Published on December 28th, 2014 | by Madhudvisa dasa
God’s Not Dead — A Christian Movie Review
“God’s Not Dead” is a Christian film. The plot is a new christian college student enrolls in a philosophy course and his Professor is an avowed atheist. In the first class the Professor asks all the students to sign a paper declaring that “God is dead.” However Josh, our Christian student, refuses.
This is resolved by Josh having to prove the opposite, that “God’s Not Dead”, over the next three classes.
I have posted a cut-down version of the film here. It only contains the main story. There are multiple back stories which are not included in the clip posted here. They are not very good… But the main story is interesting.
From the film it seems to be as hard to be a Christian today as it used to be for us to be Hare Krishnas! Being a Christian today is as strange as being a Hare Krishna in the 70’s? To stand up for God Josh had to sacrifice his academic success, risk his future and loose his loving and devoted Christian girlfriend because he choose to reject the notion that “God is dead…” She demanded that he choose who is the most important person in his life: “Is it me or Professor Radison?” Josh replied: “What if it is God?” So Josh is thinking God is a person, the most important person in his life. More important than his girlfriend.
Josh starts his presentation to the class by saying “They say it’s impossible to prove that God’s not dead. And that is true.” Then he challenges that it is also not possible to disprove the existence of God. “The only way to debate this is to look at the available evidence and that’s what we are going to do. We’re going to put God on trial with Professor Radison as the prosecutor, me as the attorney and you as the jury.” And really his presentation over the next three classes is jumping from one point to another but never really touches the subject of the existence of God. He does not use the Bible as his source really. He tries to establish things using ‘logic’ and science.
He starts with the big bang. Stating that recently science has discovered that the universe was created in an instant. And gives a Bible verse from Genesis that supports this concept and claims that the Bible had it right for 2,500 years and science has just come up with this idea, he claims previously scientists followed the ideas of Aristotle who proposed a steady-state universe with no beginning and end, which was wrong and all this time the Bible was right. He seems to admit the earth was created a long time ago, like 13.7 billion years ago, the scientist’s number, which immediately puts him at odds with a lot of Christians who believe that the Bible states the earth was created only 6,000 years ago.
He claims the entire universe came into existence out of nothing in a trillionth of a second [which it did not of course as we know] and that this is what you would expect from the Bible verse: Genesis 1.3 “Let there be light…” “In other words the origin of the universe unfolded exactly as one would expect after reading Genesis and for 2500 years the Bible had it right and science had it wrong…” “Which all points to a God that created it… Because in the ‘real world’ we never see something jumping out of nothingness. But the atheists want to make one small exception to this rule. Namely the universe and everything in it.” A student asks: “Richard Dawkins says ‘If you tell me God created the universe then I have the right to ask you who created God.'” He replies that Christians believe in an uncreated God. [which is of course the nature of God, no beginning and no end] “Then I have right to turn Mr. Dawkins question on himself and ask: ‘If the universe created you then who created the universe?’ Both the theist and the atheist are burdened with answering the same question, how did things start. You don’t have to commit intellectual suicide to believe in a creator behind the creation. If you don’t allow for God you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find an explanation as to how things came to be.”
That is Josh’s first class. The whole thing is based on a mistake by science. Josh’s mistake here is accepting the scientists as his authority. He believes the modern scientists, at least one of them, there is no agreement among scientists about how the creation comes into existence. But Josh picks the theory that states the universe came into existence from nothing in a trillionth of a second [which is wrong] and clams this is what you would expect to happen when God said “Let there be light”. Which is really not what you would expect would happen. If God said “Let there be light” then the reasonable assumption would be that the sun would be created and there would be light in the universe… We know the universe did not come into existence in a flash like this. The whole scientific process is described elaborately and very scientifically in Srimad-Bhagavatam. And the creation of the universe happened in stages over a period of time. Not that everything appeared out of nothing in a flash. So you can see that here Josh has no idea what happened from the Bible. His idea of what happened is from the scientists and he is trying to say “that is what you would expect to happen when God says ‘let there be light'”. Which realistically is not what you would expect to happen… So we can not really give Josh very high marks for his first class…
The Professor ends this class by challenging him with a quote from and Stephen Hawking, “the most intelligent man in the world…,” that it is not unreasonable to assume that the universe designed itself and in the beginning of the next class Josh rightly proves it is circular logic by quoting from another unknown scientist who is presumably a believer. And he points out that Hawking also said “Philosophy is dead,” thus questioning the infallibility of Stephen Hawking. Which is quite reasonable of course, but does not help in proving that God is not dead.
