Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-28-02

twitterpost tagspost tagsreddit

One of the best things about movies is their ability to create conversation amongst an audience of strangers. Movies that specifically tackle deep philosophical issues should inspire debate and conversation. I went into God’s Not Dead with the hope that it would have at least a frame of something, anything at all thought provoking. After all, this is a movie that at its core is about one of humanity’s most polarizing debates.

Unfortunately, God’s Not Dead amounts to an over the top piece of religious propaganda that will only appeal to people sucked into its message before they bought their ticket. In the process of actively avoiding subtext while delivering its propaganda, God’s Not Dead managed to become the most offensive movie I’ve ever seen.

The movie focuses on Josh (played by Shane Harper), a college freshman who finds himself at odds with his philosophy professor, Mr. Radisson (played by Kevin Sorbo). Radisson is an atheist who insists that all of his students refute the existence of God on the first day of class.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-27-35This is not an abstract experiment to demonstrate an idea or principle for sake of a philosophy lecture. It’s an exercise meant solely to feed Radisson’s ego. He’s depicted as arrogant and close-minded, forcing his worldview on students under the threat of poor grades. I would point out the irony of this happening in a class that’s subject is about the discussion of human ideas, but that would honestly be giving screenwriters Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon far too much credit.

After refusing to forsake his beliefs, Josh is assigned to “prove God exists” to the class. He’s given three opportunities to present his argument to the class in a mock trial format. These scenes are laughable as the presentations really only serve to beat the audience over the head with the hate-filled cruelty of Mr. Radisson.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-27-01As the movie progresses, Radisson devolves into an antagonist of cartoon super villain proportions. He’s overly arrogant and disrespectful of anyone’s views that clash with his own. He comes just short of outright assaulting Josh in the hallway as he threatens to destroy the kid’s academic future if he keeps humiliating him.

Radisson’s cruelty is played to the extreme as he ridicules and verbally abuses his Christian girlfriend; a woman the screenwriters are only too eager to show is his former student. Because the audience didn’t have enough reason to dislike the character, I guess we need to be beat over the head with shaky morals and misconduct to really lock on to how morally void this character is.

Mr. Radisson’s girlfriend/former student Mina faces a moral dilemma as she comes to terms with her boyfriend’s aggressive anti-religious rhetoric. To the movie’s credit, this plot line is the only one in the movie that comes close to the mark it sets out to hit. But still, the professor is so over the top and ridiculous that it’s hard to believe anyone would want to be anywhere near him in the first place.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-26-51The movie only gets more egregiously one-sided from there. Some of the supporting characters include an atheist blogger who’s diagnosed with cancer (it’s implied her lack of faith caused it). Then there’s her extraordinarily arrogant money-driven boyfriend (played by Dean Cain). His response to hearing that his girlfriend has cancer is cold and ruthless. “Couldn’t this wait for another day?”

Perhaps more disgustingly narrow-minded than the idea of atheists being all but pure evil in this movie, is the subplot involving a young Muslim student. She’s forced to keep her Christian faith a secret from her overbearing, intolerant and abusive father. The clear implication here is that the only other faith represented in the movie is inferior to Christianity.

Rounding out the supporting roles and providing some comic relief is Reverend Dave and his missionary friend who suffer divine setbacks as they attempt to drive to Disney World. The obvious contrast the movie draws between these supremely friendly and helpful characters and the cavalcade of hateful non-believers severely undermines the message presented.

All in all, this movie just isn’t worth seeing. The script is atrocious with unintentionally funny dialogue sprinkled throughout melodramatic situations that would put the likes of any Lifetime Original Movie to shame.

Oh yeah, one of the Duck Dynasty guys is in this movie.
Oh yeah, one of the Duck Dynasty guys is in this movie.

So why do I find it so offensive?

God’s Not Dead was produced by Pure Flix, a production company described by their website as “a Christian movie studio that produces, distributes, and acquires Christ centered movies for the sole purpose of influencing our culture for Christ.” So obviously it would have been foolish to go into the movie with hopes or expectations of any kind of objectivity.

If you’re a listener of The Obsessive Viewer Podcast, you’ll know I contribute to my cohost Tiny’s side-project The Secular Perspective and that I identify myself as an atheist. Though, I suppose “agnostic atheist” would be more accurate. I don’t personally believe a religious God exists but I recognize that the existence (or lack thereof) of any deity cannot currently be proven or disproven with 100% certainty.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-26-36It became very clear early in the movie that I’m not the target demographic. Pure Flix produced a movie that’s (rather unintelligently) designed to reaffirm the faith (and gain the money) of the devoutly Christian audience. That alone isn’t that bad of a thing. There are plenty of movies I don’t watch because I don’t fit the demo. God’s Not Dead, however, presents one side of the argument in a propaganda piece that shows the other side of the debate as nothing but villainous caricatures.

I sat in the theater insulted and appalled that I contributed to this movie’s box office earnings. What offended me the most was the depiction of the atheists in the movie. None of the non-believers I know in my life are anything like those featured in the movie.

The mere fact that the two sides of the argument are depicted in such a black and white, good and evil fashion closes the door to any kind of meaningful debate the movie could have otherwise presented. And it leaves me feeling insulted.

Spoilers Ahead

The movie makes the vast and sweeping assumption that non-believers turn to atheism because they hate God or resent God based on negative personal experiences. This is an incredibly ignorant assertion that proves there’s a massive shortcoming in the movie’s screenwriting.

At the end of the movie Mr. Radisson is hit by a car and attended to by Reverend Dave and his missionary friend. The scene is laughably bad as Radisson lies on his back in the street and the missionary instantly knows that the man’s ribs are crushed and his lungs are filling with fluid.

What offends me on a deep, personal level is that Reverend Dave immediately asks Radisson if he’s saved. Knowing absolutely nothing about the man he’s watching die, Dave’s first priority is to ask if the guy is saved. Screw making him comfortable or trying to keep him calm, Dave’s going to take it upon himself to witness to this dying stranger. Radisson spends the last moments of his life being preached to and asked to accept Jesus as his Savior.

