I took two minutes to talk about this one, and still got in less than half of what bothered me about it. God’s Not Dead: my “Reel Faith” review.
Mirroring its populist tale pitting a devout young undergraduate against Kevin Sorbo’s hostile philosophy professor, the faith-based hit indie God’s Not Dead sharply divided enthusiastic faith audiences and scoffing critics.
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I’ve read your reviews for several years now, and appreciate your analysis of contemporary film. Regarding your recent video review of God’s Not Dead, which I have not seen, I’m wondering why the film seems to have earned your deep antipathy, which appears almost visceral.
I think I understand your general disappointment based on your comments, which I found instructive. But given that the film attempts to bring real Christian apologetics onto the big screen, in a context that (even if poorly executed and unrealistic in your opinion) does relate to the very real world of the modern American university experience, it is difficult for me to fathom why you would give such a film a “D” rating.
My uneasiness with your review was crystallized in your last sentence, in which you took visible pain (offense?) at the fact that the filmmakers neglected to mentioned that a key Big Bang scientist was a Catholic priest, instead referring to him as a “deist.” Isn’t this a rather trivial criticism? The term “deist” is used in multiple ways, and might have been used sloppily, but it conveys to the general public at least a belief in a Supreme Being.
If and when I do see the film, I hope to appreciate your perspective better, but this film review, given the seriousness of the film’s subject and the important role general Christian apologetics, was unsatisfying and smacked of ungraciousness.
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I heard your criticism of God’s Not Dead on the radio, and have to disagree with your point that the film portrays all the believers as perfect people who don’t have anything in their lives that needs to change, and that they don’t have to sacrifice anything for their faith.
You will no doubt recall that the decision to defend his faith cost Josh his long-time girlfriend who he intended to marry. The girl from the Muslim family was assaulted by her father and rejected by her family for her faith in Christ. The professor’s girlfriend had to choose between God and her relationship with the professor, and chose God. I would put those examples in the “sacrifice” category.
As far as the believers being perfect, the professor’s girlfriend struggled with where she sought her value, Josh’s girlfriend (a believer) put her own desires before God and anyone else, and the pastor hosting the missionary also seemed to have difficulty realizing that God was at work throughout the events of the film, at least until the end.
I will grant you, it is no cinematic masterpiece, but your criticism, oversimplification and near dismissal of this film come across as prejudice toward an evangelical film, rather than an honest review.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.