blog: Let’s Talk About God’s Not Dead The Movie
The movie plays like a low-budget “B” movie with a few corny scenes. Reminded me of those Hallmark movies that I just happen to love – go figure. That being said, the movie’s message compensates for any theatrical weaknesses and is well worth the ticket price.
It all begins with Professor Radisson’s declaration to his incoming freshmen philosophy students that “God Is Dead.” New student Josh Wheaton, a born again Christian, disagrees with the professor and accepts the professor’s challenge to prove “God’s Not Dead.” Josh is given 3 sessions with the class to win his point. The class is appointed as the jury, but has already signed-off on the professor’s proposition that God is dead in order to receive an easy “A” for that portion of course.
The idea that God is dead became popular during the 60’s when Time magazine published an article in 1966 posing the question “Is God Dead?” This incendiary article angered the religious community and was the cause for much debate. However, it should be understood that the underling question being asked is, Is God Relevant? Is it possible that self-centered mankind has outgrown the need for a personal relationship with an ancient and invisible God, in effect killing God? The word “dead” is a metaphor that suggest society has repudiated God and inclined to live a life based on secular influences, humanism or just about anyway we chose to live. The scriptural instructions concerning ones thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, behavior, faith, pray, worship, respect, honor, forgiveness, mercy, grace, love, purity and the like, must be cast-off to embrace the latest societal trends and changing values being propagated. In this sense and metaphorically speaking, “God Is Dead,” dead to many of our family, friends, and fellow-man.
This is what German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) proposed over a century ago and was referenced in the 1966 Time magazine article:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? (The Gay Science, Section 125, The Madman).
The movie presents a series of subplots in which the relevancy of God is questioned by life’s many challenges and hardships. The subplot’s characters wrestle with conflicting circumstances that force them to answer the question “Is God Relevant?” Against this backdrop Josh Wheaton struggles to prove that God is relevant, that atheist philosophers like Nietzsche were wrong and that people have a desperate need for a life-changing encounter with the liviing God..
The audience is gradually drawn into the process and must now answer the question, Is God Dead? Is it possible that we have somehow replaced God with societal trends or our own self-styled philosophy? Is an intimate daily relationship with God really necessary? Do we really need to read the Bible, follow His commandments, attend church, pray and worship God? Is it possible that we are guilty of Nietzsche’s charge “we have killed Him?” Have we somehow rationalized God out of our lives and in doing so declared “God Is Dead” or at least dead to us?
As I exited the theater my thoughts turned back to the real world as I reflected on just how much we need the Lord in our lives.
Recomended reading: Are You Really Born Again?
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