I have seen some pretty terrible faith-based films: The Omega Code, Apocalypse, and anything starring Kirk Cameron. But then there are some that I would count as respectable: Thr3e or Faith Like Potatoes. Last night I watched God’s Not Dead, and managed to put aside most of my usual complaints about how most films created to appeal to an audience of Christians come across as lame, cheesy, and it’s no surprise why we’re predominantly the only ones who enjoy them because it’s art imitating culture, not creating culture. There were some things I did enjoy about the film and some things that left me rolling my eyes at the end.
One of the best moments of the film, which left me giggling pretty strongly was this cameo from Willie and Korie Robertson, who get ambushed by a leftist blogger/journalist:
Another part that I thought was really well written and delivered was this scene where Dean Cain’s character gets confronted by his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s:
But there were also things that left me thinking, “Really?!?”
For one thing, I do not know one college professor, and I’ve encountered some pretty arrogant ones, who after inviting a student to present the counterpoint to his lectures (and by the way I have NEVER heard of that happening), would not feel intellectually intimidated enough to do this:
And then there is the final lecture, where not only does the protagonist Josh trump Prof. Raddison, but receives a unanimous ovation from his lecture hall class of 80 students:
It felt like for every moment in the film where I found myself starting to really enjoy the film, it would be followed by one that left me wondering, “Is life really like this? Are people in life this over-the-top?” And the answer is that yes, it can be and yes, they are. But the odds of finding in one community someone overly atheistic, one a hardcore Christian, one totally in love with self, one who thought she was but finds out she isn’t and needs someone who isn’t, and many other examples of typical foil pairs is highly unlikely, just as the evil atheist who experiences a deathbed conversion at the last moment. This is not to say these things could happen, but the fact that I don’t see them happen in my community on a daily basis makes it hard for me to not notice these things.
Ultimately, God’s Not Dead was okay. If I’m visiting someone who wants to watch it, I will sit through it with them. It’s a valuable experience if for no other reason than to be confronted with anti-God arguments which may disturb the viewer to the point of reflecting on his or her faith and how the critiques might strengthen it. In the end, remember the only way to kill Hercules is to hit him with a car.