To call God’s Not Dead 2 “bad” would be doing this abomination of a movie a disservice. It is not only a bad movie, but in fact it’s more than that. It’s an insult to our intelligence, a belief that there are still people out there that would buy such a concept, such a movie. The sad truth is that there are people, somewhere out there in the stratosphere, who will watch Harold Cronk’s movie and rejoice in its unabashed sentimentality and “Christianity conquers all” theme, but I sure hope that our readers are a smarter, more adventurous bunch and will see through its condescending grasp and call it for what it truly is: A two hour sermon about blind belief.
The story is set in Hope Springs, where Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) teaches her high school students about history. Let us for a minute pause and realize that this is in fact the same Melissa Joan Hart best known for her role as Sabrina the Teenage Witch many eons ago on ABC’s TGIF. Her acting skills have sadly not improved since then. Joan Hart’s Grace loves Christ, with an unadorned passion for the love and values he brings. She decides to talk about Jesus in class, teaching about him in a historical context alongside Martin Luther King and Gandhi. This comes to the attention of the school’s principle, as played by Robin Givens, who asks Grace to apologize. She refuses, which leads to a firestorm.
That’s when the bad guys show up: the atheists. Most prominently a civil rights attorney as played here by Ray Wise in an over-the-top, laughably amusing role. He wants a court decision that will prove that Christ never existed and should never be used in classrooms as “history.” If the Christians in the film are depicted as good natured, law-abiding citizens, the atheists are completely devoid of any good qualities — they are the scum of the earth and represent the lowest of lows for their refusal to believe in a higher power.
That’s the setup for a film that wants to be about the triumph of religion over atheism, but ends up pandering to its audience. Although it’s supposed to be a “family” film, it is one of the more paranoid films you’ll see this year, injecting its audience with fear and pessimism and repeated hints of the widespread persecution of all Christians in the eventual future. The film’s message is to fight these oppressors and never let them have the freedom of opinion. There will likely be no scarier movie released this year.