GOD'S NOT DEAD (2014)
A film directed by Harold Cronk with a screenplay by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman and based on the book GOD’S NOT DEAD: EVIDENCE FOR GOD IN AN AGE OF UNCERTAINTY by Rice Broocks is a decidedly simplistic, unsophisticated affair that seeks to peg a Christian college student against his bully of a philosophy teacher who professes God is simply little more than a pre-scientific fiction or an opiate for the masses. This film is meant to play to the choir or folks that already hold these Evangelical views of Christianity with essentially stereotypical characters, each playing their role to satisfy the requirements of a rather simplistic plot. Though rather well made and at times quite compelling, what I found most disturbing about the film’s theology is that it surrounds a very black and white view of how to translate the Bible. Many Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christians hold to the view that if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior in this world and before you die, you are doomed to eternal damnation. I find this viewpoint not only reprehensible, but also not anything Jesus Christ preached in His lifetime. The idea of taking everything the Bible says and interpreting it literally is both ignorant and rather nonsensical to any sort of a reasonable person. If that were the case we’d all be a bunch of blind, multiple amputees. We have no idea of the mind of God and his forgiveness and though we need to live with a certain regard for God’s wrath and its consequences, no one really knows for certain what happens after death. The characters in the film are drawn rather broadly and designed for an impact that will appeal to a conservative, mid- American view of the world. It was well received by Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians, becoming a very popular film among its intended audience, but beyond that I’m afraid not, since it will exclude and alienate anyone with a differing opinion. The picture’s cast includes Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A. R. White and Dean Cain among others. I reviewed a play last December 2015 called THE CHRISTIANS which was staged at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, which dealt with the same type of topic but in a far more intelligent, well rounded and better written way (See review in Theatre Section).