God's Not Dead, But You Might Be Lion Food Anyway

Okay, so here's the movie trailer:

I have a fear about this movie. (Aside from my usual fears that most Christian movies just aren't very good.) The film will undoubtedly inspire young Christian men and women to be bold for Jesus. And that is a very good thing. But if it does so with a glamorizing narrative that gives false expectations, that's a bad thing.

Of course, I haven't seen the film. Maybe it isn't what it appears to be, after all. It certainly looks like a college freshman gets into a tangle with his God-hating philosophy professor, goes intellectually toe-to-toe, and... wins? That's the big question mark.

This genre of Christian art has been around for a very long time (see Foxe's Book of Martyrs), and the boilerplate requires that the enemies of faith be humbled and the Christian hero exalted. These are tales intended to inspire, and they do. The trouble is, evangelicalism typically airbrushes out the actual... martyrdom part. 

Let me tell you from personal, firsthand experience what happens when a young, bold Christian stands for Jesus in the academy:

The arrogant professor gives your (frankly, graduate-level) paper a terrible grade. When you meet with him about the grade, he simply stands up, looms over you, forehead vein bulging, mouth frothing, throws the paper on your lap and says, "You can get the hell out of my office, and take your bullshit to another class. We're done. The grade stands."

Yep. That's how it goes. So here's a movie plot for "God's Not Dead: Part Two." Christian student gets bullied by atheist professor, stands boldly for the truth, gets absolutely nowhere with said professor and flunks the class. This lowers his GPA and he is no longer going to be accepted to medical school and has to change his career plans.

That's a realistic ending, and I'm hoping that's what the makers of God's Not Dead went with. We'll see.

Brian Mattson