21 July 2006

tv theology

ok, so i just watched an episode of this tv show kelly sent lilly and i called farscape. (for anyone who actually knows this show, its season one episode uhm.. 14 i think..) the basic plot of the story is this texas guy (guessing by the accent) is launched up by nasa and due to wierd sci-fi circumstances, ends up in some other part of the galaxy with alot of alien convicts. in this particular episode, he ends up stranded on a planet that looks suspiciously earthy with alsoo quite earthy residents while the rest of the crew searches for him. the interesting part (well, as far as this post is concerned) starts when they find him. john's (thats the good ole down home texas boy) hot-headed warrior and babelling diplomat friends land and cause quite a stir.. first the priestess and the ruler get into it as to who controls who (system of checks and balances in a bi-party state) and how to handle the "strangers." then rigel the 16th is found cowering away in a duffel bag, and is instantly celebrated as god. they even have a stone image of him... the people begin prepareing for a ceremony during which their "god" is supposed to "fulfill the ancient prophesy" as it is written in their holy book by leading the people to the light... hmmmm.... wonder what they are satiring there.. there is alot of talk in there about religion, and it isnt exactly flattering to christianity. the film basically calls religion slavery, by having the people be locked in ignorance by their "higher power" who has created a way to prevent them from using mechanical devises.

i guess this is normal in the film world today, which is why its bothering me (especially as a filmmaker).. why do we as a viewing public tolerate such blatent farce about our beliefs? why dont we as believers produce quality alternatives? (yeah, that ones at me.. but i did get a grant for almost 600euros to do just that with!!)

i was going to say alot more.. add some scripture and stuff and detail the biblical parodies a little closer... but its almost 2am and i am fighting off a migraine.. so maybe this one will just have to go on in the comments...


At 20:10, Blogger Kelly said...

What you have here is a very common sci-fi plot. Sci-fi is so often driven by athiests who desire to "explain away" Christianity in various ways. Let me list a couple of highly known sci-fi authors who played with these themes heavily: Frank Herbert (author of the Dune series. Dune was entirely based on this, and was almost a discussion about religion and the idea of a coming king or savior), Robert Heinlein (He talked about Christianity in a very negative light in several books. The worst being my all time least favorite book, Job: A Comedy of Justice, in which he basically imagines a very powerful being "pretending" to be God Almighty and having enough powers to make the illusion almost completely real while leaving a couple of falsehoods), Isaac Assimov (a close friend of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, he played a bit on this in his Foundation Trilogy when he incorporated the idea of "The Mule"), and L. Ron Hubbard (the father of "the science fiction religion", Scientology, he would often draw upon the idea of aliens as "gods" in his books. This later became the central focus of the religion he started. A religion which, today, makes a lot of news out of Hollywood with icons like Tom Cruise and John Travolta standing up for it).

These are but a few examples, but my point is that it is not new. They like to draw upon Christianity because
A.) they recognize it is believed by many around the world and
B.) they don't believe in it.
I think there's also a
C.) I think that Satan leads them into their thinking so that their disbelief becomes a strongly stated idea and attack against Christianity poured out into a genre in which the fantastical is the norm and everyone is encouraged to think "outside the box." Sci-fi is an idea genre for their ideology, too because it attempts to explain away fantastical things as merely advanced science.

Sci-fi has long held to the idea that "any technology, sufficiently advanced, would look to someone unaccostomed to seeing it as magic" This is a mainstay of the science fiction genre. Interestingly, they almost never attack the real message of the gospel. They always misperceive Christianity or whatever religion they are attacking as a religion of "works." You can have as many "returning King" and "Messiah" storylines as you want, but if you fail, as an attacker of Christianity, to attack the gospel of grace through Christ's sacrifice on the cross and atonement of sins, then you fail completely to attack Christianity. The message of waiting for a "savior" and "king" is not a message exclusive to Christianity. The Jews today believe they are still waiting for the Messiah. They do not realize He has already come. It is very probably, I believe, that the anti-Christ will pretend to be that Messiah when he comes. The attack by sci-fi then becomes two prong:
1.) establishing an idea of make believe and
2.) forming the foundation of a societal belief that all religions have a "coming Messiah" or savior.

