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Doctor’s Real-Life Switch From Atheism to Christianity Inspired a Central Character in Major Hollywood Film

Apr. 3, 2014 11:51am

Martin Yip is one of the main characters in “God’s Not Dead,” the Christian movie that stunned observers with its impressive performance at the box office about a student who debates an atheist professor on the existence of God.

Yip’s character, an atheist who converts to Christianity after meeting protagonist Josh Wheaton on campus, is actually based on a real-life doctor who went through a similar experience decades ago.

Dr. Ming Wang, an eye surgeon in Nashville, Tenn., was studying in the U.S. when he became a follower of Jesus.

His story, captured in the 2013 book “God’s Not Dead” (the book preceded the film), began in China, where he grew up with parents who taught at a medical school, according to the Tennessean.


Coming from a highly educated family, Wang said academics were always of the utmost importance.

“Everything was about scholarship, learning and science in our family,” he told the Tennessean. “Education was the most important.”

He ended up going to Harvard Medical School, where he graduated with honors and was later one of the first surgeons in the U.S. to perform laser cataract surgery. He also holds a degree from MIT and a doctorate in laser physics.

It was at Harvard, though, that he went through a transformation that transcended academics. Wang began questioning certain structures, wondering how the eye, for instance, could be so complex, yet still the result of random evolution.

And that was only one example of the inquisitiveness that sent him on a spiritual path.

(Image source: IMDB)

“I [learned] that the number of neuronal synapses in one person’s brain is more than all the stars that we have ever discovered in the entire universe,” Wang told the outlet. “I calculated that mathematically, it would have taken trillions of trillions of trillions of years, to randomly evolve into a structure as complex as the human eye, but the universe was presumably to have existed only for 13 billion years.”

A professor’s faith also inspired him, leading Wang to eventually embrace Christianity, the Tennessean reported.

Certainly not one to discredit science, Wang believes that it simply doesn’t tell the whole story about life’s complexities on its own.

Yip, the character based on Wang, is depicted in “God’s Not Dead” as a smart and curious young man who experiences Wheaton’s theological battle with Professor Radisson firsthand, watching the two go toe-to-toe over God’s existence during a series of in-class debates.

After hearing both sides of the debate, Yip ends up becoming a Christian.

Learn more about his character profile below:


(H/T: Tennessean)

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