I was not impressed.
I haven’t explained publicly why the movie was so unimpressive and frustrating to me yet. By a recent post by a friend about the movie has inspired me to do just that.
My biggest complaint can be summed up in two words: “to me.”
Nearly every argument of God not being dead in the film is either prefaced or followed with the qualifier, “to me” or “to us.” The filmmakers were probably trying to avoid ruffling feathers by hedging their statements, but are doing themselves and Christians a major disservice at the same time.
To say “God is dead” is to recognize that God existed and was God, which is to say that God cannot be dead because by being God, He cannot die. To say “God is not dead” is to recognize that God exists, has not died, and make the argument that anyone claiming His death is also recognizing his existence.
To say “God is not dead, to me” is to recognize that God could be dead to others. It’s an attempt to make an argument wrapped in logical fallacy. Similar to the “true for you, but not true for me” fallacy of relativism, hedging a statement with “to me” implies that the counter argument is equally valid and truthful. It’s equivalent to saying, “I think God isn’t dead, but he might be, and you might have a better argument than me, so let’s just accept that we disagree on the point.”
It’s a statement of cowardice – the fear of offending the person to whom you’re speaking with the radical idea that you believe in an everlasting God.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. 1
Knowing what’s in store for those who embrace cowardice while making what should otherwise be concrete arguments, why would anyone ever hedge such an important statement with “to me.” The fact that God exists and is very much alive through Christ in our lives is the key tenet of Christianity. To shy away from boldly declaring this is to shy away from Christ entirely.
We are called to present the Gospel boldly to all, not with fear of repercussion or judgement by our peers.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 2
I’m not going to bother to review the rest of the film. It’s full of cliché and too-neat happy endings. I enjoyed the plot on its own, and was impressed by some of the arguments presented during the in-film theology debate, but as it was a scripted debate there’s questionable value to the exchange.
All I can do is what I always do for matters relating to faith: see it for yourself and make your own judgement. You’ve read how I feel about the film and its presentation of faith. Whether you agree with me or not is your call.