The new film God’s Not Dead 2 addresses some fascinating issues of relevance to the defence of Christianity against militant atheism, scripting faith on trial in a courtroom. The movie includes cameos by two real-life former atheists, a journalist and a homicide detective, whose professional skills were applied to discrediting Christianity but instead led them to faith (see the Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace). They importantly offer some specific arguments for the existence of Jesus, while the characterisation and plot underline the importance of a faith that is personal. The film also shows us, though, that three important freedoms are genuinely threatened by the increasing hostility we see against faith.
1. Real-world censorship threatens freedom of speech. The film thankfully drives confidence in a faith that is reasoned, yet personal. While fear of the future is not a hallmark of authentic Christianity, the film’s credits contain dozens of foundational cases demonstrating that free speech is only permitted when it is considered the right speech!
2. Misapplying the separation of Church and State threatens freedom of religion. This separation was originally about preventing churches from experiencing undue interference by governments, not the other way around. Politicians, indeed all people, will inevitably be impacted by personal convictions of various kinds and will necessarily and inevitably act in accordance with them. This true for those who stifle or oppose biblical Christianity, but should likewise be true (and natural) for believers whose faith undergirds positive intentional contributions to society.
3. Silencing prayer threatens freedom of conscience. This is not evidenced merely by being scripted for the silver screen. Prayer is increasingly legislated against when Christian foundations are devalued. Whatever statistics might purport to say about decline in organised religion, though, more Australians attend church in a month than all codes of football combined, because they believe that God is not dead and that prayer is still powerful. To deny its place is to deny a voice to those who believe its practice still results in miracles.
Many reviewers of faith-based films such as this one are prejudicially scathing and make little room in their criticisms for the artistic licence afforded to other productions or for the vocalisation of views that warrant personal accountability. In resorting to ridicule and rebuke, their actual bias against perceived bias shows that the loudest dog in the fight will often have a bark worse than his bite. If the producer is the underdog in this fight for the hearts and minds of the masses, then he is (for patrons appreciating God’s Not Dead 2) one dog who has his day!