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Sep 08 2013

A Hilarious New Christian Movie

You have to see the trailer for what promises to be a hilarious Christian movie called God’s Not Dead. It “stars” Kevin Sorbo, who appears to have managed to stave off having to go on “Celebrity” Apprentice for another seasons by getting an acting job (though from the trailer, his acting is at about the level of a high school play.

The story is predictably ridiculous. An earnest Christian college freshman takes a class from an atheist philosophy professor who hates Christians, the professor mocks him and tries to make him look stupid but the righteous young man bests him with his powerful arguments and proves that God exists. The script is based on about 5,000 different viral emails you’ve been forwarded by your fundamentalist uncle, who finds them incredibly profound.

The professor isn’t just a caricature, he’s a complete fantasy. On the first day of class, as you’ll see in the trailer below, he begins by declaring that he isn’t interested in hearing arguments at all, it’s just a fact that God does not exist and the students are expected to simply repeat “God is dead” to pass the class. Because that’s exactly how a philosophy professor would do it, at least in the fevered imagination of Jack Chick. The characters are drawn so broadly and the plot so full of holes that the Disney Channel would find them laughably bad. It’s as if the script were written by the people who wrote Saved by the Bell after they’ve sustained concussions.

But the faithful will eat it up. They love this kind of thing. And when the professor is either humiliated at the end or falls on his knees and cries out to God (or both, in succession), they’ll cheer at the top of their lungs and scream “AMEN” at the screen. Well, at their TV screen. Because this baby is going straight to video.

57 comments

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  1. 1
    Larry

    e’s not dead, e’s merely restin’.

  2. 2
    Daniel Fincke

    The title reminds me of this hilarious song that I found hilarious (not sure if I should embed or link so I’ll just try both and see what the system or Ed prefers). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_OTz-lpDjw

  3. 3
    Daniel Fincke

    oh, now that I actually see the trailer, I see that this title is not a coincidence with the song…

  4. 4
    Jeremy Shaffer

    The characters are drawn so broadly and the plot so full of holes that the Disney Channel would find them laughably bad.

    That’s because the Disney Channel has standards, not high ones but standards none the less, which is why this one is going straight to the Hallmark Channel. They’ll eat this up like there’s no tomorrow!

  5. 5
    poose

    Larry:
    “e’s not dead, e’s merely restin’.”

    It’s an ex movie. It’s gone on to meet it’s maker. It’s joined the choir invisible!

    My, that trailer was painful to watch.

  6. 6
    Alex

    Seems like the PROFESSOR is the only person in the world who had missed out on the inspirational chain emails. Those deep arguments seem to hit all the harder for it.

    That movie sounds like a new cult classic for atheist club meetings.

  7. 7
    democommie

    Ed:

    I have a theory about what drives one-time sinful, hedonistic GODhaterz from Hollywood into the KKKristian muvee biz. It’s my theory that there is an effect at work here; it’s name, “The Nashville Corollary”.

    Just as many musicians who simply can’t cut it in the Deathmetal or Gangstarap niches within the recording business turn to Nashville to gain fame and lucre by turning out execrable ditties that are “country*” ; I believe that “actors” like Sorbo or Steve “The dumbest” Baldwin turn to KKKristian cinema because they can only fool those who WANT to be fooled.

    @1:

    E’s pinin’ for the Fijords!

    * Perhaps they are “country” in the sense that “dirt” is a part of A “country”.

  8. 8
    Zeno

    Kevin Sorbo? Meh. Dean Cain? Oh, no!

  9. 9
    Modusoperandi

    YOU JUST HATE THIS TERRIBLE MOVIE BECAUSE YOU ATHIESTS ARE BITTER PEOPLE!

  10. 10
    carlie

    What adds another layer of amusement is that the title song is a riff on a children’s Sunday School song (think in the vein of “Jesus loves me”). The Newsboys took it and jazzed it all up and made it all “edgy” and “cool”, the way the young people want these days. *eyeroll*

  11. 11
    raven

    That movie sounds like a new cult classic for atheist club meetings.

