Today’s post of the month comes from Joel Anderson, who wrote a very thought-provoking review of God’s Not Dead 2 here.
Disclaimer: I’m not opposed to Christian films — on the contrary, I highly enjoyed Risen, Courageous, Facing the Giants, The Nativity, Amazing Grace and other movies. But (in light of the Starbucks red holiday cup controversy this winter), Anderson makes some excellent points on the meaning of “persecution” and some of the dangerous clichés promoted by Christian films.
To quote Anderson:
“Let’s see, a teacher might lose her job for mentioning Jesus in a public school. She has recourse through the court system where, if she can convince a jury of her peers that she was just making reference to the historical figure of Jesus, and not preaching, she could be vindicated, retain her job, and go on with her life. Mmmm…so she lives in a country where, even if some bad people try to get her fired over her faith, there’s a system in place to protect her rights.”
No, sorry, that’s not persecution. That’s living in the real world where sometimes bad things happen to you. That’s living in the United States where, when bad things happen to you, you have a shot at rectifying the situation. Persecution is beheadings, rapings, fleeing for your life, and the Gulag. So please, Christians in America, even when bad things happen to you…don’t call it persecution. That’s an insult to your brothers and sisters in Christ who have witnessed family members slaughtered.”
Are people in America “persecuted” for their faith? Has it happened – does it still happen? In a country as large as the U.S., sure – I’m not saying no one in the U.S. has ever been persecuted.
But being the most Christian country in the world with freedom of religion written into our bill of rights…I wonder how my missionary friends in Iraq would view this movie.
Also, Anderson argues:
“The problem I found with the movie, and sadly with many Evangelicals understanding of the faith, is that it reduces the Christian faith to this mentality of “If I can just convince a non-believer of certain facts, then he’ll repent and become a Christian.” Let me ask you, how many people do you know who have been “logically reasoned into the faith”?”
A well-written perspective – you can read the full article here on Resurrecting Orthodoxy: Movie Review: God’s Not Dead 2