God's Not Dead
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: God’s Not Dead (2014; PG)
Director: Harold Cronk
Major Themes: Atheism, Christianity, Inspirational Movies
Synopsis: When challenged in college to declare that God is dead, Josh takes on the challenge to prove that God isn’t dead.
I’ve heard a lot about God’s Not Dead, and how good it is, so I was excited to get to see it after spotting it on a friend’s shelves. I don’t take much time for movies these days, but this one found me up a little early one morning so I can fit it in. I wasn’t too disappointed, either! Although this isn’t a movie I see myself rewatching soon, it had a lot of good content and hearing the evidence shared again for why we believe what we believe was very encouraging.
Josh doesn’t know what he’s into when he goes to his college philosophy class for the first time. But soon, he knows what his professor is like—“I want everyone to write down on a slip of paper three simple words: God is dead.” As a Christian, Josh can’t do that. He doesn’t believe in those words. From what he can see, God is very much not dead—so his professor challenges him to present three twenty-minute talks backing up his position. When his girlfriend threatens to leave him if he takes up the challenge, and many other friends caution him against doing it, can he do what is right? What is the right choice—let the professor mow over him in order to keep the peace, or take up the challenge and do his best to prove the truth of his position?
Choosing to do the difficult things—even when it could easily mean ridicule or loss of precious relationships—is one of the toughest things we can do as God’s children. But when He calls us to it, it’s our responsibility to follow through. God’s Not Dead shows this clearly—though we may choose to follow Him, things don’t always turn out absolutely perfect. But even if they don’t, we have the Lord’s blessing on our life.
One of the main things I loved about this movie was the evidence they chose for the young college student to share. In some ways, his arguments were almost like reading a book on Christian apologetics. It was very good, and faith-affirming.
The main thing I struggled with was the fact that many scenes felt extra. While it was engaging and all of that, I never really figured out why certain characters gained so much screen time or what the point of different elements was. I believe I may have been missing something key, but things like the concert near the end of the movie felt over-dramatic and perhaps a bit unnecessary.
Despite those drawbacks, however, God’s Not Dead was a good film. I can see that it could be useful, perhaps, in gently sharing the gospel or gospel concepts with young people today. It can also be faith-affirming to see the evidence backing up our beliefs. In all, while I don’t think I’d personally buy this movie, it does have good content in it. Recommended for teens and older.
WARNING: I forgot to write these in for far too long, so forgive me if the details aren’t all here! There is a kiss at 54:20. Violence, father against his daughter, from 1:12:33 – 1:14:08 (I believe the circumstance was the father, a Muslim, found out his daughter was a Christian). A woman is throwing things in 1:15:43 – 1:16:15. A video of the News Boys in concert runs from 1:37:56 – 1:39:28, and again from 1:44:54 – the end of the movie. A man is hit by someone running a red light, and dies on the scene from 1:39:29 – 1:42:56.
Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Keywords: Atheism, Christianity, Inspirational Movies