Saturday, November 9, 2013

Problems I Have With the "God's Not Dead" Movie

I promise that one day my posts will be edifying to those who read them, but I figured that before I start writing stuff worth reading I should first get into the habit of actually posting on a semi-regular basis.  The turn between posts is slightly faster than it last time, so I'll take that as a minor victory.

Before I launch into today's topic I'll give a little update.  Since my last post I have finished two classes and started two others.  The classes I finished were Intro to Counseling and Bioethics Clinical Pastoral Issues.  One class was great and other was meh, but either way I hope to write about what I learned soon, or relatively soon, eventually, whatever.

Problems I Have With the "God's Not Dead" Trailer

If you have not heard there is a movie coming out in the next year titled "God is Not Dead."  If you haven't seen the trailer here it is.

The gist of the movie, as gathered from the trailer, is that a young Christian man, named Josh Wheaton, goes to college where his evil philosophy teacher tries to convince him that God does not exist.  Josh then excepts a challenge to debate his teacher in order to prove who is right about the existence of God.  The movie will feature appearances by Willie and Korie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame and Newsboys.  I wasn't even aware that the Newsboys still existed until I watched this trailer.

There are all kinds of issues with a movie like this, but I won't focus on how this is the epitome of everything wrong with conservative Christian media, the fact that the guys last name is Wheaton, that this will help fuel the fear some Christians have of higher education, or that now I'm going to have to answer questions like, "You study philosophy?  Aren't all philosophers atheist?"  That used to be something only the biology and other science studies had to answer.  I also won't go into how this movie is basically a knock off an episode of a TV series called The Stranger that I once watched late at night with my brother, Jake, on JCTV.

No, as a philos...uh, someone who majored in philosophy I will focus on how this movie misrepresents a philosophy class.

One more thing.  I'll just apologize right here for phoning it in and writing this post in the most overused blog/web article format ever - a numerated list.  I promise that this will not be the start of this blog turning into Buzzfeed.  That website sucks, but the numbered list lends itself to this kind of discussion.

5. There Would Not Be That Many Students in a Philosophy Course

The film is suppose to take place at a big secular school.  The thing is more and more state schools are removing philosophy as a gen-ed and some are even firing philosophy profs left and right.  If a typical college student is given the choice to take philosophy or not most are going to choose not to take philosophy.  Due to our cultures love affair with the sciences little Josh Wheaton in real life probably would not even take philosophy in the first place.

4. Even if There Were That Many Students The Prof Wouldn't Go on an Anti-God Rant

In reality the professor would spend more time trying to get his students to read The Allegory of the Cave and to convince his students of the worth of philosophy.  Due to our society's perception of philosophy, and the humanities in general, as a worthless, money wasting degree the professor would probably be more concerned about showing how philosophy is relevant today.

3. Even if 5 and 4 are true the professor would probably be ecstatic that a student cares enough to argue back.

This movie is basically about a student volunteering for an extra research project.  Just think about it.  That professor is probably just hoping that he won't have to hear any lame excuses for why Bobby and Sally's papers are late and along comes our hero who is willing to do some extra-syllabic work.  A student who actually cares!  In a gen ed nonetheless!

2.  A student would never be failed simply for their religious beliefs.

One word: Lawsuit.  Granted this is not philosophy course specific, but it still holds.  If a student were to be failed simply for their religious beliefs then the university opens itself up to a major lawsuit or at least some bad press.

1. The Professor Keeps Shouting, "God is Dead," Without Giving the Context

Just about everyone knows it was Nietzsche who proclaimed God to be dead, but considerably fewer know what he meant by that statement.  Context is important here.
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125 (Source? I got it from Wikipedia.  Where else?)

In the popular mind Nietzsche was simply saying God does not exist.  He was saying that, but he was also saying much more.  Nietzsche was saying that the belief in God was dead and that philosopher's, the "we" in the first line, have killed him.

There lies my biggest problem with this movie.  No philosopher is going to reference that quote without giving himself the credit for helping to kill God.  This isn't a character trait of just atheist philosophers, but philosophers - we're all smug deep down inside.

Bonus: Fan Theory

Alright time for a little fan theory I came up with.  Before anyone says it it I will admit that what follows makes me guilty of shipping.

Anyway at one point in the trailer Wheaton is confronted by his girlfriend who tells him, "You have to decide who is more important in your life, me or God."

Except she doesn't.  I was expecting her to say God.  That or some Christian girl they were going to introduce as a potential love interest.  But she didn't.  Instead she said, "You have to decide who is more important in your life, me or Professor Radisson."

I'll state it clearly here: Josh Wheaton, the student, and Professor Radisson, will wind up getting over their difference and begin a relationship together.

In teen movies that kind of confrontations only happen when the hot/mean girlfriend is giving the conflicted, handsome guy an ultimatum to choose between her and his quirky/cool/smart platonicfriendwhohappenstobeagirlbutsecretlywantstobesomuchmore.  The makers of this movie are geniuses.  They took one of the most common scenes in a teen movie and subtly changed it.  They have set us up for a movie arguing against the evil, secular academy, but really they are going to give us a movie about forbidden love.

