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'God Is Not Dead' and How Christian Films Rally the Base By Vilifying Everyone Else

By Corey Atad | Film Reviews | April 21, 2014 | Comments ()


Kevin-Sorbo-in-GODS-NOT-DEAD.jpg

An atheist Jew walks into a Christian film… The beginnings of a joke maybe, but also a thing I did this week. Why? The answer to that question likely lands somewhere between masochism and a martyr complex. I went (and paid money!) to see God’s Not Dead, for your sins. Now I stand before you fully resurrected and ready to tell you tales of my experience.

God’s Not Dead is a bona fide hit at the domestic box office, so far bringing in an impressive $45 million on a $2 million budget. Its success has sparked conversation about the largely untapped theatrical market for Christian-themed films; only a decade after church groups were bussed en masse to cinemas to see Mel Gibson’s record-breaking The Passion of the Christ. That there’s been a market for this fare has long been clear, but the success of God’s Not Dead perhaps sheds greater light on the cultural bubble of fundamentalist Christianity than Mel’s more broadly appealing biblical retelling ever could.

I stepped into the theater, slightly ashamed of myself, hoping nobody would see through my disingenuousness. There were people of all stripes in the audience, including at least one family with children. I was here in part to mock the film, but I became uneasy at the thought of mocking the people who’d come in good faith to see it. Here was a group of people simply eager to consume the message promised by that title: God’s not dead.

God’s Not Dead comes from a long line of films by Pure Flix Entertainment, a company specializing in films that spread the Evangelical message. It stars Kevin Sorbo as Professor Radisson, an atheist philosophy professor and all around asshole who begins his first lesson by having his students write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign it so that the class may skip debating a topic that’s already been settled. One student, Josh Wheaten (Shane Harper) stands against this unjust oppression. “I’m Christian,” he tells Prof. Radisson. So Radisson proposes a challenge: Josh must stand in front of everybody at the end of class for the next three weeks and deliver lectures to convince everyone that God is not dead. If he fails—and Radisson assures him he will—he will fail that section of the course and lose 30% of his mark.

It’s a battle for the ages! An epic showdown! Religion vs. atheism in the halls of a public university! Two worldviews enter; only one can leave.

There are the other storylines, too. In fact, God’s Not Dead is like a Christian version of Crash, which multiple interconnected stories of true believers, earnest seekers of faith, and the atheists and infidels who try to push them down.

Thinly drawn characters all of them, of course. Straw men everywhere. Every atheist is an awful, mean person. Even Josh’s nominally Christian girlfriend comes off as a horrible shrew for not being as good a Christian as he is. A Chinese student’s father hushes down his God talk for fear of communist government reprisals. A Muslim father forces his daughter to wear a veil and then literally drags her out of the house when he discovers her newfound interest in Christianity. Meanwhile, the true believers are unambiguously good and just. It’s all setup for classic false dichotomy in a film more interested in didactically hocking an ideology than being any sort of good storytelling.

Of course, storytelling has never been the point of these sorts of films. They aren’t even meant to change minds or convert the heathens like me. Films like God’s Not Dead are equivalent to the likes of Fox News; designed for consumption by an audience who want only to have their convictions bolstered. They perpetuate an unwarranted persecution complex so that the audience may feel vindicated in their beliefs. That the logic in the film is faulty at best and its various subplots hint at profound xenophobia and disturbing conceptions of patriotism is all part of a single-minded attempt at preserving a tenuous ideological bubble. A bubble threatened by the mere hint of dissent.

Coming at film like this as an outsider is folly in itself, but also instructive. The rest of my audience was totally wrapped up in the film, commenting along and making known their agreement with the young hero. “Damn straight,” uttered the man behind me as Josh made yet another point in favour of God’s existence. A smattering of applause as the credits rolled by with a list of court cases in which Christian students and teachers were apparently oppressed by the tyranny of the secular state. That so many people buy into this skewed narrative is a sad reflection of a society where our differences of faith and politics are reason for discord and distrust.

I walked into God’s Not Dead looking for a bad film to mock, but came out of it alarmed at its brazen rejection of meaningful dialogue and lamenting its success. In a world of severe religious and political stratification, the war is ongoing, every other group is the enemy, and movies like God’s Not Dead are propaganda for a very willing audience.

You can follow Corey Atad on Twitter, or listen to his Mad Men podcast, Not Great, Pod!




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Shawn Gordon

    Damn straight!

