God’s Not Dead is a terrible movie

I was against the movie God’s Not Dead from the beginning. I saw the trailer and hoped nobody would ever go watch this, but, miraculously (hah), it made millions of dollars at the box office. I could tell it would be bad, and I read that it indeed was bad. I vowed never to give that type of production my money, but I kept hearing fellow Christians say stuff like, “It was good.” I was brought to my breaking point when somebody finally said, “it was so good.” That type of language is some Guardians of the Galaxy type description. I could no longer stand idly by. I needed a way to substantiate my claims that this movie should not be praised.

I immediately watched that movie. Luckily, I did not pay for it.

After the deed was done, some people questioned my actions. My good friend Thomas (also a Christian) was incredibly concerned:

I worry about you sometimes Daniel. Watching “God’s Not Dead” is definitely red flag behavior. If you need to talk about stuff, I’m here for you.

The overall message of this movie is very offensive and just wrong for several reasons. I’m going to do this buzzfeed style because that seems to be the only thing that people read nowadays.

6 Things God’s Not Dead Wants You to Take away from it:

  1. Everybody who is not Christian is amoral, insecure, abusive, selfish, greedy, and a complete douchebag.
  2. All atheists are atheists because God did not answer one of their prayers, so they are actually just mad at Him.
  3. Every atheist is on the verge of becoming a Christian.
  4. The best way for somebody to be converted to Christianity is if they are put in some sort of mortal peril (ex. cancer).
  5. Arguing is the best way to get people to believe in God.
  6. Christians don’t need to talk about Jesus when trying to make a case for God.

The main issue is that if I were to change the title of this list to 6 Things Christians Should Stop Thinking Are True, most Christians who knew what the heck they believe in would agree. But no. People see a movie that is supposedly “Christian” and think that it is speaking truth.

Here are some specific reasons this movie does a poor job of portraying true Christian faith, misrepresents other people groups, and tells a bad story:

  1. One of the character explicitly says that all atheists got that way because they are mad at God. Not true at all.
  2. The rich and greedy atheist hated his mother apparently because she had dementia and prayed.
  3. The ministers tried to rent a car. The rental guy drove the car to them and sat stranded as they drove off.
  4. The professor had a change of heart and decided to go find his Christian, live-in girlfriend at a Newsboys concert with thousands of people in attendance and no ticket.
  5. The atheist reporter lady only comes to Christ once she finds out she is dying because why not.
  6. What happened to the main character’s girlfriend after she dumped him. Probably died. She was actually a horrible character and actress.
  7. The guy from Duck Dynasty is in it.
  8. There was a fobby Asian student literally says, “I have placed out of all my core classes, including math and chemistry.”
  9. The Islamic father beats and kicks out his daughter once he finds out she’s Christian.
  10. A freshman in college doesn’t really put up great arguments against his professor. He just gets his professor to admit that his mommy died and then pokes at that nerve until he breaks in front of the whole class.
  11. The movie asks you to text everybody in your phone, “God’s Not Dead.” I’m sure that will go over very well.

Christians are already portrayed negatively in the media by many non-Christian productions. It’s very sad that even a Christian production can’t get it right either. God’s Not Dead leaves out the grace, love, and compassion that Christ came down to teach us while we were still sinners. This movie would be much more interesting if the protagonist struggled with the fact that people who do not know Jesus are just as moral as he is. It would be a humbling and true story, and it would also give the film a chance to explain what Christ has done for us. We don’t need more Christian propaganda that more often than not turns people from the church. For now, I’m just going to keep watching The Prince of Egypt until something better comes out.

TL;DR – God’s Not Dead is a smug Christian movie made for smug Christians to get them to believe that everybody who isn’t Christian is a smug, insecure prick. It barely mentions Jesus, is unbiblical, and insults every group of people that it wants us to reach out to and save. God help all the sunday school classes that will show this to their kids.

How to Successfully Watch Film and Television

Science has proven that watching Film or TV requires hardly any brain activity. However, watching it successfully is a completely different matter. This is because taking on such a feat does extend past the living room or wherever you choose to watch. Even though people usually watch movies or TV by themselves, everybody has a part to play in order to maximize one’s viewing experience. As a society, we have not yet learned the rules that will allow us to communally enjoy ye old tube.

