“God’s Not Dead”: Hercules is taken down by an apologist (spoilers!)

Around last August I came across the teaser trailer for “God’s Not Dead”, the Christian movie produced by Prue Flix staring Kevin Sorbo in which he plays an atheist philosophy professor who is challenged by a young Christian student when he is asked to write “God is dead” on a sheet of paper. Between first discovering the trailer and going to see it in the theatre, I was very excited to go see this train wreck of a movie. There’s so much wrong with this movie it’s hard to figure out where to start.

First off, I grew up in the 90’s and I was very sad to see that Hercules had become an evangelical Christian on a mission to bash atheists. I really wish I could shake Kevin Sorbo and say, “You were the lead character in a show based on a mythical character, do you not see the parallels between that and your religion? Do you know there are some similarities between the character of Hercules and the character of Jesus? A guy who’s dad was god! Come on!”

Also as a 90’s kid, I was sad to see that Superman had gone the same direction that Hercules did. I could say something pretty similar to Dean Cain as what I wish I could say to Kevin Sorbo, you can just imagine for yourself what would be said.

There were three atheist stereotypes portrayed in the movie, as I mentioned before there’s an atheist philosophy professor, a successful business man, and a liberal blogger/internet reporter. Kevin Sorbo’s character was very arrogant and we barely saw him actually teach the class anything besides name a famous atheist like Dawkins and say they were right because they were. I kept wondering if the people that worked on this script or anyone involved in the movie had ever taken a philosophy class at a secular college because it was pretty obvious they hadn’t.  I took several philosophy classes at the state school I attended and the professors never shut down opposing views and forced their own views on the students, they always welcomed debate and could make actual arguments didn’t rely on arguments from authority. This was a clear case of demonizing the academic realm. Scare the Christians away from the secular colleges where their kids might actually be exposed to the world and think for themselves and instead send them to a school like Liberty University where they will be conditioned to be good Christian soldiers. The successful business man was played by Dean Cain and was the boyfriend of the liberal blogger and brother of the professor’s girlfriend. He also was very arrogant, or to be more blunt, an asshole. He was well dressed, only cared about money and would only do things if there was something in it for him. He also has a mother with dementia and doesn’t care about her. Why doesn’t he care about her? He’s successful and why waste his time! His mother is also stupid because she’s Christian! The liberal blogger girlfriend was younger and was the stereotypical liberal activist girl. When she interviewed Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson and his wife and later in the movie the Christian rock band the Newsboys, she tries to attack them with half arguments and a lack of understanding of who she’s speaking to. I admit, there are probably a good amount of bias reporters out there, but her character was so over the top. We also find out she has cancer, Dean Cain leaves her because he’s an asshole (duh cause he’s an atheist!), and then she freaks out about the thought of dying. Hmmm will she convert because she’s scared of not going to heaven? Yes, of course. It’s Christian propaganda.

In addition to the atheist stereotypes, there were racial and cultural stereotypes. The main student that is at odds with the atheist professor befriends a Chinese boy in his class. He has a thick accent, wears a sweater vest and dockers, and becomes fascinated with learning about god because he’s from the east! He’s never heard of Christianity! It makes me so confused when people in western culture still think they need to send missionaries and bibles to Asian countries. Calm down Christians, they’ve heard about your religion. We also meet a young Arab woman who wears a scarf on her head when her father is around but as soon as he’s not around she takes it off. Hmmm possibly a clue that she doesn’t want to be Muslim? Yes. She gets caught listening to an audiobook version of the bible and her father beats her and kicks her out of the house. Yes you read that right, the Muslim father beats his daughter for talking about Jesus. Totally happens all the time. I was in shock at the blatant “look how bad Muslims are” message that was slapping me in the face, at one point I looked away because I was so ashamed to be witness to such bigotry. As we were walking out of the movie my husband was talking about that part and said “That was racist!” and a Hispanic man walking by us with his son chimed into the conversation and said “That kind of thing happens all the time! They do that!”. We tried to explain to him that yeah maybe it happens in the Islamic community on occasion but abuse like that happens in many different cultures and isn’t exclusive to that one, that kind of abuse even happens to atheists in Christian families. He brushed those comments off and was firm in his belief that the movie was pretty spot on.