  • BlackRabbit

    "God is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him."

  • nobcarajo100

    This is the new version of the chain:

    A liberal muslim homosexual ACLU lawyer professor and abortion doctor was teaching a class on Karl Marx, known atheist.

    ”Before the class begins, you must get on your knees and worship Marx and accept that he was the most highly-evolved being the world has ever known, even greater than Jesus Christ!”

    At this moment, a brave, patriotic, pro-life Navy SEAL champion who had served 1500 tours of duty and understood the necessity of war and fully supported all military decision made by the United States stood up and held up a rock.

    ”How old is this rock, pinhead?”

    The arrogant professor smirked quite Jewishly and smugly replied, “4.6 billion years, you stupid Christian!”

    ”Wrong. It’s been 5,000 years since God created it. If it was 4.6 billion years old and evolution, as you say, is real… then it should be an animal now!”
    The professor was visibly shaken, and dropped his chalk and copy of Origin of the Species. He stormed out of the room crying those liberal crocodile tears. The same tears liberals cry for the “poor” (who today live in such luxury that most own refrigerators) when they jealously try to claw justly earned wealth from the deserving job creators. There is no doubt that at this point our professor, DeShawn Washington, wished he had pulled himself up by his bootstraps and become more than a sophist liberal professor. He wished so much that he had a gun to shoot himself from embarrassment, but he himself had petitioned against them! The students applauded and all registered Republican that day and accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. An eagle named “Small Government” flew into the room and perched atop the American Flag and shed a tear on the chalk. The pledge of allegiance was read several times, and God himself showed up and enacted a flat tax rate across the country. The professor lost his tenure and was fired the next day. He died of the gay plague AIDS and was tossed into the lake of fire for all eternity. Semper Fi.

  • waaaagh

    Dude, if Hercules says God is dead.... God is dead.

  • idiosynchronic

    Agnostic/Deist & pastor's husband here. All I have to say is that it's good my wife is going to a continuing ed conference this week. If she had to field any more parishioner recommendations of this film, I'm afraid she'd burn her robe or have a stroke.

  • Berry

    Your wife sounds pretty awesome.

  • idiosynchronic

    I like to think so. :-)

  • Coolg82

    The funniest thing ever would be for this to happen in real life, then all the Christians in the audience to get excited, and then the kid start talking about the Bhagavad Gita and how it proves the Hindu God's existence, and everyone in the audience just looks at each other in confusion for a hour and a half. Even funnier when you consider the man who sparked the debate was a Greek demigod. "I know God is dead, after all, as one of his sons, I was invited to his funeral.".

  • foolsage

    There's a Hindi comedy that's a bit like what you describe called "OMG - Oh My God!"

  • Coolg82

    I did not know that, I may have to look into that.

  • foolsage

    It's only a bit like what you described, to be fair. It's set in Mumbai, and the protagonist is an atheist who's visited (unknowingly) by Krishna. It's not the conversion story you'd expect, though I won't spoil it further. It's worth watching.

  • Does anyone else remember the Mandy Moore/Jena Malone movie Saved!? One of my favorite movies about faith ever, and this is one of my favorite bits:

    Hilary Faye: Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you.
    Mary: You don't know the first thing about love.
    Hilary Faye: [throws a Bible at Mary] I am FILLED with Christ's love! You are just jealous of my success in the Lord.
    Mary: [Mary holds up the Bible] This is not a weapon! You idiot.

  • Cheetahdriver

    After Andromeda got "Sorbo'd", I find a certain amount of schadenfreude in seeing him in this sort of movie.

    Ok, I lied, I cackled gleefully at the thought that this was what he was using now to pay the bills. I really really really liked Andromeda before it turned into Capt Sorbo and his merry men.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    (Professor Sorbo walks into class)

    Professor Sorbo: Today's lesson is that God is dead.

    (Class is silent)

    Professor Sorbo: But Hercules isn't! (Tears off shirt)

    (Class is still silent, but now also aroused)

  • luthien26

    THIS is how it should have been. Also, c'mon Sorbo? You still look good! Tell me you're getting better offers than this stuff!

  • mzbitca

    I work at a religiously affiliated university and one of the Pastor's and I were talking about the theories behind religious development. She stated she's noticed almost a suspension in development in religious exploration. She talked about how religion is like philosophy and that the rules and and simplicity of it is fine when we are starting off in our "journey" but that she feels too many people and congregations are choosing to stay there. She faults the politicization and commercialization of religion as the reason for it. It's becoming a place to hide, not a way to live and understand a confusing world.