Josh goes on to talk about evolution. Again his source of facts is not the Bible but Science. He uses archeological evidence to show that it appears all the species appeared very quickly, almost instantly in geological time. So here his source of knowledge is the geologists. He uses this as proof for Genesis 1:20. “God created all the creatures and saw it and it was good.” Which is not a very detailed or scientific explanation of how the creation of the creatures took place. But is correct in a very short and summarized way. “Creation happened because God said it should happen and even what appears to us to be a blind unguided process could really be divinely controlled from start to finish.” Again nothing very conclusive here.
This is the end of Josh’s second class. The first half wasted by disproving a bogus quote from Stephen Hawking which did not help him in any way prove that “God’s not dead.” And in the second half he just says that there could be a divine hand behind the creation but is completely unable to give any details about how that divine hand went about creating all the creatures. Because the Bible does not provide any details: “God created all the creatures and saw it and it was good…” No science there, no philosophy. We just need to have blind faith.
After the class the Professor reveals to Josh that he came from a Christian family with a deeply devoted mother who died when he was 12 years old. He did believe in God then but prayed fervently to the Lord to save his mother. But his mother died anyhow. So this problem of suffering in the world Josh admitted is the atheists strongest weapon against the Christians. The problem of evil in the world.
Anyhow the loss of his mother turned the child professor into a God hating atheist. When Josh heard the story his only explanation as to why God did not answer the Professors prayers to save his mother was “Sometimes the answer is no…”
So this sets the tone for Josh’s final class. “The atheist’s greatest weapon. Evil in the world…” So instead of trying to establish that “God is not dead” he fails to explain why God allows so much evil in the world.
Josh’s explanation of evil in the world was so bad. “God does not want evil in the world. God does not want us to suffer. One day God will come to the world and destroy the evil…”
“God is all good, God is all powerful. Why does He allow evil to exist? The answer at its core is remarkably simple. Free will. God allows evil to exist because of free will. From the Christian standpoint God tolerates evil in this world on a temporary basis so that one day those that choose to love Him freely will dwell in Heaven free from the influence of evil but with their free will intact. In other words God’s intention concerning evil is to one day destroy it.” That’s it on evil… Then the Professor fortunately gives Josh the chance to change the subject to moral absolutes. It is a very clumsy, confused explanation that does not at all answer the question. It is completely illogical. God allows evil but actually intends to destroy evil. It makes absolutely no sense at all. Josh did not answer the question. So moral absolutes… He goes on to try to establish that without a belief in God there can be no moral principles. Which is not on topic. Nothing at all in this third class is in any way contributing towards proving that “God is not dead…”
The Professor strangely and illogically interjects “Well this is ridiculous. After all your talk you are saying it all comes down to choice. Either you believe or don’t believe.” And Josh agrees, “That’s right. That’s all there is. That’s all there has ever been. The only difference between your position and my position is that you take away their [the students] choice. You demand that they choose the box that says ‘I don’t believe'”.
At this stage we loose all logic and Josh has completely given up on trying to present anything scientific and it is just about the right of his class members to choose to believe being take away by the evil professor. Thus freeing Josh from having to actually philosophically or scientifically establish that “God’s not dead.” Which he can not do because the Bible does not provide the philosophy or science to establish this or understand it intellectually. The Bible demands blind faith and now Josh is just fighting for the rights of his fellow students to choose to believe. “What I want is to let them make their own choice. That’s what God wants.” Which is a lie of course. He wants them to choose to be Christians like himself. His whole purpose there is to influence their choice. He is using every trick in the book to try and win the students over to his side. He does not want them to choose. He wants them to choose his side…
The final defeat of the Professor is Josh convinces him to admit that he hates God. And Josh’s victory line is “How can you hate someone if they don’t exist?”
