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October 5, 2018

God's Not Dead (2014) --- "What Do You Believe?"

Plot Summary
After he refuses to disavow his faith, a devout Christian student (Shane Harper) must prove the existence of God or else his college philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) will fail him. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     God’s Not Dead (2014) is a wonderfully enlightening and solid Christian film that I believe everyone should watch. The film follows an intellectual debate between Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) and Josh  Wheaton (Shane Harper) on the existence of God and in turn the creation of the universe. Surprisingly the philosophy class who are considered to be atheists or at the very least agnostic are depicted in a positive light. At first, they stick to the status quo and believe that Josh is insane and should be focusing his time on “more important things.” And yet despite their lack of faith, they continue to have open minds throughout the debate. They listen to the high and mighty Professor Radisson as well as the proverbial lamb to slaughter Josh and determine for themselves what they will believe instead of letting someone else decide.

     The way in which Christianity is depicted in this film lines up with most doctrinal beliefs and I found that to be a welcome relief. The way that the university is depicted is also spot on. There are a number of professors and teachers that are atheist who make it they're goal to remove faith from the classrooms and in turn the students. Christian students have to understand their faith and be prepared to not only defend but also support it against attacks from the outside world. And the film does an incredible job of highlighting that concept.
     Most of the time people believe that science is ‘god’ and don’t allow other people to believe in something, someone greater. Through the use of multiple perspectives, the film touches on the importance of standing up for your faith as well as the importance of accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior before you die. Of course, some people find this to be offensive because they think it's trying to convert you to Christianity and it portrays non-Christians as being jerks. However, that is not the case. While this film may be “offensive” to some people I would rather it offend people and inspire some to follow God rather than appease the masses. There are good non-Christians out there but there are also non-Christians who are jerks, and this film takes the liberty to show a few non-Christians as people that really exist in the world.
     Jesus says in Matthew 10:22 – “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”  And in John 15:18-25 he also says, “18If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.  23Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.” If you study these texts and others like them you start to see a lot of hate towards Christianity coming from the world. They try to say that were crazy, a hoax, a cult, a fraud, and more. These views towards Christianity are excellently displayed throughout the film and it’s done using multiple perspectives as well. This film has a way of being inspiring and thought-provoking for both Christians and non-Christians. And by the end of the film, the biggest question we are left with is: Do you really have faith if you’ve never taken the time to truly question what you believe?
     Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Let There Be Light) is perfect as the atheist Professor Radisson and Shane Harper pulls off the humble Josh Wheaton who proves to be stronger than he appears. The debate between him and Sorbo is interesting especially the final debate. David A.R. White, Hadeel Sittu, Paul Kwo, Trisha LaFache, Cory Oliver, and Benjamin A. Onyango, and Dean Cain do quite well with their performances and it is interesting to see how everyone is intertwined with each other. It was also great to see Willie Robertson and Korie Robertson from Duck Dynasty make a cameo performance.

     Overall, Director Harold Cronk (God’s Not Dead 2) and writers Hunter Dennis (Redemption), Chuck Konzelman (God’s Not Dead 2), and Cary Solomon, (God’s Not Dead 2) did an excellent job with God’s Not Dead (2014). Whether you are a Christian or not I believe you will find this film to be thought-provoking and inspiring. It challenges people to question and decide what they believe as well as inspires people to stand up for what they believe. The cast may be filled with B-list actors but their performances were great. All in all, I recommend this film as well as its sequels, they certainly worth watching.

"Only a real risk can test the reality of a belief."
- Josh Wheaton

Final Vote
Worth Seeing: 7 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  7 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
The Blind Side (2009)
Courageous (2011)
Do You Believe? (2015)
Fireproof (2008)
God's Not Dead 2 (2016)
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018)
Heaven is for Real (2014)
The Identical (2014)
Moms' Night Out (2014)
Miracles From Heaven (2016)
Miracle Season (2018)
Paul, the Apostle of Christ (2018)
Risen (2016)
Son of God (2014)
Soul Surfer (2011)
When the Game Stands Tall (2014)

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