    Reefer Madness for the 21st century.

    Even for an Orwell class propaganda film it sounds weak.

    Where are the FEMA concentration camps and vaccine induced population reduction programs? Not enough demons. Got to have demons or it isn’t fundie.

  12. 12
    illdoittomorrow

    Alex @6,

    I’m not going to watch it, but if it’s that cringe-worthy, maybe it needs a drinking game. Just sayin’…

  13. 13
    Alex

    “maybe it needs a drinking game.”

    EXACTLY, finally someone who sees the big picture.

  14. 14
    Nice Ogress

    No! Not Kevin Sorbo! Aw, Herc, what happened to you?

  15. 15
    sigurd jorsalfar

    You are tearing me apart, Lisa!!!

  16. 16
    Michael Heath

    This is our generation’s Reefer Madness.

  17. 17
    Reginald Selkirk

    maybe it needs a drinking game

    Sacramental wine FTW!

  18. 18
    Reginald Selkirk

    Wow this looks like a real winner. Especially near the end of the trailer, when the student has him cornered with the deadly Why do you hate God? argument. I expect that’s the big finale after the Liar, Lunatic or Lord? conundrum, then Pascal’s wager.

  19. 19
    Alverant

    It appeals to the persecution complex of christianity and their fantasy that people know the truth but choose to deny it. If the reverse was done, you can bet there would be protests.

  20. 20
    Donovan

    “I’m not dead. I feel happy.” -God

  21. 21
    savagemutt

    There’s no way us atheists can possibly stand up to both Hercules and Superman.

  22. 22
    dharleyman

    Well, personally, I agree with the title of the movie. After all my son is not dead, because I never had a son. To be considered dead you have to have at least existed at some point.

    (sheepishly copied from the wrong post to the correct one)

  23. 23
    dingojack

    Reginald Selkirk – wait now, these arguments had those god-hatin’ atheists convulsing in the aisles last time, admittedly it was convulsions of uncontrolled laughterbut this time for sure (nothing up my sleeve)!
    Dingo

  24. 24
    Rip Steakface

    On the first day of class, as you’ll see in the trailer below, he begins by declaring that he isn’t interested in hearing arguments at all, it’s just a fact that God does not exist and the students are expected to simply repeat “God is dead” to pass the class. Because that’s exactly how a philosophy professor would do it, at least in the fevered imagination of Jack Chick.

    Grr. I remember my philosophy class in college – it was loads of fun, even though I was only taking it for a humanities credit. If there’s anything I learned from that class, it’s that philosophers don’t care about the answer, only that there’s an ongoing discussion. In particular, my professor never revealed any stance that he held, except that he seemed to have a liking for some Zen Buddhist philosophy (though he didn’t strike me as a proper Buddhist).

    But the idea that a philosophy professor, whose sole purpose in teaching their class is to make people ask questions that have no answers, forces an answer upon their students in order to pass the class, is preposterous and insulting to professors everywhere.

  25. 25
    bahrfeldt

    In his house in R’lyeh, dead (okay comatose) Sorbo waits, dreaming.

  26. 26
    Reginald Selkirk

    The sequel: After the philosophy prof has committed suicide and the Christian student has been appointed to replace him, the newly appointed professor ventures across campus, followed by a multitude of true-believing freshmen, to take on the biology professor in a cage match. He easily disproves evolution with the classic Why are there still monkeys argument, and there is much rejoicing.

  27. 27
    Chris from Europe

    @Zeno
    Dean Cain apparently supported Rick Perry …

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    Kevin Sorbo?

    Poor guy peaked playing “Hercules” FFS.

  29. 29
    Ichthyic

    bests him with his powerful arguments

    heh..

    haha..

    BWAHAHAHAAAHHAAAAAaaaaa…

    *gasp*

    It never ceases to amaze me that the religions of ALL stripes consider themselves to even have arguments, let alone “powerful” ones. It’s all a bunch of logical fallacies and projection.

