God Does Not Fail Us
You thought getting an “A” in your math class was hard. What if you had to defend your faith by convincing an entire class and a narrow-minded atheist professor that God is real to get a passing grade? That’s the premise of the upcoming movie, God’s Not Dead.
Josh Wheaton, played by Shane Harper, is a freshman enrolled in a Philosophy class taught by an uncompromising, authoritative professor who requires his students to deny the existence of God on the first day of class. Being a devout Christian, Josh refuses and is punished by having to prove God’s existence by presenting three arguments against his professor to the entire class. If he is not able to substantiate God’s existence, then he fails the class. Choosing to risk a failing grade, Josh stands up for his faith and begins a journey of intellectual discovery to present the truth to his class and professor. Shane Harper reflects on his character’s journey by saying, “He’s a brave guy. And he goes through a bit of trial with it, too.” Feeling like he’s taking on this battle alone, Josh repeatedly finds himself in conflict with his professor that leads to discord that reaches beyond the classroom. In the meantime, God reveals Himself, as He often does, to various people in Josh’s community, including one of his classmates, Martin. Harper explains the influence of Josh’s conviction, “Martin ends up getting saved at the end of it. That’s the kind of importance it has.”
In the midst of a lot of university controversy over faith-based decisions and discrimination, God’s Not Dead, enters the scene to hit a cord with the trials many Christians in America face daily. The film may inspire a generation to stand up for their faith, to be bold and to share God’s love with their community. Many are already taking a stand to prove that God does exist. Harper hopes that Christians will see how their courage can influence others. “It’s meaningful for him [Josh] as a Christian, as a person of faith and as a theist who wants to defend the love he has for a God he believes to exist. But it’s also so important because there’s all these kids in the class, too, who are swayed by this bully figure in Professor Radisson,” says Harper about the impact of standing up to the professor in the film.
The film doesn’t just call Christians to speak up and demonstrate the existence of God, it also challenges those who don’t believe or don’t know what they believe to seek out the truth. God’s Not Dead is a call to pursue what you believe and why you believe it. Many people sit idly by waiting to hear why they should believe something. The film shows that seeking truth takes a lot of strength and discernment. We cannot be lazy and we cannot let our lack of understanding cloud our judgment of something greater than ourselves.
With the hype of the entertainment industry, Harper attributes his practice in martial arts to his ability to stay grounded and disciplined. But more importantly, his humility comes from God. Born in California, Shane Harper began his career as an actor and dancer at the age of nine. Later, he tacked on the talents of singing and songwriting, making him a genuine “quadruple threat.” At age thirteen, he began his professional work in the entertainment industry as a principal dancer in High School Musical 2, Nickelodeon’s Dance on Sunset and Dance Revolution. Dabbling in both film and TV, Shane’s first principle role is in God’s Not Dead. But, you can’t focus on his on-screen talent alone. Shane was given the opportunity to write and record a song for the movie’s soundtrack entitled, “Hold You Up.” Opportunities continue to arise for Harper, proving that God does not fail us.