Science and Faith in the Movies

It’s interesting how different this is in different communities/backgrounds – in my house growing up it seems like (non-graphic) violence was one thing that wasn’t that big a deal in movies – it was language and sexual stuff that were much bigger taboos. But I have a hard time knowing how to navigate that with my own kids too – seems no matter what we watch there will be aspects I don’t like.


Speaking of movies, our pastor showed a clip of this one in church this morning, as he is doing a series on “Games People Play” and today used chess in the sermon. Will be on my short list to download, sounds quite interesting:


What Game of Thrones illustrates is that religion is an incredibly powerful force in human societies, be it for good or for evil. I got to hear GoT producer/writer David Benioff at my library before I’d even heard of GoT. He was giving an author talk about his novel City of Thieves. The book was so good, and Benioff seemed so intelligent, that I decided to check GoT out. I don’t have cable or anything so I borrow GoT DVDs from the library. Great show!

I remember that Pete Enns once wrote about GoT: His article started with “I watch Game of Thrones and so do you.” LOL!


And sometimes it’s eerily prescient, as can be seen in The Hand Maid’s Tale, a dystopian story in which the USA becomes a harsh fundamentalist theocracy and women lose all their rights. That’s why some women dress like hand maids (long red dresses and white bonnets) when taking part in demonstrations for women’s rights.

Yeah, that’s a good example. I heard Margaret Atwood limited the rights violations in the book to things that were actually documented as happening before so she couldn’t be accused of making things up. I would like to read that novel someday, when my to-read stack gets a little smaller.

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Well, I have defending Martin on my blog, and I’d be lying if I told you that he wasn’t an influence on my own writing, which will have Martin’s maturity (without gratuitous sex) and dark themes, without his nihilistic worldview. There will be a clear sense of right and wrong, there will also be actual divine presence.

I would certainly not recommend ASOIAF to those weak of faith, who may be tempted by lust (though perhaps the same can be said for the Song of Songs), but if you can get past that, then there is a good story about power and political intrigue.

As I like to say, God searches the heart, he cares not what you watch. but why you watch it.

I don’t understand. Where is this like Christ or Christianity? Where is Christianity infertile? Per Plugged In, “Atwood’s story damns a certain kind of demeaning Christian fundamentalism, even though the vast majority of Christians would find this world horrific and repulsive.”

I read Atwood’s “Surfacing” years ago and hoped to find something better–but her self centered heroes and heroines nihilistic and depressing. I’ve not read the Handmaid’s Tale, and I do acknowledge that it is always good to realize that at bottom, each of us has the potential to be despot, Hitler, or racist, and any number of most evil things–so we can read this with some profit; but I am afraid that the predictions are prejudiced and sweeping. Or am I off track? Now I’m sentenced to read this! :). sorry. I am just really surprised by the premise.

But then, I’m the one who can’t stand the suspense in parts of “Anne of Green Gables”–don’t take my questioning as too dogmatic. I’m willing to learn. Thanks.

Addendum–I was judging before reading, and am duly reproved–please see below and disregard that jibberjabber above. Thanks.

What on earth are you talking about? I was referring to a dystopian novel called “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Did I call it Christlike? Did I call Christianity infertile? Hint: I didn’t Perhaps you should read the novel. If not, you should at at least read reviews besides that fundamentalist one. (btw, the Hulu series is really good.)

You shouldn’t be. Look what happened in Iran after the Shah was overthrown. And persecuting people of the “wrong” faith has gone on for centuries.

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No, I didn’t mean you would have called that Christlike–I was a bit surprised that Atwood would. Yes, I committed the sin of judging before I opened the book or read the movie–

Harry Potter, the much reviled series by fundamentalists, is an example of where reading the book is so much better than the fundamentalists say. My wife and I have read the series 3 times. There are good lessons we are using the books to teach our boys with.

Sorry. I can take down my post if it’s better–or maybe I should display my reason for humility here anyway :slight_smile:

Although–Plugged In isn’t that bad, really. they actually like Harry Potter, as I recall–so I’ll review them later after I read the book. I needed that rebuke. Thanks

To quote Bonhoeffer, “Good Germans would never let that happen” --in the 1930s.

Ok, but where does Atwood call that Christlike?

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I don’t mean to be petty, but do you know where he says that?

Touche’. She doesn’t. Not at all. And maybe that’s the point.

The implication seemed to me to be that the extreme of devotion to God was dystopian. Whereas, there was a review of those individuals who most affected the world–and it was Isaac Newton, Mohamed, and then Jesus, in order of decreasing influence–because Jesus’ sermon on the Mount was on surface great, but not followed. (sorry, I took an antihistamine last night and my mind is scattered–I can’t recall which one did the review) This story seemed more Hitleresque (who did try to use Christianity’s influence for his own means). However, I’m going to stop there, because, as you said, I was wrong to question this without reading it myself. Thanks for pointing that out.

It seemed to me a strawman for those who want to pillory a given belief system. But strawmen help illustrate a
However, we really need stories like this to keep us on our toes. The older I get, the more I do appreciate criticism. Thanks.

Re the Bonhoeffer quote–that was from a dramatization (Bonhoeffer, the Price of Freedom–again, Focus on the Family) and after I wrote that, I wondered if that was a real, exact quote or not. Probably it was a synthesis. it was wrong, of course, and showed how we are frail and can be evil as well as good.

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Star Trek was groundbreaking in that for the first time, blacks were included on the screen in science fiction. So on Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura, the communications officer aboard the USS Enterprise.


When she was thinking of leaving the show, she was contacted by none other than the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. A Star Trek fan himself, King asked her to stay, explaining how important it was for blacks to see her in such a role. (Previously, blacks were portrayed only in the here and now, and as servants.) And so she stayed. There were many other ethnicities aboard ship as well, including a Russian–and this was during the cold war, mind you!

Creator/producer Gene Roddenberry found that he was allowed to address sensitive issues like race by exploring them off-world. In one episode the crew came across some human-like aliens who had split into two groups that hated each other. The crew couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. The crew finally learns that one group is black on the left side, white on the other. But the other group was just the opposite. And that was the reason for their bitter hatred of each other. It sounds hokey now, but was powerful back then.

The beloved character Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) had a human mother and a Vulcan Father. Humans are outwardly emotional which sometimes leads to bad choices. Vulcans, on the other hand, value logic and suppress their emotions. So Spock, distrustful of his human side, was always trying to suppress his emotions, not always successfully.

Now, 50 years later, the latest incarnation of Star Trek, the Discovery series, continues to push the envelope with characters who are you-know-what!


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