Avatar – Spirituality of What?

Posted by ajenkins on December 26, 2009 under Just A Thought | Comments are off for this article

Avatar is a movie with great hype and appeal. I’m sure many of you will see it and enjoy it. In fact, I encourage that. But I also encourage you to know a bit about the movie, the theology it projects, how it will affect your perspective of God and HIS Creation and your place in it.

A small cul de sac (you know I love those). The understanding of “avatars” is important to understanding the difference between the Jewish/Hebraic/Christian understanding of God and the Eastern view of gods and avatars. This is particularly important to understand the Book of James and James’ association with his elder brother Jesus.

Enjoy Avatar, but know what your watching!

This is reprinted here from Focus On the Family’s “Plugged In” movie reviews.

Begin quote: Go Epic or Go Home! That’s James Cameron’s way. His last feature film, 1997’s Titanic, became the highest grossing of all time (without inflation being factored in). And his other résumé entries include such well-known bombasts as Aliens, The Terminator and its sequel, True Lies and The Abyss.

Big, every one. And Avatar is bigger and bolder than them all.

Cameron began working on Avatar in 1994. Fifteen years later we have what some are saying is the most expensive film ever made—one that tops $300 million. And it’s not hard to see where he spent the money. Visually, Avatar is a feast. Lush colors and spectacular creatures dance and splash (and fight). Cameron has arguably out-Lucased Star Wars creator George Lucas when it comes to imagining and rendering a stunning world in a galaxy far, far way. And Cameron’s proprietary 3-D technology will likely enhance the experience for movie “experience” fans. (It gave me a headache.)

But we have to do more here than deliver an artistic critique. Extended scenes of near nudity (blue though it may be), intense violence and more than a little profanity pop out as much as the immersive 3-D imagery does.

Cameron’s message in Avatar is something like this: Genocidal plunderers are devoid of spiritual enlightenment and driven by their compulsive lust for another people’s resources. Time reviewer Richard Corliss wrote of the motif, “This is not only the most elaborate public-service commercial for those of the tree-hugger persuasion; it’s also a call to save what we’ve got, environmentally, and leave indigenous people as they are—an argument applicable to the attempt of any nation (say, the U.S.) to colonize another land (say, Iraq or Afghanistan).”

Says Cameron, “[In] the 16th and 17th centuries … the Europeans pretty much took over South and Central America and displaced and marginalized the indigenous peoples there. There’s just this long, wonderful history of the human race written in blood going back as far as we can remember, where we have this tendency to just take what we want without asking.”

His insurgent solution? Get in touch with your world and its spirituality and stop consuming so much stuff.

Those are great, deep thoughts—to a point.

But what kind of spirituality are we talking about here? Reminding me a great deal of Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves, Cameron’s depiction of the Na’vi not only elevates tribal customs and rituals, it blurs the boundaries between God and the environment. Here the creator and her creation are indistinguishable.

Reprint from Plugged In. Read it all here.

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