Friday, April 8, 2016

God's Not Dead...And Neither is Manipulation

So, if you're someone who talks to me a lot, or follows me on Facebook, has been reading my other blog for a long time, you know that I love movies. and more often than not, I have a bit of a distaste for Christian movies.  Don't get me wrong, I don't hate all of them.  There are a few that I enjoy and even find meaningful to my life sometimes.  It's just that nine times out of ten, they're not very well done movies.  The writing and acting are pretty mediocre, and even the message can sometimes be a bit half-baked.  Now, if those were the only problems with Christian movies, I probably wouldn't make such a big deal about it.  But then, this new wave of Pure Flix movies happened.  The most popular of these movies was God's Not Dead, which like some of the company's other films, makes it its main goal to paint Christians as a victimized poor-little-us minority, and every non-believer as an ignorant jerk.  I haven't seen it yet, but I've heard that the recently released God's Not Dead 2 does have a non-believer who defends Christians, which is certainly an improvement, but doesn't change the fact that its still existing stereotypes are just as prevalent and just as ridiculous.  I could go on forever about why I hate the God's Not Dead franchise, but for the sake of time, I'll just focus on one specific article I came across today over, which was mostly made up of quotes from Movieguide, entitled "Let's Stop Attacking Movies for Saying Something."  Clearly, this title is very out of touch with reality already.  If that was the reason for the attacks, no movie could pass by critics!

I will attempt to break down the article and respond to each part one-by-one.

So, it begins with a quote from C.S. Lewis, who said, "This is not what is called an ‘apologetic’ work. I am nowhere trying to convince unbelievers that Christianity is true. I address those who already believe it, or those who are ready, while reading, to ‘suspend their disbelief.’ A man can’t always be defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.”  

Okay, a few things to say here already.  One, you're comparing yourself to C.S. Lewis, which is pretty arrogant.  Two, C.S. Lewis was actually a good writer, so he at least had something of an excuse to respond to criticism this way.  Three, the difference between you and him is that he actually wrote truth, instead of writing some half-a$$ed stereotype trying to pass itself off as "truth" or "revolutionary."

"Have you read some of the critics’ reviews of GOD’S NOT DEAD 2? As Ben Kayser, the managing editor of Movieguide, writes, most of these critics consider “it’s bad because, in their eyes, a movie that preaches and teaches by definition cannot be a good movie.”

Yeah, you wish.  They don't hate preaching in movies.  (Look at Spotlight, for crying out loud...)  They hate that the movie is basically a two-hour sermon, rather than a compelling story.  

He goes on to say:
“They can disagree with the message, or have issues with the side it takes, but to complain that a movie or story takes a side would mean that movies should always be amoral. If this was even possible, imagine if SELMA or SCHINDLER’S LIST didn’t take sides and the filmmakers chose not to make any statements about how life should be in those real life situations. They would be bad movies, not just artistically, but morally. Let’s stop attacking movies for saying something, and instead have a discussion over what’s being said.”

Again, you're seriously comparing this movie's quality to that of Schindler's List, which is already pretty dumb.  Also, are you seriously saying that just because we may not like how one-sided this movie is, that means we can't like any movie that even remotely takes a side?  Getting upset about a movie unfairly targeting atheists means we also can't support a movie that denounces the Holocaust?!  Really?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, we reach the crux of this copy/paste masterpiece, which is directed at the Christians who criticize these movies.  And since I myself fall into that category, I will break that statement down line-by-line.

Another key point Ben brings up in his article is how some Christian critics have panned the movie for the same reason—despite stating the acting, cinematography, and other elements of the film are strong. His well-stated conclusion addresses this:
“If you’re a Christian, and you hate Christian movies, maybe it’s time to accept that many people do love them...
Yes, I am fully aware of this.  I never heard anyone argue that they don't.

"...and have laughed, cried and had emotional experiences because of them..."

Again, you're not saying anything that we don't already know.  I myself have laughed, cried, and had emotional experiences during Christian films.  However, that doesn't make them good mov...

"...and ultimately, regardless of how you feel, those movies may actually be good movies because of it.”

WOAH BRO!!!!  Let me stop you right there.  I'm convinced now.  The people who make these movies and those who support them have no concept whatsoever of filmmaking.  Did you REALLY just say that a movie making people emotional makes it good?  

Okay, let me paint you a picture.  Say we're talking one day, and I start telling you the story of how my parents died.  By the end of the story, you're in tears.  And then I reveal to you that the whole thing is made up.  Am I a good person just because I made you cry by lying to you?  (If that's not a good analogy of the Pureflix situation, I don't know what is.)

But, you know, I shouldn't be surprised by any of this.  These are the same people who automatically assume anyone who doesn't like their views is an enemy.  So, it makes sense that they would try to villainize the movie's critics in the same way.

The fact is, these people lack an understanding of not only film quality, but also of Christianity.  I just can't for the life of me comprehend how they think God could bless their self-righteous, manipulating crap.  They are literally guilting you into shutting up if you have anything negative to say about these movies, just because some Christians love them!  Doesn't the Bible itself preach against conformity?  Oh, but that doesn't apply here because it's something Christians made and it's something they need you to financially support just so they can make more of these movies nobody asked for.  I missed the Bible verse which says, "Do not conform to the world, unless we need you to."  And criticism=persecution, which ties in perfectly to the horrible messages these films try to promote.  

Well, I'm done with this rant.  Let me know if you agree/disagree and why and all that...see you later.