When God’s Not Dead first came out, I was offered the opportunity to attend an early screening, only I wasn’t able to go. So I sent my daughter and her husband in my place. They loved it, which wasn’t surprising since they’re young, he’s a minister, and they’re both passionate about standing up for their beliefs.
But then I started reading reviews and hearing buzz about the movie and so much of it was critical. I understood the criticism from the secular reviewers, but was surprised by the Christians who said it was superficial and shallow and not very good writing. I took them at their word and accepted their negative evaluations. Well, today I finally watched the movie and I must say, it is a far better movie than many reviewers would have you believe, and more importantly, it is providing a valuable service to Christians and nonChristians alike.
First, for those complaining about the writing, saying it is not quality writing, I disagree. Granted, there are some weak areas, but in a story this complex with so many storylines going on simultaneously, they can’t all be deep. Interweaving all those stories together, crisscrossing them throughout the movie and putting them all together at the end, that was no small task. Not to mention the beauty of the way the scenes were transitioned one to the next. Obviously, some stories were better than others, but they each represented a different segment of the population in how they reacted to the gospel.
Next, for all those complaining about Josh’s arguments not being strong enough, debate is subjective. Critics complain that Josh’s points are weak, and yet, he’s a college freshman. They say that it’s unreasonable for an atheist professor to be swayed by his presentation. But Dr. Radisson, like so many atheists, is angry at God and searching for meaning and answers in his life. He grew up in a Christian home. His mother was a Christian. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in God; He doesn’t understand Him, and that makes him angry. Deep down, he wants to believe in God, but he’s fighting Him with every ounce of his being. It makes perfect sense, then, that Josh’s words would strike a chord with him.
Finally, even if God’s Not Dead is not perfect. Even if it’s preaching to the choir. Even if it’s a bit shallow. It accomplishes something that is very much needed by Christians. It provides a pep rally for believers. It’s a chance for Christians to watch a feel-good movie about Christians who aren’t afraid to take a stand. It’s a way for teens and young adults to gain courage and to take a small step towards evangelism when they text their friends to say “God’s Not Dead”. Yes, it’s a brilliant piece of marketing genius, but let’s not forget that for every text that goes out with those three words, conversations are initiated that could very well develop into lives being saved. And isn’t that really what it’s all about?