Now to the main story of the movie. The epic battle between the Herculean philosophy professor vs the Christian hero. One thing in their “debate” that stood out to me right off the bat was that the student used bible verses to argue a point about god’s existence. If the professor was actually a good philosopher he would have said that you can’t use your holy book to prove that your god exists. When someone references the bible as evidence for god it is circular reasoning because they are just saying that god exists because the book says he exists and then if you were to ask why the bible is valid you are told because the bible says it is valid. In other words, you could use that same reasoning to “prove” the existence of many other gods with other holy books or you could say that Harry Potter exists because he’s in books and the books say he exists. He also compared the beginning of Genesis to the Big Bang, which I still don’t know how to react to because it was so ridiculous. Other arguments were mostly straw men arguments that could easily be taken down, like the argument for Design with a lack of understanding of what evolution actually is which we come across all the time when looking into debates between Christians and atheists. The arguments in the movie are so easy to take down and have been taken down so many times in other forms, so it’d be ridiculous to debunk all of the arguments said in the movie.

I don’t think I’ve laughed harder while seeing a movie that was mostly not intended to be funny, except maybe The Room. There were parts that were supposed to be funny, they were really cheesy family friendly type humor that the audience laughed at but I sat there in amazement of how people could find that type of thing funny. It makes me wonder if their heads would explode if they sat through a Monty Python movie. The parts I laughed at were some of the things I’ve already mentioned and I also laughed a great deal at the terrible acting that was worthy of a high school play or a soft core porn. There were moments I was sad for the people that ate up that sort of thing and would continue to follow the herd because this movie helped reaffirm their biased and ignorant beliefs. I wanted to talk to as many of them as I could and tell them how flawed the movie was, but I knew it would have been a futile effort. I just hope that there were people in that audience that took the things in the movie with a grain of salt and thought for themselves after they saw it. At least if they don’t look into the philosophical arguments, I hope some people at least realize atheists and other people of non-Christian cultures aren’t as bad as they were made out to be. I would also suggest that atheists see this movie to see how flawed their arguments are and to get an understanding of their clear misunderstanding of us.

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7 thoughts on ““God’s Not Dead”: Hercules is taken down by an apologist (spoilers!)

  1. I just want to point out some things one “josh” the Christian character he had to write God is dead not Gods not dead. Two it’s Hawkins not Dawkins. Three how can you go off and say you can’t use the bible. The bible is our only true source that there is a God. Science can’t prove that the universe came from a Big Bang theory. But us Christians we believe in God creating our universe. How dare you call someone stupid because of their religion. I’m not calling you stupid because you don’t believe. But I will call you lost. Your lost into believing something that is so good. One day when you do pass you will see the bright shining light and God will turn away from you and perish you into hell. It will be to late for you. But you can change that. You can change your faith and your way of life if you seek out God. By the way Muslims they believe in God they just don’t believe that Jesus has come just like Jews. In the Muslim culture it is wrong if you pray to Jesus and it’s considered disrepect and a dishonor to the family. That is why she got hit and kicked out. It wasn’t racist it was showing you how other cultures react. I am a Christian as you can see. Maybe you should read the bible and understand it from a Christian point of view and not an atheist. Don’t be so hateful. This movie was made to show people the troubles between believers and non-believers. Also if you stayed at the end of the movie you see many cases of what schools had arguments about God. And there not even small schools. God is a big role in a Christians life and it’s hurtful in our eyes when someone says they don’t believe. That is when we want them to believe. To show that your are loved by an almighty person. And we don’t always send bibles to the east. We send missionaires to let people understand the word of God. They have their own religions in the east like Buddhaism and Hinduism. I hope one day you will stop bashing on Christian and seeing them as horrible people. I hope one day you will believe. And if you don’t I’m sorry for you. Because I wish you would be in the kingdom of God. God bless you.

    • Thank you for pointing out the “god is dead” part! I meant to say that but guess I missed it when I looked back at what I said, just fixed it. And for your second point, I know that Hawking (not Hawkins) was mentioned in the movie but so was Dawkins. Maybe you haven’t heard of Richard Dawkins, surprising if you haven’t, but he has written some lovely books on evolution maybe you should look into 🙂 And for your claim about the bible, people from different religions say the same kind of claims about their holy books so their holy books are just as valid as yours. And I have read the bible. And I’m not being hateful, I’m being realistic, this movie is propaganda. And I did sit through the whole movie and I saw those cases listed, so what? People have debates about god and religion all over the world… Like right here on the internet. And I would believe if I was shown proper evidence

    • Heh heh… “Hawkins,” that’s awesome.

      If you’re going to leave a long comment on an atheist’s page trying to express why the atheist is wrong and “lost” as you put it, try actually knowing the things you decide to rail against. I know The author already commented here, but “Hawkins” is not a name that was mentioned in the movie, nor is it a name I really recognize. You’re thinking “Hawking.” …. Hawking… like ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking ) this chap right here. The individual “Richard Dawkins” is perhaps one of the world’s most famous atheists at the moment so as someone who clearly goes out of their way to wave their holy book in atheist faces and shout ‘YOU’RE WRONG!!’ I’d have assumed you would have put in the time and effort into actually knowing who the important ones are.

