Skip to main content

Culture Television

Questioning his Maker

Brandon Micheal Hall (left) as Miles Finer and Violett Beane as Cara Bloom (Jonathan Wenk/CBS)

Television

Questioning his Maker

In CBS series God Friended Me, an atheist doubts the divine, with unexpected results

If God sent you a Facebook friend request, what would you do? That’s the unlikely scenario at the beginning of the new CBS series God Friended Me.

Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) is an outspoken atheist eager to share his unbelief with the world through his new podcast. He toils absentmindedly during the day in a call center: His real passion is his podcast. Miles lights up with enthusiasm as he debates the existence of God with guests. “There is no proof of God anywhere in the universe,” he states.

Although convinced there is no God, Miles is strangely angry at this nonexistent being. He and his sister Ali (Javicia Leslie) were raised in a religious home, and their father Arthur (Joe Morton) is a pastor. When their mother became seriously ill, 10-year-old Miles prayed fervently for her healing, and his prayers seemed to be answered. Tragically, on the way home from the hospital, Miles’ mom died in a car accident. How could a righteous and perfect God allow that to happen?

With no easy answers to that question, the young man turns away from church to find his own solutions. As he reminds his father, “I tried to make sense of it, but the only way I could was that there was no God, because if there was it means that He is cruel, and I don’t want to live in a world governed by someone like that.”

A Facebook friend request from an account identified as “God” rocks Miles’ world. After declining the friend request numerous times, Miles finally accepts it, and a series of strange events begins. In the first episode, Miles meets Cara Bloom (Violett Beane), a reporter struggling with writer’s block. His story intrigues Cara, and the two investigate who could be behind the God account. Meanwhile, every friend suggestion from the mysterious source brings together people in need of help, and Miles finds himself the instrument of aid for these former strangers.

The show is surprisingly respectful of Christianity, at least in its first episode. When Miles visits his father, the Rev. Finer is reading from the book of James as he practices his sermon. When was the last time a whole portion of Scripture was read aloud on prime-time TV without criticism or mockery?

Miles’ questions about the divine reflect themes common to humanity. In the right context, these questions can be helpful for Christian viewers: How do we address the existence of misery and evil in the world as we talk to our nonbelieving friends and neighbors?

So far, the show has not offered easy answers. But as the miracles and amazing events unfold, Miles seems open to the idea that there is indeed a higher power at work.

If the entire series proves so respectful and intriguing, God Friended Me may be welcome viewing for Christians.

Jonathan Wenk/CBS

Hall (right) with Joe Morton as the Rev. Arthur Finer (Jonathan Wenk/CBS)

Uplifting themes

In God Friended Me, actress Javicia Leslie plays Ali Finer, a character who in some scenes brings a voice of reason and mediation to family members. Leslie told me she became a Christian in high school: Growing up, she occasionally went to church with her grandmother in Miami, then began attending worship services on her own in 10th grade, and was baptized soon after. Though she now lives in California, Leslie says she keeps in touch with sermons and worship services from her former home church in Maryland.

While she appreciates the spiritual plotline of God Friended Me, Leslie also emphasizes the show’s other uplifting themes. “It’s about people being empathetic ... and respecting each other’s views, about the connectivity between human beings.”

Leslie hopes families will watch the show together, and believes everyone will find a character to relate to. She says that main character Miles Finer, despite his questions about God, is ultimately a force for good: “What he was raised with created an anchor in him, to want to be good, and to want to help others.” —M.V.

Comments

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Mon, 10/01/2018 07:50 pm

    If it is CBS you know there is an agenda behind it that will not benefit Christians! They will likely use the wedge attack to divide us!

  • World member
    Posted: Mon, 10/15/2018 03:00 pm

    The predictable wedge was revealed only minutes into last night’s episode. A lead character who has been portrayed as a Christian is shown in an obviously sexually active same sex relationship. Of course the two engage in a discussion where it is mentioned that her father who is a reverend took some time but is okay with it now. Thats the end for me. 

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Mon, 10/15/2018 08:30 pm

    We turned it off, too, at the exact same spot. 

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Mon, 10/15/2018 08:32 pm

    I would like to suggest that World Mag hold off on giving a positive review to a new network TV show. Hollywood will ALWAYS introduce the requisite gay character after they hook you with (otherwise) good writing.