Over at Christ and Pop Culture, James Hoskins shares his personal story being a philosophy student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and how the portrayal of an atheist professor in “God’s Not Dead” is nothing like his experience.
I couldn’t agree more, thanks James for the story and observations. When I was in college the philosophy professors were some of the coolest faculty (same with Religious Studies teachers, even though none of the professors were Christians in either department, except one). They were always gracious and definitely pushed your beliefs, but also made for the best and least polarizing conversation.
My favorite Religious Studies teacher was married to the head of the Philosophy Department and they were both Buddhist-Catholics, or Catholic-Buddhist, I can’t remember how they described themselves. She loved my obsession with Jonathan Edwards and pushed for me to study his theology. Even though we reached different conclusions on his theology (with which she largely disagreed) she spurred on my investigation of his writings when I was a brand new Christian. She might have pushed me to go to Union Seminary (being a liberal and all) and I might have constantly told her to listen to John Piper (she never did), but we had dialogue that was nothing like the movie portrays.
My problem with this film is that it seems to depict more of how Christians should respond to opposition and caricaturing people of other belief systems (Atheists, Muslims) as blind, mis-led goats that are hostile to Christians and our walk of faith. What it doesn’t do is portray those people as people who need to hear the message, but as the instruments of opposition that stand in the way of us following God. It comes off as just another grenade to lob over our foxhole at those sinful and mean-spirited God deniers and make sure to give us a pat on the back for being right about the existence of God.
We would be much better off serving our neighbors and meeting them where they are at, instead of lining up our next shot in the ever-so-annoying culture wars. God’s true mission was condescending into history through Jesus Christ and sending us out, as Jesus did (and Paul, Peter, etc.), to tell his true story (the gospel) as we mix and mingled with those who did not believe what we did. One of the last things Jesus would want is for those who follow him to uncharitably character smear those who oppose us and then high five each other like a bunch of frat bros because we showed them who’s the boss.
There, my rant is over. I’m gonna go eat lunch. Or maybe watch “Who’s the Boss.”