Adam Blosser is the pastor of Drakes Branch Baptist Church in Drakes Branch, VA. He blogs at ONE True Joy.
Ok, this post may not be popular. I am a Christian. I was supposed to love God’s Not Dead. Well, I didn’t. The movie was not all bad as I said in my last post. It wasn’t even mostly bad as this post may seem to indicate. The idea behind the movie was good, but I must quibble with some of the details. Below are a few of the things with which I took issue.
1. All of the non-Christians were portrayed as evil numbskulls.
This is an unhelpful characterization. Professor Radisson was an egotistical bully. Mark, the successful businessman, was a self-centered jerk. The Muslim father was an abusive tyrant. If the creators of the movie wanted to build a straw man and utterly demolish it, they succeeded. If they wanted to demonstrate how Christians can effectively engage a lost world, they came up short.
In Matthew 9:36, Jesus looked on the crowd of lost people and saw them as sheep without a shepherd. He did not demonize them. He ministered truth to them that they might repent and believe in Him. The ministry of Jesus to unbelievers should always be held up as a model for Christians to follow.
Believe it or not, unbelievers actually do good things. They feed the hungry. They care for the poor. Many times they do this better than Christians. Now certainly the Scriptures say that even our good deeds are as filthy rags to God. Unbelievers do not feed the hungry and take care of the poor as worship to God, but this does not completely negate their good deeds.
2. The words in black matter too.
One of America’s bearded heroes, Willie Robertson, is interviewed in the movie by a disrespectful young reporter. She asks several demeaning questions of Willie and his wife, Korie. Willie and Korie respond to these questions as graciously as one could reasonably expect. Then Willie responds to one of the questions by quoting a Bible verse. He follows the quotation up with, “And that’s in red so it’s important.”
For starters, an atheist with no religious background may not even know what he means by that. But that isn’t my point here. Christians do not believe that the words in red are somehow more important than the words in black. I believe that the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is the very Word of God. When I read the Bible it is as if God is speaking, because He is. Willie’s remark was a cute thing to say, but it was dead wrong and extremely unhelpful.
3. What about the resurrection?
I said in my last post that I appreciated the concept of the movie. Christians need to be prepared to give a defense for their faith. However, I felt that Josh failed to utilize the best arguments at our disposal.
Most reasonable unbelievers will grant that there really was a man named Jesus who lived just over 2,000 years ago. They will grant that He really was crucified. They will even grant that His followers claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus.
This leaves us with only a few choices for explanation. 1) His followers thought they saw the resurrected Jesus, but were merely hallucinating. The only problem with this is that hallucination is not a group phenomenon. The resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time. 2) The disciples stole the body. Unfortunately for those who argue for this solution, the tomb was well-guarded. Also, most of the apostles were martyred for their faith. You don’t go to your death for something you know to be a lie. 3) Jesus really was resurrected. This seems to be the best explanation for why the body was missing from the tomb.
While this apologetic is not likely to convince an atheist to convert (there are no surefire arguments for the existence or non-existence of God), it is the best argument for the existence of God in my opinion. It also does not stop with arguing for the existence of God. It argues for the belief that Jesus is God, which is at the center of the Christian faith.
4. I am not intimidated by evolution.
Josh begins his arguments for the existence of God by granting that the world is billions of years old. I realize that many solid, Bible-believing Christians agree with this position; I do not. I think that good arguments exist for a young earth. I believe that God created the earth just as the narrative of Genesis records, in six literal days. I do not make this a test of orthodoxy necessarily, but do believe that it is a very legitimate position and even the best position. The converse is a very slippery slope.
5. Theism is not Christianity.
After the movie, someone told me that it was great how all of the students in Josh’s class converted to Christianity. Unfortunately, that is not what the movie portrays. Martin, a student from China, is the only classmate shown who converted to Christianity. The rest of the class converted to theism. They denounced their original statement that God is dead by standing and saying, “God is not dead.” I don’t think that is what Paul had in mind in Romans 10 when he wrote that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. What about repentance? What about faith in Jesus?
I have to say that I did not pick up on this initially; my wife did. She is sharp and keeps me on my toes. I am thankful for her discernment.
There were other things throughout the movie that raised my eyebrows. The list above, however, is a good representation of some of the problems I found. The Noah movie has received a lot of criticism from Christians, and rightly so it seems. I have not seen it yet, and probably won’t until it shows up in my local Redbox. However, many of the same Christians who despise theNoah movie so much are in love with God’s Not Dead.
God’s Not Dead is not all bad as I have said before. It is, in my estimation though, potentially more harmful than Noah to the undiscerning eye. Noah is very obviously inaccurate. God’s Not Dead is more subtly misleading. I took my youth group to see the movie. I don’t regret that decision. I am also glad that I was able to sit down with them afterward and discuss some of the problems with the movie. If you choose to see the movie, I encourage you to watch discerningly.