The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

"God's Not Dead" was a bad movie

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/1/2016 Category: Movies
Updated: 2 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 157 times Debate No: 95802
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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I will be arguing that the movie "God's Not Dead", released by Pure Flix studios in 2014, had a bad story, was poorly written, made nonsensical arguments, and gives a harmful message. Con must argue against all of these points.

Here's the debate structure:
Round 1 - acceptance
Round 2 - opening arguments
Round 3 - defense and rebuttal
Round 4 - defense, rebuttal, and conclusion

Good luck! :)


I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting, Con. Here is my opening argument.

Main Points:
1. The story is bad
2. The writing is poor
3. The arguments are nonsensical
4. The message is harmful

1. The story is bad

While God's Not Dead is something of an anthology movie, the focus is mostly centered around protagonist Josh Wheaton's quest to prove the existence of God to his Philosophy class, while his atheist professor argues against it. First and foremost, this story would never happen in anything resembling the real world. If a professor not only declared God unreal, but commanded his entire class to admit the same thing, he would be fired almost instantly. The folks who wrote this script seem to have forgotten that 77% of the American population has religious beliefs, [1] and the idea that only one student believes in God in a large college class is incredible. Moreover, if Professor Radisson is so violently opposed to religion, why would he give a random student twenty minutes of valuable class time every day to "prove" that God exists? It makes absolutely no logical sense, and is clearly just a contrived plot spun by evangelical filmmakers who want to force across their message.

While that main plot is the most ridiculous (especially the ending, which I'll get to later), one other story sticks out as quite artificial. One of the plots features a girl named Ayisha, a closet Christian who grew up in a Muslim family. When her brother rats her out, Ayisha's father not only beats her, but kicks her out of the house. While there are terrible parents of every faith and creed, that one seems a bit unbelievable. Considering true Muslims revere Jesus as a holy prophet of God [2], you'd think that the father would at least take a less drastic approach. Every story in this movie is unimpressive, but these two in particular are beyond absurd.

2. The writing is poor

This film was not only poorly researched, but demonstrated little understanding of storytelling in general. While anthology films have worked well in the past (e.g. Requiem for a Dream, Magnolia, Sin City), God's Not Dead relies a little too much on its novelty, cutting away before any one story or character can be explored in depth. Not to mention some of the stories are just boring and interrupt the narrative's flow - the one featuring those two knuckleheads trying to start their car engine comes to mind.

Nobody feels real in this film. Everyone is a strawman, a caricature, either a saint or a devil with nothing in between. All Christians in the movie think and act alike, and even more bizarrely, so do all atheists. Character development is severely lacking, and when it does happen, it's ham-handed. Josh, Reverend Dave, Ayisha, and Mina are all blandly devout with no personality beyond that. Professor Radisson is too much of a total jackass to feel believable, and his sudden conversion on the deathbed (or death-road) comes out of nowhere with little buildup. Only Amy (the woman who gets cancer) has a believable conversion, but still isn't too interesting to wath.

This movie's thinking is beyond black-and-white. As I mentioned before, only one person was willing to stand up for his beliefs, and after a series of arguments (rather crappy ones, as I'll demonstrate next point), absolutely 100% of everyone in the class declares "God's not dead". Even Christian critics point out how basic, childlike, and unrealistic this outcome is. [3]

3. The arguments are nonsensical

This is the main reason I despise God's Not Dead. Keep in mind that I am not attacking Christianity itself, but this movie's style of argument.

The bulk of what the film does is quote random atheists and show how their quotes are contradictory. For example, Hawking's statement about how gravity creates the universe out of nothing and Darwin's "Nature does not jump". First of all, it does not bother to find context for these quotes, a grievous error. Second, even if the quotes are flawed, that has nothing to do with the existence of God. Just because Stephen Hawking said something weird, that doesn't mean Christianity is right. Scientists acknowledge that Darwin got some things wrong about evolution; unlike the Christian Scriptures, atheists don't see him as infallible.

The makers of God's Not Dead were too cowardly to have a concrete stance on evolution or the Big Bang Theory. It argues that the Big Bang lines up with the Genesis quote "Let there be light". Well - are they creationist or not? They even have the gall to say that God's creation of the animals lines up with evolution, making no mention of the fact that in the Book of Genesis, God creates light, water, land, plants, the sun and moon, fish and birds, and land animals, in that order, in seven very literal days. [4] They present no concrete evidence, but instead attack those who criticize Christianity; not a good debate strategy.

There are many other awful points the writers attempt to make in the movie, no doubt coming from the book of the same name written by Rice Broocks. But, since I am limited by characters, I will hold off for now and present them as needed in later rounds. For now, my general statement is this: God's Not Dead puts forth no "evidence" for God as it claims to, but simply tries to pick apart random statements made by famous atheists, while at the same time ignoring scientific truths and making very ignorant generalizations about morality.

4. The message is harmful

I can sadly say, as a firsthand witness, that God's Not Dead was a resounding success among Christian audiences. Many of my faithful friends were brainwashed by this manipulative propaganda. If there's anything you can take away from this film, it's that all Christians are good, nice people and all non-Christians are the scum of the earth. Think about it - Professor Radisson is an awful man who insults and berates his loved one, Misrab slaps the tar out of his daughter and disowns her just because she's a Christian, and kicks Mark refuses to visit his dementia-ridden mother and breaks up with his girlfriend when he finds out she has cancer. And every character with even a shred of decency is either a devout Christian or eventually converts to become one. I cannot stress how horrible of a way this is of looking at the world. Atheists and Christians have equal capacity to be nice or mean; God's Not Dead is only spreading fear and mistrust aimed at anyone who isn't Christian, the last thing we need in our modern world.

The arguments are so general that they could also be used to prove Islam or Judaism, considering both of these religions also follow the Book of Genesis. In fact, Jesus and Christianity are never really discussed. Nothing is said of Catholics or Baptists or Methodists or Greek Orthodoxy or Mormons; apparently, being "Christian" is all that matters. These are important issues that are never even touched upon, which shocks me. This movie sets out to "disprove" atheism, but proposes nothing to fill that void except the oversimplified idea of "God exists". It was probably trying to appeal to all Christians, but I believe it was necessary to at least address that conversion is more complicated than it seems.

With that, I will allow Con to present his counter-argument.

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Phenenas 2 weeks ago
@squonk Thanks, appreciate it! :)

@distraff Same here, I had a good time watching it, if only because I got so furious. What makes me shudder is that so many people not only like it, but think it actually proves that God is real.
Posted by squonk 2 weeks ago
Good job in Round #2 Phenenas. Very well written
Posted by distraff 2 weeks ago
Just looked this movie up. A 4.9 in IMDB. Only 15% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but 77% of people liked it. As an atheist I found it entertaining although the story was ridiculous.
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