Why Christians Aren’t Up in Arms about Avatar


I suggested in my first post on James Cameron’s stunning 3D movie Avatar that some professing Christians might be missing the panentheistic religious overtones because they have begun to incorporate tenets of New Age spirituality with their church traditions so that what many call “Christianity” has become a mishmash of religious beliefs.

I’m going to hold to that belief, though I’ve qualified the statement here and in a comment to say “some” professing Christians. Not all gloss over the false religion in the movie for that reason, though some do, and perhaps more than we’d like to admit.

I’ve run into professing Christians who believe their dead relatives become angels who watch over them, for instance. How is this not akin to ancestor worship?

But that leads to a second reason I think Christians aren’t loudly declaring the false spiritual ideology of Avatar: we are tied to literalism. Please understand, I am rabid when it comes to believing the Bible literally. But the Bible is so much more than a list of rules and regulations. Yet a lot of people seem to want to make Scripture that and nothing more.

Consequently, if the Bible said, Thou shalt not adopt New Age beliefs, those folks would be all over Avatar.

Instead Scripture says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Deut. 5:7) and we are left to connect the dots: worshipping Nature and/or a theistic version of Nature is no different from worshipping any other false god. Therefore, Avatar is advocating a false religion, one that runs counter to Christianity.

Seemingly, some professing Christians are only willing to declare the black and whites, not realizing that even those require us to think.

A third reason I think Christians are giving the movie a pass is what Mike Duran said in his comment Monday:

the reason more Christians aren’t critical of Avatar is because it is so graphically stunning, so fantastical — dare I say, breath-taking.

I will say again, I left the theater so enthusiastic about the movie, I couldn’t stop talking about it (and now seemingly, I can’t stop writing about it! 😮 ) The visuals are astonishing.

***Spoiler Alert***

I loved the mountains in the sky with the waterfalls that evaporated into mist.

The imaginative world had texture. While much of it was borrowed from oceanic life, it felt fresh and new because it was put on land.

I even loved the love story. Not new, not unpredictable, but sweet. I loved the “I see you” line.

*** End Spoiler Alert ***

And there is the point: some Christians aren’t “seeing” the movie. They are seeing the external trappings, the artistry in which the movie is wrapped, even the trite story that serves as the vehicle, but what literature, all literature is about is saying something (it’s called theme).

Readers, then, must think it out and see if what the writer says in his story is true, or not.

Christian writers have denied this, and consequently want to deal only with the tinsel and lights and decorations and star while ignoring the Christmas tree underneath.

But there’s another reason, maybe two, and I’ve already written too much for one post (third day in a row—I think that’s what being away from blogging for two weeks has done to me! 😉 )

For further discussion, see “Why Christians Aren’t Up In Arms About Avatar, Part 2.”

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