Friday, March 21, 2014

Fletch [Update] God's Not Dead


[Update]

The film opened strongly this weekend in the U.S, making it the #3 highest grossing movie on Friday, and #5 for the whole weekend.

The low-budget PG-13 drama about a college student (Shane Harper) who sets out to prove God's existence raised eyebrows Friday when it brought in $2.8 million from just 780 theaters — an impressive $3,613 per-screen average. That was better than any movie in the market except for “Divergent” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It was running third after Friday and will likely come in around $8 million for the three days. ~Source
The biggest surprise of the weekend is undoubtedly the success of God’s Not Dead, an inspirational drama about a college student who defends his belief in God against a non-believing professor.
Here’s how the top five played out:
1. Divergent – $56 million
2. Muppets Most Wanted – $16.5 million
3. Mr. Peabody and Sherman – $11.7 million
4. 300: Rise of an Empire – $8.7 million
5. God’s Not Dead – $8.6 million  ~ Entertainment Weekly
---


A new film is opening today in the U.S called God's Not Dead. It sounds very good.
The film is about a college freshman just starting to attend university who comes up against the professor of one of his classes who is virulently atheist (is there any other type these days?).

Here's a synopsis.

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him?
I've done a search on flicks.co.nz and can see no mention of the film showing here in New Zealand now or in the future (is it any surprise?) You can see the trailer above, and if you're keen, there is a preaching/sermon 'pack' download on their website that lets you download video of Josh's Last Lecture, the denouement where he confronts the professor in a classroom debate.

I wish that it were possible for more professors to be confronted in this way, but they are usually the ones with the microphone up the front (which they wield like a big stick) and the power to pass or fail.

29 comment(s):

William Stout said...

The evidence of the Almighty is all around us, all one has
to do to experience the presence of the Creator is to open your eyes. That
sounds so simple doesn't it? But there are legions of people who, for some
reason, are incapable of doing so. Everyone doubts God at some point in their
lives, but those who are intellectually honest will always return to Him. I
believe that Lucifer is running rampant in the world today, and that we need
God now, more than we ever have in the past. Good men are few, morality and
religion are scorned, and the fabric of civilization is in tatters.

In the past, men had a strong faith in the Almighty and they
knew that he would guide them. This alone allowed them to accomplish
extraordinary things. Faith is a potent power indeed. It can provide hope when
nothing else will. It can sooth a grieving heart. It can give comfort to those
who travel dark paths, and it can give strength when the need is most dire.
What has atheism to offer that equals this? But even in the breast of the
atheist, God lives. Their very life is a result of the spark of the Divine that
dwells within.

Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Lynda said...

I have not faced this situation which I am sure would be more subtle than this. But I have in earlier theological adventures had to defend Mary and the Virgin birth. Also the Doctrine of God from process theology. In my experience they are beyond convincing because convincing means that something is true. They can't be convinced by any argument because as one tutor wrote on my paper 'Does it really matter?' The problem is for them their is no truth only subjective experience of the spiritual. 'Truth' is the mask they wear which is easily changeable for another. They move from position to position never appropriating any and use texts simply to shoal up an every moving point of view. They confront everything and answer nothing...especially they can never account for the problem of life.

Leftrightout said...

Well, I watched the trailer. Same old hackneyed arguments, nothing new added to the debate, the religious still unable to show evidence of god and unable (or unwilling) to accept the evidence of science.

The film is about a college freshman just starting to attend university who comes up against the professor of one of his classes who is virulently atheist (is there any other type these days?). Yes, and crap loads of them teaching crap instead of fact. You need to get out more and see what is there to be seen.



So, what was Josh's proof?

Leftrightout said...

The evidence of the Almighty is all around us, all one hasto do to experience the presence of the Creator is to open your eyes.


My eyes are open, but I cannot see any evidence for your god. Plenty of evidence for the incredible array of beauty and horror in this world. Plenty of evidence that it is all random, no "guiding hand". Sure, if you have evidence, I'd love to see it and evaluate it it. Can you oblige with some?


I believe that Lucifer is running rampant in the world today, and that we needGod now, more than we ever have in the past.


I believe is not a good starting point for a discussion based on evidence. Perhaps starting with "The evidence shows ..." would be a better tactic. Again, where is the evidence for this Lucifer character?


What has atheism to offer that equals this?


The freedom to live life unconstrained by adherence to myth and fairytale. The ability to study, to seek knowledge and follow the evidence wherever it may lead. To see all humans as our equals and to not break up in to petty tribes fighting wars because one person cuts his eggs at the big end, another at the small end. We celebrate that which unites us as humans, rather than that which enslaves us to a 4000 year old world view.


We have men and women who can cure disease and who make those cures available to all, not just restrict their use to an occasional party trick. Jesus healed 7 lepers, science has eliminated leprosy in almost the entire world.

Leftrightout said...

He exists because He reveals Himself to us.


So he doesn't exist because he hasn't revealed himself to us. Where is he? Hiding behind the couch?


