Avatar Movie Review

So, I really, really liked Avatar. It was an awesome movie with incredible visuals that I will probably watch again. It was also a movie that was chucked full of ideology, both good and bad.

Avatar spoke out against racism, much like District 9 did, but with much more emotion. It criticized the War in Iraq heavily, even using the phrase "shock and awe."

But the film did have one message that can be absolutely deadly. One of the central themes is the doctrine of pantheism. Pantheism holds that all creatures are connected in to one central being. That god is part of everyone and everyone is part of god. On the moon Pandora, the setting for Avatar, all creatures live in harmony with each other and their god, Erya. Erya is in all creatures, and all creatures are in Erya. Classic pantheism.

As with any kind of false theology, there is a false hell and false heaven. The false heaven is nature in harmony with itself. When there is balance there is peace, and all creatures can live happily in unity with Erya.

The false hell taught is, of course, the opposite. Humans come to Pandora and bring heavy machinery to mine, and guns to make the natives submit. The functional hell the movie creates is a life out of unity with nature. The savior that bridges the gap are the characters in the movie.
All they have to do is go back to nature to gain heaven.

Ok, that's really simplified but if you look its in the movie.

That's not in the Bible.

The Bible teaches that heaven is real, a place where one lives in eternal fellowship with God. Hell is the place of eternal separation from God. Sin is what separates heaven from hell. The only thing that can take us from hell to heaven is Jesus. That's the gospel.

I'm not saying Avatar is a bad movie. It's thoroughly enjoyable and I will watch it again. But it is dangerous. Christians have to be aware of and spot false theology, and not let it ruin a good movie.


Anonymous said...

You say Avatar is a dangerous movie? That's kind of ironic, considering Jake Sully can be viewed as a Christ figure!

The True Avatar
by Lane Palmer

Avatar's Christian theme


More Spiritual Than You'd Think
You Can't See Nothing If You Close Your Eyes
by Mike Furches

Andrew Winter said...

Yes, he can be viewed as a Christ figure, but if you look closely he's not doing what Christ actually did. Christ came to free us from our sin, to bridge the gap between heaven and hell. He did not come to destroy mechanized life or re-unite us with nature.

The fact that he's a (false) Christ figure makes it even more dangerous.

B. Alan Robinson said...

I was confused to see that the film was somehow associated with Christianity. It seems there's a certain community of people who are desperate to latch onto things they perceive as Christian subversion in popular culture that sometimes the subversion itself doesn't actually exist, or is so subtle and well-hidden that it's self-defeating. I didn't pick up on "Christian" themes in the film at all. It was "spiritual" in its own invented way, it was preachy but extremely vague in its ideology. The religion just seemed like some necessary story element that they didn't put that much thought into. To me it seemed intended to vaguely reflect the conquest of Native Americans by the U.S., but then kind of made a sappy pastiche out of the whole thing. The religion seemed to resemble Native American Animism more closely than Christianity. It was a pretty mediocre film overall, I would say. I suppose if it really were a powerful, unique story then its ideology might be dangerous, but as it is, I don't think it's changing many minds. If it was meant to be taken as a Christian story, it was convoluted beyond recognition and the only danger in it would be looking at it as a source of Christian ideology. Frankly, I just don't think it's deep enough to provide much ideology of any kind.