God’s Not Dead? Maybe He’s Just Not Feeling Well

Is God dead? The very existence of this movie proves that God, while not yet dead, is at least coming down with a really bad case of the flu.

God’s Not Dead gives top billing to a cameo appearance by Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson (the one with the business degree), who appears as himself with his wife Korie, playing herself.  Hold onto your willing suspension of disbelief: Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo stars as a Shakespeare-quoting philosophy professor who demands all his students write the phrase

God is dead

as part of their first day of class exercises. One student refuses because he’s a Christian. Our hero Josh Wheaton is then challenged by Professor Radisson to

prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals.

Humility ensues.

(The names are important: Joshua= Jeshua=Jesus; Wheaton, bringing in the sheaves; Radisson=radical. Josh’s parents are named Ward and June in the cast list).

Based on both a book of essays, God’s Not Dead: Evidence of God in an Age of Uncertainty by evangelical author Rice Brooks and the catchy song “God’s Not Dead” by the Christian rock band The Newsboys who appear in the movie, God’s Not Dead is produced by one of the film’s stars, David R.A. White who stars as Pastor Dave (again with the names!). White has appeared in over twenty Christian-themed films, including Revelation Road 1 and 2, Holyman Undercover, Redeemed, and Jerusalem Countdown.

God’s Not Dead, which hits high points of evangelical rhetoric (liberal colleges, brave youth, standing up to faith even at gun point), opens on March 31, the spring equinox, a major pagan holiday. Interesting….

And okay, what is with former teen idols going all Jesus Movie of the Week? Kirk Cameron is full on repressive fundamentalist. Dean Cain has appeared in several Christian-themed movies. Kevin Sorbo

decided to take his faith with him while working in Hollywood

and has of late only appeared in Christian movies (Soul Surfer, What If…).  Michael York jumped to Jesus and hasn’t had a good role since.  One Tree Hill hottie Chad Michael Murray starred in the reboot of Left Behind (weirdly he played Michael York’s younger brother in Megiddo: Omega Code 2). I liked it better when stars past their prime finished off their shelf life in horror movies.

26 Responses to "God’s Not Dead? Maybe He’s Just Not Feeling Well"
Lisa Derrick | Sunday December 22, 2013 03:45 pm 2
In response to DSWright @ 1

Brilliant!


DWBartoo | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:27 pm 3

Lisa, forgive me for so saying, however, I am in no way convinced this film deserves much in the way of any serious attention, at all.

Frankly, it seems quite pathetic an attempt at a rear guard action by Xtian soldiers in full retreat from the truth of their fast-diminishing capacity to profitably “influence” the rational considerations of others.

I well understand the power of moving pictures to shape opinion AND human perception, yet this film is so poorly contrived and so heavy handed in its “earnestness” as to be likely to join those movies about the “killer weed” as merely a cult attraction, periodically revisited purely for its reflection of shallow social propaganda and cultural hypocrisy.

That about exhausts anything that I might, ever, have to say about it.

My one remaining question is for you: Might you share with us your purpose in presenting this to our attention?

DW

DW


PriscillaQOB | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:28 pm 4

The Duck Dynasty dude looks like Miriam Shor in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and his partner bears a striking resemblance to a much younger Anne Coulter.

Kevin Sorbo has never impressed me as much of an actor. He’s really overdoing it here.

Evangelical Christianity is extremely distasteful to me personally and I would not watch this movie. Ever. Rick Santorum’s movie won’t be viewed by me either, for much the same reasons, even though I am a fellow Roman Catholic.

I am a happy, believing Christian descended from Jewish refugees from Germany. I enjoy well-written, well-made, and well-acted biblical epics and movies, both Jewish and Christian. Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” is one of the few DVD’s that I’ve ever purchased and watched over and over again.

Is that problematic for audiences or has-been actors who want to publicly express their faith (or cash in on it)? Why should someone’s faith expression be ridiculed with mockery and disbelief instead of valid criticism of the crappy writing and acting?

My God is not dead to me but I doubt this film would have anything to do with that fact nor would this film be able to prove or disprove that to me or anyone else. It might convert someone, somewhere, somehow but I doubt that very seriously also.