  30. 30
    Ichthyic

    I’d love to see an honest interview with Sorbo and Dean where they explain why they took this gig.

    can’t imagine it will do much for their careers. What’s left of them, anyway.

  31. 31
    Chelydra

    Didn’t Sorbo and Xena team up with YHWH to kill off the Greek gods back in the ’90s?

  32. 32
    caseloweraz

    Did Ben Stein have a part in making this?

    Anyway, the Mitchell Trio did it better — with banjos! “God is dead”

  33. 33
    congenital cynic

    Right near the end the kid says “Science supports his existence…” WTF? Since when.

    And what is it with Christians always thinking that atheists are “mad at god”. That we secretly believe, but are pissed off at sky daddy. The only thing I’m angry about is having to listen to all of the never-ending prattle about religion that has swamped the media since the twin towers fell. So fucking tired of warring faiths. Angry, yes. At god. No. At people for believing stupid shit, yes.

  34. 34
    tbp1

    I’ve been associated with higher ed most of my adult life—student, grad student, GTA, faculty member and now department chair. I hold degrees from two major universities and have taught at three (one of which might reasonably be considered “major”). I’ve encountered various academic scandals, and certainly witnessed some bad behavior from my fellow professors, but I’ve never once heard of a professor doing anything even remotely like this. I can guarantee you it would be a career ender for anyone untenured. It might even constitute grounds for revoking tenure, at least at some institutions. I know not to expect absolute verisimilitude from movies, but except in outright fantasy I do expect at least a tenuous connection with reality.

  35. 35
    lofgren

    But the idea that a philosophy professor, whose sole purpose in teaching their class is to make people ask questions that have no answers, forces an answer upon their students in order to pass the class, is preposterous and insulting to professors everywhere.

    If you watch the trailer, it’s clear that Sorbo’s character is doing something else a philosophy professor ought to do: challenge students to defend their strongest convictions. He asks the students to write that god is dead because a student who is unwilling to challenge the claim (and argue the antithesis, as he assigns the Christian student) can’t then make asinine arguments stemming from faith later on in the class. If somebody refuses to write that God is dead, then he can offer the student the task of proving God’s existence. If no student refuses, then they can’t later rely on god’s existence in their philosophical arguments.

    He does later say that he’s going to enjoy failing the Christian student, but it’s not clear why the student might fail. That scene obviously happens much later in the movie and the trailer offers no context.

  36. 36
    lofgren

    It might even constitute grounds for revoking tenure, at least at some institutions.

    What the hell? How so?

  37. 37
    tbp1

    @ Lofgren: gross incompetence. Note I said “might” and “some institutions.” Not a sure thing by any means, but I could see it happening if it were really this egregious.

  38. 38
    lofgren

    @ Lofgren: gross incompetence. Note I said “might” and “some institutions.” Not a sure thing by any means, but I could see it happening if it were really this egregious.

    I saw nothing to indicate incompetence in the trailer. Only at the fundiest of fundiest schools should it be grounds for dismissal to ask a student to defend an assertion that God exists in a philosophy class.

  39. 39
    tbp1

    Oops, couldn’t bring myself to watch the trailer so was relying on descriptions. Shouldn’t oughta do that probably…

  40. 40
    lofgren

    I’d love to see an honest interview with Sorbo and Dean where they explain why they took this gig.

    I’m pretty sure both Dean and Sorbo are honest believers. Sorbo, despite being in excellent physical condition, suffered a heart attack in early middle age that partially paralyzed him. He mostly recovered, and rather than concluding that he lost the genetic lottery and being grateful to the EMTs, PTs, surgeons, and other health professionals who saved his life and facilitated his recovery, he decided that Jesus loves him.

