God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness
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Films and TV
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness is the third installment in the God's Not Dead franchise of evangelical Christian propaganda. The drama follows the story of a congregation displaced when their church burns down and the challenges they face rebuilding. The film was released by PureFlix Entertainment on 30 March 2018 to generally unfavorable reviews.
It includes cameos from Dana Loesch (a spokesperson for the NRA, and formerly a presenter on TheBlaze and journalist for Breitbart), and Jeanine Pirro (a Fox News TV personalilty, Republican politician, and former judge). We're sure this film's political message will be, *ahem*, "Fair and Balanced."
Pastor Dave is the pastor of a local church that happens to sit on the property of a university. The church gets torched, killing an assistant pastor, causing Pastor Dave to lose his temper and question his faith. The church's presence on campus is deemed to be unconstitutional and divisive and the university uses eminent domain (incorrectly)[note 1] to seize the
church property. Dave will have none of this, and seeks legal help from his brother, a social justice lawyer and atheist. Eventually things climax in an ugly confrontation between groups for and against the church shouting at each other. Ultimately, Dave drops his lawsuit and a new off-campus church is built.
The film features several subplots involving young people struggling with their faith, or lack thereof. The man who tossed the brick that broke the gas line that burned down the church blames Christianity for breaking up his relationship, and ultimately prays for forgiveness when he discovers he is responsible for the assistant pastor's death.[note 2] Pastor Dave commits the sin of becoming an asshole but draws inspiration from his girlfriend's simple faith.
Critics noted that the film is generally less hostile, defensive and political than the first two films, which are overwhelmingly considered to be outright political propaganda. Sheila O'Malley noted that the film features a lot of people "grappling" with their faith and has a lot of good moments, even though it does not significantly challenge Christians to become better people.
However, the general elements from the first two films are still prominently featured: a persecution complex, divisiveness and the hostility of secular society. There are speeches where voice-of-the-author characters pontificate: "All of these universities go on and on and on about tolerance and inclusivity..." The cameos from right-wing campaigners and pundits Dana Loesch and Judge Jeanine Pirro likewise stack the deck. The film also differs from its predecessors in that is has abandoned efforts to prove God's existence using facts and logic.
The film's awfulness is tempered a bit by the presence of John Corbett, known for his roles on the American television series Sex and the City and Northern Exposure, and the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Most reviewers note that despite having the blatant propaganda from the first films toned down, the film still suffers from poor scripting, weak acting and a flimsy premise.
- The university can't just take it as they are not specifically a government entity with that power. They would have already owned it if it was on their campus, so why is this a thing?
- Not to mention the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter.
- Pure Flix Announces Theatrical Release Date For God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness. prnewswire.com, 19 December 2017.
- God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, Vadim Rizov, AV Club
- Movie Review: “God’s Not Dead 3” at patheos.com, 30 March 2018.
- Roger Moore, Movie Review: “God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in Darkness” tries to be less angry. rogersmovienation.com, 31 March 2018.
- God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, Sheila O'Malley, rogerebert.com, Mar 30, 2018
- God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness at Rotten Tomatoes.
- God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness. User reviews at imdb.com.