Take That, Nietzsche! – A Spoiler-Free Q&A Concerning God’s Not Dead

1) What’s the movie about?

The plot, via the movie’s official website:

“Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh finds himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future.”

2) If I wanted to see a movie about a straw man, I’d go see The Wizard of Oz.

Boom! Roasted!

But also, that’s not a question. Next.

3) Is the movie any good?

Not if our friends at Rotten Tomatoes can be believed. Or IMBD. Or Metacritic.

4) What’s with the title?

Assuming they’re not referencing subpar Sabbath songs, the title is a rebuttal of sorts to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement that “God is dead.” Nietzsche believed that the power and importance that God held over and to Western society was waning, or “dying,” due to our increasing secularization.

Nietzsche was not mourning the passing of God, nor was he celebrating it. He was much more concerned about whether or not humanity would find meaning in its existence if its traditional source was gone.

5) How has it taken this long to figure out that religious people like movies too? Continue reading

Advertisements

Christianity, Islam, & Just War

(Editor’s Note: This is an essay written for a college sociology class in or around 2006.  While it oversimplifies the War on Terror and does not account for secular decisions, nationalism, or sectarian conflict, I think the Just War Doctrine comparison is worthy of publishing.)

While the conflict between Christianity and Islam long predates Charles Martel, Saladin, and King Richard I, the methods of warfare have changed much since then.  The 9/11 Attacks have brought a level of animosity between the United States and Muslims not seen since Thomas Jefferson, Stephen Decatur, and the Barbary pirates.  Radical Muslims have launched attacks on both U.S. military targets (Beirut in 1983, USS Cole in 2000) and civilian targets (Kenyan and Tanzanian Embassies in 1998, World Trade Center in 2001) (US Army).  In response to these attacks, the United States invaded and occupied the terrorist haven of Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, suspected of aiding Al-Qaeda. Neither the “Christian” nation of America nor fundamentalist Muslims understands the Just War Theories of their religions they profess to follow. As a result, the casualties of the War on Terror could one day belittle the Crusades.

While it would be a grievous error to characterize America as a Christian nation, its military thinking is clearly rooted in Christian Just War Doctrine. In the Bible, Jesus tells his apostles, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).  Yet, he says, “and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36).  In the Old Testament, we are told, “There is an appointed time for everything,” including, “a time to kill” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 3).

The Post My Mom Doesn’t Want To Read

I’ve never written or spoken about this before.

********************

My credentials as a Catholic are pretty well-established. Baptized, Eucharized, confirmed. Fruits and gifts memorized. Bible read. Parables understood and applied. Nineteen years of Catholic education. Campus ministry volunteer.

During college, things began to change. Continue reading