Of course, being that this movie is religious propaganda, Radisson accepts Jesus. Granted, Radisson came to that realization a few scenes earlier, but the shots of him pleading for salvation and spiritual guidance is insulting to people who embrace secularism. It’s actually damaging to the supposed main purpose of the movie as well.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-27-09Does Pure Flix’s really think the best way to achieve their goal of “influencing our culture for Christ” is to create a movie depicting atheists as morally corrupt, despicable and vindictive people? The movie literally tells the audience to text everyone they know with the message “God’s Not Dead.” So why spend the entire movie attacking and insulting the group they apparently intend to “save?”

Yes, the movie does in fact end with a black screen with words telling the audience to text everyone they know with the message “God’s Not Dead.” Aside from the fact that a lot of annoyed people across the country are now at risk from getting annoying group messages and group replies, this irritates me more than anything else in the movie.

In the third act, Radisson asserts that religion is a disease. Josh explains that it’s not a disease, yet the movie ends with a plea that the audience spread the movie’s message in a fashion not unlike the spread of a communicable illness.

Reverend Dave and the missionary standing over Radisson’s dead body only amplified the sheer ridiculousness of the movie’s final moments. They smile, happy with the “great thing that happened” there. That’s an actual line that Dave says as he’s standing over the lifeless body of a complete stranger. Even more egregious is that they take the dead man’s cell phone so they can look in glee at the “God’s Not Dead” text message he’ll never be able to read.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-26-44My point here is that I just don’t understand why this has to be a thing. In many ways, the movie is asking its religious audience to behave the way its hate-filled antagonist behaves. Radisson aggressively pushes his agenda and worldview on his students. So the movie ends telling its audience to do the same.

Spoilers End Here

I don’t know a single atheist who would push his or her atheism on a person. I don’t know why this movie is hell-bent on presenting a blatantly inaccurate view of a personal philosophy except as a means to present their view in as “strong” a light as possible. It’s cheap and dishonest.

God’s Not Dead is clearly not meant to inspire conversation or debate. It exists as a vessel for religious people to spread their message among themselves and others while egregiously misrepresenting opponents of their worldview. In a lot of ways it does a lot more harm to its message than it does good.

Screenshot_2014-03-30-02-27-28

Being that this is a movie review, however, my rating is based on the merits of filmmaking. Unfortunately for God’s Not Dead and the movie-going public, the makers of this movie sacrificed story and competent direction in favor of a ham-fisted message that will only be heard by people who go into the movie with the faith that this movie so forcefully shoves down the audience’s throat.

Obsessive Grade: Don’t Even Bother

I was so offended by this movie and the fact that I paid to see it, that it compelled me to make a $20.00 donation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. You can donate at the link below.

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 12.07.57 PM

If you’d like to hear more about my friends’ and my secular perspective on the world, you can check out The Secular Perspective podcast here.

OVPodcast-600

102 Comments »

  1. Ok I don’t care what the critics say, being a Christian teen in the world today, I love how this movie shows someone standing up for God. People just don’t like that what they’re showing is true. Plus I love how the professor finally came to Christ. But, like I said I don’t care what the critics say, I love this movie.

    Like

    • To each their own. I appreciate you visiting my site and reading my review. Thank you very much for the comment.

      If you love the movie for its message, then more power to you. But I sincerely hope the movie hasn’t given you the impression that all atheists are like the ones in the movie. It’s simply not the case. There are plenty of friendly and compassionate people of all faiths and philosophies.

      Like

    • You love it because it’s cathartic to watch someone opposed to your world view “come to Jesus.”

      If the movie offers no arguments or evidence then it has no meaningful content, plain and simple.

      Like

      • I’m just saying that I love seeing people get saved. Please don’t try to attack me for saying what I believe. I am a born again Christian and I love to see stiff like that everyday. When you see so much bad stuff in the world, it makes me feel amazing to see this. It makes me excited. I’m not dissing on atheists or anything, I have friends who are atheists. I’m just voicing what I believe.

        Like

      • Why can’t you be as nice as the person actually writing the article? She liked the movie, big deal. I did too it really helped empower me. And I have wonderful atheist friends and some that aren’t. But the idea of the movie was not the evilness of atheism (which does not necessarily exist) but the love of god

        Like

    • Yeah, because in a country that identifies overwhelmingly as christian, with a president that references the christian god publicly, we really need movies that show someone standing up for god. Christianity is totally a repressed, underground movement that needs help

      Like

    • Being a christian teen could be really though even more so that the name of God has become offensive. I only pray He will uphold you and I and Christians all over the world till the end showing the light to others. Remain unshaken Alana.

      Like

  2. I know for a fact that all atheist and agnostics and those of other faith are not terrible corrupted people(i friends with plenty and family with even more) but i sincerely doubt that this is what this movie was trying to put across. it was giving extremes because whether you’d like to believe it or not there are those of us who have to hide our faith in our own homes or face verbal emotional or to the most terrifying extreme physical abuse, there are those of us who face the abuse and ridicule at school/uni from our peers and believe or not our teachers(shocker right?). there are plenty of us who have been in places you wouldn’t/couldn’t imagine and had to endure through it. those arent even beginning to touch base with half the things most christian teens face now. the point of the movie was to show that you can stand up for your faith because you aren’t wrong to do so. to want to do as my faith commands and spread its word so others can know about it isnt a terrible thing. im not a horrible person for wanting my mother to stop screaming in my face that my gods dead, im not. could they have changed it? yea probably. but they were trying to show that even when you’re being attacked by the MOST BRUTAL circumstances. standing in faith will keep you strong and to show others that this is true is not only a blessing but an honor. yes its target was a christian audience but i got my almost agnostic brother who was so completely against these types of movies to go see it with a youth group that his friend attends. he came back different. he loved the movie. said his faith had been challenged and God had won. Hes being baptized next month. so to say that this movie is ONLY and SOLELY for christians who are what was the wording you used again “already been sucked into its message” ok you’re offended i get it but seriously youre just looking to make alot of people very upset with some of this; to say something like that while i understand its your opinion and you’re entitled to it, its not right to generalize a group of people like that. christians as a whole are people who love and try to be the best they can be while admitting we arent perfect and that we screw up alot. we are never sucked into anything. we chose to follow jesus. we chose God. for some of us like this movie is TRYING SO DESPERATELY to show its hard to follow God. It honestly truly is. Its no walk in the park with rainbows and butterflies. we go through everything like any other person would the difference is when i lay my head down at night and i can’t stop the tears because yet again my own mother is attacking my faith, i know I KNOW my God is there beside me holding my hand. which gives me strength to push on and stand against the flowing tide. I have my Faith to keep me strong.