  • Tammy

    [I'm so giddy that no one else seems to have posted the following clip yet!]
    Never take philosophical instruction from a man who doesn't understand how stage directions work:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • Holli Downs

    It's clever in a way-- a sermon that looks like dialectics. These are our contemporary parables, our artistic proofs. I'm trying to think of a movie that fills the other side of the conversation, but I'm drawing a blank.

    The movie... it sounds like a story I can go without. Loved this review.

  • Alberto Cox Délano

    As an Atheist, I consider the premise of this film highly offensive.
    As an Atheist who believes deeply in Christ the man, I find this move highly offensive and discriminating.
    As an Atheist who believes in Christ and who has been raised by left-wing Christians, mostly Jesuits, I think is about time the progressive side of Christianity starts churning out their own, smart and open-minded movies, because Marty Scorsese is kind of overworked an needs a hand there.

  • Slim

    On another post, there is news of the next Scott Derrickson movie. He is a filmmaker that happens to be a progressive Christian and happens to make horror flicks. Terrence Malick's work is appreciated by most believing people, as well as the work by the Coen brothers and Rian Johnson. Films that spark conversations, not present a packaged answer.

  • Tammy

    I'm a preacher's kid who, while terrible at actually attending services, rather digs that crazy Jesus cat. Every time one of these Evangelical Circle Jerk Productions hits the news, I shake my head. There are plenty of progressive, rational, questioning, intelligent Christians in the world, but then the Screaming Lunatic Fundamentalist types have to go pee in the pool and ruin it for everyone.
    It's so depressing.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I am upvoting, but also planning to steal and use "crazy Jesus cat" as...something. Trivia team name? name for my midlife crisis racehorse? Not sure yet. ("midlife crisis racehorse" will be the name of my punk band)

  • chanohack

    Definitely voting for the horse. And the band.

  • VonnegutSlut

    Yes to all of this.

  • foolsage

    "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Jesus of Montreal" are two excellent progressive films about Christianity. I can't think of any others of any quality I fear.

  • Haystacks

    I have never found that religious beliefs indicated one way or another if someone was a good person or not. It seems to have as much influence on one's ability to be an asshole as hair length. Met great people who believed, met assholes who believed. Met great atheists, met asshole atheists.

    Here is what I have found though: if you need a threat of punishment to be a decent person, you are probably an asshole.

    I also find it incredibly odd, that in a nation where white Christians hold about 85% of the power, they are still incredibly invested in finding themselves the victimized party. Suggestions that they in fact, hold most of the political power, and that people of color and other beliefs are more likely to get railroaded by the system is met with distain and disbelief.

    When you are invested in a narrative that says you have no power, when you have most of the power, you no longer have any obligation to try to fix the problems around you. When you are put upon by the world at large, and atheists in particular, you don't need to take responsibility for all the things you can change -- Hunger, poverty, injustice. These are well within the abilities of those in power to destroy, yet they seem to feel no obligation to them.

  • Marie
  • Marie

    a good angry atheist review of the film

  • Mrs. Julien

    The zealots must drive the rational, sensible religious people insane. The crazies make it look like no one can simultaneously be devout and reasonable.

    Just because you are democratically entitled to have an opinion, does not mean you are entitled it have it be correct.

  • Mrs. J., you have no idea. (well, obviously you do, or you wouldn't have made the comment. obviously.) What does it say about my feelings toward my own faith that I hate being lumped in with a significant portion of Christianity? I often wonder if we're reading the same book/instruction manual.

  • Jericho Smith

    Can't we just declare the rapture and get on with things?

    "Oh by the way. You're still here!"

  • Haystacks

    I like to think the rapture happened, and it was just one person. Remember the time Gary did not show up for work? Raptured.

  • lukebc

    "If amurcan english is good enough for jesus then by god it's good enuff for me!"

    AND: The bible doesn't mention anything about pajiba, so therefore pajiba doesn't exist.

  • JJ

    Dustin Isn't Dead...Yet. A BSlim production.

  • amberdragonfly

    I would pay to see that. Not much, but I would pay.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Starring the commenters on Uproxx.

  • pajiba

    Ouch.

