God's not dead you say? Can you prove it?
How far would you go to defend your belief in God, the film asks.
God's Not Dead, set to hit theaters on March 21, is one of a dozen major Christian productions slated for the big screen in 2014. An increase over the usual sparse offering of well-produced Christian films. Son of God started things off, but Christian audiences have a lot more to look forward to this year.
So Hollywood has already answered the question this film is based around, to some extent anyway. They apparently know God is very much alive.
Straight out of today's culture filled with atheist propaganda, and a bullying liberal media, God's Not Dead challenges the viewer to answer that very important question. It asks us to be prepared to defend our faith, as we are called to do in 1 Peter.
In the movie, 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?
God's Not Dead has been well received so far and has already received thousands of requests from Churches and organizations for group tickets and the movie doesn't open for another two weeks.
This is a big part of the reason why so many Christian movies are being produced right now. We Christians are a supportive bunch.
"The social media response to the movie has been incredible," said Ash Greyson of Ribbow Media, a consultant to the film.
The film currently has almost half a million fans, which is an unusually high number according to film industry insiders.
"We believe people of faith were just waiting for a rallying cry to join a movement and it's coalescing around this film," Greyson continued. "We've seen increased activity in the wake of the Phil Robertson story. It's as if Christians have reached a tipping point and have decided to make a stand in solidarity with each other spurred by the movie God's Not Dead."
In an ironic case of art imitating life, Willie Robertson and wife Korie play themselves in God's Not Dead where they are ambushed by a reporter. Similar to the situation Phil Robertson recently faced when he spoke to a reporter about his beliefs concerning homosexuality and other topics and then was punished by the A&E network, Willie and Korie Robertson share their beliefs with the reporter openly in a scene the film's producer calls "uncanny".
There is so much similarity in the plot of the film God's Not Dead in Willie and Korie's scene with what's taken place with Phil Robertson," said producer Russell Wolfe. "Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are being trampled on in a country where media bias is more rampant than ever. Our film's purpose is to help Christians unite, stand together, and change the world."
To inspire audiences to change the world, the filmmakers promise a movie that weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. They hope the film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.