I've ranted more than I should on Cate's blog now, I apologize. I don't think we should run away from these shows because they touch upon these subjects. In a world where people are exposed to anti-Christian ideology everyday, I think that every bit of exposure to different kinds of thinking will merely help people to realize the futality of such thinking. As C.S. Lewis says:

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

At 04:34, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

i know that this theme is not new, and the reasons why the rest of the world wants to explain away christianity... trust me, i have enough of that in everyday life.. what is unusual about tv (notice how i am not saying sci-fi here at all? thats you) and film, is that it is widely excepted. through this exceptance of "good fiction," however, it begins to fortify false beliefs...(or have you never found yourself asking "what if...?") and we dont even realize it half the time. the "stinging criticism of one of my favorite shows," as you called it on your blog is not at all so. i have actually been enjoying farscape, despite it being sci-fi.. my criticism is broader. and mostly, aimed at the [christian] viewer. i expect non-christians to farce us. but if there are 2.1 billion christians out there, there should be more support for Biblical theology.

i wasn't saying we should run away from these kinds of shows.. it would be very hard to stay in the film scene if i were running from everything nonchristian.. what i am saying is that we need to be alert to them, to recognize when lies are being drummed into our heads, and to hold the truth up against it. the Bible says that faith comes from hearing... what do you hear more? what does the average person hear more?

ah, my counseling session is here...must stop ranting.

At 11:09, Blogger Kelly said...

Oh, your definatly right about it being almost all of what we hear, and that, with 2 billion Christians in the world, we should hear more. Maybe, as Christians, we don't think as much about TV shows. So many Christians seem, to me, to give up on most TV as it is. We can't just give up. In order to be an effective voice in Hollywood, we must be a group of "viewers." We need to be more than a Christian coalition with some vague mission. (I hate groups that name themselves things like "Christian Coalition". It's so political and fake) We have to be millions and millions of TV viewers who stand up and say, "We're not going to watch any more of this dren that you, Hollywood, are putting on our channels. Instead, we're going to watch our satellite and cable networks." This way, it's not a matter of the viewership disappearing, but, rather, of it going to another entity. In Hollywood, they are driven by money. A few million people acting together are an effective hammer in that regard, but we never take a stand together. Hence, nothing changes in Hollywood. (This is my thinking....maybe yours is different?)

At 15:29, Blogger cate mcmillan said...

ok, but you are again drawing on themes i didnt point out. hollywood isnt my target. it would be hard for me to target it, anyway, seeing as how i live in a contry that is not dominated (entirely) by hollywood anyway. i was targeting very generically 99percent of what is offered in tv and film. therefore, your suggestion to change our viewing habits to satellite and cable wouldnt help. cable and other networks are no more favorable towards christianity. and globally seen, the antichristian tendency becomes even more noticeable. at least america maintains an official association with christian morals.. (very clearly chosen word "association") your suggestion would only work if everyone started watching the christian networks... and i dont know how they are in america, but the two in germany are worse than high school productions. why? because the standard for christians keeps being set too low. we need to set the standard for christian film/art/music/business/services as high as the worldly standards. i try in my films to do the best i can, and strive to see where i can improve from one project to the next. it is important that my films become competitive with those of my nonchristian associates- and that they be shown in the same venues. i strive not only in the technical aspects to improve, but also to develpoe a story that is interesting and complex enough, while maintaining a christian theme.
and when i watch the films from the others, i try to learn from them technically, and analyse the content, looking specifically for the undertones that try to slip in there... alertfull viewing. thus the voice i am trying to maintain isnt in hollywood, and isnt against their films. it is towards the christians on the one hand, to stop setteling for ok and require excellence. and on the other hand, it is a voice to the nonchristians in the community around me, watching what i watch, discussing with them the things i notice in film that go against my biblical view. its amazing how easy a good conversation about God is to start if its based on a film...


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