Absence of evidence is obviously evidence of absence.

blairmulholland said...

Everything ultimately comes down to testimony, and whether you believe it or not. I have no proof Bolivia exists, and I've never been there, but I'm told it's a real country....

Lynda said...

What do you mean by 'exists'? What is 'existence'? Can you give an account of life? Its cause not its generation.

Fletch said...

It's also worth checking out the book that the movie is based on, which includes many of the arguments that the movie presents.

LINK - http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Not-Dead-Evidence-Uncertainty-ebook/dp/B00A0VPBV2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1395912732

Leftrightout said...

I exist. You exist. If you cannot understand that then how can we proceed the discussion? Life exists in myriad forms, we can see it, interact with it, study it. We cannot see, interact with or study your god. There is no sign of its existence outside human imagination.


What would satisfy your request for "an account of life"? I am not sure you are phrasing your questions coherently.

Leftrightout said...

Well, look at a map. Read a book. Go there. Talk to some Bolivians. Ask the UN as they seem to list Bolivia as a member state. All that is possible, if you wish for proof of Bolivia's existence.


The existence of Bolivia is not a matter of faith as there is ample physical proof of its existence. As to your your Jesus, well, we have nothing at all written by him, we have nothing referring to him in the historical record (outside the bible), no map to his burial location and not a single word written by anyone who ever actually met him in person.

Leftrightout said...

Solved the problem of life.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=the+problem+of+life&oq=the+problem+of+life&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

Lynda said...

No, sadly it won't do. You say 'There is no sign of its existence outside human imagination'. That seems incoherent in that you also say 'we can see it, interact with it, study it'. Even on the material level the animation of life to matter is not something we can bring about or cause from ourselves. At the very best we can manage or facilitate the process. We can end it of course by killing that which lives. How it begins is a mystery.

blairmulholland said...

You just made my point for me. Either I can experience Bolivia for myself or I have to trust the testimonies of those who have. The same is true of Jesus. To testify to Jesus, we have the Church, the writings of those who did indeed meet him in person, many many martyrs who died defending their experience of Him, and a large number of miracles throughout the ages attributed to Him and his followers. Personally I find all that very compelling. Jesus, Bolivia, komodo dragons and missing Malaysian airplanes - there is no real difference in logical terms between any of these concepts. You either accept the testimony available to you or you don't.

Leftrightout said...

No, I have not made your point for you at all.

You and I can travel to Bolivia together, we can talk to Bolivians together. We can share the experience of Bolivia.

We cannot do any of this with Jesus or your god. You cannot take me to meet Jesus. I cannot shake his hand and say "G'day".

To testify to Jesus, we have the Church, just as the Muslims have their Mosques to testify to Allah, and yet you don't believe in or worship him the writings of those who did indeed meet him in person, Name them. And if you say Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it's game over. many many martyrs who died defending their experience of Him, usually while being persecuted by other xtians and a large number of miracles throughout the ages attributed to Him and his followers. and yet as our knowledge increases and as we become better at medicine, miracles are rarer and rarer. Miracles are not what they once were.

Peter said...

In your attempts to create a civilisation explicitly based on atheism, you also caused more human beings to die cruelly than every religion put together.

Leftrightout said...

Please point me to any "civilisation explicitly based on atheism". Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods, nothing more, nothing less. Don't try to read in to it any more than that.


However, it IS atheist scientists who have cured more diseases than god ever did, who have discovered more about how the universe works than the bible describes and who know that rabbits don't chew the cud!

Peter said...

I'm thinking specifically of the Communist revolutions in the former USSR, China, Vietnam and Cuba. Certainly, the belief system they hoped to establish included much more than atheism. But atheism was an essential part of it. Communist states have always been officially atheist, and they required it of anyone in a position of leadership.

Sure, plenty of atheists are nice and decent people. But it's also worth remembering that atheism is associated with some of the most murderous regimes in history. It is not a bulwark against fanaticism or tyranny. There is nothing in the denial of god which necessarily unites people, encourages humane behaviour, or even requires a commitment to rational thought. Nor is it a defence against superstition - how many atheists have undergone psychoanalysis, or promoted it as an effective treatment for mental disease? What was Marxism if not a superstitious belief about the workings of history?

If you are going to claim medical science as one of the gifts of atheists to the world, simply because an unspecified number of scientists happened to be atheists, you also need to consider the unprecedented disasters which have been unleashed on the world by the "god-free". Atheists tend to claim all kinds of benefits for their worldview, but say very little about the other side of the balance sheet.

Leftrightout said...

I'm thinking specifically of the Communist revolutions in the former USSR, China, Vietnam and Cuba. Certainly, the belief system they hoped to establish included much more than atheism.


Then you're not thinking very clearly.


In Vietnam there is freedom of religion enshrined in law.


Stalin was named after St Joseph. His father was an Orthodox priest and Stalin himself spent 5 years in an Orthodox seminary. Isn't religious belief supposed to improve people?


But it's also worth remembering that atheism is associated with some of the most murderous regimes in history.


