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God's Not Dead
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693 of 874 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2014
I was going to keep my silence, but cannot hold it any longer. My wife and I rented this movie and decided to watch it together after both kids were shown it at church camp and said they liked it. T-shirts were given out. This thing was really promoted. But I had a feeling about this movie. I hoped my suspicions were wrong. Many Christian films are lacking a bit in production quality or have sappy acting and dialogue, but I can overlook much of this if there is a good story, a good moral. Some films are really quite excellent. My wife and I are both Christians, but after 20 minutes we had to shut this movie off. Neither of us could take it any longer. It represents much of what is terribly wrong with politically charged Christianity today. I went ahead and read what the rest of the plot is, no surprises... its not a journey I am willing to take when so much of the plot, dialogue, and characterizations amount to lies and straw-man arguments. Jesus said the truth will set you free. This movie does not uphold the truth so much as erode away at it, or heap so much bitterness and twisting of facts as to make it wholly un-palpable. It is basically a conglomeration of Facebook-style posts or email forwards you typically see from fundamentalists that tend to demonize non-believers, college professors, Muslims, etc., while picturing Christians as innocent and terribly persecuted. It does not seek understanding, It does not help those who want to follow Jesus be more like him, or follow His teachings... instead, it really violates some basic principles of the Gospel. It seeks to indoctrinate us for an imagined war that is being waged in the minds of ultra-conservatives and fear-mongers in the political arena. It seeks to divide and tells lies, in order to get Christians angry and politically motivated. No thank you.
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83 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2015
Bad bad bad. I am a Christian and I avoid this kind of "Christian" movie for the fact that they are always so cheesy, one-sided, uninteresting, and black and white. My fiancé has been wanting me to watch Grace Unplugged. She has the same taste in Christian movies as I do and she said it wasn't terrible, so we'll see how that goes. I only decided to watch this movie bc one of my youth kids at church said this was his favorite movie. Really? I feel like this is one of those examples of "bc it is Christian, I must like it". Is this better than Lion King? Is this better than that Chimp Disney movie? That was a great movie Disney, seriously, how do you film those chimps and make a story out of it like that.

This movie affirms it again. 10 minutes into this film, I wanted to shut it off but forced myself to watch. When I saw the muslim girl, I cringed. I knew where they were going with that. Is that not how some Christian parents will react if their child wants to follow another religion or no religion at all? (I remember vaguely what happened...I was falling asleep through the whole movie...I refuse to go back to watch it again...) One of the most disappointing things is how this kind of movie also always without fail demonizes non Christians. I think another reviewer said that too. Sigh...smh...this is exactly how non Christians think we view them. We are in church on Sundays talking about how great we are and how messed up others are. Please STOP portraying Christians this way. I understand it is not intentional but you're doing it. It reminds me of the skits we used to write in youth group, how non Christians get drunk, smoke, and do drugs and the Christians always wear white....yikes....

I'd say, make a movie about a person or a group of people who changed the world who just happens to be Christian. Don't overly make them Bible memorizing, preaching on the street, confronting every atheist with debate kind of people. Just make them be passionate about what they do in life (i.e. doctor, lawyer, teacher, farmer whatever) Remember movies like Paying it Forward (not religious at all but inspiring), Patch Adams, even the movie Signs (the faith struggle for Mel Gibson's character was real...although the conclusion of the movie was kind of lame). Don't chew the faith for people and try to shove it down their throats. Just inspire people to live their lives with purpose and maybe, just maybe, they will meet their Creator along the way. I have faith in that where ever the Kingdom of God reigns on Earth, Christ is present.

Please don't make movies like this. Just use that money to feed the hungry and film that using your cell phones. That will inspire more people than this movie...
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88 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2015
Ignorant and offensive portrayal of atheists and other non-Christian groups. The movie, however, was entertaining simply because of how seriously the actors took their terrible acting.
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437 of 560 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2015
This movie is offensive on so many different levels, but the portrayal of all non-christians as evil sort of takes the cake.

If you look at each non-believer they portray, they portray them in the most negative possible light. As if not believing in god ensures you also are just an all around horrible person. When an atheist gets cancer or terminally ill, all of their atheist loved ones cut them off.

Muslims that convert to other reliigions are invariably disowned by their parents, as if this phenomenon is unique to Muslim families. Evangelical Christian parents are never upset when their daughter marries a muslim, jew, or atheist ... and converts.

My favorite though, is the assumption that everyone behaves like evangelical christians and tries to push their system of beliefs on all those around them. They portray all of the college professors as atheists ... who spend their time persecuting christians. In reality, professors generally do not bring religion into their classrooms. Most atheists likewise avoid the topic of religion. The most vocal about *religion*, are the ultra religious evangelical christians. The *only* instance where religion entered the classroom during my 8 years of college was with a professor that was evangelical. She was easily the most prejudicial, ignorant, and offensive professor I've ever encountered.