The Professors final comment is “You’ve proven nothing.” Josh replies “Maybe not.” and looks to his classmates and says “They get to choose. Is God dead?” They all stand up one after the other saying “God’s Not Dead.”
I feel very touched by the film as it is obviously produced by Christians who have really got very strong faith in God. But of course Christians know very little about God. They have no idea what God looks like. Even Josh doesn’t know. He is asked by one of his classmates in the film “Do you think Jesus is God” and he replies, “Yes, or the son of God.” He does not even know. Very vague. And there is very little science and logic in the Bible. Rather Jesus and the Bible stress blind faith. And really that is what Josh’s presentation comes down to. The choice to believe or not believe.
So honestly I can not see really anything in Josh’s presentation that would convince someone that God exists except on a sentimental basis. But of course there is a happy ending.
There is something about this film. Otherwise I would not be posting it. I feel it is a great exposition of faith. But blind faith. Christianity is almost completely void of science and philosophy and really does rest on blind faith in God. Of course it does not matter how one surrenders to God. It is not that one who surrenders to God knowing the science and philosophy is any better than one who surrenders to God on the basis of blind faith.
But the Christians are not able to logically and philosophically prove anything because the Bible is not based on science, logic or philosophy. It is faith.
So watching this film has revealed to me that there is a great deal of faith in many Christians but they have no logic, philosophy or science to defeat the atheists who are constantly attacking them.
So in Krishna consciousness we have the science, philosophy and logic. I think we should give it to them. I did even experiment by going to one college and speaking with some Christians who were so happy to hear the science, philosophy and logic we have that supports their faith. Actually that was my personal feeling when I started reading Srila Prabhupada’s books so many years ago. I was brought up as a Christian and still till today I believe and accept the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. And I could immediately see that there was no contradiction in Srila Prabhupada’s books with what I already believed in. But I could also see that in Krishna consciousness there is complete logic, science and philosophy that took everything I knew from Christianity and suddenly everything made sense. Logical, scientific and philosophical sense.
It is said that religion without philosophy is sentiment and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. So, particularly in this modern age the blind faith that is practically demanded of the Christians by Jesus does not give them the ammunition they need to convince others of their faith. They can only bluff like Josh in this film and ultimately hope that the people will surrender to Jesus out of blind faith in him. Ultimately it is a choice. You choose to believe or disbelieve. That is only because Christians can not prove that “God’s Not Dead.” The Bible does not give them the science, philosophy and logic to do this.
Jesus is the son of God, and Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so Jesus is a Vaisnava, he is a devotee of Krishna. Son of God. Jesus is presenting Krishna consciousness to the fishermen and others living in the desert to the extent that they could appreciate it. And the fishermen could not appreciate much science, philosophy and logic. And as Jesus says: “There are so many things I have not told you because you could not bear them.” He said they will be revealed later by the Holy Spirit I think. But of course everything is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures.
Anyhow I feel a great deal of faith and sincerity coming through this film coupled with a complete inability to present that faith in any way that is even vaguely convincing from the perspective of science, logic and philosophy.
I feel strongly that if the Christians could combine their strong faith with the logic, science and philosophy of Christianity they will find in the Vedic scriptures from India then they could actually prove beyond any thread of a doubt that “God’s Not Dead.”
Also the conclusion of the film is something of an anti-climax. Josh appears to have converted all his class members from atheists to Christians and what does that mean? Nothing much apparently. The final scene is they are all dancing at a Christan rock band’s performance. So becoming a Christian means going to a NewsBoys Concert? Is that all? Otherwise life goes on as before…
What I sense from this is a group of Christians who obviously have great faith and a real connection with God but who have no philosophy or science to explain God, they have no way of understanding or explaining such basic problems as why God allows evil in the world and why bad things happen to good Christians. So, although they may have strong faith themselves, they are going under in this modern world that demands a scientific and philosophical explanation for everything.
For today’s “educated” people the blind faith Jesus demands of his followers does not seem like a reasonable proposition. The Christians need the philosophy and science of their faith and they will find it in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scriptures.
Anyhow I feel a bit strange posting this video but again the faith of these Christians who made it is quite moving to me.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!