Just like this movie, I don’t have to go see things that I disagree with or don’t like. Doesn’t mean that they can’t/shouldn’t be made nor should people be mocked for making movies like this. That’s my 2-cent contribution.


Lisa Derrick | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:38 pm 5
In response to PriscillaQOB @ 4

Zefferelli’s Brother Son and Sister Moon about St Fracis was beautiful, too. Ben Hur has a Christian subtext and still holds up.

Maybe evangelical film making will catch up with mainstream movies terms of acting, directing and writing; it must be depressing to have subpar artistic expressions.


allan | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:43 pm 6

To quote Tom Tomorrow, because nobody commands the respect of young people like middle-aged academics, the amount of damage they can do is incalculable.


Lisa Derrick | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:43 pm 7
In response to DWBartoo @ 3

Why did I write about it? Because it struck my fancy. There’s a lot going on sub rosa when the top billed actor is a cameo by one of the duck dudes.


hackworth1 | Sunday December 22, 2013 04:58 pm 8

In typical fashion, they don’t know the tenets of their own dogma.

The bearded Duckman sayeth, “If we deny god, he will deny us”.

This is not biblically supported.


DWBartoo | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:02 pm 9
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 7

I guess I wonder why the Duck dudes deserve any attention at all, Lisa.

Recent news stories do not suggest that the Duck dudes are contributing very much that is healthy to civil society.

Is not the overwhelming amount of destructive, or racist, or pro-war, or pro-torture, or even pro-vacuous celebrity influence, now afflicting entertainment something which we ought put into perspective, and into its proper place, rather than merely assume is simply the way things are?

Might it not be more useful to place this barrage in the context of its intended purpose?

Appeals to prejudice of any sort, to implications of the rightful superiority of mere obscene wealth, and so on are intended to legitimize those actions and attitudes, are they not?

Perhaps that “sub rosa” aspect needs to be brought out into the light, clearly, and discussed, rather than left, there, mostly hidden, in the flowers?

DW


Twain | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:09 pm 10
In response to DWBartoo @ 9

I agree. The reason that the wingnuts have so much attention is that they have gotten so much attention. If everyone ignored them, the story might be different and I don’t find these people interesting at all.


Tammany Tiger | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:17 pm 11
In response to DWBartoo @ 9

I guess I wonder why the Duck dudes deserve any attention at all, Lisa.

They don’t. Having said that, the Robertsons accomplished something I thought impossible–namely, making the Kardashians look classy.


DWBartoo | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:20 pm 12

Phil Robertson is no Rosa Parks, after all, and any state that considers The Duck Dynasty important to “tourism”, must be desperate beyond rational measure.

It is neither a Duck nor a Kardashian world, and their influence, and the mere fact that they have it, signals that it is time to ponder a number of rather serious things which must concern any, actually civil, society.

Ours is losing its civility quite as quickly as the Rule of Law is being dismantled.

Oddly enough, civil society and the Rule of Law are closely related, as we cannot have the first without the second.

And social civility, if not practiced and encouraged, may, far too easily be destroyed by politicians, by money, and by “values” that various media extoll.

DW

DW


karenjj2 | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:22 pm 13
In response to Tammany Tiger @ 11

707! thanks, really tickled me!


DWBartoo | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:24 pm 14

Clearly, Tammany Tiger, and Twain, we are all on the same page.

And, I imagine that we are all old enough to know what a “page” is, all having turned a fair number in our life journeys …

15 minutes is far more than “enough!” exposure to “fame” for certain Ducks and Kardashians, in my jaded opinion.

;~DW


Tammany Tiger | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:26 pm 15

Not long after the famous Time magazine with the “Is God Dead?” cover hit the newsstands, this bumper sticker became popular:

“God isn’t dead. He just doesn’t want to get involved”


erik | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:27 pm 16

It’s rather amusing, but terribly sad to note that even in this modern age such a high percentage of Americans continue to cling to this entire ‘god’ construct. Most sad is perhaps the fact that many of these ‘people’ who vehemently spew forth deranged fallacies concerning this non-existent ‘god’ character, flatly refuse to acknowledge the proven SCIENTIFIC fact that the climate changes.
The good news is that recent polling suggest that we are making progress however, belief in ‘god’ is now down to I believe 71% VS 78% a mere 5 years ago.
As depressing as it can be to realize we share a land mass with such a bunch of reality illiterate neanderthal’s, the trend is our friend.
It baffles the mind to contemplate how it is that these ‘people’ can actually believe in a ‘god’ despite the clear and undisputed FACT that this supposed entity DOES NOT EXIST. A scientific background is not even required to prove that ‘god’ is not possible. I enjoy asking morons this one simple question, and doing so invariably results in the silence one would reasonably expect.
If there were a ‘god’ WHO CREATED IT? They have no answer. Obviously action absent cause is not scientifically possible. In order for a ‘god’ to exist something else had to create it (another god….LOL)?
And besides just that…If there were a ‘god’ why in the hell would he allow the world to be such as it is?


Twain | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:33 pm 17
In response to erik @ 16

I don’t think the fact that they believe in god is the problem. The problem is that they don’t live by the Bible they say they believe in. Their god must be seriously confused about what they are doing.


jonerik | Sunday December 22, 2013 05:34 pm 18

What bugs me about films like this is the false portrayal of what is supposed to be the evil “humanist” played by Kevin Sorbo. No real life philosophy professor would ever get all over a student for defending the thesis that “God is Not Dead” or that “God exists.” In my experience, this is an argument that goes on and on without any resolution. The existence of God cannot be proved by rational argument. The nonexistence of God cannot be proved by rational argument. End of discussion.

Films like this perpetuate idiotic charicatures and stereotypes of people. They don’t help people understand Christianity which is about other things than getting into arguments with people about the existence of God. You either have faith and belief that God exists or you don’t. Period. But I suppose there’s a “market segment” for this sort of shallow film that doesn’t really challenge any deeper thought or issues.


ComradeRutherford | Sunday December 22, 2013 07:02 pm 19

Moral Majority (lyrics)
by Dead Kennedys

You don’t want abortions, you want battered children
You want to ban the pill as if that solves the problem
Now you wanna force us to pray in school
God must be dead if you’re such a fool

You’re planning for a war with or without iran
Building a police state with the ku klux klan
Pissed at your neighbour? don’t bother to nag
Pick up the phone and turn in a fag

Blow it out your 4$$, terry dolan
Blow it out your 4$$, phyllis schlafly
Ram it up your c**t, anita
Cos God must be dead
If you’re alive
God must be dead
If you’re alive


wynota skunk | Sunday December 22, 2013 08:39 pm 20

This is the end result of 4 generations of fundamentalist Christians reading the Old Testament while consuming vast quantities of stump liquor and breast feeding, simultaneously.


Lisa Derrick | Sunday December 22, 2013 11:02 pm 21
In response to jonerik @ 18

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”- Hebrews 11 (KJV)


Lisa Derrick | Sunday December 22, 2013 11:12 pm 22

While a bunch of people here may not think the duck dude is relevant, or important, a good percentage of the population does. Those people vote and it would be wise not to dismiss them.

And those people have a level of dissatisfaction with “liberal” societal values. Would they give up say internet freedom to insure there’s no porn on the webs? How about more restrictive television standards?

That’s the part of the sub rosa. The other parts have to deal with what is actually going on with Duck Dynasty in terms of how they are spreading their belief system, how A&E is reacting, if this a grand manipulation by one or both parties.


richmx2 | Monday December 23, 2013 12:49 am 23

Its not that Christian fundamentalists are “irrelevant” or “unimportant” but films like this… and “Atlas Shrugged” … or “Greater Glory” (appealing to reactionary Catholics) … are made by true believers, and critical reaction depends on one’s political or social beliefs. Even as propaganda, they don’t work.


jonerik | Monday December 23, 2013 06:57 am 24
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 21

Precisely!


DWBartoo | Monday December 23, 2013 10:42 am 25
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 22

Yes, and that is precisely what my comment @12 is directed towards, Lisa. That is the actual discussion that this post ought to speak to, to encourage.

DW


Lisa Derrick | Monday December 23, 2013 11:03 am 26
In response to DWBartoo @ 25

I think A&E got more than they bargained for. Part of me thinks 11th level Enochian chess and the part is like “whoa, whoopsie, dudes”


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