      My god… “Hawkins.” Really. Just Google a name before you hit “post” if you’re not sure. I did, and I got an industrial water cleaning chemical company and a municipal contracts LLP. A typo here or there is one thing but come on, you’re not helping your cause here.

      Getting off the topic of your glaring monumental lack of knowledge, I’ll move onto the one line in your little tirade that really irked me…

      “Maybe you should read the bible and understand it from a Christian point of view and not an atheist.”

      Aside from the appalling grammar at work in that little sentence, this whole “read it like a christian” thing is such a blind mindless statement that I honestly stumble as I try to find the words to condemn it. If you’re going to read something in an attempt to understand it, the MOST important thing to do is to make sure you are absorbing the information from a neutral point of view. This is why Fox news is such a joke, everything comes from an obvious and often shockingly ignorant point of view. To suggest that one reads a holy book while thinking “I’m a christian, I’m a christian, I’m a christian” or whatever is just plain dumb. My sister did that, and now shes a far right fundie christian and it is extremely depressing. Try reading the bible with no preconceptions of divine insight. Try to just take the words in and really process what it all says. It’s horrifying… The bible is the single most gruesome, racist, intolerant and poorly compiled works of literature I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Between the mass genocides, baby killing, spiteful slaughtering of innocents and shocking accounts of chauvinism, I can’t even begin to grasp how anyone, let alone millions of people, could cling to it as a moral compass and holy book. Honestly, go up to someone and tell them that you have divine inspiration telling you that New York City should rightfully belong to your family and that you think they should start murdering every last man woman and child until you own the place and see what the reaction is. Then remember that Joshua was one of christianity’s shining examples of perfect christian faith and goodness. It’s truly astounding that people tell this story to kids and say it’s a good one. A story of a good man fighting against bad people.

      Ok ok, I’m done, but please, don’t keep your blinders on, they’re making you look kind of dumb.

      • Haha very good points… I also don’t get the “you have to read the bible with a christian mindset” sentiment, does that mean if I look at the Quran I have to think I’m a muslim the whole time?

      • Thanks for calling me dumb. I believe you are the blindsided and when you die and go to hell your gonna think back and say yup she was right. Atheist just don’t wanna believe because your scared. So have good one live life to the fullest and happiest as you can. I can never change your mind but I can give my opinion. But also calling someone dumb because of their religion that’s mean. I didn’t call you dumb. But have a nice life

      • What about what the other religions say about what happens after you die? what if you’re wrong? and you weren’t called dumb, you were laughed at for being confident in pointing out how I should have said “Hawkins” instead of “Dawkins” and how you seemed to think I reviewed a movie that I didn’t sit through or pay attention to completely… I actually took a few pages of notes while I watched the theatre. I don’t believe in God, Hell, Heaven, etc because I don’t have any evidence to, I’m in not scared in the slightest

      • I didn’t call you dumb. I pointed out the flaws in your comment and had a bit of a laugh at the expense of your failure to actually look into anything you said, but I never called you dumb. I said the way you’re posting is making you sound dumb and posed a warnig to that effect. You really seem to cling to this idea that all atheists are calling you dumb! Where is this coming from? A bit of projection perhaps? No, that couldn’t be it.

        Either way, it’s not about being smart, it’s about using reason and thinking for yourself. There are really smart people out there who still just go in for whatever the most popular belief is in their culture and I’m sure you are indeed plenty intelligent. My problem here is that you continue to throw the “When you’re roasting in hell” line into your statements and I have to ask… can’t you see why that comes off as somewhat brash? I mean, here is someone I’ve never met clearly wishing the most barbaric and mind blowing forms of torture ever conceived upon me simply because I hold to a different set of ideas than you do. I may think you’re missing the point here and there but I would never wish eternal torture on you! That’s just horrific. BUT.. if you really HAVE read the bible, and you still cling to it as your source of moral dictate… then yeah, you may just be the kind of horrible person who thinks that mindset is perfectly ok.

        I challenge you to find anyone I spend any amount of time with who would say I’m a bad person. I’m no saint, and I have my fair share of baddish thoughts, but I can’t remember doing anything that would make me deserving of the kinds of punishment you get off on wishing at me and those like me. You assert that I and this blogger are bad people, but I return that sentiment in earnest… only not enough to wish evils upon you.

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