On Avatar, environmentalism and worldviews (Part 2)


<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>
the Tree of Souls Eywa TGIF Thank God it's Friday Avatar Environmentalism Christian worldview

Seedlings from the Tree of Souls act as ‘magic markers’ showing the will of the mother goddess Eywa. It’s all so transparently New Age you’d have to be practically spiritually dead to miss it. Click image to link to the movie’s official webpage.

So, by now, you’ve probably watched Avatar? And yes, like me, the movie’s special effects and visual eye candy blew your mind away didn’t it? Anyone can see 15 Oscar nominations coming from a mile away.

My wife and I went on a ‘date night’ last Saturday after I had heard a review by Pastor Neil Oosthuizen at TGIF that Friday. Bottom line, he was resoundingly positive about the film and its central messages and encouraged the audience to go and watch it. One major theme that he cited was environmentalism and the movie portrays the subject in the following ways (in no particular order and certainly not exhaustive):

  1. No longer can the greens on your plate be considered dumb veggies. The trees on Pandora form a massive interconnected network like the synapses of a huge brain. There’s intelligence out there folks.
  2. You better start taking out funeral policies on your pets. On Pandora, if you kill Fido, be expecting to give it the same loving farewell you would your mother or father.
  3. Sit, Ubu, Sit. Good dog. No longer are you teaching tricks like roll over or play dead, now you uplink to animals directly like an interactive Wii device.
  4. Not only is the fauna intelligent but it’s also deeply spiritual. At the centre of the story is a special tree called the Tree of Souls.
  5. The bad guys have chain saws and the good guys live in hammocks. Say no more.
  6. We’re part of the environment so it’s natural that when we die we just return back to the environment.
Hometree TGIF Thank God it's Friday Avatar Environmentalism Christian worldview

The environmentalist’s answer to townhouse living is very very very big trees. Click image to link to the movie’s official webpage.

Well it all fits together quite well and I found the story captivating. I really enjoyed the way it gelled different storylines from many other sources together. In the review on Friday and again while watching the film on Saturday a question continually gnawed at the back of my head, “How did the concepts, ‘the environment’ or ‘connectedness’ or ‘real love’ stack up to the way that the Bible presents them?” Well, on environmentalism the Bible portrays some interesting differences:

  1. Propensity for intellect in the movie is equated to ‘being’. The Bible however elevates man above the rest of the created universe. In him alone God rests His image. Listen to Genesis 1,
    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

    Want to hear the verse in context? Genesis 1 – 7
    What is this about?

  2. Um, no comment.
  3. God views men and beast as distinct. Listen to the covenant He made with man in Genesis 9,
    1 …”Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as {I gave} the green plant.

    Want to hear the verse in context? Genesis 8 – 15
    What is this about?

  4. Pious plants. There’s a clip in the movie when the Na’vi race are sitting in a pagan chant around this sacred tree and it’s communing with them. Now God does wish us to worship folks, but appropriately. It’s not His intention that we get caught up with creation but rather with the creator,
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    Want to hear the verse in context? Romans 1
    What is this about?

  5. I also like the idea of trees and I’d love to have a hammock. The Bible exhorts us to be good stewards of the earth and all that’s in it,
    28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    Want to hear the verse in context? Genesis 1 – 7
    What is this about?

  6. There’s no way that we’re going to become ‘one’ with the environment according to God’s Word of Truth. What the future holds for us is being raised, judged and eternity to follow; some in heaven; more in hell,
    46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Is the point made? If not watch this space for the next two installments. Basically Avatar presents a completely different worldview to that which the Bible propositions as the truth. So what? Good question and I’m trying to decide where this series is going. Where do I stand on things like entertainment? My indecision aside, what I do know is this, many of the questions that our world has on their minds right now are shaped by the themes and concepts found in this movie and other media. Be prepared to give a defense for the hope that you have in Him because the questions are out there.

<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

Interested in other movie reviews like Angels and Demons? Find them in the sidebar under Topics \ Reviews \ Movies.

The Voyage That Shook the World (Notice for the Chapel and other interested parties)


The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World

Darwin had a ridiculous beard but a brilliant mind. Was he right? Was he wrong? Come join us on the 28th November between 4 and 5 pm to watch a fascinating documentary on The Voyage That Shook the World. Click any image to link to the source.

The greatest story ever told kicks off with the line,

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…

Want to hear the verse in context? Genesis 1 – 7
What is this about?

About 7,000 years later (no guesses for where I stand) Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. His Theory of Evolution profoundly rocked the way that the human world perceives its place in the universe. Now, 150 years later, with the benefit of hindsight and scientific insight, a one-hour HD documentary, The Voyage That Shook the World, traces Darwin’s journey to the Galápagos Islands and investigates some of the ramifications and foundations that his works rests on.

So, if you’re a member, a regular visitor or just interested to find out what Darwin actually said and where we stand as a church on evolution, creation and everything in between please come and join us on Saturday, 28th November between 4 and 5 pm.

The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World
The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World

The spender and beauty of the Galápagos Islands is brought to life in High Definition in this one-hour documentary billed by Dr Ted Baehr from movieguide.org as “Fascinating and profound insights… one of the best produced documentaries ever made.” Click any image to link to the source.

The documentary will be shown at Midrand Chapel, 151 Pitzer Road, Glen Austin, 1685 on Saturday, 28th November between 4 and 5 pm. Wanna find it:

Watched the movie yet? What did you think? Want more information? Go and check out http://thevoyage.tv/trailer.aspx.