    Oh and a side note: we all can choose to be offended or not. if you had stopped for a moment just a moment stop thinking about yourself and how it offends you SO SO SO MUCH that an atheist in a movie would treat a christian like trash and maybe tried to think what it would be like to have a parent, a boyfriend, a class, or even a friend attack you for something you believed so strongly in, maybe just maybe you would have gotten the point of the movie. if you had been in the muslim girls shoes how absolutely terrified would you be? if you were the blogger with cancer how hurt and betrayed would you feel how scared would you be how lost would you feel? if you were in the students shoes how tired and frustrated and angry and just outright hurt would you be, to have to stand there and prove yourself day after day? the movie wanted us to put ourselves in another’s place and try to understand how they would feel. not how we ourselves feel.

    Like

    • The point of his review was that the entire movie painted his beliefs in a negative light, not that the professor was a jerk and happened to be an Athiest, but that because he was Athiest he was a jerk and was intolerant.

      If I walked into a theater expecting to understand Christianity a little better, and have my beliefs understood a little better at the end of the movie, but instead spent the entire time feeling like the bad guy I would be insulted as well.

      Would you still like the movie if the roles were reversed? If it were about an Athiest boy or girl trying to stay true to themselves while attending a strict Christian academy. It is the same message and also more likely to actually happen, seeing as 76% of Americans identify as christian.

      The issues you point out in your post are ones everyone faces with their belief choices, not just Christians. Maybe if you stopped being SO SO SO insulted that someone didn’t like the movie, and put yourself in their shoes. You could see how this movie could make some people feel upset.

      Also having spent the greater part of my teenage years as a Christian (14-19) and regularly attending Church, living with a Jewish mother and an Athiest step father, I can say it is not that hard. Of all of the groups being targeted by hate crimes, Christians are pretty low on the list. (If you are though, seek help because trust me it is out there.)

      Like

  3. I found the film doing a lot of pandering to the lowest common denominator. If I was religous I might still find this film offensive simply for the fact that it uses gimmicks like the duck dynasty dude as a tool to draw me in.

    The film is so plastic. I don’t believe for a second that religion is openly attacked by college professors during class or that a single student is all he really needed to find ‘god’. I honestly believe if the dialouge was more natural and the characters had even the slightest hint of depth and complexity , it would have been decent.

    My problem with the film as a whole is that it just blurts out it’s message with no intent on making the story believable. It’s fine to introduce cinema geared toward a specific audience, but at least give your audience something that competes with secular cinema.

    I feel like this was an attempt at making something to combat the rise of atheisim but it’s done poorly and reflects poorly on the studio responsible. If you’re going to do something that requires a lot of time, effort and money, make sure you do it well. Especially if it’s conveying a strong message. This studio may as well flushed their money down a toilet filled with holy water.

    Like

  4. I am a former evangelical Christian who became an atheist not because “god” let me down, but because I read the bible and realized I could not follow the instructions of a book that time and time again promotes evil.

    Slavery is A-OK according to the latter books of the NEW Testament. And even says that people who speak out against slavery are evil people, only interested in conflict and controversy. And that was just the start for me.

    After continuing to read of the treatment Jesus subjects his mother to, his racism where he calls a woman asking him for help “a dog” because she wasn’t a jew, and the catalogue of cruelty, genocide and torture recounted in the old testament, I couldn’t reconcile any of it with basic logic. I couldn’t reconcile the “fact” that god is love, and purely moral, with the hateful, genocidal, blood-thirsty, racist, lunatic that is the god of the old testament and some of the New Testament.

    Basically, no thinking person should be able to swallow this premise —

    1) We start with being so advanced, so intelligent that he created physical laws, the universe, stars, black holes and nebula trillion miles wide.

    (But before he creates anything however, his 2nd in command PLUS 1/3 of his Army of Angels rebel against him. An attempted coup! What could compel not only an Angel so great and pure that he was god’s favorite, but 1/3 of the forces of heaven to overthrow the “big guy”. No real detailed explanation is given. But when you consider what god (who, like the angels see the future) had planned for the human race: mass genocide on a global scale on multiple occasions, coupled with cruelty and deprivation beyond belief isn’t the most likely scenario be coup to prevent such slaughter? Remember, those who stood up against Hitler in the early days were ‘demonized’ too)

    2) This being creates on one single planet all manner of life including an especially intelligent species to have someone to talk to, because he is lonely. Let that just sink in.

    3) This omnipresent being creates this species with inborn traits that he can see in the future will lead to their failure to follow his rules.

    4) He responds to their inborn imperfections in a simple manner: “Because your ancestors sinned, you’re also guilty. And I SHOULD kill you all.”

    5) This all powerful being, who created atoms, gravity, and the entire cosmos, HAS to kill his imperfect creations. (somehow it seems like he is obligated to do this, strangely the act of simply forgiving them doesn’t seem to be within his power. Which is really weird, because he’s ‘god’ and could just say “water under the bridge” for anything) But, he has a work-around so he doesn’t have to blow up the planet. To give him the desire (choice? ability?) to NOT kill them, these imperfect beings must cut open animals in very specific ways, say very specific words while cutting open the innocent animals, and scatter said animals blood in a very specific manner around an “alter” that is very special object, for some reason. This altar is in sacred area, called a temple. The temple is obviously just a tent. This is like, 2,000 BC, everything was a tent. But this one god would like, hang out in. Not outside the tent, among his creations, even fellowship is what they were created for in the first place, he’ll be in the tent. With a priest. Once a week everyone comes to the tent to cut up animals, fling blood around so the planet doesn’t explode, etc.

