Monday, April 4, 2016

"God's Not Dead" Movies Fail Christians - Chris Williams at Patheos

“God’s Not Dead” are offensive and harmful movies — and I say that as a Christian.

The “God’s Not Dead” films fail their target audience and become the thing they claim that they're preaching against.

“God’s Not Dead” are offensive and harmful movies — and I say that as a Christian.

The plots feels more like a chain email or Bill O'Reilly segment than anything resembling real life.  The world of “God’s Not Dead” sees all questions and disagreements as an attack, not an invitation to dialogue.  “God’s Not Dead” prepares young people to strike a defensive, fearful posture, which is the first step toward blocking friendships and discussions.

“God’s Not Dead” depicts Christians as a beleaguered, persecuted minority. Never mind that American Christians have done pretty well for themselves and hold a political and cultural sway that many other faiths covet. Never mind that many people feel intimidated by Christians and are nervous about having evangelicals impose their views on them.

The films paint non-Christians as obsessed with bringing down religion and making Christians look stupid. They try to convince young Christians that people who don’t share their faith are enemies. The films don’t just eliminate dialogue; they set up genuine conflict.

The films also encourage stereotypical views of Christians. This issue is indicative of a large problem in evangelical subculture, which often equates Christianity with voting a certain way, listening to certain music and generally not being “weird.”  True, biblical Christianity is diverse, encompassing all political spectrums, artistic tastes and levels of intellect. These films fail to allow that diversity.

In their attempts to prepare young Christians for challenges that they likely won’t face — persecution and outright hostility — the “God’s Not Dead” films ignore the very real challenges they likely will.  But what about when the "threat" is internal, and new thoughts and philosophies challenge what they believe?

Unfortunately, “God’s Not Dead” would rather traffic in fear and anger.

The full article is available here