Some might think that is ridiculous but I have seen crazier A Song of Ice and Fire theories come true on less evidence.

Guess I'll have to see this movie after all...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I would actually post on this thing.

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I would actually post on this thing.

Why I haven't written more

I have been really busy. Since promising to actually write more back in July I haven't had any significant time to sit down and write. The week after that post I started working 48 hours a week until the school year started. Then I moved from the place where I was house sitting to a wonderful basement apartment in a decrepit old house. Actually, it was a hell-hole until my wonderful parents showed up and did some redecorating and remodeling. Then after the move I started my full time course of study at TEDS/TGS while still working full time at C2 Education, the tutoring center I started working at this summer. So, I have not had many opportunities to maintain this blog, and when I have had the chance I decided to seek a more immediate pleasure than sitting down and writing more. So, this little post is to simply placate those who have given me those who have given me crap for not writing more (Chi Won, Frances, Alex, etc).

A Week in the Life

The following is a typical week's schedule.


9 AM - Wake Up
9:07 AM - Crawl out of bed and turn on the coffee maker while wondering who I am and what I am doing in my life.
9:45 AM - Head to Trinity's library while the caffeine I just ingested makes my life look less bleak. As hard as I have tried these last 21 years I am still not a morning person, so I am sure for the first few hours of my day I could be easily diagnosed as clinically depressed.
10:00 AM - Do school work in Rolfing Memorial Library. Trinity's library is to Buswell as Buswell is to an elementary school's library. I overheard someone say the other day, "Actually I am doing my MA at Wheaton Graduate School, but the library down there sucks so I drive up here to do my research."
2:00 PM - Head back to my apartment, get ready for work, and eat lunch. Sometimes the eating lunch part doesn't happen for one reason or another.
3:00 PM - Commute from Deerfield to Schaumburg for work. This is easily the worst part of the day. Also, I am convinced that I am going to be killed by a middle-aged person who is texting while driving their luxury SUV.
3:45 PM - Begin tutoring.
9:25 PM - Finish tutoring and head to Beth's house.
9:45 PM - Have dinner and hang out with Beth.
11:00 PM - Head back to my apartment.
11:30 PM - Take a shower and get ready for bed.
12:00 AM - Do a little more homework.
1:00 AM - Go to sleep.


Same as above only I wake up at 6:45 AM and I am in class until 5:00 PM and I work from 5:40 - 9:25 PM.


9:00 AM - 5:00 PM - Work


10:00 AM - 11:30 AM - Attend church at Church of the Redeemer in Highland Park. I thought by going there instead of Church of the Resurrection I would be getting away from the Wheaton College church scene. I was wrong. The rector is a Wheaton grad and his wife teaches in Wheaton's intercultural studies program; Dr. Kalantzis attends from time to time; and there a number of other Wheaton grads both recent and old.
12:00 PM - About go into cardiac arrest as I watch the Bengals.
2:00 PM - 7:00 PM - Live it up at Rolfing

So, I have been busy, but it has been good. A little trying, but good nonetheless.

Last Things

I have decided not to update the look of this blog. It is a monument to internet crappiness. Alex seems to appreciate how terrible it looks so I will leave it as is. Also, I have been learning HTML from Codecademy and I have typed this using Blogger's html option. I will not preview this post before publishing as part of my decision not to edit these posts. So, hopefully it all looks good when I hit publish.

Two of my classes wrap up at the end of October, so I'll be free to write more after that. I'll follow through in a more prompt manner this time. Srsly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Let's Try This Again

Two years ago I started and then failed at maintaining this blog.  I was busy with Wheaton in the Holy Lands and when I got back from the trip I had six weeks of unemployment before my junior year at Wheaton was scheduled to start, but MW2 got in the way.  That all feels like it happened a millennium ago to a completely different person: I didn't even have a mustache back then.  That is not to mention that much has changed, most notably I am now a Wheaton College graduate.

My life may have changed quite a bit but this blog has not.  I will be working on updating my profile and layout as I find time between work, reviewing Koine for Trinity's competency, and giving Beth enough attention to keep her happy.  The first couple of posts will most likely be short and simple recaps of my life as I get my blog boots on.

So why resurrect this crappy old blog?  First, I had a bit of following when I started posting, and chief among my fan's was Frances Griswold whom this post is dedicated to.  I'm not only doing this for Frances but for all my dear friends, near and far; from the Midwest to the Middle East and everywhere between. Second, I want to see if I am up to the challenge.

I will make no promises about the quality of my posts, content or grammar wise, but at the very least I can promise that it will be interesting and that I will figure out how to indent paragraphs on this stupid website.

Since this reboot post is dedicated to Frances I figured I would share a picture of me, her, and Jordan at graduation.  The girl in the background on the right creeps me out a bit.