By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
GRAVITY is a fantastic movie in every way. Sandra Bullock deserves to be considered for another Academy Award. One of the filmmakers I’ve known since he was young. The movie has some clear redemptive themes, including self-sacrifice, prayer, spiritual guidance, baptism. Regrettably, like many movies these days, there’s also religious confusion. At one crucial point, while Sandra Bullock’s character is talking about prayer in a Russian spacecraft, there’s a shot of an icon of Jesus on the dashboard. At another crucial point, when her character is inside a Chinese space capsule, there’s a shot of a small statue of Buddha.
If the producers had taken the time to investigate comparative religion, they could have found out that Buddha was famous for a non-theistic religion. In other words, Buddha’s enlightenment, after years of contemplating his navel, was that you could never know whether there was a God or not, or whether there was an afterlife. (Of course, conveniently, the question, “How could he know that you can never know?,” goes unanswered.) Large divisions of Buddhism have become more polytheistic, but even those don’t offer a loving God you can pray to and communicate with, but rather demons, principalities, and powers you need to fear.
The only faith systems where you can pray to an immanent, transcendent God who can answer such prayer is Judaism and Christianity. The only one that offers salvation is Christianity, where you can have a personal relationship and dialogue with a personal God, the real God who created the universe and can really save Sandra Bullock’s character.
Buddhists understand this better than Christians, which is why even today Buddhists are killing Christians in parts of Thailand and Miramar. At one point, when Christianity was getting a foothold in Japan, the Buddhist ruling class killed more than 700 Christians. Buddhists know that Christianity stands in stark contrast to Buddhism, because it offers a loving God who gives value to each and every person, people that Buddhists consider to be irrelevant. The impact of Buddhist thinking in the largest Buddhist country, Thailand, is a tremendous sex trafficking and sex trade, especially of young people. Since there is no God, no Judgment, no afterlife, no consequences, what you do with these young children is irrelevant. Christianity, however, says these children are created in the image of God and were worth the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to save them for eternal life. In other words, their value is immeasurable.
The creative team behind GRAVITY made some beautiful points, but this religious confusion is going to lead some viewers astray. So, help get the word out, Buddha doesn’t answer prayer, Jesus does.