    NOTE: Incidentally (I swear, I am NOT making this up – see: Leviticus 21:17-21:) god has a list of people who aren’t allowed in the temple, or anywhere near the Altar!

    — If you’re a dude with a crushed ball sack, stay outta church!
    — Got a “blemish” (birthmark?) or a flat nose? Stay outta church!
    — Got any broken bones? You a dwarf or a hunchback? No Temple for you!
    — Blemish in the eye? Scabs? Stay out of my temple.
    — Lastly, ANYONE whose ancestry can be traced to that Aaron prick who built that golden calf, you can’t worship me either, Which means you’re screwed, even though you haven’t done anything wrong. Aaron is in your family tree, so f*%$ you!

    6) The animal will then be burned, which for some reason brings god what is described in the bible as almost physical pleasure. The creator of planets, stars, sub-atomic energy is described as “smelling” the burning, slaughtered animal and finding it to be a “sweet savor” to him. In other words the flinging of chicken blood on the ground followed by the satisfaction humans get smelling a barbeque is sufficient to keep this creator from “having” to commit genocide of a species he created for being imperfect.

    7) Other than that, this creator spends his time telling his chosen (i.e. Master Race) that other races of humans are some kind of mistake, and whenever possible instructs this his “chosen race” to attack the cities of those other humans, for no reason, kill “everything that has breath” i.e. men, woman children, as well the unborn (“the beloved fruit of their womb”) while taking alive young, virgin girls as sex slaves destined for a short hopeless life of brutality and almost constant rape.

    I read ALL of this came to a simple realization: 1) The bible was not written by a “god”, let alone the creator of the universe, but rather by the men of the time who in that part of the world were just a few generations removed from cave-dwelling. OR 2) If the bible is truly the word of the creator of the universe, than this “god” is an evil, malevolent being that makes Hitler look harmless by comparison.

    The decision is easy. And should before anyone, whether you believe the bible is true or not: Not real?….then god of the bible isn’t real. The bible is true? Well, if you are moral it shouldn’t matter anyway. Because no moral person would follow the absolute incarnation of evil that is the god of the bible.

    Which makes you wonder; if the bible were true, maybe Lucifer had a very good reason to overthrow “god.” After all, the men who tried and failed to kill Hitler were seen by Hitler and his true followers as “evil devils.”

    Not that I believe the bible is true, I do not. But as a story, when it comes Lucifer, one mans “fallen angel” is another man’s “freedom fighter”, and maybe “Avenging Angel.” (Christians really go nuts when you suggest this, by the way)

    Like

    • I should have used all of those points in response to the “Christian” man I watched verbally abuse his daughter solely because she associated herself with a “reprobate” like me.

      But God is really great, isn’t He, Darnell?

      In all seriousness, thank you very much for this response. I recently read Genesis for the first time and (to paraphrase something I think Penn Jillette said) it was the most Atheistic thing I’ve ever done. I can’t fathom why anyone would read it and take it as literal fact. On a logic level alone (and ignoring the moral problems the Bible presents) I am astounded that anyone would accept it as history or the word of God.

      Like

  5. I didn’t say they were bad people at all. I have friends who are atheists and wickens. All I’m saying is that I think that the film shows what can go on in the college world today and I don’t know maybe that could happen to me. I’m just saying that no matter what the critics say about the script or anything like that, I think it shows a key message. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your faith.

    Like

    • What do you have to stand up for? Seriously the christian faith is literally falsely promoting itself under the guise of “opression”. Unless you feel personally attacked there’s nothing you have to defend.

      Like

      • Looking at the comments spewing out all kinds of intolerance, all I see is this: “I don’t agree with this movie so I’m justified in bashing it and saying anything I want to about Christianity.”

        I don’t know if the writer of the story or any of the commenters have actually been to any movies recently, but how many of them have Christianity in ANY sort of positive light? More likely to see a fight scene and explosions in a church than a peaceful gathering. Christians are portrayed as the fool who just doesn’t get why the main characters are drinking themselves into a coma for whatever reason or they are picked on for having faith.

        So when you say “If this movie was flipped around” That’s 100s of other movies! You want a TERRIBLE movie based on Christianity, go watch NOAH. Yeah, the Atheist teacher is portrayed as an all around terrible person, but is he reflecting EVERY other atheist? NO. The ones reflecting atheists in that movie are probably the other students. Sitting their with their own beliefs. Maybe they agree with his right to defend his beliefs or maybe they don’t care, or maybe even they side with the professor. THAT’S who you should be looking at. I haven’t even seen the movie yet but I can figure all this out from the trailers.

        Also, to whoever made the HUGE post quoting OLD Testament for whatever reason…Old testament laws died out when the New testament took place…thus it being old…as in not in use anymore. There are no restrictions to who can or cannot enter a Church or anything like that.

        As far as Slavery, it was around till the 1800s (some would argue ever later) and you are having trouble believing it was happening 2000 years ago? Really?
        Here’s what it says…you forgot that part:
        (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT) Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.

        AND TO THE MASTERS of those slaves:
        And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him. (See also Ephesians 6:7-8)

        I came here for a movie review but all I see is hate for a belief that you don’t share. Christian movies like Facing the Giants and How to Save a Life don’t follow the big budget movies. They have a number at the end to call and they tell you to text a message…because that’s what it’s all about. A Message.

        Not everything is meant to be watched with just your eyes.

        Like

      • If someone told you to write on a piece of paper that “God is dead”, would you do it? I would do the same thing Josh did in the movie, I would stand up and prove that God is not dead. So, I do have something to stand up for; my father in heaven who has helped through the tough times. I’m not gonna let someone tell me that he is dead when I know he is alive. That’s what I have to stand up for in my life.

