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“God’s Not Dead” is a very well-made and well intentioned movie about a college student and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (good performance by Shane Harper), who finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (solidly played by Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper to turn in as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads: having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? Of course, the easy road is not necessarily the right road.

The “God’s Not Dead” cast includes Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson. The subplots include a young lady (Trisha LaFache) facing life and death issues, as well as wonderful fun from David A.R. White and Benjamin Ochieng as two reverend friends trying to get out of town for a little R and R. The subplot of the muslim daughter struggling with her strict father seemed rather unnecessary and should’ve been cut. It added nothing to the story and the movie would’ve been shorter and tighter. And the ending is a little too tidy, but it does take everything to a firm conclusion. All in all, “God’s Not Dead” is well-acted and the movie moves along briskly.

The biggest concern for “God’s Not Dead” is that this whole idea of wrapping a story around apologetics is dicey at best. The audience is forced to watch a preplanned debate from the sidelines, and if any questions or concerns are not addressed, the viewer feels unsatisfied and empty. That said, this weakness can also be the movie’s greatest strength in that “God’s Not Dead” can definitely be a conversation starter once outside the theater. It can also be a good discussion stimulator for Youth or Bible Studies groups. If you’re looking for this kind of material this movie is dead-on. And there are great resources available on-lne at the website. Because of all this, “God’s Not Dead” gets three out of five stars.

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Comments
  1. LF6 says:

    Just came back from the movie, pulled a few heart strings for sure. At this point I believe the title of my message tomorrow is going to be “God’s Not Dead”.

    Very well put together I thought.

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