No, this is an oft repeated lie, and when you want to look at mass murder, look no further than your god. Ever tallied up the death toll in The Bible? It's horrendous.


It is not a bulwark against fanaticism or tyranny.


Of course its not. It is simply a lack of belief in gods. Are you atheist when it comes to Allah? Vishnu? Zeus? Zoroaster? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Of course you are.


What was Marxism if not a superstitious belief about the workings of history?


I suspect you need to read Marx's works, not rely on what you've been told. Much of what Marx wrote has come to pass.


If you are going to claim medical science as one of the gifts of atheists to the world, simply because an unspecified number of scientists happened to be atheists, you also need to consider the unprecedented disasters which have been unleashed on the world by the "god-free".


Well, again, for mass killing, nothing can compare with a global flood that wiped out all life except 6 humans and a rag tag bunch of animals. How can you sleep at night knowing your "loving god" could go postal any minute?


And yes, atheists haver discovered a cure for diseases that your god supposedly gave us. leprosy has been almost eliminated by science. Jesus knew how to cure lepers 2000 years ago, but did not pass on that knowledge; he simply used it for an occasional party piece.


Atheists tend to claim all kinds of benefits for their worldview, but say very little about the other side of the balance sheet.


Just as xtians defend their god's genocidal and homicidal outbreaks?

Peter said...

In Vietnam there is freedom of religion enshrined in law.

Sure it is, probably freedom of speech as well. Every communist state had those kinds of things in their constitution.

Of course its not. It is simply a lack of belief in gods. Are you atheist when it comes to Allah? Vishnu? Zeus? Zoroaster? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Of course you are.

No, I'm not an atheist when it comes to any of those things. An atheist is someone who would rule them all out a priori, not someone who might reject particular conceptions of God in favour of another. I'm not sure who came up with that particular argument, but it is sloppy thinking. The great atheist philosophers would have been ashamed of it.

No, this is an oft repeated lie.

It's quite true and easily verified. How much atheism per se caused people to become Red Guards or betray their neighbors to the secret police is another matter, but it's enough to point out that an atheistic society isn't necessarily any better than the worst religious tyranny. There is nothing humanistic in the denial of God. In the 18th century it was plausible for atheists to hope that, "freed from the shackles of superstition" people would somehow turn into better people by themselves. Obviously that was a false hope. But atheists seem to want to have it two ways: first they talk as if they have found some new inspiring way to be more human - "to see all humans as our equals and to not break up in to petty tribes fighting wars because one person cuts his eggs at the big end, another at the small end" as you put it. Then when you point out that their track record of uniting mankind is actually mediocre and isn't markedly any better than the various religions, they say that in fact atheism is simply a metaphysical belief, that we shouldn't read too much into it or presumably expect too much.

Yvonne Barnes said...

We are kiwis on our last night in the USA. Just went to this excellent movie - I do hope that it does come to NZ, has a believable storyline and well acted. Would recommend this movie to anyone - very thought provoking.

Leftrightout said...

Hi Yvonne, pleased you enjoyed the movie, but not read too much in to it.


I would really like you, or anyone else, to find me a College/University in America where students must agree to a set of beliefs/principles or be failed.


I know of quite a few, but I bet they're not the ones you're thinking of.

Fletch said...

I hope so too! Would love to see it.

The NZ movie website flicks.co.nz has a listing for the box office in the U.S and U.K and has God's Not Dead currently at #5. However, when you click the link (unlike for any of the other movies) you just get a 404, page not found error.

http://www.flicks.co.nz/box-office/

Luke Thrush said...

It looks like an amazing movie and would and has touched many people with the presence of God and their walk with him in life! I do hope it comes out here in New Zealand and not just on dvd but in the cinemas

Hugh7 said...

You seem to be using the fallacy of the Appeal to Ignorance. I can't tell you the origin of life, therefore God. They use to use that with lightning, earthquakes, rainbows. Slowly those gaps were filled, Some may never be filled but that doesn't mean God has to be hiding in them.

Hugh7 said...

Life only needed to begin once, because all living things are related. Yes, how that happened is a mystery, but we know vastly more about it now than we did even 50 years ago. We certainly no longer need the supernatural element to explain the day-to-day working of life. That is now all well in the realm of biochemistry.

Hugh7 said...

There's an excellent podcast by four people - one of them a real philosophy professor - who saw the film. Basically the makers project their own version of education on to the philosophy class. Dogma that may not be questioned and proof by appeal to Authority. All the Christians are Good (except one woman who doesn't know her place) and all the non-Christians are bad.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/reasonabledoubts/2014/04/18/episode-127-gods-not-dead/

Hugh7 said...

When you invoke Stalin etc. in your case against atheism, you seem to be saying the fact of god/dess/es' existence doesn't matter, people should believe in him/her/them whether they are true or not because the fear of him/her/them makes you behave better. But the evidence that believers behave better is entirely lacking. In fact the criminal records of those whose belief systems include confession and absolution here on earth are demonstrably worse.

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