God’s Not Dead - Is Anyone Having That Argument?
There is a Christian movie out now titled “God’s Not Dead”. First of all, kudos to the the marketing team. I have 100% confidence that most of the success of the movie is due to the title.
Set that aside for a second. I have not seen the movie, and it probably won’t come within 2 hours of my small town. This is not a critique of the content of the movie because I don’t have access to it.
What I do take issue with is that it is causing people to engage in a useless conversation when we could be engaging them in something more edifying.
The title of the movie is a quote from Nietzsche where a mad man rushes into town and claims that people have killed god.
I doubt anybody is having the argument today. Not any large percentage, anyhow. In two decades of sharing my faith I have never once had that conversation. Not in college, not in the working world, nowhere. I have talked to people who believe in Native American spirituality, Americanized Buddhism, and even people who honestly believe we live in the Matrix.
But not ONCE have I met anyone who made Nietzsche’s argument.
The only people who would say that God is dead are tweed wearing academics with no social skills. This is not a widely used slogan to advertise atheism. Yet we are spending precious time talking about this topic as if it is an epidemic.
Which brings me to my point: modern Christianity is profoundly distracted. We are on the wrong track, barking up the wrong trees. The average Christian I meet doesn’t know a lick about their Bibles, but they can tell you that Harry Potter encourages witchcraft or that Obama is a Muslim. I have watched maybe a third of my godly friends walk away from their faith at the first sign of adversity because it totally did not fit their lovey-dovey view of God that they got by skipping to stories that they liked in the Bible.
Instead of chasing our tails or preparing for intellectual arguments that nobody is having, we need to crack our Bibles open and read the whole thing cover to cover. When I first did that in college I was shocked at how different the God of the Bible was from the god I had been taught about.
I sat awake many a night trying to reconcile it in my brain. Who was this god who caused (not allowed) so many lousy things to happen to His people? We try to pretend that He was just “like that in the Old Testament”, as if He suddenly got fuzzier two thousand years ago. But then I read all of the tough stuff that happens in the New Testament too:
The disciples turning from Jesus
Jesus telling off the Pharisees
Jesus telling people to leave father and mother and follow Him
Paul in jail, getting beaten, shipwrecked
The entire book of a Revelation
Not to mention the greatest act of God’s wrath in the Bible: Jesus’ crucifixion.
All in the New Testament. All of it.
We are losing people in our churches because they (like me fifteen years ago) are not prepared for the God of the Bible.
The reason we aren’t sharing our faith more is that we have ceased to see why anyone would want it in the first place. Our God is a loving god. Does it really matter what you believe so long as you are a nice person?
But the Bible does not fit that line of thought. It just doesn’t. Not everyone goes to heaven. Romans says that none of us are good. None. Not me, not you grandma, nobody. We need God because we are lost in our sin and have no way to get out on our own.
I am glad people are still making Christian films, books, and music. But we have to wake up and see that our job is not to get people hot and bothered, or offended, or protesting congress. We need to be out there sharing the truth about God. Not the god we have created who loves everyone and promises me a good life (so long as I live in the United States, tithe 10%, am white, and choose to block out the world). No, we need to share about the God who chased folks from His temple, the one who sought out uncool people because they knew they needed Him.
And that is my challenge to the Christian media industrial complex. Let’s get out there and enable people to see reality and face it.
And let’s let the non-arguments finally stop. Please.
God is not dead. But Nietzsche is. Let’s stop trying to resurrect him.*** PS - I know that some people would argue that we are in a society where science has disproved the existence of God. That is a different argument for a different post. It is not the same as Nietzsche’s argument. I simply don’t see anyone using Nietzsche, yet it gets brought up in evangelistic literature. We would be much better off using that space to talk about how religions are not all the same, or that God is different than what we often preach. Okay. Now I am going to bed. Hope that clarifies the rant.