I just saw the movie “God Is Not Dead”. I thought it was pretty good.
The premise is that in a college introduction to philosophy class, the instructor starts out by making all the students sign a statement that “God Is Dead”. Now this is not that far fetched; similar things actually have happened in college classes, although not as clumsily as this instructor did.
One student would not sign the paper, and accepted as the only acceptable alternative the challenge to prove that God exists, or suffer poor grades in the class. It worked in the movie, although in real life it was probably not the way to handle the situation. Unless, of course, God moved him to deal with it like he did, because of the positive results for the Kingdom of God which resulted. And the “costs” to the student which realistically would have happened, are a worthy sacrifice to God.
I would have handled it differently, unless God led me to do it this way.
The instructor started out by showing a list of famous philosophers and asking what they had it common. Turned out, they were all atheists, and so was the instructor. Ok. Then he went into his spiel that God was dead. At that point, I would have raised my hand, and said something like “Excuse me sir, but how did God die?” The response would have likely been one of:
1) He never existed. In this case, my response would be “if He never existed, there is no way He could have died. It’s a rule; in order to die, you must be alive first.”
2) I don’t know. In this case, my response would be “Oh? Where’s the body? Was an autopsy done? No body? How do you know He is dead, wait, did YOU kill Him?”
3) Something condescending which did not answer the question. In this case, my response would be “Sir, obviously you know more than we do, which is why we come to you to learn. But when you make a statement of fact which contradicts out current view, you must be able to prove to us that we are wrong and that your statement is true.”
Basically, to get him to realize that his belief is only a belief, and that to try blackmailing the students into believing the same thing is illegal, immoral, and probably fattening. If he “needs’ that viewpoint to be accepted by all his students, then he must attempt to prove it to the satisfaction of all of them. And if he can’t do it (which he can’t), then he must abandon it as a requirement to do well in the class.
The student, quite accurately, starts off with the statement that if cannot be proven that God exists. And then makes a good case why it is reasonable to believe in God. The instructor responds with a quote from Steven Hawking which “punctures his whole argument”. No it didn’t; the quote was silly. Hawking may be brilliant, but in this quote, he came to a conclusion based on his beliefs, not on Science. The student though, responded with “I don’t know”, which caused the instructor to belittle his efforts. Of course, next week he proved the quote to violate the laws of logic.
In the movie, this was dealt with as a contest between the student and the instructor. The instructor behaved in a manner which in the real world left him (and the college) wide open for legal problems.
Still, the film was quite entertaining, and provided fresh glimpses into the validity of our faith.