Monday, April 21, 2014
'God's Not Dead' Review: Encouragement for Believers Facing Secular Hostility

'God's Not Dead' Review: Encouragement for Believers Facing Secular Hostility

"God's Not Dead" movie poster, set for release in March 2014. | (Photo: God's Not Dead Movie Facebook Photos)

The three words God's Not Dead describe the premise of this movie perfectly as it strives to prove not only the existence of a higher being, but that this higher being is working in the lives of believers and non-believers to bring them closer to Him.

The film follows the story of college student Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) who enrolls in a philosophy class taught by the staunchly atheist Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson's class is based around the philosophies of self-proclaiming atheists, and as part of the curriculum, his students are asked to sign a paper that says God is dead on the first day. Wheaton refuses and is asked to defend his claim during the next several sessions.

 As the film progresses, Wheaton defends God in front of the entire classroom and uses science and Christian thought to back up his claim that God is not dead. The professor's rebuttals against his student's argument start strong, but end with him revealing the true reason why he hates faith and God.

There is more to this film than just the dialogue between Radisson and Wheaton. The students signing this paper in the beginning of the class symbolize a generation that has lost the ability to think critically. They accept their professor's rhetoric blindly because of his status at the university, which parallels Christians misled by the false doctrine of flashy preachers.

Professor Radisson's display in the beginning of the film exhibited so much pride, though, that anyone with a little humility would be incensed. Shouldn't an atheist professor be able prove a point without having to resort to bullying? Of course, Radisson's character does not represent all atheists, but this was a glaring discrepancy in the portrayal of non-believers, who aren't all bullies.

God's Not Dead features several other characters all on a faith journey: Mark (Dean Cain) is a self-centered corporate executive who receives a message from God from his mother with dementia; Mina (Cory Oliver), the Christian girlfriend of Radisson who leaves him because of the way he treats her for her faith; and Ayisha (Hadeel Sittu), an undercover Christian pretending to be a Muslim to her religious father. All these stories work well to communicate the way God works in the lives of believers and non-believers.

God's Not Dead is a solid film for Christians looking for encouragement in hostile and secular environments like college campuses. Sorbo does a fantastic job as Radisson and the rest of the acting is pretty good for an independent Christian film. However, there are a few parts that come off as unnecessary, like David A.R. White's car troubles -- the filmmaker using God's divine intervention to spark the ignition is corny, and the delivery was uninspired.

Overall, God's Not Dead is definitely a hit for believers and may even appeal to skeptics searching for answers. The ending is also a bit shocking, which adds a genuine quality -- the creators could have taken the easy route and made everyone live happily ever after, which isn't realistic and definitely not biblical.


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