Because of the fact that we are on the road all the time, we seldom get to see movies. We did, however, make time to see this one. Very glad we did. Note that the following review does contain some spoilers.
Kevin Sorbo has always been a favorite actor, but he has always played a good guy in the roles I have seen before. He does bad very well. I think Professor Radisson personified the attitude of the secularists whose writings I see and hear and read every day in the course of my ongoing research for our book Antidisestablishmentarianism and our Conflict of the Ages homeschool series. He had his admiring friends, his enviable position, his upscale life, his beautiful girlfriend. It seemed to me that his life must be perfect.
But there’s a topic these people can’t leave alone. Why has Richard Dawkins (a real person, and still living, as the movie humorously noted) written so many books attacking belief in God? If God doesn’t exist, if Christianity is marginal and stupid and a waste of time, why keep wasting time going after it? Radisson essentially seduced his girlfriend away from her Christian roots (while she was still a student and he her teacher, apparently) and did not want her to talk about the subject. Yet he brought it up himself by saying, (my paraphrase) “The silence is getting too loud.” He made his classes sign papers saying “God Is Dead.” He regaled his colleagues with snide remarks about the Christian student’s presentation when he demanded that the young man do this assignment. Why do secularists keep worrying the bone of contention that is Christian belief if it’s so laughable?
Professor Radisson says that many staunch atheists were once Christians. This is also true-to-life. Why do people not only “give up on God” but also go on the attack against God, which is correctly pointed out by Radisson as the real root meaning of the word atheist? One of the reasons is that God is “not fair”, meaning things don’t go the way a person desires or even expects. “Sometimes the answer is no” when you pray with all your heart about something. People cannot accept the verse, quoted more than once in the movie (Isaiah, 55:8), “My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts.” Sin will always be here, until God wipes it away, and its consequences will spill over and ruin lives.
The young Chinese student (from the People’s Republic of China, based on a true-life man who came to America to study medicine) reports to his father that they are “talking about God” in his class. His father warns him that someone might be listening, and he might ruin his brother’s chance to study abroad. In other countries, just talking about God is a punishable offense. This is not a myth or an exaggeration. Governments opposed to true belief attack family members, the ability to hold a job, and do everything to extort obedience to atheism. Our government is becoming one of those, and in many ways is already. The entire education system is set up to indoctrinate in preparation for having obedient secularist subjects. Stepping outside the movie, here is a list of quotes from real psychologists and educators explaining their position. http://www.psychquotes.com/ Please take the time to read this and look up these people if you do not know them or the influence they have had or now have in education.
The Muslim father tries to carefully guard his daughter against “unbelievers” as an interesting divergent viewpoint. He is not an atheist. He is trying to show his daughter love and protect her. His belief is sincere, that his god is the only true one and anything else besides Islam opposes his god. If only Christians would look at their God that way and try as hard to protect the sanctity of His Word and their children’s faith. We are taught to be tolerant, but we have lost the true meaning of “love the sinner, hate the sin” when we accept everything in a very misguided and unscriptural form of “love”.
The character of Josh’s girlfriend interested me. She represented a very real segment of Christianity that is very compromised by secularist thinking. I think such people honestly believe signing a paper saying you don’t believe in God means nothing. They believe it is a necessary compromise in the present that will not affect future service. They are waiting to be fully prepared before beginning to serve God, and they believe that they must not allow anything to interfere with that preparation. The world tells us to have our lives mapped out, to plan every detail and not let anything interfere or we will not realize our dream. Along the way, we are prodded into abandoning the foolishness of family and faith and challenged to network with peers. It is not unrealistic that this girl would declare an ultimatum and break off the relationship. Secular thinking puts self on the throne. It teaches people to always be in control, to achieve personal satisfaction, success, praise from colleagues.
The businessman played by Dean Cain is the counterpart of this girl. Anything that disturbs his routine or interferes with his self-centeredness must be discarded. His girlfriend (the journalist Amy) wasn’t carrying out her part in their relationship. She spoiled his triumphant announcement that he had been made partner by saying she was dying of cancer. There was no difference in those moments between those two couples. Josh’s girlfriend walked away because he was doing something that did not advance her goals. The businessman walked away because Amy was not only spoiling his moment, she was going to become a burden and drag his life down. Do not tell me that Josh’s girlfriend was not every bit as selfish and secularist as the businessman. His visit to his mother and her utterance were so significant. He considered the time he spent with her imprisonment since it was of no benefit to him. She said he did not understand the real prison, the comfortable, appealing one where the door now stood open, when he saw no reason to leave. He rejected the idea of being imprisoned.
Josh’s girlfriend rejected the reality of Matthew 10:33 and denied God before men just as surely as everyone who signed the paper in the class. John 12:42-43 is a key passage for people who think they are all right with God, like this young woman no doubt thought. Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. The world system is our synagogue. The church long ago stopped throwing people out because they didn’t have the right beliefs. “All are welcome” doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, or avoid whatever you don’t want when it comes to following Christ.
The pastor whose car won’t start, and who can’t even get a rental to take his missionary friend on a Disneyland vacation, provided some comic relief but also an important lesson. Sometimes it’s not time to go yet. Because their trip was delayed over and over, he had real ministry opportunities, including a climactic chance to tell someone (my paraphrase), “In a few minutes you’ll be getting to know Jesus Christ better than any of us can.”
I asked our daughter a question that has come up often in the recent reviews of movies dealing with God and biblical subjects. “Will unbelievers go to see this movie?” Many sincere believers say such movies to not attract an unsaved audience and will only be “preaching to the choir.” She answered very wisely. “Some people will go to it who only think they are saved.”