        Like

    • “the film shows what can go on in the college world today”

      That’s just incorrect. Christianity is the VAST majority when it comes to religious faith in the US. There is no college professor that would ever force his or her students to renounce their faith (no matter what faith it is) under the threat of poor grades. It’s just not something that happens. It was a circumstance created by the movie and, in creating it, the movie lost me as a viewer because of how absolute preposterous it is.

      Like

  6. It didn’t bother me so much by being offensive. None of us have a right to not be offended. My issue was the fact that it was intellectually dishonest. All of the Christians watching it are being lied to. By misrepresenting the group of people you’re criticizing you’re doing a disservice to your own argument. A dishonest argument is a bad argument. There are plenty of honest and amicable ways to attack atheism (and, yes, I am an atheist; I just admit that our case is not impervious to attack) that you’re delegitimizing your cause when you go the route that these filmmakers did. The film was counter-productive; so I do not encourage anyone to see it. It will only make secularists angry for being misrepresented, and it will only misinform Christians looking for affirmation. The film is essentially pointless.

    Like

  7. While I do agree that painting all atheists as angry, hateful, and intolerant people is inaccurate and unhelpful, it’d also be completely dishonest to suggest atheists don’t do the exact same thing. Are you as offended by the atheist “propaganda” of Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) or Christopher Hitchens (Gods Not Great) or Bill Maher (Religilous) and their portrayal of Christians?

    Like

    • It wasn’t my intention to imply that “all atheists” are good, decent people who don’t force their lack of belief on religious people. I simply meant that none of the nonbelievers I know behave that way.

      The “new atheist” manifestos by Dawkins, Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and others are a very weak comparison to God’s Not Dead. For one thing, The God Delusion and God’s Not Great (and all the many other atheist books published) are editorial in nature. They were written and published specifically for people seeking out their viewpoint. Not to mention, they back up their claims with facts and supporting data. They aren’t propaganda in nature because they are simply presenting their perspective and backing it up with data.

      God’s Not Dead is presenting an incredibly over-the-top and skewed view of one side of a perceived conflict for the sole reason of recruiting people to their “cause” instead of presenting an honest view of the debate in the hopes that people will see “the light.” Putting this one-sided viewpoint in a fictional (and downright unrealistic) setting absolves the filmmakers from having to incorporate fact or realism into the movie.

      How can Religulious be propaganda when it’s a documentary depicting Christians as they are? Bill Maher didn’t script the situations in the doc. He simply talked to people about religion. It’s not indicative of religious people as a whole, but it’s honest in its portrayal of the religious people he interviewed. God’s Not Dead doesn’t give nonbelievers the benefit of the doubt in that way. As a result, it destroys any credibility the movie could have had.

      Like

  8. I’m a Christian with a degree in Film. I have not, nor will I see this movie. The trailer told me everything I needed to know, it is a one-sided, unthinking film, and might I add, exploitative of the wallets of other Christians. Great movies make compelling philosophical arguments or ask deep questions for the viewer to ponder. “Her” did this very well in my estimation. Spike Jonze didn’t tell you his worldview, he showed you what he imagined and let you come to your own conclusions. From what I have seen and heard this is the kind of trash that got kids failing grades in film school for producing films that lacked any semblance of subtlety or subtext. As an aside, and I don’t want to have to clarify this, but the kind of people this film creates requires it, I know a great deal of atheists and people of different faiths than my own, and the incidence of arrogance is higher within Christianity, which is laughable because Jesus frequently humbled and humiliated the religious folks who thought they had it all together. They were so embarrassed by his teachings they wanted him dead. Christianity is not being expressed by this film, arrogance and childlike petulance is. FWIW, you have a Christian on your side of the argument.

    Like

    • I appreciate the comment, Kyle! You nailed this movie on the head in your second sentence. It is extremely exploitative. I think my biggest problem is that this is a movie that creates a certain type of person. I hate to think how many impressionable kids are being dragged to this movie and leaving the theater with an incredibly skewed, misguided and unfair view of nonbelievers. They’ll become adults who are militant in their religious faith and unwilling to enter any kind of honest debate about faith. Instead, it’s training people to instantly proselytize to the point of badgering.

      By the way, “Her” was such an incredible movie. It’s a perfect example of a movie that could have easily taken a political/social stance and beat it over the audiences’ head. Instead it’s a genuine, quirky love story set against the backdrop of a societal sci-fi future that is closer to reality than people may realize. i was so happy Jonze got an Oscar for the screenplay. So well-deserved.

      Like

    • Well, there’s no need to feel sorry for me. I live a very happy life with great friends and family, a job that pays the bills and a blog/podcast hobby where I get to share my interests and opinions with people all around the world.

      But I’m happy you are able to condescend and share your (I’m sure completely selfless and not at all self-aggrandizing) opinion of me based on one review that I assume you disagree with.

      Like

  9. Thanks for paying to see this movie. We will use it to advance the “insulting and appalling propaganda” that you claim were found in its contents. So sad that you can never take that money back. Yet ultimately the saddest part will be your closed proud mind will one day lead you to a place where you will be able to “know” that there is a God and it will be too late. I think I’ll make a donation to a Christian charity today to in effect nullify your pathetic one to science.

    Like

    • You are either 14, a troll or the exact person that God’s Not Dead is geared toward. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were all three, actually.

      I don’t see myself as having a “closed, proud mind.” Especially considering my road to atheism was fraught with more thought and emotional consideration than I’ve ever used for any personal life decision.

      My problem with the type of religious people God’s Not Dead is made for is that they view the biggest question facing humanity as a “war” rather than a debate. It upsets you that I donated money a Science-based organization because, somehow, that $20 is a threat to your faux-persecuted faith. Nothing is further from the truth. Science isn’t out to destroy Religion. One of religion’s best qualities is its ability to self-destruct.

      The funny thing is I made that donation to the “Dialogue on Science, Ethics & Religion” portion of the organization. According to the site, “the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) facilitates communication between scientific and religious communities.”