  • Doctor Strom Kilwell

    I am an agnostic that goes to church to support my girlfriend. Her pastor constantly talks about how our world is "corrupt," "doomed," and "dying" as well as calling non-believers "arrogant," "fools," or his favorite "morons." There seems to be this mindset of spiritual warfare, us against everyone else (including Christians who don't believe in god the "right" way) that I don't ever recall being there when I was a church-going youth. I don't know if that is a common thing in modern churches, but this movie sounds like it represents so many of the misgivings I have about them.

  • That's a really schoolyard bully way to proselytize.

    "I'm sorry. But I don't believe in your God."

    "Oh, yeah? We'll you're a moron!"

    "Them's fighting words!"

    *Scuffle ensues. No one wins*

  • Doctor Strom Kilwell

    My girl assures me it is some kind of inside joke, but at no point is it ever not used beyond insulting non-believers. I assumed that maybe he is sick of dealing with people who question his god or patronize him. There is this undercurrent of bitterness that I keep feeling there, the pastor hates it here in New England but feels that he was called by god to preach here so he does it begrudgingly.

  • That's wild. Called by God to preach his Word, but resenting Him for not sending you somewhere cool.

    Sounds like a great guy to morally guide strangers.

  • amberdragonfly

    This is what I love about our church. Our pastors would never say anything like that. One of our pastors had a sermon specifically geared towards the subject of homosexuality, after having counseled several gay people. He basically said that yes, the bible says homosexuality is a sin. So is divorce. So is sex outside of marriage. And cursing. Envy. Greed. The list was very, very long. He stopped and looked out at the congregation for a minute and said, "I don't know about you, but I sin every day, and I know I'm going to heaven. I guarantee you sin every day, so who are you to sit in judgment of anyone else? The bible says if you accept the Lord into your heart, and confess it with your mouth, you are assured a place in heaven. It doesn't say don't sin or you're screwed."

  • foolsage

    Don't forget cutting your hair, wearing a garment made of mixed fabrics, eating shellfish, touching the skin of a pig... there are a LOT of sins cataloged in Deuteronomy, and almost nobody takes them seriously.

  • amberdragonfly

    I am wearing a garment made of mixed fabrics right now! How did you know? Also I have a terrible cussing problem, and okay, I don't do it often, but I happen to really enjoy sex outside of marriage. What can I say? I'm a sinner...

  • TK

    We need more churches like yours, and I say that as an atheist.

  • amberdragonfly

    One of my favorites was when the pastor was annoyed that people had been complaining to him about some of the other people at the church. This one said a curse word in the hallway. That one was *gasp* SMOKING A CIGARETTE in the parking lot. Of a church. On and on the complaints went. He said, of course, these were very pious people who were complaining, and none of them EVER sinned (our pastor excels are sarcasm). Who cares? He said. So not every one of our thousands of members are as good of a christian as you think they should be. So what? They're here aren't they? Next time you are offended by someone in our church, stop. Take a second to smile at them or shake their hand. Tell them you're glad they are here, or just wish them a good day. Because that one tiny gesture could be the thing that makes them come back.

    Do you think that we started the 1:00 pm service so you could sleep late? No! It's because we want to give the people who stayed up too late drinking in the club, and you know who you are folks, we wanted them to have a chance to sleep in a little before coming to church. Give them a little time to sober up before services.

  • BobbFrapples

    Creating something to fear and then promising to protect people from that threat is how a money is made. Snake oil and imaginary persecution = lots of cash.

  • Mrs. Julien

    And don't forget the skycake.

  • BobbFrapples

    Love me some skycake.

  • IT'S SKY BAKLAVA, MOTHERFUCKER! YOU'RE DEAD!

  • emmalita

    Films like this bolster my belief that too many people stop maturing in Jr. high (about age 13 for non-US readers). Most teens have a spectacular persecution complex and fantasize about being the center of attention because they are strong and brave in the face of adversity and tragedy. Ideally, we grow out of it. The success of a movie like this, and FOX news, and so many other things feed my fear that we are becoming a nation of adolescents. I'll have to be brave and strong in the face of this adversity.

  • I usually go with high school, but you're right. Many never outgrow that mindset and bring it everywhere they go: work, home, school, etc.

  • Jezzer

    "Thinly drawn characters all of them, of course. Straw men everywhere. Every atheist is an awful, mean person."

    This movie is a live action Chick Tract, but I can actually see where someone would draw that conclusion, especially if they've ever ventured into the neckbearded depths of Reddit.