The greatest part was the list of legal cases they seemed to site as motivation for the movie's production ... which was a list of religious organizations that fought for their "right" to receive public funding. Funding that I think most Americans would rather see in the hands of non-denominational, non-religious, student organizations promoting education, tolerance, and the freedom of religion in America ... and it's separation from the state.
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450 of 579 people found the following review helpful
I'll preface this review by saying when I saw some of the trailers, I found the premise of the film somewhat interesting: a student challenging a professor about the existence of God. However, the problem with this film is less about its core premise and more about its nearly insufferable rhetoric which overtakes much of the story. The first sign of trouble occurs at the very beginning. In "God is not Dead", at fictional Hadleigh University, Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) insists in an introductory philosophy class his students sign a statement which unequivocally states God is dead, meaning that God never existed. The idea is that he can't get on with his lectures unless the idea of God's existence or non-existence doesn't need to be debated. If a professor at a public university, and probably many private accredited universities, forced his or her students to sign a statement that God did not exist, that professor's tenure position would be in jeopardy. From the start, the premise has already been tainted with a rather ludicrous plot device. (And let's not forget that at private Evangelical universities, like Bob Jones and the like, students are taught unequivocally that not only does God exist but use religious texts in many non-religious courses.) The main plot of the film is that Josh Wheaton refuses the professors' insistence of signing the statement. So Wheaton must try to prove that science can't disprove the existence of God, which at first seems an interesting challenge. However, as we'll see, the rhetoric of Wheaton's arguments shift during the course of the film.

The film actually has several story lines interacting at once. There's Wheaton versus Radisson, Wheaton and his girlfriend, Professor Radisson and his Christian girlfriend, a young woman dating a ferociously materialistic businessman, a local pastor and a Christian from an African country have bad luck getting a car to run to go to some kind of religious retreat, and a female college student who is Islamic and learning about Christianity in secret. And there's even a Chinese student in the class intrigued by the debates about God.

As the story unfolds, many of the supporting characters become stereotypical and shallow as if they were lifted from the latest daytime soap opera. Each of them intentionally hurt the "good characters" who are all trying to either be good Christians or find God. Wheaton's girlfriend disowns him because he's decided to take the professor's challenge. The professor becomes more callous and confrontational towards Wheaton as the debate moves on. We learn at one point, the professor has personal reasons why he's an atheist. Then the father of the Islamic girl finds out about her interest in Christianity, and he reacts in a way you might expect of a film trying to propagate a particular religious point of view. And the woman dating the businessman finds out she has a major health problem, and he dumps her like spoiled food at a restaurant.

However, the most disappointing moments were not in the first debate offered by Wheaton but in the second and third debates. (The most disturbing and offensive was the abusive Islamic father.) In the first debate, which I thought was the strongest scene of the film, Wheaton offers a very good case why science can't disprove the existence of God. Science may not prove the existence of God but it can't disprove it either. Fair enough. But in the second debate, I noticed a shift in Wheaton's rhetoric. Now, the debate was about proving the existence of God, which seemed at odds with the premise of the film and the point of the debate. And in the last debate, Wheaton offers the evangelical position on evil. His debate is no longer about debating the existence of God, it's about answering religious questions from a Christian perspective. And then the professor and the student are debating about why religion is a good thing. And then how the pastor who can't get his car started resolves is so ridiculously silly and contrived, I couldn't believe it. Oh brother, give me a break. The final scenes become overly preachy. Almost insufferably unbearable.

This film is not simply a story about a student debating about God in a philosophy class. The film is a sermon disguised as entertainment. I could buy some of the first act, although the abrupt break-up of the girlfriend seemed out of left field. However, by midway, I realized that this film is really Christian propaganda. In Acts 2 and 3, every scene was carefully written, scripted and acted in such a way to reinforce the Evangelical position of the filmmakers. This is a very lousy way to make a film. I was particularly disappointed in the portrayal of the Islamic father who goes crazy when he finds out his daughter is learning about Christianity. This is actually quite false as Islam has always embraced the learning about other religions, but the film propagates that traditional Islamists are against reading other religious texts. Telling me a story about Christians is one thing. Preaching to me about Christianity through a story is another, and that's not why I watch narrative films. Obviously this film was designed to convert people. Much better films with religious themes include "The Blind Side", which was a true story about real Christians, "The Nun's Story", starring Audrey Hepburn, based on the true story of a Belgian nun during the rise of Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II, and "Fiddler on the Roof", about Jews in Russia on eve of the Revolution. "God is not Dead" is not about real people or real situations, but just a forgettable contrivance that will only be applauded by those who already have a religious agenda. Huge disappointment.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2015
Okay, so ... I watched this twice. I only got about 15 minutes in the first time, as I found the caricatures of campus life and atheists very unrepresentative of reality... as if the scriptwriter(s?) had never been to a campus or met an agnostic or atheist.

Me, I'm, I guess you could say, a-religious... the only thing I KNOW is that I don't know. The math and science that's been chiseled steadily out of consistent and critical observation of the universe around us is very reliable and I appreciate it... but, it doesn't DISPROVE a god figure... it just disproves a lot of bronze age assertions given to help people through a time of much less knowledge. If there's a god... cool! It doesn't bother me. If this movie had been simply an exploration of christian beliefs, it wouldn't have bothered me.