    Which is especially weird in Sorbo’s case, since he made the money that allowed him to get the best medical care available by pretending to be the offspring of a pagan, pre-Christian god. You’d think he could spare some more gratitude for Zeus, a guy who contributed to his recovery a hell of a lot more than Jehovah.

  41. 41
    paul

    Sorbo has managed to stay more or less continuously employed in acting since the early nineties, and has a frightening number of movies either currently filming or coming out this year. So, he also is “not dead yet”:

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001757/?ref_=sr_1

    I may not agree with his religious views, but I have a certain amount of respect for actors who can keep playing the B-list parts year after year without succumbing to substance abuse or behaving like Charlie Sheen. Bonus points if they can retire gracefully and cope with not being a celebrity anymore.

  42. 42
    Daniel Fincke

    I saw nothing to indicate incompetence in the trailer. Only at the fundiest of fundiest schools should it be grounds for dismissal to ask a student to defend an assertion that God exists in a philosophy class.

    That was the least objectionable thing the professor does. The part where he tells the student he will relish failing him is beyond the pale.

  43. 43
    Alverant

    @41
    I’m reminded of an episode of the Slice of Sci-Fi podcast where they interviewed the guy who played Johnny Rico in Starship troopers. He talked about how a classmate of his son watched the movie a lot with his father (what kind of father lets his kid watch a violent R rated movie is a different story) and it took him a while to accept his son’s friend was the star of his favorite movie.

    The interesting thing about actors who play in SF movies, they tend to stay celebrities for a long time thanks to SF cons. If you played a red shirt on Star Trek TOS you can still probably get invited to a convention occasionally and have your photo in the program book and a panel. More than a panel if you stayed in the biz for something else.

  44. 44
    paul

    Poor guy peaked playing “Hercules” FFS.

    Apparently Andromeda had its fans also.

  45. 45
    raven

    It’s basically a hate film.

    Hate is the basis of fundie xianity.

    Hate the atheist, hate the universities, hate the educated, hate education.

    And it is all lies. They are big on lies too, one of the three sacraments.

    Oh well, way it goes. The uglier the fundie xians get, the more atheists there are. Not everyone wants to wallow in hate and lies.

  46. 46
    raven

    The equivalent film for atheists would be:

    A poor fundie death cult couple struggles to get by without any eduction or skills except being home schooled by their equally near illiterate parents.

    The wife dies giving birth to their ninth child. No doctor is in attendance because they are faith healers and doctors are evil.

    One child is beaten to death in the torture murder ritual known as “raising up a child”. Three kids die of what would be minor childhood conditions with modern medicine. Another one survives a harrowing exorcism by the church elders to drive out the dozens of demons in him. He is however, mentally scarred for life, and ends up in the park pushing a shopping cart around while drinking something from a bottle in a brown paper bag.

    While the father is awaiting trial on homicide charges for killing his kids by medical neglect, he lacerates his leg and dies of tetanus and septicemia.

    Oddly enough, all these things happen quite often in fundieville and I’ve seen some of them up close. The truth can be just as ugly as their lies.

    In the sequal, one of the surviving kids joins the cult leaders in their compound in Texas and they all die in a shootout with the feds. Another becomes a xian terrorist, bombing philosophy and biology buildings with his squad across the USA, and is killed when one of his IED’s blows up early. The surviving daughter meets an atheist, falls in love, graduates from medical school, and is accepted for astronaut training for the Mars mission.

  47. 47
    lofgren

    The part where he tells the student he will relish failing him is beyond the pale.

    That was what I thought tbp1 might have been referring to in his post @34. However, surely the professor would be given a chance to defend the grade that he gave the student? If the student honestly earned a failing grade, and the professor honestly enjoyed failing him, then surely merely telling the student that he enjoyed failing him isn’t grounds for dismissal. If the professor didn’t actually do anything wrong, is it really right to fire him for being honest about his feelings?

  48. 48
    lofgren

    (what kind of father lets his kid watch a violent R rated movie is a different story)

    How old was the kid? I would let a 10-year-old watch Starship Troopers, maybe younger if I thought he could handle it.

