A Review of God's Not Dead: The Movie
Time and again, the worries of this world get on our shoulders and attempt to push us down, to lay us low. And as many of us are caring individuals, we frequently take on those worries and allow them to do just that. Our minds then stray from the path we have chosen and we become lost, stranded and oftentimes lose faith. I know because I have done just that. There was a period of some years where I allowed myself to lose my faith and was angry at God for allowing something to happen, something horrible.
My lovely wife brought me home, and for that I will be eternally grateful for she brought back my faith in God and allowed me to ask for forgiveness from Him for my doubts. I also know that not everyone will have that opportunity to believe again; they may not have an Angel such as my wife is to ask them a simple question that blows the cobwebs from their minds, reduces the doubts or fears to rubble and lifts them back onto that stony path that leads to God. I was lucky; maybe even blessed. Yes, definitely; I am blessed
As I am but human even today doubts and fears, worries and strife do their best to enter my life through many doorways. For the most part I battle them fairly well, never losing sight of Him, but I acknowledge that worry, fear, and doubts are sins. I am a sinner. But I believe in God the Father so my sins are forgiven should I but ask it. So, daily, I do.
While shopping today, I was drawn to the little red box sitting outside the store. I cannot say why, but something drew me to it, searching for this movie. God's Not Dead. I had seen a commercial or two, not many. I knew little about it but I wanted to see it. It was there, I rented it and took it home for the evening.
I sat down after dinner with my wife and son and began watching. In this story, several families are brought forward showing different ways and thoughts which frequent the world today. Some of them are uncomfortable, some are far, far beyond that.
We begin with a young man who is beginning his journey through college and he immediately meets resistance to his faith when he registers for a required class. We meet a young woman of Middle Eastern descent being taken to this college by her father, and we come to know he is a strict believer of a different faith, one which does not look favorably on Americans in general, and Christians in particular. We also meet a priest on his way somewhere; a young Chinese man who is attending the college; and a young woman who is struggling with her mother who has dementia. We also meet her brother, a wealthy self centered man who is involved with a young woman who is a doubter and a reporter. Each of these people have struggles of their own, and meet other struggles which are attempting to shake their faith.
There is also a man, a professor at this college. His is a world in which God does not reside; but having Him not in his life is not sufficient; he attempts to force others in his class to accept his belief that God is dead and no longer should be looked to for anything. In this, he is unflinching.
The first young man we meet is forced to meet his faith head on in the first day of class in which the professor teaches. The professor is harsh in his wording of God and demands that all students write upon a sheet of paper the words "God is dead" sign it and turn it in. Once all do this, they can begin their studies.
The first young man falters, and is not able to allow his faith to be shelved by this professor's declaration. He stands up to the professor, refuses to sign the sheet and is put to test. He is challenged to defend his faith by speaking to the class and proving God is alive and well. He is given three time periods to prove to the class that God is not dead.
While I watched this wonderful movie, I thought back on my younger days, days in which I attended college. I had a class in Vertebrate Zoology taught by a professor E. E. Hudson. Doc Hudson, or double E as he was known, taught a class on the world of vertebrates in the world today, and those of the past. In one section, he taught evolution as a fact, and we were expected to agree with it no matter what. One of my friends, Troy Tranter, was also in this class. He was a devout Christian and had never had a grade below an A his entire scholastic life. He spoke with double E in class, saying he could not agree that evolution was the answer to that age old question, and that he would not subscribe to that thought being the way things were. Double E demanded Troy agree, study and take the test. Troy refused and did not return to class until we were past that chapter in our books.
He stood up for what he believed in; paid the price in the only F he ever received on a test, and went on. He showed his faith to be all encompassing and would not allow others to sway him. Other people might think what's the big deal; why not allow the professor to demand this now and forget about it later. When I watched this movie tonight, I saw why. If we allow others to demand we deny our faith, we fail Jesus; we deny Him. I wish I had had the faith then to follow Troy's example. While I believed, my faith was not strong enough to pass the test set before me. I failed Him. Lord, I apologize for that time and any times since when I fell short of Your example.
Back to the movie. The individuals interact with one another in a manner which we do not understand in the beginning, but like a finely woven tapestry the threads gradually come together, become tighter and tighter until they are directly relating with each other. They may not realize they are doing so, but we the viewer are privy to information which allows us to see what they do not.
This movie is absolutely one of the best I have seen in years. It is simple yet poignant. Harsh yet beautiful. It reminds me greatly of the writings of William P. Young and his books The Shack and Crossroads. The writers of this movie have done a wonderful job in creating a work which gently but firmly pulls you into the story. You see these people, you feel for them. You become upset at the way they are treated and the way they treat others, depending upon who we are watching at the moment. In my mind, it is destined to become one of those films which develops a strong following, one which continues to be effective and timely and is shared with others as they come into contact with those who know God's Not Dead.
Do you agree? God's Not Dead!
For those of you who feel God is dead, I submit this quote from the movie. The selfish, self-centered son who is finally visiting his mother (who has dementia) speaks to her, thinking she does not hear him. Somewhere deep inside of her, she does hear him and responds to his words thusly:
"Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn't want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn't seem to be any reason to leave. The door's wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it's too late."
Think on that.
One thing which bothered me was the thought that this couldn't really be happening in this age of enlightenment; this was fiction, right? Then I watched the credits at the end of the film and the special features and saw that it had, and was. Universities, these bastions of higher learning, have attempted to minimize and in some circumstances even ban Christians from gathering and thinking their own thoughts; from standing up for their beliefs. In a situation similar to Madalyn Murray O'Hair and the issue with prayer in schools, and more recently the attack upon of Pledge of Allegiance and the words One Nation, under God, God is systematically being attacked and removed from our lives.
This nation was founded upon the beliefs that all men are created equal, and these same men have the right to believe in God as they choose. This means if you choose to not believe, we the Christians allow you this choice. But for some reason, this same choice is not given back to we the believers. Why? Why is it acceptable to not believe, but not acceptable to believe? I believe that if we do not stand up and fight for our rights as Christians, believers in the higher Being that is God, we will eventually cease to be in existence. Fight for your right to declare God is alive! Demand the same opportunity to declare that belief wherever we may be; public schools, or private. University or college; state school or Ivy League; two year or four year. Work, play, wherever. God is not dead, He lives in all of us. Fulfill His belief and love for us by standing up and being accountable to and for Him.
God's Not Dead!!