What bothered me was the atrocious mischaracterization of pretty much every character in the movie who wasn't either already a devout christian or secretly/unknowingly waiting to become one. Callous. Selfish. Sociopathic. Cruel. I'm sorry, but I know people who ARE like that who attend church every wednesday and sunday with a straight face. Simultaneously, I know folk who take disbelief to the extreme of believing there is NOT a god (which, to my mind, is just as much a religion as believing there is... as an assertive and often evangelical act rather than a 'meh, I dunno, how's about a coffee?' kinda thing like agnosticism) who are kind, giving, regularly inconvenience themselves for the sake of those who never even notice... who feel that their moral compass is actually rather easily defined (do as little harm as possible)... and yet other folk for whom you can flip both around just as easily.

Instead this movie was just stereotypes taken to absurdity, with some nice music, and nice sentiments thrown in, carefully selected nitpicks of scientific discourse (minus actual data, of course, as if science were nothing but philosophical debates among nerds), and a list of cases in the credits that avoided mentioning, in every single example, what STARTED the cases with the mere initial mention that they were all 'condemnation' of christians on campuses. Read a few, though, and you quickly find out that the 'condemned' in most of these cases were either passively or assertively forcing their beliefs on others, often while on a job they sought/agreed to take that had nondiscrimination clauses right up front that they violated. Keeping your religion in your home, with your church, and your family, etc... is wonderful, and just what the freedom of religion is there to protect... but freedom of religion is for all religions and FROM all religions. But in many of the cases listed, the 'condemned' where simply prevented from condemning others. Most had active clubs on campus before hand and continued afterware, unabated... hardly a condemnation. So, yeah... I guess the martyr complex was stretched beyond suspension of disbelief as well.

Have your religion. Enjoy your religion. Believe. Be inviting. Talk. But don't call yourself oppressed or condemned for simply having to respect others' freedoms NOT to participate in or be harmed by your religion, whatever it may be (atheism included.) This movie failed in this respect... so while I appreciated some of the efforts... the highly selective cut-and-paste citations paired with characters unrecognizable as being human... didn't work for me. Can anyone suggest a more successful story I could try instead? One that doesn't play the victim?
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436 of 565 people found the following review helpful
A feel-good movie for Christian resentiment. The philosophy teacher is completely unrealistic, as is his fate. Not one unbeliever is left at the end of the movie. It is easy to win arguments when you compose both sides of the debate.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2015
There are not enough words in the English language to describe how dreadful this movie truly is, but dammit Jim--I'm going to try. I genuinely and seriously question the cognitive ability of anyone who rated this abysmal propaganda highly.

I showed Bill Maher's Religiousness to a unwelcoming crowd, and in--let's call it retaliation--they suggested I watch this movie. So we sat down, and for the next 90 minutes, I had all of my senses assaulted by at its highest points--bad acting and lousy writing, and at it's grimy worst--the greatest cinematic atrocity I've witnessed in my short few spins around Sol.

Muslims beat their children and are evil. Atheists hate God and are evil. Devout Christians are amazing people who always always always do the right thing. Except when they're, you know, having an original thought or exercising evidence-based reason, then they're ambivalent. But Christians are never once depicted anywhere close to the negative solar flare of light that every other non-Christian character is engulfed in.

This disgusting icon of Christian ignorance and bigotry murdered the very idea of rationalism in order to savagely beat it's abundantly clear and heavy-handed, "Christians are better than everyone else" message to the audience. More than an insult to Muslims, to non-belivers, to non-Christians, it's an insult to thinking Christians everywhere. That iconography is shoved so forcefully upon your sensibilities, it's disturbingly clear this movie was nothing more than propaganda.

And if you're an open-minded--hell, just any-minded--Christian, you should recognize the picture as exactly that. If you're a self-aware human being who follows the Christian faith, and you found this movie entertaining, informative, educational, empowering, enlightening, or brilliant in any way, you need to seriously and immediately rethink all of your life decisions--preferably with the aid of another because I don't think you're capable of thought at all.

If you were not horrified by this movie's premise (urban-legend chain-email about Einstein and the 'atheist professor') to begin with, the dialog and acting--so confusingly terrible--will surely frighten you.

Spare yourself the nightmare--go watch Religulous. At least it is a documentary and not an abominable, absurd, appalling, atrocious, awful, bewildering, moronic, nonsensical, offensive, obscene ode to ignorance and bigotry--and complete, total, utter farce whose production should have been long ago aborted, cancelled, and buried in the desert.
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888 of 1,161 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2015
It makes it petty.
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57 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2015
I've heard so much about this movie, So when I realized my prime membership came with all these free to stream movies I figured I would give it a shot.

After 30 minutes I just couldn't take it anymore. Terrible writing, terrible acting, and a hell of a lot of straw-men fallacies.

If I had to use one word to describe this movie it would be Smug, It feels like every actor in this movie is constantly thinking, "HaHa! take that Evil Humanists!" while delivering their cardboard like lines.

Not worth anyone's time.
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