10 Reasons "God's Not Dead" Was a Terrible Idea

Posted by Matthew on October 29, 2013



A friend of mine recently posted the cringe-worthy trailer for a film called God's Not Dead. My first impression is that this film was an all-around, out-of-the-park, five-star terrible idea.

Why? Let me count the ways.

10. It stars Kevin Sorbo, i.e., TV Hercules, Dean Cain, i.e., TV Superman, and Shane Harper, a pop singer from High School Musical 2. A story purporting to tackle the question of God's existence probably deserves better actors. (No offense guys.)

9. It looks like it pits philosophy against religion. Sorbo, the antagonist, plays a philosophy professor, while Harper is the intrepid believer forced to defend his faith against reason's cold encroachment. But this fideistic antagonism between faith and reason is a phenomenon of the modern era; Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Newton, Mendel, and countless other Christian thinkers and scientists testify to the great harmony that exists between reason and faith.

8. The premise is unrealistic. I've heard of the willing suspension of disbelief, but a philosophy professor that forces his students to profess that "God is dead" or else fail the class is pushing it.

7. It's produced by a company called "Pure Flix" that "produces, distributes, and acquires Christ centered movies for the sole purpose of influencing our culture for Christ." Why is this a problem? First, the "pure"; Christ came to influence the sick and ugly, not the pure and upright. Linking Christian life with prissy puritanism is inimical and counter-intuitive, especially for artists. Second, the "flix": Pure Flix doesn't seem to care about making good movies - only Christian movies.

6. It misunderstands Nietzsche's infamous dictum. Nietzsche's "God is dead" (uttered by a madman, incidentally) is not synonymous with a metaphysical argument against God's ever having existed in the first place. Nietzsche is not saying that God was never there, but that the history of Western ideas has killed him. Black Sabbath comes closer to the truth of Nietzsche's argument - and to overcoming it.

5. The theme song does too, and it's not a great song. Sorry Newsboys fans - but this song represents the kind of choir-preaching that alienates listeners who aren't Christian. There are plenty of singing Christians out there who would've made for better soundtrack choices.

4. It associates itself with Duck Dynasty. Sure, they were probably happy to be involved. But the men and women of Duck Dynasty do most of their preaching by example - they are a faith-filled, hard-working, and loving family that bow their heads in prayer every night before dinner. That image alone affects the culture; but I don't think this film will.

3. The trailer ends on a classic loaded question. Is this the protagonist's big moment? The summit of his argument? "Why do you hate God?" Josh Wheaton needs to add a course in natural theology.

2. It continues to lower the bar for Christians who would like to make meaningful art. God's Not Dead looks like it will join a growing list of bad movies by Christians, for Christians, that really don't tell us all that much about God. I agree with Daniel McInerny that gritty films like No Country For Old Men or True Grit often reveal the necessity and the action of grace more than didactic films like Fireproof or October Baby.

1. For reasons 10-2, it will make most non-believers want less to do with God and church, not more. God's Not Dead, I suspect, will defeat its own purpose for being. And that's a shame.


3 comments:

  1. Not to mention the fact that it is full of inaccuracies and logical fallacies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I guess you didn't like "Save a life" either? :-P

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was a solid review. Well done!

    ReplyDelete