      But if you feel that my “pathetic” donation to “science” is a threat to the religious faith that almost the entire United States aligns themselves with, I recommend checking out operationcompassion.org. As far as I can tell, they’re an honest organization trying to feed needy children around the world. http://www.operationcompassion.org/relief-america/help-us-feed-hungry-children-2/

      Like

  10. My dad who wasn’t the lighthouse of philosophy asked the same question while sitting around our campfire in northern Wisconsin. As he pointed up at the star filled sky….eventually he would ask….tell me what happens if you just keep going that direction. If you can never get to the end of space ….you can’t get to the end of time. If eternity and infinity doesn’t tell you there is a God…well..scripture says that only a fool can look at all of creation and say there is no God…what could I add to that

    Like

    • So just because we can’t yet comprehend or conceivably reach the edge of space and time we shouldn’t let ourselves consider alternatives to what men wrote thousands of years ago? Back when the extent of knowledge of the entire universe was confined to the same methods your father used to ponder the stars: His eyes.

      Like

  11. I think it was a good movie. I wasn’t offended in any way. I don’t agree with the negative comments about the characters or stereotyping. I don’t see how using the story of one persons life is stereotyping everyone else who is the same religion or race. If you are so easily offended then you shouldn’t watch movies in the first place.

    Like

    • “the story of one persons life”

      This movie doesn’t tell the story of anyone’s life because the characters are over-the-top caricatures of the filmmakers’ idea of certain groups of people. Every christian in the movie is kind and compassionate to the point of being comical. Likewise, every nonbeliever in the movie is cruel, heartless and selfish. It is not an accurate representation of either side of the argument because people are not black & white. Being a christian doesn’t automatically make you a “good” person. Likewise, being a nonbeliever doesn’t automatically make you the devil incarnate.

      I am not easily offended and it’s extremely rare for me not to find anything of value in a movie I watch. There is nothing redeemable about this movie from either a filmmaking or philosophical perspective.

      Like

  12. You know what, God made you, like it or not, believe it or not, doesn’t matter what you think, what you say or do. as the air you breath, one day he will take it away, u like it or not.he’s the boss, so you decide now where you want to go heaven or hell. Like it or not they exist, when he calls you better be ready, it’s the truth, you can’t see it cause you have to much hate in your heart. I don’t even need to know you. Your lips speak of what you have in your heart (Luke 6:45) KJV. Christ is alive receive him and you’ll live, God Bless You

    Like

    • “it’s the truth, you can’t see it cause you have to much hate in your heart. I don’t even need to know you. Your lips speak of what you have in your heart”

      So I have hate in my heart because I disliked and was offended by a movie? You’re basically saying that I am an evil person for voicing my opinion about a work of fiction. Take a step back and reflect on that for just a second and see it for the arrogance and lunacy that it is.

      Here are some quotes for you.

      “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3 NIV

      “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Romans 14:1 ESV

      I don’t know, Fred. It sounds like you’re going to have some explaining to do when you talk to God.

      Like

  13. The movie is about someone who thinks that because he has a certain amount of power on others just because he thinks his opinions are above everyone else s, he can play the role of a god and say: What ever i say go’s end of story. I say the movie is what it is. it says in this society you have to except what your professor, your doctor, your scientist, ect., says.
    even if they say god does not exist. Opinions are opinions, it does not reflect the truth of a few. We are many, A LOT!. And one day when the heavens open, and they will open. Jesus will come for his church. I wish you, me and everybody else, is ready. As for what you said Matt, i am truly sorry if I’ve offended you, but I keep saying anyone that is offended by a movie that defends there position in society as a true christian and will not be moved by any other believes, is truly not christian or is really not really informed of what God is or who Jesus was, because he gave his life on the cross so we could be free and tell the world that he is alive and will come again soon. Matt i am truly sorry if I offend you, but are you a true follower of Jesus and a true christian?.

    Like

  14. I think what the writer of this story is missing is the true big picture. You are using your emotions and feelings to write a critique. Of course you do not know a harsh atheist, you share more similar view points. But when you have the complete opposite view point as someone’s spiritual beliefs (whether that be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or the complete lack of a belief) you are going to see that other party in a harsher light. That is common sense. In reading this logical article you seem to lean a certain way yourself. Could it be because this movie opposes your view points?
    True success in movies is not based on the ability to fathom a story line ( it honestly makes more sense for a non-believer to accept Christ bedore he dies than it does to develop super powers from a radioactive spider).
    True success in the box office is based on the almighty dollar bill. Making more money than you loss. In a true business sense I would much rather invest in this movie than in the Lone Ranger in percentages of profit. That is what people are trying to accomplish. A roof for their family, pay for the kid’s tuition, and have enough money to retire. They targeted a niche market. And they nailed it as box offices show. Does this movie convert people? No way! Does anyone’s rants on this website swing anyone’s desicion? Absolutely not. But maybe Allana feels fired up from this movie and using her relationship with a friend can witness to someone now that she has a renewed spirit. That could happen. No one can shoot her down for that.
    Also I noticed I had to put my email in just to comment. I hope I do not receive any “annoying” emails from you or your site like some may have experienced annoying texts from movie goers.

    Like

  15. I have not seen the movie and after reading Matt’s review I think I too, will pass. Same goes for NOAH, which by the way, it generated bad reviews even among Christians. Still to come the day when religious will make a good case of convincing the secularists of the existence of a GOD”. This movie and again, I am judging by Matt’s review (because I am not watching the movie), might make a believer emotional but to convince an atheist that not only GOD exists but he is also alive? uhmmm.

    Like

  16. This review is ridiculous. I absolutely loved this movie!! It’s a million times better than so many new other shit movies all about sex and everyone loves those?? This movie was amazing so all of you people need to be more open minded and get over it.

    Like

  17. The movie was terrific, and so was “Heaven is for real.” Don’t listen to someone’s rants, see the movie for yourself, and make your own decision.

