WARNING: This post might be offensive to some readers. If you can't take a joke or if you are super-sensitive about your religion, or religion in general, you might want to go ahead and leave an angry comment.
Well, the inevitable has happened. God's Not Dead, the 2014 Christian film that managed to make $60 million off a $2 million budget by painting all non-believers as uncaring jerks and all Christians as righteous freedom-fighters, is getting a sequel. If you missed the original movie the first time around, there's really not much I have to say to catch you up on the general gist of the series.
1. A Christian goes into a new environment.
2. That same Christian is surprised and even shocked by the censorship, or outright disrespect, directed towards the Christian faith and God himself.
3. An atheist, or a group of atheists, are presented as hating God and/or hating faith, and is/are eventually converted, usually in the face of immense pressure or personal turmoil.
4. The Christian hero of the movie saves God from the bad atheists and the screen fades to black with a roaring chorus of the movie's titular song playing in the background.
Simple enough, right? Now, just to get it out in the open, I am obviously a non-religious person. I have no problem with those that choose to be. Hell, what works for you, works for you. We can still be friends if you want to be and if you don't, that's cool too. I don't have any problem with Christians or Christian media, but I do have a problem with lazy writing and an attempt to make all atheists or non-Christians look bad or evil.
I watched the first movie and honestly thought it was a caricature of how devout Christians must see the current American educational landscape. I'm a college student. I've been in many philosophy classes, many, many religious studies classes, and various anthropology courses...in not one of them would the professor from the first film's behavior be acceptable. No, Christians cannot openly make people pray or make professions of faith, this is true. But in no way is it ok for an atheist professor to make a Christian student denounce their faith or write, "God is Dead." That professor would be on administrative leave, or fired, before the first set of midterms.
The film, awkwardly starring Kevin Sorbo (of Hercules fame?) also promotes an extremely stupid idea about atheists in another sense than just their general demeanor. The movie tries to prove that atheists don't believe because they hate God. While I'm sure there are some instances of that, I think every atheist would agree that in order to hate something, you have to believe that it exists...so how would any honest atheist hate God? The answer is they can't and they don't. Much like a believer doesn't hate Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, atheists don't hate God or Jesus, we simply don't believe in him. And perhaps most importantly, we don't hate you. We just have a disagreement with how we believe the world works. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now in this new film, artfully titled God's Not Dead 2, Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) plays a teacher who gets in trouble for answering a student's question about Jesus of Nazareth. This incident spirals out of control as nefarious school board members and the ACLU twirl their mustaches and plot the downfall of faith and Christianity MUHAHAHAHA.
Honestly, even I as an atheist would enjoy watching a well-made movie that displayed the hardships and struggles that religious people in America and around the world deal with every day. There are real stories of persecution and unfair treatment. People do get bullied into saying and believing things that they don't really want to. But if this sequel is anything like the original, it will be another ham-fisted attempt to make it seem as if the educated among us HATE God, when in all honesty, that's just not true. We don't hate God, we hate badly-written films about God.
Really, we hate badly-written films in general. But put Kevin Sorbo, Melissa Joan Hart, and Dean Cain in your movies and you're pretty much dooming yourself to a bad movie any way.