  • dorquemada

    I'm guessing there were no boobies? Count me out.

  • kasper

    Man, that kid sounds like an asshole. You're in college son, if you don't like your philosophy course, drop it and take something else. No need to argue with the professor about the very premise on which the course is based.

    Of course, this is exactly what people that see this movie do...if anyone doesn't agree with their beliefs, they yell about how they are persecuted. You don't like the premise in a movie/tv show/book etc, don't watch it/read it. Nobody anywhere in this country has ever tried to stop you from going to church or watching shitty movies like this one.

  • mzbitca

    True story, once took a course called "evolutionary Psychology" and had to deal with a student complaining the entire fucking time about how the professor never mentioned "intelligent design" He attempted to attack the professor about it in which the professor basically smacked him down verbally. Because in the real world, 19 year old self-centered adults are not able to craft these types of coherent arguments vs someone who does it for a career.

  • linnyloo

    I seriously sprained my eyes once from rolling them too hard when a student of mine (college!) oh-so-smugly asked me why "monkeys didn't have human babies" as her nail in the coffin argument against evolution.

  • foolsage

    I'd have blinked and pointed her out as an example to the contrary. Or, well, I'd have been tempted to anyhow. Damn it all, I'm too nice to actually say something that mean, generally. ;)

  • TacoBellRey

    I've always been fairly religious but I also have come to understand that I have my own beliefs and others have theirs. So, if some kid was so riled up about writing a sentence down on a piece of paper (doesn't necessarily mean that it is true/not true) it seems like his faith started faltering a while ago. I've had assignments similar to this and even though my hand wrote down one thing, I knew how I truly felt in my heart (that sounded less cheesy in my head). I could be wrong (this is coming from a Pro Choice, Gay Loving, Catholic), so I wouldn't really trust my opinions.

  • cj

    Yesterday, I sat through a church service that denounced atheism several times, called out science for thinking they know so much (because science can explain just about everything except the second before the Big Bang - but they can't explain that!), and said the church is dying. I kid you not, in the same breath the pastor boasted about meeting their $1M fundraising goal. I don't know when Christians decided they were actually being attacked by SCIENCE! ATHEISM! LUKEWARM FEELINGS ABOUT THE CHURCH! but this movie is definitely part of that whole paranoia. It makes me sad, because this is not the church I was brought up in. Who is attacking Christians and their million dollar church facilities with congregations that match collection plates up to $40k (also happened yesterday)?? Because from where I'm standing, they are doing pretty well.

  • Haystacks

    I can never forget a documentary I watched on evangelical Christians and home-schooling, where the kids were watching a video about how dinosaurs were a test of faith put there by Jesus.

    Meanwhile, the mother is going on about "What does science know? It isn't real" while slathering margarine on her toast. Margarine. MARGARINE!

    Margarine which was made in a lab, with Hydrogenation. She was eating something which involved adding hydrogen atoms to a molecule, but would not believe that science was "real".

    It blew my mind.

  • chanohack

    I was homeschooled for a time. The video we watched on how Halloween is the way the devil lures little kids into hell was amazing.

  • cj

    I hear you! Yesterday: "Science can't explain why a person cries when their pet dies." Actually science can explain that, it's called psychology. "Science can't explain why a sunset is so beautiful"; again, sunsets have been around long before God and pretty sure geology and helioseismology can explain the colors of a sunset. I don't have a problem if you want to believe that God is there and the overseer of all of this, or there is a grand plan, but don't turn around and tell me that I'm wrong for wanting to understand things further than "because God did it." And don't tell me that you are on the defense as you pass your collection plate full of more money than I saw in a week toward my way.

  • Ian MacDonald

    Science can't explain gravity.

  • BlackRabbit

    Tiny invisible gnomes holding everything down all the time.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    You're not supposed to talk about them or they'll stop.

  • BlackRabbit

    They can't read. We're safe.

  • foolsage

    Science can explain gravitational attraction quite well, actually. It's only when you delve far enough down into the theory that questions remain, but then that's true of all fundamental forces.

    Wisdom lies in knowing what you don't yet know. Most science-deniers have no idea what they don't know, and mistake their own ignorance for weakness in the body of science.

  • Ian MacDonald

    That was deep. I didn't get it, but I can feel your intellect seeping through the screen into my eyes.