    Like

  18. As a Christian, this movie insulted ME! Here is why!

    1. Cancer isn’t because of demons or being nonbelievers. If that was the case, there wouldnt be Christians with Cancer.

    2. It made the Pastor look EXTREMELY creepy. Sure the guy was saved and in heaven. That was good. But going, “Oh this guy just got saved! Who cares if he died! It’s not like he had family or friends or anyhing.”

    3. They made the main character way too goody goody. Everyone struggles with sin. He was like a less intelligent version of Jesus.

    4. The creaters made Atheists and Muslims look intolerant, which in general will make the average Nonbeliever go, “Christians made this? What kind of belief system is this? This is an awfully intolerant group of people.”

    5. It really wasnt done that well.

    There are better Christian Movies than this. But everyone will be talking about this from now on. Ugh.

    Like

  19. Hey, just wanted to say that as a Christian myself I watched the movie and was also in shock of what they portrayed atheists to be, I’m so sorry that you were offended by the movie but just like not all atheists are terrible people not all Christians are that close minded and stupid. To me the whole point of being a Christian is the message of Jesus’ love, and unfortunately I feel like most of the time Christians are the worst at showing it. Anyways I hope the movie didn’t ruin you for all Christians because a good amount of us can respect your beliefs without feeling threatened by them 🙂

    Like

  20. As an objective reader I can appreciate your review accept for one part… the part about being so insulted that a preacher would witness to someone who’s about to die. Now, I understand, you don’t believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, you don’t believe you’ve sinned against God and righteously deserve an eternal judgment, and you don’t believe in a love so great it would motivate said God to take your punishment upon Himself if you’ll confess him… but I would hope you’re smart enough to figure out that a preacher does believe in those things. If someone believes in eternity and more so in heaven and hell, the last thing they’d say when someone is dying is, “Fuck eternity, let’s make sure this guy is comfortable for 30 seconds… after all he’ll spend the rest of everlasting in torments in flames. Forget the fact that it’s my job to help people get out of that mess, let me usher him into hell without any attempt to spare him. I don’t want him comfortable or relaxed for all of eternity, only the next 30 seconds.” That would be sickening!

    Like

  21. And as an additional response, I have no idea why you think the girl’s cancer had anything to do with her lack of faith… in the movie a Christian mother died of cancer while her son was 12 and another Christian mother suffered from dementia and couldn’t even recognize her own adult children… I don’t think the girl’s cancer was because she was an atheist, I think it was because cancer happens to the people who least expect it.

    Like

  22. I’m a believing Christian who has avoided these ego-feeding sops to the stupid all my life. Not only will the only people who like this crap be Christians.

    The only people who find “Christian” movies anything but repellent are the dumbest Christians who couldn’t spot bad logic, unrealistic dialogue and straw man characters even if, as in this movie, they beat you about the head and shoulders.

    I personally recognize, in Michael Caine’s delightful turn of phrase, that I have taste and style but lack talent. I await the Christian screenwriter who possesses the minimal intelligence and talent to put forth a screenplay that is better than absolutely awful.

    I am nearly 50 years old. My hopes for such a talent are dimming.

    Like

  23. I’m a believing Christian who has avoided these ego-feeding sops to the stupid all my life. Not only will the only people who like this crap be Christians.

    The only people who find “Christian” movies anything but repellent are the dumbest Christians who couldn’t spot bad logic, unrealistic dialogue and straw man characters even if, as in this movie, they beat you about the head and shoulders.

    I personally recognize, in Michael Caine’s delightful turn of phrase, that I have taste and style but lack talent. I await the Christian screenwriter who possesses the minimal intelligence and talent to put forth a screenplay that is better than absolutely awful.

    I am nearly 50 years old. My hopes for such a talent are dimming.

    Like

  24. Reblogged this on Humanist Fox and commented:
    God’s Not Dead is a malicious propaganda piece that slanders all those who wish not to bow down, empty their wallets, and offer themselves as living sacrifices to The Newsboys.

    Tonight, after finding myself sandwiched in a congregation filled with its witless, psychopathic fans–all of whom cheered for the death of Kevin Sorbo by the end–listening to a calm, reasoned to response this abusive, dehumanizing filth afterwards was extremely refreshing.

    Give it a read–or a listen–below.

    Like

  25. I don’t understand why other atheist get so offended by Christians beliefs, what does it matter? Do you get offended when a child believes in Santa or a purple bunny ? It doesn’t directly affect me and you ! Trying to shove your perspective down their throats is the same thing done by fanatics . Be proud of your non- mainstream POV . I certainly don’t want to be like Christians and Muslims trying to force me to be like them . Live and let live.

    Like

  26. i think you did a good job describing the movie but you missed the scene where mark strangled a kitten, burned down a orphanage for the disabled, tied a woman to the train tracks , and stole candy from a baby

    Like

  27. the whining of the atheists here is most enjoyable tome. no, not ALL atheists are as were displayed in this film. however……. yep there always is that ‘however’.

    how many movies have I watched that has had, as characters, ‘back woods nut job C-tians’ in them? where they are eating people? setting booby traps mauling poor city folk. enlightened urbanites, for instance?

    how many ‘its just all in fun; Saturday Night Love ‘skits’ have I watched displaying Christians as being stupid either thru incestuous in breeding, or just for being a ‘X-tian’ ?

    bye, why AM I typing that stupid ‘X-tian’ any way? how come I’m not typing the word with its proper spelling? as in Christian. hmmm awhile back, during the Windows 95 personal computer revolution, there were finally atheist chat rooms. I distinctly remember how typing Christian as ‘X-tian’ was supposed to enrage the stupid, inbreeding (inn the country anyway), evil, crazy, physically ugly, and too many more examples to list here was going to enable the poor discriminated against atheists, gays, ‘poly-theistic’ masses to finally have some pay back against those loathsome
    Christian beasts.

    so now there are Christian movie production companies. Christian legal firms, if the stuff at the end of the film is to be believed, are instituting law suits against schools/universities which allow the theft of Bibles from Christians, or the swarming of private Christian Club groups and other egregious forms of nastiness. and the worst part is that on occasion, these Christian law firms sometimes WIN these law suits!

