Where to begin...? Well, God's Not Dead! Now that that is out of the way let's talk about the movie!
I first had the opportunity to see this movie in June of 2014, while attending Creation Fest Northeast. They showed it on the big screens after the Newsboys performed as the evening's headline artist. I know that I thoroughly enjoyed it. In the context of such a powerful spiritual weekend, it was that much better. Considering it had been nearly a year, I opted to view it again. I am glad I did as I picked up on things that I missed the first time. So here goes...
At the start of his freshman year in college, the main character, Josh, is advised by another student to consider dropping his 'Intro to Philosophical Thought' class, or change to one taught by another professor. Josh, wearing his Newsboys t-shirt and gold cross necklace, questions the advice. He is told he is "wandering into the snake pit" and to "think Roman coliseum, lions, people cheering for your death." Josh dismisses the option and essentially, the stage is set.
Professor Radisson begins his 'Intro to Philosophical Thought' class by passing out blank paper to the class, asking the students to simply write 'God is dead' and sign their name, in order to save time and avoid the debate of His existence. Not to say that God has actually died, but that He never really existed. As the rest of the students sign off on it, Josh stares at the paper, convicted by his beliefs he is unable to do it. The professor tries to persuade him but he stands his ground. Josh is presented with the option to defend his position and win the class over in the next 3 days. If he is unsuccessful it will cost him 30% of his grade for the semester... Challenge accepted!
After talking to reverend Dave, Josh is reaffirmed in his choice to argue God's existence. Kara, Josh's girlfriend of 6 years tries to talk him out of it and actually forbids him from doing it. But Josh follows his heart and begins to prepare his case. After his first chance to prove his case before the class, the professor promises Josh that he will never get a law degree if he humiliates him in front of his class. Then Kara confronts him and subsequently breaks up with him. Still he does not back down, feeling led to defend God before this professor and fellow students as this might be the only exposure they would have to God and faith. So Josh digs in and goes on to continue with what everyone else believes to be futile, acedemic suicide.
This is as far as I will take you in the main story line. I will not spoil the ending for those who haven't seen it -- you're welcome!
There are a number of intertwining stories running through the movie which makes it really interesting. There are various other struggles displayed in the side stories. Amy, a young woman of no faith struggles with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Her boyfriend, Marc, is selfish, cold and emotionless. Marc's sister Mina is Professor Radisson's girlfriend. Mina has and is treated very disrespectfully by the professor because of her strong faith. A Muslim girl, Ayisha is hiding her faith from her family is discovered and put out of the home. Martin, a young Asian man is being awakened to God by Josh's testimony and his father dismisses him, telling him not speak of it. Even Reverend Dave's faith is tested over his self worth in his work as well as numerous failed attempts to take a short road trip with an old friend. Through their inability to embark on their trip, he is used by God to help others when they needed it most.
Featuring the Newsboys, with special appearances by Willie and Korie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, “God's Not Dead” is a powerful portrayal of how passionate people can be about their beliefs, as well as how much of a difference one person can make in bringing others to Christ. The movie was inspired by true legal cases where university students and campus ministries were condemned for their faith. Some of them are still pending outcomes while others have been closed, mostly favoring said students and ministries.
“God's Not Dead” is available on Netflix for sure, that's where I found it. If you have not seen it yet, check it out. You'll be glad you did!