Three Freedoms Under Threat

maxresdefaultThe 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!

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5 thoughts on “Three Freedoms Under Threat

  1. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the post. Have you seen the lively debate debate Dale’s been having on Facebook? That guy is great! I don’t (yet) consider myself anywhere near his level in that arena, but I have been making some more low-key contacts. I befriended this chap in Africa last year and we’ve been having a protracted dialogue. I believe he and his wife are pastors in Uganda. He seems to be a Pastor dealing with orphanned children in Uganda – he posted some photos of them and their dilapidated school building, but anyone could’ve done that.

    I told him about our church and our missionary outreaches and he asked if we have any in Africa. I mentioned that Frank Webber has done some outreaches in Sth Africa, but I don’t think Uganda is anywhere near there. I’ve heard about scams and so on – especially from Africa, but this guy seems genuine. Have you heard of Ps Augustine Mbatire or the True Light Christian Centre in Uganda- Bugiri Kampala?

    Thanks

    John

    • Thanks John. Jonathan Osborne is based in Uganda where the CRC movement has just established a national executive, so our church works through them.

  2. Hi Rob. What do you think of the book on Corinthians? I have been looking at the middle verbs in 2 Corinthians, but haven’t seen this book. Hope all is going well for you. Sue

    • Hi Sue, Still reading it, but the book is a concise collection of commentary and issues related to both letters. It seems to blend text and context quite helpfully, but is not as exegetically focused as, say, Fee and Barnett’s NICNT works.

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