Faith-Based Films: A Cultural Analysis




Dillard, Alex

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This thesis analyzes two faith-based films, God’s Not Dead and Silence, and corresponding paratextual sources, as cultural artifacts to identify each film’s encoded and decoded messages and representations of Christians and non-Christians. First, a history of Christian film and summation of current literature is presented. Then, the significance and relationship between film, culture, and Christianity is discussed. Cultural studies, whose interdisciplinary tenets guide the methodology of this study, is explained. The analysis in this thesis is three-pronged and examines the production and marketing of each film, the films proper, and the critical response to each film. In light of this analysis, whether or not each film was able to maintain a label of faithfulness and the significance of the Christian culture industry is discussed. This thesis concludes that God’s Not Dead is able to maintain a label of faithfulness through its explicit conservative, evangelical messaging and extensive marketing, while Silence is unable to maintain a label of faithfulness due to its vague messaging and noncompliance with the Christian culture industry. This thesis contributes to current literature by examining how paratextual resources aid in crafting an understanding of a film, identifying a faith-based pedagogy, and discussing the Christian culture industry.



Faith-Based Films., Cultural Analysis., Cultural Studies., Christian Films., Christian Culture Industry., Representations.