By Heywood Jablomi
God’s Not Dead is a 2014 Christian Film produced by PureFlix, and as it’s been a personal favorite of mine for several years, I was very glad when The Medium told me I had to review it for this issue. For those of you who haven’t seen this masterpiece (spoilers ahead), God’s Not Dead, starring Kevin Sorbo, is about an evil atheist who learns to find God in his final hours. This may sound similar to the plot of many other Christian movies, and you’d be right, but God’s Not Dead is different. The evil atheist (played by Kevin Sorbo) is a philosophy professor who firmly believes that God is dead, and requires all his students to renounce God. Most of his class doesn’t really care, except for protagonist Shane Harper.
This was actually kind of confusing for me. When I took a philosophy class my freshman year of college, I expected a lot of the same things to happen. But when I got there, the professor didn’t really seem to care about the beliefs of the students, and he definitely didn’t seem to want to change anyone’s beliefs. It’s almost liked he cared more about teaching students than pushing some kind of agenda. Most classes probably aren’t like that, though. I bet most of them have that atheist professor shown in God’s Not Dead who spend the first couple weeks of class debating a student about their religious beliefs.
This debate also brings up some important philosophical points. The religious student, at one point, says that morality would not exist without God. Being a philosophy professor, you’d think that the atheist would cite any number of other ethical viewpoints. Even if he’s not an ethics professor, he’d probably be fairly well versed in at least a handful of other theories of ethics, but he doesn’t even mention any. And that’s the kind of thing that makes this movie great.
Now I want to talk about some of the side plots. When you watch a Pure Flix movie, you don’t just get one movie, you get like three with all the other stories they throw in here. Reverends Dave and Jude are the best part of the movie, and they don’t even relate to the main story. I’ve been trying to petition Pure Flix to make a sitcom based only on the two of them, you can find it on change.org. There’s also the story between Shane Harper and his girlfriend, who he breaks up with because he cares more about arguing with the professor than their relationship. That’s the kind of morals we need more of in our protagonists. Then there’s also a Muslim girl who finds Christianity and wishes to convert. Instead of exploring this, she’s just rejected by her father. It’s very satisfying to see a movie give such a deep and nuanced portrayal of a group outside of their main audience.
At the end of the movie, Sorbo’s character reveals that he hates God because his mother died as a child. Personally, I’m very glad Pure Flix doesn’t perpetuate the myth that people are ever atheists because of anything other than a traumatic childhood loss. He’s then hit by a car, and bleeds out on the street. The other protagonists of the movie, who all happen to be there, surround him, and convince him to give his heart to God so he can go to heaven. No ambulance is even called, which I’m very grateful for, because seeing him make a full recovery and realizing that he shouldn’t be proselytizing to his students wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as watching him die a painful death surrounded by strangers.
God’s Not Dead is one of my favorite movie franchises. It’s made for evangelical Christians, and doesn’t waste time being even remotely appealing to anyone else, Christians or otherwise. If you’re evangelical, I cannot recommend this more, and I’ll review the sequels soon.