Reverend Dave defending himself and a group of Christian homeschooling families after the inspection by the local government official.Reverend Dave defending himself and a group of Christian homeschooling families after the inspection by the local government official.Reverend Dave defending himself and a group of Christian homeschooling families after the inspection by the local government official.
Yeah, no, me neither. Unless you're easily manipulated by music and lugubrious line delivery, you likely won't see this as any direr than the fact that kids today go about their lives without believing in Zeus, Ra, Odin, Vishnu, Inanna, or any of the Venus figures discovered in Çatalhöyük. We're technically telling the crotch dumplings that they don't need to believe in any of these either; the lesson is that taking unverifiable hypotheses as truth (e.g. The existence of deities) is unscientific at best and diagnosably insane at worst.
And I, like the rest of the observable Universe, don't give one fraction of a f-ck if you really, really FEEL one of said hypotheses to be true.
Even if I were to accept, without empirical justification, that the Christian God is the only one that exists, I won't get consistent life advice from his fan club. A few months ago, my family was visited by a friend from Croatia, who wittily remarked that religion is "basically a quantum slider between metaphor and dogma", where it depends entirely on the situation when the Bible is just a metaphor (where the implausibilities and magical BS of the text aren't to be taken literally), versus when it describes a very real event we ought to learn from and/or be awed by.
Are the God's Not Dead films aiming to be metaphorical or at least exaggerated? Honestly, they seem more like they think themselves to be documentaries on the persecution of Christians. This makes them even easier to scrutinize than a religious book, but it doesn't stop persons of faith from swallowing their lessons -- and their depictions of the opposition.
Pure Flix, the company behind the God's Not Dead series, is best known for making Christians feel at peace believing whatever they believed before the film started playing (regardless of how well it does in that pesky "facts" department) and being kind of a meme to everyone else. At their best, I admit they are emotionally stirring and, yes, rhetorically effective. But it doesn't change what they get objectively wrong at even the basic level -- The Case for Christ is one of their most moving films but it's nonetheless based on the notion that atheism has a burden of proof, as opposed to simply being the refusal of claims that fail to meet theirs.
But this was never about understanding atheists, science, objectivity, or anything else. It's about David A. R. White standing in a courtroom spouting catchy platitudes about freedom until the judges can no longer be heard over all the rapturous clapping. It's about sorrowful shots of statues resembling American historical figures, Founding Fathers, and other champions of freedom (whose notion of the word supposedly didn't extend to Muslims, atheists, LGTBQ persons, et al.). It's about the efficiency of the rhetorical devices/modes of persuasion (logos is represented only through the occasional appeals to authority, but you can bet pathos reigns supreme in a film like this), not the quality of the arguments.
Is there anything I can say in this movie's favor? Well, yes. The franchise's visuals are improving and it looks and feels like, maybe not a mainstream movie, but a decently expensive TV movie. All of this is more than I can say about 2025: The World Enslaved by a Virus. To think, even Christian cinema has standards.
- Dec 9, 2021