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Capitalism, Christianity and AVATAR
By David Outten, Production Editor
A screenwriter can create any world he wants to and with computer graphics directors like James Cameron can bring it to life. Reality is something else.
At a screening for AVATAR, I was given a book entitled AVATAR: An Activist’s Survival Guide. The book begins with a quote:
“There are many dangers on Pandora, and one of the subtlest is that you may come to love it too much.” – Dr. Grace Augustine.
Grace is the fictional character in the movie, who heads up the avatar program and wants to see mankind befriend the natives. Her comment is actually true but in a context not intended.
The danger to moviegoers is that AVATAR presents the Na’vi culture on Pandora as morally superior to life on earth.
If you love the philosophy and culture of the Na’vi too much, you will be led into evil rather than away from it.
Colonel Miles Quaritch, the human military commander in AVATAR, is meticulously scripted to evoke dislike and to get audiences looking forward to his eventual demise. Everything about the production works to manipulate audiences to cheer for the survival of the Na’vi and an end to the brutality of the greedy humans destroying the planet.
People need to carefully consider the messages in the movie and weigh them against reality.
THE NASTY CAPITALISTS
It’s politically popular to be critical of Capitalism. Michael Moore recently tried to make a few more million documenting the evil of capitalism.
The truth is that Capitalism is only as evil and the person practicing it. If someone wants to sell drugs that enslave the youth in vile addictions, that illicit business can be called Capitalism. If someone wants to start a company that for the first time offers computers for ordinary people, that’s Capitalism. We live better today in our average American home than kings used to live because of Capitalism. If you want to sleep in a tree, wake up and go hunting with bows and arrows you might prefer being a Na’vi, but if you want the opportunity to buy a ticket to AVATAR you need to appreciate Capitalism.
What you really need to come down on is sin. God has instructed us to, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When you scam the elderly out of their retirement, sell a loan that you know will blow up in a homeowner’s face or write some disgusting computer virus you make earth a less desirable place to live.
The problem with life on earth is not Capitalism it is the wickedness of human nature. The cure for this is not found in hugging a tree. The cure is to repent of sin and accept that Jesus Christ paid the price for your forgiveness AND TRANSFORMATION. You can become a new person driven by the Spirit of God to be kind, considerate, honest and loving.
THE SPIRITUAL NATIVES
Any well-funded filmmaker can make pretty scenes where the character they choose to portray as heroic has little light flowers descend on him. What James Cameron has done is revive the myth of the noble savage – at one with nature. In the book mentioned above the Na’vi are described:
“They have developed a vibrant, complex, and sophisticated culture based on a profound spiritual connection to their moon, to one another and to the encompassing ‘spirit’ they call Eywa. The operative concept for the Na’vi is balance. Their lives express this balance in body, mind and spirit.”
In reality, you are connected to the earth by gravity, not by spirit. The Bible tells us the earth will be burned up and there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness reigns. We are stewards of the earth and its creatures, not brothers. We are accountable to God for what we do with the resources He’s given us.
The spirit world is not something in need of balance. It is a war zone where evil spirits want to drag you into lust, greed, anger, and depression while the Spirit of God seeks to rescue you from darkness. The unity you need is not with plants and trees but with the eternal God who will still be ruling and reigning when the plants and trees are all burned up.
If you think Pandora looks like a great place to live, consider the beginning of what’s known as the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
What do you think life on earth would be like if God had his way? Children would grow up in homes with two loving parents, employees would be impeccably honest, employers would be generous, crime would not exist, there would be no pedophiles, scamers, spamers, or drug dealers. There would be no addicts, no gamblers, no AIDS or herpes. Imagine the prosperity that would be possible.
You can hug all the trees you want and nothing will do more to help the planet earth than a revival. What God wants for mankind is absolutely glorious.
While the movie AVATAR only mentions it, the back-story that earth has been nearly destroyed by those who failed to heed the warnings of environmentalists is part of why humans have come to Pandora.
Have there been real horror stories of pollution? Yes.
Do we need to be better stewards? Yes.
Is the world on the brink of environmental disaster? No.
In 1971, the movie THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE predicted that we would be overrun by insects by now.
In 1975, Newsweek Magazine had this to say about global COOLING:
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. … The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
Now the scare is global warming, even as temperatures are dropping again. The common constant is the demand for political action, starting with plenty of funding for scientists who shout the loudest about the latest popular scare.
The disaster we really need to be concerned about is moral. You cannot dismiss the impact of immorality on the United States. In 1960, eight percent of births were to unwed mothers. In 2007, that had risen to 37 percent. In the same span of time, America’s prison population has multiplied more than ten times. More than half a million Americans have died of AIDS. The cost of welfare and health care related to immorality is staggering. National and personal debt are at shocking highs.
Politicians are under great pressure to take drastic action to combat global warming, while the already obvious results of our moral disaster bring no political interest beyond funding more disaster relief.
Movies are fiction.
Fiction can inspire good or evil. During World War II Hitler, Stalin and the United States used movies to inspire their people. German screenwriters made Hitler look like a god who’d come to lead the master race.
When you watch a movie like AVATAR know that the filmmaker is playing with your mind and emotions. Every frame is carefully planned to lure you to come to the conclusion the filmmaker wants you to accept. By the time the final scene comes, you don’t just want the bad guy killed; you want him to die some spectacular death. The filmmaker picks the bad guy. James Cameron could have made you hate the Na’vi and love the Colonel. Michael Moore could interview people that make Capitalism look glorious. Al Gore could go shoot a movie about global cooling.
If you want the truth, read the Bible.