    I mean like Holy Fuck-Stick! next thing you know, ‘they’ (those evil Christians) ….. but I tire.

    as to the one who is offended for paying for a movle which he didn’t agree with. there is an old saying my Uncle Ziggy used to tell me. “you pays your money, you takes your chances”

    those old Romans had another way of saying it. Caveat Emptor. or, ‘buyer beware’ try to imagine how offended I hve been renting out so called ‘childrens’ movies” only to find out during said movie, that there are insider ‘gay jokes’ in them. or anti Christian statements in them, as voiced by ‘fictionalized characters’. nice trick that. using fiction to make a point. hmmm

    Like

  28. Look. No offense but I think you should keep your comments to yourself because this movie was inspiring in more ways than one. Sure, it was one sided but that was the point. It shows how people truly look at things and how people think believing is irrational.it shows how people can make up explanations for things but the reality is they aren’t explanations but excuses for not believing. If anything, this movie has brought me closer to my beliefs.

    Like

  29. Thank you so much for this wonderful review.

    I myself am a Christian and attend a Unitarian Universalist church. I came to find my faith and a religion that worked for me on my own. I know many people who aren’t like me–in fact at my fellowship I’m in the minority in terms of spiritual beliefs–and there is nothing bad about being agnostic, atheist, Pagan, humanist, etc. I refuse to believe that there is only one true path and no one else is saved. And then for Christians to praise this racist, self-righteous garbage is just beyond me.

    Like

  30. One of dialog is the points of view in this article is that the writer doesn’t know anyone atheistic with an attitude like the characters in the movie. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t. For instance, in college I encountered them myself. Now the movie is definitely low budget and the plot could have used some help but to say no atheist really acts this way would be wrong in the same way to say Christians all act the way Josh or Dave did in the movie. Just a thought…

    Like

  31. I love this movie and for those that didn’t like it….Get over it. Seriously. -_-
    Also there is only one way to God and that is made perfectly clear by God himself. We are given a choice in our life on earth to either choose the path to God or the one that leads to hell and that is the ultimate truth.
    -God bless you all

    Like

  32. I’m a devout Catholic who attempted to watch the movie. I agree, it was one sided and made both “sides” of the argument seem almost like caricatures of themselves and of actual people. The stereotypes were a bit annoying and not a good representation of Christians and Atheists that I have met and interacted with in the past.

    Though I did enjoy seeing someone stand up for their beliefs and right to discuss them, I would have preferred a plot where the characters were complex and had beliefs challenged yet learned to respect each other’s beliefs. Or came to the realization that despite others having different ideologies, they could potentially learn from one another. Something along those lines would have made for a more powerful film and also realistic film.

    That and I’m a little irked that minorities were such flat characters. Honestly, would it kill them to just do more background into people’s lives.

    Like

  33. I read here a lot of loud squealing form the Atheists; well no doubt. anything that is pro-Christian in format is automatically evil, dumb, stupid, hate filled ergo hateful, etcetera. so too bad. this movie is unapologetically pro Christian. get used to it. free speech as regards the RIGHT FOR CHRIStIANS TO MAKE MOVIES SHOWING THEIR POINT OF VIEW has not yet been deleted as yet; probably giving all sort of agnostics and atheists severe and constant agita. poor babies. i have not heard of anyone being FORCED to sit thru this movie.

    that the movie didn’t deal the many hair splitting issues involving the Christians vs the Atheists; well folks, what do you expect. movies nowadays are how long again? 120 minutes? maybe 140 minutes?

    so because the hair splitters spend countless hours on you tube, and other forums, a frankly pro Christian, or rather, pro G-d movie is unabashedly PRO G-D, shows its side is somehow wrong?

    most emphatically WRONG! the people behind this project wanted to make a movie showing THEIR POV! get it? they spent THEIR MONEY and they wanted to show THEIR POV!

    how shocking! how UNFAIR!

    to all those out there who were offended, disappointed that atheists didn’t get its own “fair share” of screen times, i tell you, GO BLOW IT OUT OF YOUR VERY OWN PRIVAtE ORIFICE!

    was this an atheist themed movie, anyone writing a protest that the “God side” didn’t receive enough recognition would be bitterly attacked in print, and laughed out of this forum. with a very large number of fellow atheists saying AMEN! all of you know that. whether you will ever acknowledge that is altogether another matter.

    Christians have evidently learned how to make a movie show casing THEIR OWN POV. good for them! also, its about time!

    live with it! get use to it!

    fair and balanced already and without that pompous ass hat Bill O’Reilly to boot!

    for me in my very own humble opinion it don’t get much better than this flick. i loved that the entire cast was Christian as well. well done guys! can’t wait for another movie along this format! and oh yeah, THANKS! thank you very much! ha ha ha

    the end

    and do i hear an amen?

    AMEN!

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Like

  34. Well, I’m a Christian and i don’t push my beliefs on anyone. It’s your choice who or what you want to believe in. But we all have to answer for our choice on judgement day.

    Like

  35. I just saw this film on Netflix because my mom asked me to. At first I thought it was laughably bad and the it went on and I was more and more offended. The misrepresentation of huge scientific theories were misrepresented and poorly understood, but even worse was the depiction of Atheism and the Muslim faith. It was deplorable. I can’t honestly believe this film was made…it’s ridiculous. I had to search for people who felt as I did, and I found you!! The scene between the priest and Zorbo was the last straw for me. A man lay dying and a Christian priest is grilling a scared man on whether or not he’s ready or prepared to accept Jesus. It was cruel! It was insulting and did more damage than good. It also basically said was the only way to make an atheist turn to God is to threaten their lives….very scary propaganda. You took the words out of my mouth. It’s a propaganda film. A despicable one at that! Great review by the way.

    Like

  36. The movie was extremely cliche and I couldn’t agree more in how offensive it was. The way it implies atheism gives you cancer and bad things will happen. What amazes me is the number of people who thought it was an amazing movie. Ignorance. Glad I’m an atheist.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.