God’s not Dead, 2 (2016)
A teacher is accused of proselytizing in the classroom simply because she answered a student’s question about whether Martin Luther King’s nonviolent protests were influenced by Jesus. The teacher affirmed it and quoted a verse from the Sermon on the Mount.
When word gets out, the teacher is vilified as preaching in the classroom and must take her case to court. She is assigned a young, inexperienced, but tenacious lawyer.
I won’t give away the plot. Rather, let’s consider some of the strengths of the film.
1. The lawyer decides that it is crucial to give historical arguments that Jesus existed and that the Gospels are credible. The plan is that the teacher could cite the saying of a teacher in history. Thus, we hear testimony from the real Lee Strobel, J. Warner Wallace at some length. Rice Brooks, the apologetic mind behind the film, and Gary Habermas gets to say a few things.
2. Like the first God’s not Dead, someone stands for Christ under pressure, this time the school teacher.
3. The lawyer representing the teacher destroys the claim that “the separation of church and state” has any bearing on the case, since it is not in The Constitution.
However, the plot and logic of the story have weaknesses.
1. The teacher is said to have broken a law by mentioning Jesus in class. That law is never stated or even paraphrased. Thus, we don’t know if she violated any law. I find it unlikely that an historical reference to Jesus as part of answering a student’s question could be construed (even by the ACLU) as illegal. Instead of legal specifics, it is set up as Christianity verses secularism, which is far too vague. US Courts don’t work that way.
2. I am not a judge or a lawyer, but I find it hard to believe that the judge would have permitted some of the behavior in the courtroom. It strained belief.
3. The tables are turned dramatically near the end of the film, and was nothing less than rhetorical genius. The move was a reductio ad absurdum. I won’t say more. However, the maneuver seemed to have nothing to do with the legal issue at question (inasmuch as we can figure that out).
All told, “God’s not Dead, 2,” was more believable than the first installment. It was moving in places. The acting was believable. Since I don’t sink to the absurdity of giving stars (unless a magazine, which shall not be named, makes me), I simply recommend this movie for Christians, seekers, those hostile to Christianity, and for believers in other religions.