this movie?
Please share with me your thoughts, reviews, etc. of this movie in the comments below.