These are all pretty basic. Follow these, and everybody will be happy.

1. No talking

For TV, you can wait until a commercial. For a movie, you should have been paying attention, and it is actually much harder than you would think to hear both the television and a whisper in your ear about what just happened. If worst comes to worst you can pause.

2. DO NOT DESCRIBE A MOVIE BY IT’S ENDING. EVER.

This sounds silly, but it happens. Sometimes you bring up a movie you want to see and somebody else says something like, “oh, is that the one where it’s all a dream.” Eff, dude. Think before you speak of a movie. Try to describe it either by the actors or the general plot. “Is that the one with Leonardo DiCaprio? Is that the one with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock?” “Is that the one where the police and drug dealers are going at it?” Those are more acceptable. Just think.

3. It is VERY ok to assume things.

Actually, you SHOULD assume things. If you don’t, you’re going to go off asking a bunch of questions that nobody else knows either. The point of a movie or show is to bring up questions and make you wait for the answer. Many times you will be very correct in your assumption. If you’re not, you’ll find out, and the show will go on. No need to ask other people a question that they most likely don’t know because they are watching the exact same thing and have just as much knowledge as you.

4. Show your emotions, but with caution

Laugh. Cry. Scream. Do whatever, but keep it short and not ridiculously loud. Different settings give different allowances for volume and duration. For example, if you are watching a horror movie in a crowded theater filled with… people who like to yell at the movie, you can scream or laugh longer than you can if you are in somebody’s living room watching something on a TV with crappy speakers. Just use good judgment.

5. If you come in at the end of a movie or in the middle of a show, you are NOT allowed to ask questions.

This. If I’m on season 5 of a really serious drama or at the end of a movie, you’ve missed too much to be caught up enough to enjoy what’s happening. If you don’t want to ruin said media for yourself, leave the room. If you don’t care enough about the show or movie that you are willing to watch just the end of it, then you really shouldn’t care about what happened up to that point, and you are free to join.

6. Do not ask everybody else what’s going to happen next

Like I said in number 3, everybody else knows as much as you do. However, this situation applies to information that is not yet received. If the main character is about to go open a door because he hears a sound, don’t ask something like, “what’s in there?” Nobody knows. That’s what suspense is. Also, you are going to find out in literally 2 seconds.

CASE STUDIES (disclaimer: these are fictional versions of people I know. I quite enjoy watching with both)

Improper Ways to Watch:

This is Brian.

Brian thinking

Brian is a texbook cinephile. He has the looks, the height, the smarts, yet people will not go to the movies with him. Let’s find out why.

Brian describes movies like this: “Oh, is that the one where Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time?” (Maybe I broke my own rule, but honestly, if you haven’t seen that one by now, you deserve to have it ruined). People walk away from him shaking their heads.

Brian walks in on the end of Christopher Nolan movies and asks, “why are there so many of those guys in water tanks?” Brian expects you to pause the movie and explain it to him. When Brian walks in on season 5 of Mad Men, he expects me to explain to him who Dick Whitman is.

When Brian hears a rustling or sees a shadow in a movie, he always asks everybody, “What was that? Is it going to kill them?” When said thing pops out two seconds later, he screams for 10 seconds.

Brian isn’t fun to watch movies with. He now watches everything by himself on his laptop with headphones.

brian on bench

Sorry Brian, but you bring this on yourself.

Proper Ways to Watch:

This is Thomas.

Thomas

As you can see, Thomas has many of the same features as Brian. However, people love watching stuff with him.

Thomas never ruins anything. He described Catch Me If You Can as “the one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.”

He walked in at the end of L.A. Confidential and immediately left the room so he would not ruin it for himself. I didn’t even notice him come in.

During Pineapple Express, his laughs were always to the point, yet they got the job done.

When Thomas thinks he figured out the plot of a movie, he keeps it to himself until the very end to see if his suspicions are confirmed.

We feel safe watching with Thomas. Everybody wants to sit next to him. Thanks Thomas!

Thomas thumbs up

Everybody, try to be like Thomas, not Brian.