Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, March 27, 2014

[insert your god here]'s Not Dead

God's Not Dead is the number one Christian movie, according to its Website.  Here's the synopsis.

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton, finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson. Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God onthat first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words "God Is Dead" on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that "God Is Dead," he must prove God's existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God's existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God?

I seriously doubt one could find a gainfully employed college philosophy professor in the U.S. that would force students sign a pledge that God is dead. But what's more interesting is I sense a bit of Christian projection here, which is usually the case. Look no further than Dayton, Tennessee, home of the Scopes Trial and Christian university Brian College. Here's an excerpt from the timesfreepress.com (full article with video here).  Further comments from Jerry Coyne here.

 DAYTON, Tenn. — Bryan College was founded on the back of the country’s most famous debate over creation and evolution. And the biblical literalists, the stalwarts, the six-day creationists flocked here even when society began tipping toward a more scientific understanding of human origins, when Darwin, not Genesis, became the more convincing explanation for many. But over the years, more diverse views on Genesis 1 and 2 crept in. Some professors, staff and students didn’t just identify as young-Earth creationists. Their views became more nuanced. They called themselves progressive evolutionists and theistic evolutionists and old-Earth creationists; they found ways to reconcile faith and science. Now the administration is making a statement against these aberrations. The board of trustees is requiring professors and staff to sign a statement saying that they believe Adam and Eve were created in an instant by God and that humans shared no ancestry with other life forms. If they don’t sign, they fear that jobs could be on the line.

Forcing someone to sign a pledge to insulate their beliefs from evidence is the exact opposite of doing philosophy.  At least the Duckman's Old Testament Beard helps in keeping up appearances.


  1. Me and some other students have been talking about trolling a showing if anyones down.

  2. Kurt Wise is the name of the Bryan College biologist I mentioned in class. Here's a link to Matthew Chapman's encounter with him in "Trials of the Monkey": http://books.google.com/books?id=ClRWcgAtiIwC&lpg=PP1&dq=trials%20of%20the%20monkey&pg=PA159#v=onepage&q=bryan%20college&f=false