More conflict from resolution

More conflict from resolution

Image courtesy of God’s Not Dead the movie. 

“God’s Not Dead” is a blatantly offensive and obvious propaganda film meant to brutally attack non-Christians.

The premise of the movie involves a brave Christian student standing up against a bitter angry atheist in an epic showdown to once-and-for-all prove God’s existence. At least that’s what the trailers would have you believe.

It’s actually an amalgamation of all the most negative stereotypes of any world-view that isn’t Christian.

The atheist characters in this film are portrayed as arrogant, condescending and generally mean-spirited, while all the Christian characters are portrayed as almost saint like.

This excessive use of stereotypes inevitably results in confirmation bias, which is basically a fancy way of saying people see what they want to.

If people were inspired by this movie to attempt religious discussions of their own — which was theoretically the intention of this movie — they will approach the argument thinking the atheist they are talking to is condescending and arrogant. Also, they’ll now view everything that person does as being condescending and arrogant even if that wasn’t the intention.

Some atheists tend to be like that — however, there are also Christians like that. It’s unfair to classify all atheists based on a select few, just as it would be unfair to classify all Christians on the basis of the few who are one way.

The movie also depicts a Muslim father who is abusive toward his daughter. She is considering converting to Christianity, and when she does convert, he ultimately disowns her.

Once again, there may be Muslim parents who have disowned their children when they found out they didn’t share their beliefs. However, countless stories have been told of Christian parents disowning their child for being gay or atheist — or Muslim for that matter.

The point is, focusing only on the most negative examples cut both sides down. If you choose to focus on only the most negative outliers when choosing to represent the other side in your movie, that might make people think negatively of you.

It’s foolish to determine that all Christians are intolerant bigots. Those are negative stereotypes brought on by a few real life examples. In the same way, so is the view that all atheists are bitter, immoral jerks that exist solely to antagonize Christians.

Another stereotype this movie perpetuates is that all atheists believe in a god, they just choose to deny him because of personal trauma in their life.

This common view is best represented by evangelical theologian Douglas Wilson who once said, “There are two tenants to atheism. One, there is no god, and, two, I hate him.”

As much as I hate to disagree with such a brilliant mind as Douglas Wilson, he is simply wrong. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism holds no tenants, no doctrine and no common beliefs. It’s nothing more than lack of belief in any single claim about the existence of a god.

The only way to share any commonly held beliefs, beside the lack of belief in a god, is through sharing other philosophical viewpoints in addition to atheism such as skepticism or secular humanism.

If you want to know why atheists believe what they do or even what they believe, a better way to find out is by asking them, rather than listening to speculation by people who practice other religions.

The ironic part of the movie is that it complains about atheists who are unnecessarily antagonistic, yet it’s antagonistic itself through its perpetuation of inaccurate stereotypes.

It’s also ironic that the movie tries to paint every Christian as angelic, yet ends up actually painting them as narrow-minded, willfully ignorant bigots.

The intention behind the movie was supposedly to spark debate and communication between the religious and nonreligious, but because of the offensive and faulty stereotypes, the only thing it will end up sparking is more conflict.

Mike Rauser is a columnist for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].