Is God’s Not Dead the Best Christian Movie Ever?

God’s Not Dead hit theaters in March of 2014, and was met with outstanding success. Many Christians rushed out to see a film, probably hoping to finally see a movie with meaning and substance. We live in a world that is over-saturated with violence and sex-obsessed entertainment. Unfortunately, we can’t even go out to see a movie called “Noah” without being bombarded with evil. Thankfully, God’s Not Dead is a breath of fresh air.

When the movie released, I heard several comments from enthusiastic friends that gave me high hopes for the film. Right from the get-go I’ll say that the movie did not disappoint, but was God’s Not Dead the best Christian movie ever?

What is ‘God’s Not Dead’ About?

God's Not Dead the best Christian movie

In God’s Not Dead, we follow the stories of a handful of individuals who are going through a variety of difficulties in their lives. Among many other stories, this includes:

  • An elderly woman with dementia
  • A priest and his missionary friend, working to help several troubled individuals
  • A woman who discovers she has cancer
  • A young woman who is hiding her Christian faith from her Muslim father

All of these stories collide in interesting ways by the end of the movie. Just like real life, God orchestrates these characters lives to work together in a perfect way. None of the characters see the full effect of their actions, but the audience gets to see the whole picture.

The most intriguing of these stories involves a young college student named Josh (Shane Harper) who is forced to make some very difficult decisions in order to stand up for what he believes.

When Josh enrolls in Philosophy 150 he encounters a difficult situation. His professor (Kevin Sorbo) asks all of the students to deny God’s existence in writing. When Josh refuses to do this, he is forced to either:

  1. Change his mind
  2. Defend his beliefs in front of the class

Josh’s decision has great weight. If he denies God, his life will seemingly go back to normal. If he defends his beliefs, he runs the risk of ruining his college career, his long-term relationship, and his social status at school.

Even some of the people in Josh’s life that should be encouraging him to do the right thing, insist that he make the “smart choice” by denying God. To those people, it would be of little consequence to deny his faith, but risking his opportunity for success at school is foolish. These people insist that God would want Josh to do whats best for himself. God wants you to have a successful career and a healthy relationship, right?

This is one of the most realistic aspects of God’s Not Dead. Too often people are willing to sacrifice their beliefs for personal needs. Another realistic aspect of God’s Not Dead is the fact that Josh is the only person in the classroom to stand up for what he believes.

Welcome to real life.

God’s Not Dead also works to destroy the misconception that there is no evidence to support God’s existence. To my surprise, the film didn’t stop there, though. As the movie continued, it shifted gears and began explaining how God is full of love and mercy despite the suffering that we encounter in this world.

In one of the most emotional parts of the film, we hear a fascinating explanation to the question: Why do good things often happen to bad people.

The many different messages in the film work together, and many times give us an important reminder that: This life is temporary, but our God is eternal. Are we living for the here and now, or are we living for God?

Is the Movie Flawless?

It’s important to understand that as a whole, God’s Not Dead was an amazing movie. It had several very important messages that a lot of people need to hear. The “Questionable Stuff” is minimal, but there were a few moments where I found myself disappointed at the way that certain things were portrayed.

We’ll get into some deeper stuff in a minute, but right off the bat I have one unfortunate warning to give. Some of the ladies in God’s Not Dead are dressed in some surprisingly revealing outfits. It’s no worse than something you’d see on ABC Family, but still, they didn’t need to include it in the film.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, you may want to stop reading here, as there will be some slight spoilers.

God’s Not Dead does a very good job of not making the Christians the “good guys” and everyone else the “bad guys.” Some characters have a relationship with God, and other characters still need a relationship with God. That’s the difference.

One character proclaims to be a Christian, but doesn’t show it through her actions in any way. The atheist professor even turns out not to be the “bad guy.” He aswell just needs to be shown God’s love. Several Christian characters “plant seeds” in the professors heart throughout the movie, and in the end we see that it was all worth it.

Interestingly, the characters that planted seeds in the professors life will likely never (in this life) know the enormous change they made in his heart. Nonetheless, it was all worth it. Once again, this is very realistic.

All of the stuff listed above is really good.

The problem is, many people who don’t believe in God will likely be unable to see what the movie is trying to say. To them, the professor may seem to be portrayed as a bad guy. I could see it being very easy for an unbeliever to get hung up on a few parts of the movie. This is sad, because many of the things that are said in the movie are important for people of different beliefs to hear.

In other words, there are a few parts of the movie that could have been altered in small ways to make it less offensive to people on the outside. Some might ask, “Why do you care if other people get offended, if the movies message is good? Aren’t you confident in your beliefs?”

 

Of course I am, but here is why I care: I believe the movies message could have been just as strong, with a few scenes altered slightly to be less offensive to people on the outside. I would hate to see people of other beliefs get hung up on something that was offensive to them,  and miss the main points of the movie.

Don’t take God out of the movie, obviously. Don’t take any of the Biblical messages out. Just make a few small changes so that people don’t leave the movie feeling like they’ve been attacked.

All of the characters are shown to have hearts. None are completely robotic and evil . Still, some segments could offend people. For more on that, read this.

Another questionable moment is toward the end. In the beginning of the movie Josh makes a difficult choice to stand up for what he believes. This comes at a great price, but he decides to stick with it. He is focusing on his relationship with God.

Towards the end of the movie, everything seems to be working out for Josh. He made the right decision, and now his life is good. He’s happy and everything worked out perfectly.

This is okay in some regards. It is certainly possible that God would protect Josh and work everything out for him. This isn’t always how life goes, though. Even if things wouldn’t have worked out for Josh, however, what he did would have been worth it. If the movie would have shown nothing but the impact that he made on the professor, Josh’s choice STILL would have been worth the hardships he endured. If Josh wouldn’t have affected anyone other than the one student that he encounters in the library midway through the movie, it STILL would have been worth it.

My fear is that this movie will inspire young people to stand up for what they believe, but then feel let down when everything doesn’t turn out perfectly in their lives. The truth is, things don’t always work out for us right off the bat, but living for God is ALWAYS worth it in the long run, even when you don’t initially see the effect that it makes.

To be fair, most of the things I listed aren’t issues with the movie itself, but instead issues with the way that some people might perceive the movie.

With all of that being said… Do I think you should go out and see God’s Not Dead?

YES. If you are a follower of Christ I absolutely recommend seeing the movie. Should you bring an unbeliever with you? That depends on several things, I recommend praying about it first. It’s certainly possible that God could use this movie to speak to an unbelievers heart. Definitely be available to talk to them about it after the movie if they do go.

If you’re going to spend money on a movie ticket, this is probably where you should put it. It’s a great movie that is likely to encourage you. Apart from that, it offers surprisingly deep explanations to some of life’s most difficult questions. It’s well worth your time and money, and you’d be supporting Christian movies. Go tell Hollywood that we want more movies like this.

Love you guys!

Praying for you!

-Caleb

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Is God's Not Dead the Best Christian Movie Ever?

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