  • foolsage

    Gravity is the attraction between two bodies, proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them. Science can explain what gravity is well enough, and predict how it will work. Then we can test those predictions and do crazy things like land on the moon. :)

    People who don't understand science are often confounded by things that science can in fact explain. They confuse "I don't understand this science" with "science doesn't understand this phenomenon". In general, the more science you know, the more aware you are of what science hasn't yet figured out; that's the wisdom of which I spoke above, or "knowing what you don't know". On the other hand, people who know very little about science, and oppose it in general, can confuse their rank ignorance with wisdom.

    It's hard to gauge whether, when you say, "Science can't explain gravity" you're referring to e.g. gravitons and the General Theory of Relativity vs Newton's model, or whether you really just don't know how very much science can indeed explain about gravity, and are making a wild generalization.

  • Ian MacDonald

    It's really more the latter. To be honest I don't know that much about gravity. I know that weight is the measurement of the force of gravity on an object and that acceleration due to gravity on Earth is roughly 9.8 meters per second per second if I remember correctly. I feel like I remember having heard that while we understand HOW gravity works, we have yet to understand WHY there is gravity. To be really honest my comment came more from a place of contention than anything else, my point being that there are things that science has yet to fully understand. I apologize for the fact that my comment was either ill-informed or, at the very least, poorly presented.

  • foolsage

    Hey, fair enough. I'm ok with making arguments for the sake of contention, and you're quite right that there's a lot that science doesn't fully understand, when you delve down far enough. E.g. in the case of gravitation we "explain" it using hypothetical particles called "gravitons", which means the explanation is on one level kinda suspect; however, we can still make predictions based on our current model, so it's quite useful even if on some level it's possibly inaccurate.

    We can't really explain why any of the fundamental forces work. We know that they work, and we know basically how they work, but there's a lot of underlying mystery still about the mechanics of subatomic particles.

    S'all good.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm going to start answering "helioseismologist" when people as me what I do for living. Which they never do.

  • cj

    It's one of my favorite words. Helioseismology.

  • amberdragonfly

    I would just like to say that I am a christian and I go to a large church (17000 members at last count), and last month we had an entire weekend devoted to science and faith. We had scientists come in (believers and non believers) and do round table discussions, answer questions, have discussions with the pastors. The point being that our pastors believe that one does not cancel out the other. My favorite quote of the weekend was from one of the scientists who said that his basic belief is this..."Science is the how. God is the why."

  • foolsage

    Religion/philosophy and science cover different topics. Science doesn't tell us how to be good people, and religion/philosophy don't tell us how to make cell phones.

  • amberdragonfly

    I both agree and disagree, which is very confusing for me. You are correct, religion isn't going to tell you how to make a cell phone, but the point was that you have religious nuts proclaiming that science tries to attack their religion and scientists claiming that science proves that the idea of God is ridiculous. I was simply trying to point out that they aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

  • foolsage

    I don't see where we disagree here. We both think that religion and science are not mutually exclusive, but that some other people disagree. It seems that we both think that those people who disagree are generally basing their arguments on ignorance or misunderstanding, as well. E.g. any "scientist" who claims that science can disprove the existence of God is not really a scientist, because that's not what science DOES. The existence of God is not a falsifiable hypothesis; it's not something science can test.

    In short, there's no meaningful overlap between the scientific model and the religious model, at least when speaking of mainstream religions today. Thus there remains room for scientists to hold all sorts of different religious beliefs (or none at all), while still being scientists.

  • amberdragonfly

    Well, that is much less confusing for my peeps-soaked brain. I'm sure I would have been much more eloquent on the subject if I had waited until tomorrow to post.

  • foolsage

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

    A time for peeps, and a time to post.

    Just kidding. I generally think those two are essentially synonymous with "now". :D

  • amberdragonfly

    "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

    A time for peeps, and a time to post."

    Now my mind is doing bad, bad things and adding even more lines, which I will never share 'cuz I'm allergic to being mocked, but I may still paint on my living room wall and just quit inviting people over.

  • manting

    if by peeps you mean sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, potassium sorbate, natural flavors, yellow #5, and carnauba wax then I am with you.

  • amberdragonfly

    I have had way more than my share of carnuba wax today. I feel disgusting!!!

  • foolsage

    Share! Come on, I was willing to go there. ;)

  • amberdragonfly

    Foolsage, my mind went straight to

    there is a time to peep and a time to poop

    but I'm pretty sure that was the peeps talking. I see it in a pretty, swirly script over my sofa, in maybe a nice puke green. Remember, you asked for it.

