There’s a Christian movie making its way to theatres this month – entitled God’s Not Dead. It tells the story of young believer confronted by a dogmatic, inflexible nonbelieving philosophy professor. Kevin Sorbo, formerly Hercules, plays the cold-hearted professor. I suspect this film might be a sign that Sorbo’s career is dead.
If I am viewing the trailer correctly, the core story can be pieced together with little work. The whole message the trailer (and I’m expecting the film) is aiming to Christians who feel intellectually embattled is abundantly clear: “All those intellectual arguments that you get from educated atheists, philosophers, and scientists are all just smokescreens for their emotional problems with God. Real science is on your side and they know it. They hate God in their hearts for some unfair reason. You have God in your heart and know about how wonderful he really is. So if you can just be brave and wave away all their excuses and confront them about why they really say they don’t believe in God, you can save them.”
It’s fascinating to see the Christian persecution complex project onto the screen a bizarro world of inverted reality. The philosophy classroom, which, outside of religious fearmongering, represents intellectual awakening, open-ended speculation, and personal liberation for so many is feared like the Roman coliseum. It represents tyranny and death to people like them. Why? Because for depressingly many Christians anyone who dares to apply the same standards of rigorous analysis to Christian beliefs that they would apply to any other truth claims about the world is trying to hurt them personally as Christians. Because it is so hard for them to separate their beliefs from their identity, anyone challenging their beliefs is challenging them as a person. They are their beliefs. There is no separation between heart and mind and person possible.
Listening to the dialogue in the trailer, I wondered if anyone involved in creating this particular film had actually attended an actual institution of higher learning. Seriously, watch the trailer, cringe in horror, and worry about the poor benighted abused Christians who actually think this movie represents what its like to attend a real world, secular college.