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Last edited on: April 4, 2016.

God’s Not Dead 2 deals with issues of tolerance, diversity, and free speech, as well as the new moral intolerance for those with absolute, Christian, biblical values. The Atlantic reports on the death of the term “moral relativism.” David Brooks of the New York Times is quoted, “…Some sort of moral system is coming into place…Some new criteria now exist, which people use to define correct and incorrect action…”

The Atlantic states, “…this system is not a reversion to the values that conservatives may wish for. America’s new moral code is much different than it was prior to the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s. Instead of being centered on … family values, respect for institutions and religious piety, it orbits around values like tolerance and inclusion. (This new code has created a paradoxical moment in which all is tolerated except…the exclusive.)…” The paradox to which they refer is that today some consider conservative Christians as “exclusive” because they believe in Biblical values and absolutes.

Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) refuses to apologize for her actions and delivers the most powerful line in the film, “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.” Picture courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment

Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) refuses to apologize for her actions and delivers the most powerful line in the film, “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God”; Photo Courtesy of of Pure Flix Entertainment.

The irony is that in the spirit of “tolerance” there is an intolerance for even freedom of speech for conservative Christians to the point that the Bible, the greatest book ever written, and Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived, are not allowed in speech in many public arenas, such as in many public schools, their classrooms, and their activities.  Picturizing this dilemma, the movie God’s Not Dead 2 comes to theaters on April 1. This movie is the sequel to God’s Not Dead, the highest grossing indie faith film of 2014.

This movie features the following leading actors: Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Robin Givens, Hayley Orrantia, Ray Wise, David R. White, Ernie Hudson, Sadie Robertson, Pat Boone, and the late Fred Thompson in his last film appearance and more. The story involves a public school teacher (Hart) who answers a student’s question in a history class about Jesus Christ in the context of a discussion of the history of non-violent protest. A civil liberties group files suit to make an example of the teacher in order to remove Jesus Christ from public discourse. Central to the defense the teacher mounts is proving through historical evidence that Jesus Christ is a significant historical figure to be studied in educational settings.

Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) returns from "God's Not Dead" and finds himself on the jury. He must also take a stand when pastors are required to turn over their sermons to the local authorities; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) returns from “God’s Not Dead” and finds himself on the jury. He must also take a stand when pastors are required to turn over their sermons to the local authorities; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment.

At the end of the movie in the credits, many of the court cases are listed that have involved Christians who have been sued for expressing their faith in God in public settings. The goal of the film is to start a dialogue about what “tolerance” and “diversity” really mean and how they should be practiced in our pluralistic society. The movie highlights the issue that in order for freedom of speech to be truly a right enjoyed by all, it must protect the complementary right of freedom of religion in public places.

Tolerance is not tolerant if it excludes the right of any group, including Christians, to freely talk in public about what they believe. Court testimonies in the film about the life of Jesus are delivered by real life scientists and experts, who reflect on thousands of years of historical evidence that Jesus Christ has lived as a great historical figure, a conclusion supported by Christian and non-Christian researchers alike.

Tom Snyder, Ph.D. addresses the historical veracity of the Bible. In his thorough and scholarly article, he states, “…Top scholars, historians, and experts have repeatedly confirmed that the Bible is the most historically and intellectually reliable ancient text in the whole world, including the Bible’s account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles and disciples who wrote the New Testament documents.”

In recent interviews, David A. R. White (actor and CEO of the producing company, Pure Flix, for the God’s Not Dead movies and much more) stated that he has seen more and more actors from mainstream programming participate in faith-based, Christian, redemptive movies, like he has.

Sonoma Christian Home in a preview screening has found this God’s Not Dead 2 exceptional in many ways: outstanding performances (Pat Boone is especially delightful), thought-provoking content, engaging storytelling, captivating suspense, unexpected twists and turns, contemporary relevance and much more. Sonoma Christian Home highly recommends three fine movies in theaters: Young Messiah, Miracles From Heaven, and God’s Not Dead 2. All of these inspiring and thought-provoking movies have outstanding performances by top actors, excellent storytelling, and engaging cinematography.

 

Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com

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