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Is God Dead?

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By rea1304
Words 1639
Pages 7
Aurea C. Florindo-Soares
VTTH 203 E
Fr. Donohue
1/22/2015

Is God Dead?

In religious experience, people usually think that life is surrounded by ordinary and extraordinary things, especially in the stories of Moses and Elijah. As these stories in the bible go along, many times, some people are questioning the existence of God. To prove God’s existence, one should have a strong belief in their religion. As religion teaches, one believes that God dies physically for us on the cross because He sacrifices himself by giving His full love to us. After God arises from the dead three days later, His soul remains alive. That soul exists in order for us to have a better and deeper relationship with God. One believes that God does exist in nature, in the human person, in the church, and everywhere else. What about a person who does not believe in those things? What about a person who has no religious background and believes that God is dead? Each person has a different perspective, understanding, and belief about the existence of God. Whether one realizes or not, this is his or her choice to believe God’s existence. One will use their experiences to believe in God’s presence in their own lives. They can interpret their experiences as happy or sad, depending on who they trust. If this is in a happy way, one will believe God’s existence by saying God is dead physically, but His soul is not dead. He remains within us everywhere and all the time in this world. He helps us when we need it during the hard times, and we love Him in return. If this experience is sad, one will believe the opposite because they believe that God does not help them during the hard times or through the prayers that they tell to God. Therefore they believe God is dead and God does not exist.
Speaking of God being dead and non-existant, I would like to reflect on a movie called God’s Not Dead (2014), which is directed by Harold Crock. In this movie, there are many plot and story lines that can related to the topic, but I want to emphasize the proof of God’s existence between a student named Josh Wheaton and the professor named Jeffrey Radisson because it is struck me the most.
Josh is an evangelical college student who attends a philosophy class for his Law major requirement. Radisson is an atheist philosophy professor who becomes Wheaton’s teacher. During the class period, Professor Radisson requires all students to write a statement that “God is dead” and never existed in the world in order to get a passing grade. The theme of “God is dead” is based on the professor’s experiences. When he was 12 years old, he had a sad experience of facing the reality that his mother died. He begged God in his prayers so that his mother would come back to life. Since then, he is angry. He hates, and blames God in his own life. As a philosophy professor, he asks his students to quote Nietzsche’s word “God is dead”. Every student wrote the statement down, but Wheaton refuses it because he believes God is not dead and does exist.
The professor challenges Wheaton to defend his position that God exists, is not dead, and is real. The professor gives him a twenty minute argument talking of God’s existence to everyone. This challenge leads to argumentative presentations between Wheaton and the professor. Radisson appoints Wheaton’s classmates as part the jury. Josh’s girlfriend, Kara, who goes to the same University heard about this presentation for the second time. She tries to convince Josh to either drop out of the philosophy class or follow Professor Radisson’s rules. It turns out that Josh does not take either of his girlfriend’s pieces of advice because he cannot deny his belief in God. As a result, they broke up. During the third and final round of the presentations, Josh and the professor have a powerful argument against each other. Since Josh is angry with Professor Radisson’s argument, he convincingly asks, “Why do you hate God?” twice. His professor answers that he hates God because He made his mother die and left him alone. He also does not answer his prayers. Josh is surprised and says to Professor Radisson, “I say you cannot prove God does not exist”. In the end, one of Josh’s classmates named Martin, a foreign student from China whose father does not allow him to convert to Christianity, stands up firmly and says, “God is not dead”. Everyone else follows and says the same thing, which then causes Professor Radisson to leave the room feeling defeated.
The story of the movie above has a lot to do with ordinary and extraordinary experiences. As we can see, Josh and Professor Radisson are both ordinary people in ordinary space and time. Josh is a good Christian student who believes God, and Professor Radisson is a good philosophy professor whose beliefs of God’s non-existence are completely wrong to most moral standards. Same as Moses and Elijah, they both were ordinary people who did a daily job as shepherds for God. Both evangelizers can also be extraordinary with their strengths and weaknesses. The strengths that we can pick from both important people, Moses and Elijah, are that they remain faithful and surrender themselves to God. They also believe in the time God appeared to them in the burning bush or in the earthquake and fire. When the Israelites were in danger, God appointed Moses to lead these people to Egypt, and passed God’s message to the people. He was scared to do God’s job, but God said “…I will be with you” (Ex. 3:13). If we compare to the movie, it gives us the same message. Josh can play as an extraordinary person. The reason is that Josh refuses his professor’s statement, and he believes that God is not dead. He is with him every time as a good friend. Besides Moses, Elijah also felt the same way. In 1 Kgs. 19:11-12, God knew the feelings of discouragement that Elijah had as he tried to encourage the Israelites to believe Him. So God wants Elijah to have an encounter with Him by saying, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD” (1 Kgs. 19:11), and asks Elijah to “Arise and eat” (1 Kgs. 19:5). Our spirit needs to be fed in order to be energized in doing God’s work. So Josh encounters the same thing as what Elijah had. However, he never gives up defending his argument to Professor Radisson because he knows God is real. Josh does God’s job by spreading the truth of God’s existence without any doubt. I categorized Josh as a person who is in an analytical, which means that he is a person who comes to know God by loving and opening his heart to God. He feels God’s presence and he has a common experience with God by putting his trust on Him. He leaves everything that is not making him happy. For example, he broke up with his girlfriend because he is fully following God’s way and His job of preaching the truth of the one who he believes.
The weakness that we see is that one can have a lot of doubts about God’s existence. Professor Radisson has a lot of doubts about God. He sees God as evil, mean, and scary, like most of the Old Testament described about God. He is more likely to be a person who is a dialectical, which means that he is a person who has no connection with God, does not believe God’s existence, and believes that God manifests things in his life in dramatic ways, for example like his mother’s death. Besides having doubts, he is poor in his spirit. One spirit needs to be fed with love, passions, and faith to God, not being furious to God. Ignoring God and does not believe God’s existence based on one’s experience of being alone is unreasonable because we are made in His creation of His image, and we need to receive what He has given to us and accept it with love. One should seek God in order to know His existence. As we look at the passage of Ex. 3:12, God says to Moses, “…When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain”. The professor does not seek God in his lifetime, and he makes himself far away from God.
In addition, Professor Radisson does not believe in prayer because God does not answer his petitions. As one wants to believe in God’s existence, one should seek him through prayer or “gentle whisper” (1 Kgs. 19:12) as what Elijah described God’s appearance to him. Mostly people who have sad experiences always give up and blame God. But they do not know that God has another beautiful plan back in the sad experience. In that experience, God is actually testing us for whether or not we still believe in His presence or not, and that is our choice for choosing to remain in Him.
To conclude this, everyone believes that God is not dead. He remains alive in our daily lives by becoming our good friend. We know God is not dead by seeking Him, surrendering to Him, and being faithful. Besides that, we should open our heart by accepting God’s gifts and love to us since He sacrifices Himself for us because of love. As long as we believe God’s existence, we make God and ourselves happy. As we choose ourselves to believe that He is alive, He will give a beautiful plan to each one of us.

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