God’s not dead. Or is He?

Freshman Lea Edgar looks at a Disciples of Christ club poster

Freshman Lea Edgar looks at a Disciples of Christ club poster

A sequel to the 2014 film God’s Not Dead has aired a sequel. God’s Not Dead 2 came to theaters on April 1. The earlier movie invoked a lot of controversy because of its anti-Islam, anti-Atheist and very pro-Christian messages. The second movie created the same buzz as well. Both films were headed by director Harold Cronk and writers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon. All three have what most would consider to be small film resumes.

I saw God’s Not Dead when it came out and to put it nicely, I was not a fan. It was heavily criticized for having a plot that was completely detached from reality. When the second movie came out I was eager to see if they had done better. Unfortunately, the improvement was miniscule. The acting in both films felt very phoned in and it seemed that none of them had received effective direction from Cronk. The plot was still thin and was used as a device to share, quite forcefully, the ideologies of the creators. However, the second story is a little more plausible. I think this is due to how the lawsuit posed against the Evangelical main character is actually a legally possible complaint.

The first film stars Kevin Sorbo as Professor Jeffrey Radisson, an atheist philosophy professor who requires his students to sign a statement that God is dead. Actor Shane Harper as Josh Wheaton, an Evangelical Christian who takes Professor Radisson’s course and argues with him that God is not dead. There are many other featured roles that confuse the storyline instead of clarifying it. All the acting is subpar, as is the cinematography, which was basically just straight shooting with no artistic touch.

When the more recent film began, I already felt a bad taste in my mouth. It tells the tale of Melissa Joan Hart as a teacher who is sued by administration after she recites bible verses during class. Jesse Metcalfe plays her lawyer during the court proceedings. Hayley Orrantia also plays an important part as a newly converted Christian student who begins the conversation with Hart that leads to the lawsuit. Saturday Night Live has already filmed a sketch mocking the whole movie as well as Evangelical views of Christianity. When talking to Crosswalk.com Melissa Joan Hart said, “The issues of this movie is very timely. Our whole country has become so obsessed with being tolerant of all other groups, that we have forgotten about the group that makes up this country.”

They truly got me at the Bible verses. I was rolling my eyes within minutes. In a show of new energy, the movie gives Mike Huckabee, an extremely conservative and religious former Governor of Arkansas, a lovely cameo role. Both films feature a small cameo by the Christian pop-rock group The Newsboys as sources of motivation for the evangelical characters. These people are seen as great inspiration in the Evangelical Christian community. Their inclusion most likely enhanced the film incredibly, but only for those who would appreciate the movie anyway.

I do not appreciate these movies because I am not an Evangelical Christian and that is the only group that either of these movies could ever appeal to due to the extreme bias. Though I understand why this group would feel very different from me. The writing is horrible, the acting is almost unbearable, the cinematography is essentially non-existent but most of all, the plot is appalling. The message appears to be that people of all religions, especially atheists, are awful and disgusting. This applies to everyone but Christians. These movies are Christian propaganda and unlike any movie I have ever seen. You can still watch either of these films if you do not agree with the message, but only if you are comfortable with the outcome of being sickened, angry or a mixture of both.