I finally watched the movie, God’s Not Dead, a couple of weeks ago. I did not want to pay to see it in the theater, but I was curious enough to pay the $5 to watch it at home On Demand. At first I found the unrealistic portrayal of atheists rather comical and then, as the movie continued, I became irritated. I was discussing the movie with my 25-year-old son and he jokingly said, “We should start our own movement, #godsnotbread.” My motive is not to start such a movement, but I am compelled to share my thoughts. I have several issues with the movie, but I will focus on just one; the inaccurate and insulting way in which atheists are portrayed. It is the propaganda in this movie and other media sources that causes such divisiveness in our country. The makers of this film could have easily made a pro Christian statement without portraying atheists as complete and utter assholes.
Let me clarify a few things about atheists. We do not abandon our ailing parents in nursing homes. We do not leave our romantic interests when they are diagnosed with cancer. We do not treat our significant others like hired help, verbally abuse them or publicly humiliate them. We do not sit alone in doctor offices with a terminal illness because, “There is no one.” We are not angry, bitter, lonely, amoral or immoral. Most importantly, we are not angry with God.
Atheists are caring and supportive parents, neighbors, friends and coworkers. We are active in the PTA at school, or homeschool or children. We volunteer in the community. We fundraise for charities and donate our time to worthy humanitarian causes. We have many friends of different backgrounds and belief systems. We have loving, fulfilling relationships. We raise our children to be kind, respectful and accepting adults.
Atheists have good days and bad. We laugh and we cry. We are flawed. We are human. And while we do not get angry at God, we do get angry. We get angry when we are misrepresented, misunderstood and misjudged. We get angry when people don’t understand that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. We get angry when believers try to force their religious dogma on us and others.
When my son first mentioned “God’s not bread”, I’m sure that the word bread was just the first word he thought of that rhymed with dead. But I can’t help thinking about bread’s religious significance. Bread represents the sustenance, nourishment and fulfillment God often provides for believers. But this isn’t true for non believers. We are sustained, nourished and fulfilled without the need for a god.
The Christian community respects and admires the movie’s protagonist for courageously defending his convictions as a minority in his classroom. I wonder if the Christian community respects and admires atheists for courageously defending our convictions as a minority in our country.