Right off the bat, let me just say that this is one of the better “Christian” movies I’ve seen. It had a great story line and had a clear message. Unlike some other films in this genre it presented Christ and the Gospel clearly without sounding forced and preachy.
Let’s get a few things out of the way.
I’ve taken philosophy classes, read both atheistic and theistic philosophy but spend most of my time in the study of Theology. Philosophy literally means: Philo (Love) sophy (wisdom). Theology means: Theos (God) logy (study of), “the study of God.” I’m a Christian and I’m a Pastor, so I believe Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).” So for me Theology is the highest form of philosophy. Now you know my bias.
Next I will concede that a college freshman would not be able to debate an experienced college professor. The level of experience and knowledge on the subject just makes this impractical. As a side note I enjoyed “debating” my philosophy professor in college, he also was my Theology professor. Let’s just say he’d heard all of my brilliant arguments for years and knew how to put me in my place.
Also, while possible, I doubt that any College professor would coerce a student into signing a paper denying the existence of a God, or a “debate” being set up in this format. Do some Atheistic philosophy professors attack Christianity and theism in the classroom? Yes they do, some border on militant, some are militant against Christianity. There are even documented cases of this hostility. You can click here to view some legal cases involving religious liberty on college campuses. The plot of this movie was chosen because it made a better, faster, and more exciting story. All movies do this so get over it. (Tom Bombidil anyone?!)
Let’s Get Down to Business
Believing in God doesn’t make you an idiotic redneck who is scared of learning anything. Not believing in God doesn’t make you stupid either. Although, “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God'” – Psalm 14:1 (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I’ve met very smart people with “alphabet soup” behind their names from prestigious universities, are tenured scientists, and devout Christians. I’ve also met some fairly ignorant people who are also devout Christians. And I can say the same for Atheists. I think we’d get a lot further in our conversations if both theists and atheists would stop stereotyping each other as idiots. Maybe this is just my bias, but it often feels theists are more often portrayed as the idiots and atheists are the “intellectuals.”
In the movie, Professor Radison says, “most of the most devoted atheists were once Christians.” I wonder why? Maybe it’s just that our culture has been primarily influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview. But I’ve never heard of a former Muslim who is a militant atheist, or a former Hindu who is a militant atheist. That’s something to think about. Radison then tells the student, Josh Weaton, about losing his mother to cancer when he was 12.
If you are an Atheist and are reading this, I would honestly like to know your story on how you became an Atheist. Please share in the comments.
I’m a Christian, so obviously we disagree. I ask for your story not to tear you down or have a debate that leads to name calling. I’m curious. From my bias and experience, most of the Atheists I’ve met became Atheists because of some trauma or tragedy. That has little to do with “scientific proofs” and more to do with emotion than “facts.” What happened? This movie paints a picture that Atheists, especially those who are “former Christians” are actually so angry at God, or hurt from some past trauma that they decide that God simply cannot exist. I find that an interesting concept. There seems to be a correlation, so is this true for you?
For the Christians, you can have all the clever arguments in the world for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity and still be a complete Jerk.
I enjoy the mental exercise of defending Christianity. This is called Apologetics in the Christian world. Apologetics is not apologizing for you beliefs, but goes to the Greek root which means “to give a defense.” I enjoy science, and like learning. For me it’s very important to know not only what I believe, but why I believe it. But as the Apostle Paul says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 ESV).” Christians should be defined by love. I don’t believe that people are “won over” to Christianity by clever arguments for the existence of God, I think they are won over by love, compassion, and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit brings about change and salvation in a person’s life, not you not me, we are just called to bear witness.
I think the study of Apologetics is more for believers than for non-believers. Faith is a fickle thing, look at the life of Peter, he had enough faith in Jesus to walk on water with him, if only for a moment. Then he denied even knowing Jesus, after all he had seen all Jesus’s miracles. I’ve seen and experienced Jesus do powerful things, I’ve even devoted my life to teaching others about Jesus Christ, but there are times when my faith is weak. Apologetics, studying all the evidence for God, and seeing his Majesty as Creator and King of this universe builds up my faith.
I share this verse with my youth often: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”(1 Peter 3:15 ESV). There are three things that I like to point out in this verse. The first is that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the ruler of our lives as his disciples and as Christians. Second, we need to be prepared to share our faith and hope in Jesus. This means knowing what we believe as Christians and why. This involves sharing the Gospel, and the field of Apologetics. The Greek root for apologetics is the word translated “to make a defense” in this verse. The third thing to notice, is the emphasis on both gentleness and respect. If we’re not going to be respectful and loving to people we have no business calling ourselves Christians. There is a big difference in speaking the truth of scripture and disagreeing with someone’s chosen beliefs and lifestyle, and being hateful, belittling, and unloving.
Jesus came to save you from your sin
To the Atheist reading this, to the agnostic, to the whatever you are. I believe that there is a God that created this entire universe. I believe that He created mankind in his image and likeness. I believe that God gave mankind freewill to obey him or disobey him, and that we chose disobedience (ie sin). I believe that sin has broken this world, sin is the root cause for death and all the evils that are in this world. I believe that God is just and will punish sin. I believe that God is loving and merciful and offered up his only Son, Jesus Christ to die on a Cross in your place and my place to pay the price for our sin. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and is alive and is ready and able to forgive our sin, and give us a new life if we ask him. I believe that no matter how screwed up you think you are, the power of Jesus can save you, all you have to do is ask him. This is what I believe
GOD’S NOT DEAD
[It’s 1:40am, I don’t feel like proof reading this, I’ll fix any typos tomorrow. Forgive me]