  • foolsage

    Fair enough; carnuba wax is best in small quantities. :P

  • That's always my reaction when the "War On Religion" get trotted out every December over on Fox. When over 70% of the country self-identifies as Christian, exactly HOW are you being persecuted?

  • foolsage

    Persecution is an important part of the popular Christian self-image. How many saints were gladly accepted by the people around them, after all? Being hated and outcast, but giving the good word nonetheless, is an ideal life (in the abstract anyhow). For that matter, many Christians anxiously await the End Times, and so they hope to live in a society that mirrors Revelations. The End Times anticipation has been going on for, oh, about 1600 years now, incidentally.

    Thus, many modern Christians invent persecution where (essentially) none exists, and imagine the Antichrist and the Sign of the Beast more or less everywhere. They loudly and continually complain that their beliefs are under attack, when generally that means Christians aren't able to force their beliefs on everyone else as thoroughly as they'd like. There's a War on Christmas? Really? Cause it seems to me that Christmas kicked the shit out of Thanksgiving already and is coming after Halloween. Within a decade, Christmas preparations will start on Labor Day. But, sure, there's a War on Christmas, because other religions still exist, and people mention them. Sigh.

    Note: I have nothing whatsoever against Christianity and am not attacking it in any sense whatsoever. Rather, I'm speaking out against the false sense of persecution common among conservative Christian fundamentalists today. Just thought I ought to clarify.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I'll never let it take Thanksgiving and my tradition of drinking beer out of a turkey.

  • Mrcreosote

    Maybe Sorbo was referring to Zeus?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Zeus makes everything much less complicated.

  • BlackRabbit

    "As private parts to the gods are we, they play with us for their sport."

  • manting

    Polyphemus (what I call my dong) loves this.

  • foolsage

    Damn it, I snarfed water on my keyboard there.

  • manting

    it makes sense if you think about it. He was a one eyed giant.

  • foolsage

    Thus the snarfing; it was a good allusion.

  • PerpetualIntern

    I love love love this.

  • Bert_McGurt

    "So Radisson proposes a challenge: Josh must stand in front of everybody at the end of class for the next three weeks and deliver lectures to convince everyone that God is not dead. If he fails—and Radisson assures him he will—he will fail that section of the course and lose 30% of his mark."

    That's a hell of a contingency for a professor to put on a syllabus. You know, that (pardon the pun) near-Biblical document you get at the beginning of every university class that spells out exactly what you can and will be graded on PRECISELY SO SH*T LIKE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN?

  • foolsage

    Yeah, there's nothing vaguely realistic about the premise at all.

    From the top:

    1) Philosophy classes don't hinge on the personal religious beliefs of the students. They hinge on learning the course material and being able to demonstrate that knowledge.

    2) You don't "win" a philosophy class. It's not a debate against the professor. That's also true for debate classes, for that matter. This whole approach is actually anti-intellectual, and presupposes that classrooms are really just places where everyone argues until the most convincing person "wins".

    3) Asking students to sign and agree that "God is dead" is ludicrous. If the prof really believed that, the signatures would be pointless, because the prof doesn't need the students' consent to teach what he's going to teach. I honestly cannot imagine this ever happening, regardless of the prof. I minored in Philosophy back in the day, and took a lot of classes, and this just isn't how anyone approaches, well, anything. If the point of the class is to "prove" that God is dead (I put that in scare quotes because this cannot be proven), then fine, carry on. You don't need everyone to agree up front. If God's death isn't central to the course, then getting everyone's agreement seems silly. Either you feel a need to debate this, or you don't; either it's a topic of interest to the course, or it isn't.

    4) "God is dead" isn't a common view, actually. Atheists don't believe that God ever existed. Deists think God made the world then scarpered off to do his own thing. Agnostics aren't sure and certainly wouldn't make empirical claims like that. Followers of Abrahamic religions believe that God is eternal and thus cannot die. So that really just leaves Nietzsche claiming that God is dead, and, hey, Nietzsche is dead.

    5) Philosophy classes are NOT about collectively finding answers that everyone agrees with. They're about learning a process of critical thinking, so you can test the truth of things you encounter throughout your life. Clearly, the people involved in this movie have no respect for, or knowledge of, this process.

  • manting

    technically Christians should agree with the premise that god is dead. Because he was. For three days. If you believe that kind of thing.

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