Kevin Sorbo—Keeping the Faith In Hollywood
Written by Tammy Leigh Maxey   


CapThat if you were faced with the challenge to prove “God’s Not Dead?” Could you do it? In fact, could you ‘prove’ His existence at all?
That is the very assignment that Professor Jeffrey Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) tasks Christian college student Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) with in the recently released movie by Pure Flix Entertainment, God’s Not Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to do so, in fact add it to your DVD library, (DVD released in August, 2014). Beyond being a faith inspired film for quality and wholesome family entertainment, it will also help equip us for those awkward situations when we find ourselves in a position needing to defend our own faith.  

I believe Christians should see this movie because it will strengthen their faith and help them question situations about how they stood up or backed down for their faith. It will help also encourage them to share their faith more.
— Alliance Defending Freedom.

KevinSorboGNDIn the film, Sorbo plays an avid atheist. He is so intent in his beliefs against the existence of God, that he demands that his students sign a declaration that “God is dead” to get a passing grade. When one student refuses, Sorbo’s character requires the student to debate the topic with class members deciding the winner.

While his character in the film is intended to represent an individual, ironically the angry atheist Sorbo plays, in many ways unintentionally, and perhaps even unwittingly, represents the industry that controls the big screens, Hollywood itself.

Sorbo says, “I wish I could pinpoint why Hollywood has such a disdain for anyone who is conservative or Christian. It’s a very weird business.” So when approached for the God’s Not Dead film, producers warned Sorbo up front that it would create conflict. “They came to me and said, ‘Look, we’ve got this movie. It’s probably going to be a little controversial for people.’ I kind of laughed and said, ‘Every movie is controversial for people. You can’t please everyone.’ I read the script and fell in love with it immediately. I said, ‘Count me in. I want to do this movie.’ I didn’t worry about the repercussions in Hollywood. I looked at a wonderfully written script, and that’s how I looked at it moving forward.”

Reviewers have been quick to discount the plot, stating the unlikeliness of a professor challenging students on the existence of God. From personal experience, I disagree. I have sat under the teachings of a professor more taken with the opportunity of a captive audience to oppose and mock Christianity than to teach the materials of the class. 

In fact, it was one such example of this that inspired Pure Flix Entertainment CEO, Russell Wolfe, to create the film. “The inspiration behind the setting of the movie dates back a few years ago. I was in a meeting at Pinnacle Forum and Alan Sears from Alliance Defending Freedom, was speaking. He was speaking about a young girl who was asked to do some things that went against her faith and got in trouble for not doing them. That story put my jaw on the floor and made me think about how many students go to college as a Christian and how few stay a Christian after they finish their four years. It was that story that inspired me to set the movie on a college campus.”

The reality is the film demonstrates Hollywood’s own intolerance. In an industry (and in fact a society) that spews a demand for tolerance, when their own viewpoints are threatened, they quickly shed any ideal of tolerance.

“The last few years it seems like there’s this whole attack on anyone who is Christian,” says Sorbo. “Yet, they want to embrace anyone who is Muslim, like that is a peaceful religion. I look at that, it’s just such an odd way to me. We bend over backwards to appease Muslims, but you say you are Christian and they want to attack you.”

Sorbo deals with this not only on a professional level, but also a personal one. “I’ve got atheist friends and acquaintances who, just because of the faith based films that I’ve done, it seems they want to be angry and challenge me on it. I don’t understand why they have so much anger over something they don’t believe in.”

Sorbo voices a confusion with the disdain for his faith, “What do you care if I want to believe in God if you don’t? Why does that bother you?” In answer to his own question, he suggests, “I think maybe they believe in something. Maybe they do believe that there’s a chance, a possibility, that there’s something out there that created all of this, all of us, and they don’t like the fact that somebody’s judging how they live their lives.”
Despite the success of the film, it has not helped Sorbo in his career. “If anything, it has hurt me,” he says. “I’ve only read for one new TV show this entire year.”

This from a legend who once starred in the most watched show in the world in the 90s, Hercules.

herculesSorbo shot to fame in 1994 when he played the role of Hercules, half god/half man, quickly becoming the envy of many mortal men, and the crush of women worldwide. While he played the part of a god, filling the big screen with a dominating presence and exuding the impression of being indestructible, Sorbo fought a private battle with mortality.  In 1997, while on a publicity tour for Kull the Conqueror and between seasons 4 and 5 of Hercules, Sorbo experienced an aneurysm in his shoulder followed by three strokes. He was weakened in body and spirit for the next several years, which he kept from the public to prevent disillusionment with the mighty character he played on screen.  It was a struggle with faith, career, and personal discouragement with himself; a reality check for the strongman at the vulnerability of the human body, even one kept in such immaculate shape as was his. Sorbo candidly recounts the experience in intricate detail in his book, True Strength (My Journey from Mere Mortal, and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life — by Kevin Sorbo).

Rebounding from that dangerous experience, and embraced by Hollywood afterwards with the starring role in Andromeda, it is telling how Sorbo’s outspoken religious and political beliefs have limited his career in the industry.

“I think Hollywood is giving a loud and clear message that they don’t want to work with me because I am a Christian and willing to do faith based films. That’s how petty the industry is,” says Sorbo. “We’re in an industry that likes to impose their viewpoints on people.”

However, Sorbo is quick to state that he holds no grudges against the industry, quirky as it may be. “I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about Hollywood. Hollywood owes me nothing,” he says. “I’ve worked very hard to get to the success that I have had. I still love this business as much as I did over 30 years ago. I’ve been very fortunate with amazing fans and a long career.”

Despite the controversy spiraling around the movie and other faith based films, Sorbo has several new upcoming shows we can look forward to including The Secret Handshake, a family comedy, Late in the Season, a basketball movie, Can’t Get Arrested, a romantic comedy TV series for the Hallmark Channel, and Normal like Me, a family drama/autism movie.

Sorbo Family 02Sorbo is a father of three, and plays an active role as the celebrity spokesperson and mentor for the charitable organization, A World Fit for Kids. “A World Fit for Kids came to me in 1996, and 17 years later we’re still going strong,” says Sorbo. “We need to learn how to teach kids who are different. I’ll never be a smart as Bill Gates, or as good at golf as Tiger Woods. Those people motivate me to want to do better. Competition is a good thing. We have to teach kids not to set limits; help people reach their potential, not mediocrity.” His wife Sam Sorbo also serves on the board of directors.

Sorbo offers a special message to his fans, “I hope they appreciate the good and bad that comes with all of us. My biggest thing is, don’t let people set your limitations. I hold that code to myself.” PivotPointEndingBug
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