By David Outten, Production Editor, with Ted Baehr, publisher
The box office smash AVATAR won the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. In response, Director James Cameron said, “AVATAR asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the Earth. And if you have to go four and a half light years to another, made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of the world that we have right here, well, you know what, that’s the wonder of cinema right there, that’s the magic.”
This is a clear statement of religious belief. Cameron’s “magic” is pure propaganda. He’s made an emotional movie to try to convince audiences that all human beings are connected to each other and to the earth. This is Pantheism. It is not Christianity.
Christians are taught that their Savior Jesus Christ is not of this world. He did not die, get buried and become a glowing tree. He is not one with the earth. He ascended to heaven. This is where the Christian is to be connected. When someone accepts Jesus Christ as Lord, they receive the Holy Spirit as their connection to Jesus and God. This is not an earthly connection. In fact, Christians are told the earth will one day be burned up.
The Christian is called not to live in this world but to focus on the kingdom of heaven - not on the earth. Christians are called to be good stewards of the earth. They’re called to love their fellow man. They’re called to be good citizens. They’re called to be the light of the world, but they are also warned not to be “of the world” (John 15:19 and 17:14).
This distinction is very important. The world is mired in sin. People are in bondage to all sorts of evil beliefs, habits and lifestyles. God sent Jesus Christ to rescue those lost in sin. Jesus paid the price on the cross for the forgiveness of sin and then sent the Holy Spirit to empower millions of believers to rescue others by sharing the Good News.
The Good News is that through Jesus Christ you can be connected to God. You can experience a connection to heaven even as you live on this earth. Heaven is perfect. There is no sin there. God in heaven is the source of truth, love, joy, and righteousness.
If you’re seeking spiritual connections, you have two choices: God or Satan. There is a spirit world that’s not heavenly. There are spirits of lust, greed, envy, bitterness, and more. There are all manner of false beliefs that lead people away from salvation through Jesus Christ. Pantheism is one of them. The devout pantheist will look for ways to encourage others to believe as they do and will pursue a related political agenda. Earth-love is often expressed through radical environmentalism. The most sincere environmentalists tend to become stooges for socialists. As such, they usually denounce Capitalism as the cause of world destruction.
Cameron has done a masterful job in manipulating the emotions of his audience in AVATAR. He created a world where it looks good and noble to live in a tree and hunt for your food daily with a bow and arrow. He made Capitalists with their huge machines look sinister.
In the real world, the people of Haiti have lived about as primitive an existence as you will find in the western hemisphere. It is not noble. It is disgraceful. No one in the 21st Century should have to live that way. When the recent earthquake hit, thousands of very poor people died because of the lack of big Capitalist machines capable of lifting concrete off of those trapped. The relief flowing into Haiti now is not coming from people who live in trees and hunt for their food daily. It is coming from the Christian Capitalists in the United States of America!
My brother-in-law Mike and his wife Teresa have been in Haiti for the last several years. They are there because they believe Jesus Christ wants them to help the Haitian people. They are not there to be one with the earth or to teach bow and arrow skills. They share the good news of salvation and to do such things as bring water to an area without it, provide medial care, and teach women to sew. Mike and Teresa are supported by other Christians in the United States, some of whom go to Haiti on short mission trips.
Around the world, Christians are making life on earth better because of their connection to heaven. It is not cinematic “magic.” It is on-the-ground, day-to-day ministry.
Pantheism only works in the movies. In real life, the result of Panetheism is abject poverty. Are you ready to be one with the earth and give up your car, turn off your air conditioner, and do without a refrigerator? Ask the people of Haiti how “magical” that is.
Editor’s Note: For a list of the best, most inspiring movies of 2009, don’t look to the Golden Globes or the Oscars. Get a copy of MOVIEGUIDE®’s upcoming Annual Issue listing the Best Movies for Families and the Best Movies for Mature Audiences, and come to our 18th Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and report to the Entertainment Industry Feb. 23 in Beverly Hills, Calif. For information on participation, click here.