April 9: Easter Sunday – You don’t have to believe to watch and share a religious movie.
I saw Jerusalem Countdown but in no way was I prepared for Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead, a movie that I’ve been considering over and over, deciding what to write about it.
Written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, who were inspired by Rice Broocks’ book God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, this feels like the kind of echo chamber afforded by cable news and self-owned social media networks. I always wonder how white upper middle class Americans constantly can feel like they’re under assault and people are trying to destroy their way of life when they continually win.
Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) went to college to be a lawyer, but the school he chose was the third choice of his girlfriend Kara (Cassidy Gifford, yes, the daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee). That said, she’s planned their whole life together. What she was not ready for was the class of atheist philosophy Professor Jeffrey Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), who makes all of his students sign a paper claiming that God is dead. Josh disagrees and begins a movie-length battle with his teacher who acts as no instructor ever before, going all in to hate the Lord and his believer Josh. Their final debate ends when Josh asks Radisson why he hates God so much, to which the man replies, “He killed my mom,” and instead of reacting with empathy, Josh says, “How can you hate someone you don’t believe in?” and then Martin (Paul Kwo) stands up and says, “God’s not dead,” the class joins in and the professor runs from the room after being dumped by his girlfriend Mina (Cory Oliver) and gets hit by a car and dies, but not before Reverend Dave (David A. R. White) helps him pray and then an entire Newsboys concert is led by Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty into haughtily laughing that Josh got one over on his teacher, which is intercut with him dying in the street.
Also, in the middle of all this, is Mina’s brother Mark (Dean Cain) who hates their dementia-having mother who reveals that Satan made him successful, a Muslim woman named Ayisha (Hadeel Sittu) being thrown out of her house for converting her religion, Mark dumping left wing blogger cancer news getting Amy (Trisha LaFache) as she goes after the. aforementioned Duck Dynasty and man, this whole movie feels like 21 Grams except the stories never really wrap up. But I can imagine that people — well, persecution complex having folks — loved this, because it tells it like it is, as nobody has shades to them, there are no multitudes in anyone, just shrill God-hating liberals out to decimate the American way of life, which, when I checked, guaranteed religious freedom even if it was written by unrepentant slave masters.