You’ve heard the story before. Christian filmmakers make a movie about themselves. The title: God’s Not Dead. The focus: Evangelical persecution in the United States. Their $2 million creation opens on the big screen. It grosses $60 million during its theatrical run. Two years later comes the sequel, God’s Not Dead 2.
Okay, so maybe we haven’t heard this exact story before. So how did Pure Flix, the production company behind these films, strike gold?
Film critic Alissa Wilkinson discusses this question with Morgan and Katelyn in the latest episode of Christianity Today’s weekly podcast, Quick to Listen. Wilkinson, CT’s critic at large, recently reviewed the film for Flavorwire and analyzed the film against the Christian movie genre for the Thrillist. (Wilkinson previously juxtaposed the original to Fifty Shades of Grey.)
“In the Bible, winning looks very different for people than it does in this film,” Wilkinson noted about the movie, where a teacher goes to court after quoting from the Bible in her classroom. “Sometimes you won’t win, even if you believe all the right things and have your apologetics straight.”
- Why do conservative Christians feel like they need their stories told on the big screen?
- Given the other forms of persecution of Christians on a global scale, is it appropriate for American Christians to lament their own persecution? Or is there something salient about a US persecution narrative?
- Clearly the fear at play in this movie is the fear that in the not so distant future Christians will suffer government repression or censorship for their religious beliefs and practices. In what sense do movies and stories more generally help us work out our fears?