    My parents would have let me watch it too. They basically never told me I couldn’t watch something, no matter the age or rating. Sometimes they would insist that they watch it first, or that I watch it with them, or that we talk about it afterwards, but they never actually told me I couldn’t watch something. (They did tell me that I couldn’t tell my friends I was allowed to see some of the stuff I saw.)

  49. 49
    Ichthyic

    And what is it with Christians always thinking that atheists are “mad at god”.

    projection, pure and simple.

    It’s actually Christians that are angry with their god. He never actually does what they want him to.

  50. 50
    Ichthyic

    Apparently Andromeda had its fans also.

    indeed. does not invalidate what I said, and I actually WATCHED Andromeda.

  51. 51
    Col Bat Guano

    My parents would have let me watch it too. They basically never told me I couldn’t watch something, no matter the age or rating.

    We let our kids watch pretty much whatever they wanted (they once said we were cool parents because of that – is that a good thing? :-), but we’d talk about what they were watching. Pretty easy to say “it wasn’t very nice what happened to that guy”, or “It wouldn’t be fun being that person”, and that’s mostly what it takes to help your kids put things into perspective.

  52. 52
    democommie

    “If the professor didn’t actually do anything wrong, is it really right to fire him for being honest about his feelings?”

    So, it would be okay for an oncologist to tell a patient, “I’m going to be happy when all of your tests come back positive for a particularly nasty and invariably fatal form of cancer.”. ?

  53. 53
    eric

    @33:

    And what is it with Christians always thinking that atheists are “mad at god”.

    I think the internal (rarely stated) “logic” goes like this:

    1. Christianity must be the natural outcome of anyone who ‘does their best’ to understand. If that were not true, then some innocent people trying to do their best would end up in hell, and that’s unfair.

    2. So no matter what empirical evidence there is to the contrary, anyone who tries to understand life, the universe, etc., will conclude the Christian God is alive and Christianity is the right religion.

    3. Anyone who claims to have done otherwise (tried, and remained nonchristian) is lying. They are either lying about trying (and that’s why you get Christians constantly telling atheists to go to church/read the bible when the vast, vast majority of atheists have already done both, at least once), or they are lying about not believing. Any answer other than “lying” would imply God set up a gnostic-type system where honest seekers of truth end up in hell.

  54. 54
    Pieter B, FCD

    It’s an ex movie. It’s gone on to meet it’s maker. It’s joined the choir invisible!

    Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the…

    Never mind.

  55. 55
    brundlefly

    STRAW MAN: THE MOVIE

  56. 56
    freehand

    eric: I think the internal (rarely stated) “logic” goes like this:[...]

    I don’t think it’s quite that complicated. They are incapable of introspection, and because they cannot see themselves as others see them, they can only see others as identical to themselves. They don’t do “what if” questions very well.

    The inner dialog is something like “Why would I do that? I’d have to be mad at God!”

    They absolutely, do not ever, want to hear that some folks do not believe in God. You can tell them this, and they don’t hear you.

    “I don’t believe any gods exist.”
    “Yes. but what about the One True God?”
    “I don’t think any gods exist, including that one.”
    “I don’t understand.”

  57. 57
    Kelseigh

    Paul @41:

    I may not agree with his religious views, but I have a certain amount of respect for actors who can keep playing the B-list parts year after year without succumbing to substance abuse or behaving like Charlie Sheen. Bonus points if they can retire gracefully and cope with not being a celebrity anymore.

    Donald Sutherland was famous for that, he was one of the few actors of his day who never spent any significant time between projects. Which meant he was in a lot of absolute crap, especially in the 60′s and 70′s, but when the opportunity for a good part presented itself he was able to grab it and eventually build enough gravitas to get the plum roles.

    It’s a pity that Sorbo has gone the opposite direction, basically falling into a cycle of C-grade movies that don’t even rate synopses on IMDB (and the ones that do look bloody awful).

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