OMG Is God Dead???!?!?!
God’s Not Dead is an independent movie that made $61 million at the box office this year (Impressive, although it’s less than Think Like a Man Too made.). It’s the story of a young man who goes to college and challenges his professors and the evil university-atheist establishment of higher education. Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually seen the movie, so maybe I shouldn’t be commenting on it at all. However, having read all about it on the movie’s official website, I want to make a few comments, because I’m pretty angry.
Here’s why: Education is often what leads to people questioning or rejecting their religious beliefs. This is especially true of higher education (college). According to the PEW Research Center, 43% of atheists in the United States have college degrees, compared with 29% of the general American population.
The correlation between education and atheism is undeniable and is supported by tons of research. Correlation does not mean causation, of course; education could make people more likely to reject God, or people who are likely to reject God could tend to seek more education, or there could be something else at work. However, the two are certainly related. Going to college is what ultimately made me reject my religious upbringing. And that’s not because I was “taught” not to believe in God in college—I didn’t take Atheism 101. In fact, my college was surrounded by churches, was filled with Christian student groups, and regularly had terrifying preachers standing in front of the student union who yelled at unsuspecting students who passed by on the way to class. What happened to me is what happens when people become educated: I learned what I didn’t know, and I learned to ask questions. These skills reshaped my worldview.
Christianity is, overall, on the decline in the United States, while higher education is on the rise, with college attendance constantly rising. The Christian churches know this. They view education as the enemy, as that engine which pulls believers away from attending church (and contributing to the collection plate). And they know they can’t compete with it, especially in a world with the Internet, with an infinite amount of information and education available to everybody.
[By the way, for no money and the championship, guess which part of the country goes to college the least. Go on, I’ll give you time. Okay, SHOCKER: It’s the South.]
So, what do they do about it? Well, they make God’s Not Dead, a movie about the dangers of the University. The University is the enemy, you see. The University is what’s making our society crumble into the moral abyss. The University is out to turn your sons into heathens and your daughters into harlots and hussies! So God’s Not Dead (whose website sells “licenses” for several hundred dollars to churches who want to show the movie) sets out a preemptive strike: Education is evil; don’t value education. Don’t listen to those atheists in college! They’re the devil, I tells ya!
It’s a warning to parents that they should be wary of their kids attending college. Maybe going to college should be discouraged in the household, maybe education should be treated as something to be looked down upon. Don’t go over there, where they’ll teach you stuff. Stay right here with me, I’ve got all the answers you’ll ever need. Those smart people think they’re so smart… but are they Saved??
If this is the best they can do, they’re screwed. More and more people are going to get college degrees, and religious non-belief will continue to grow, regardless of how many shitty movies and viral marketing campaigns the churches can come up with. It must have been so much nicer for them when they could just burn us at the stake.