WitnessForChrist 2 _ 2010
Some people say that "Avatar is a good movie because it expresses the who became man and save mankind." Wow! Is it really so?
Avatar is a bestseller movie presently played in cinemas in Indonesia, and got a big appeal from audience. It might be because it used the latest techniques of modern cinematography plus a lively performance (3D), but this film carries lot of criticism, especially from the dark colored people (brown, yellow and black ) and even from Vatican!
The story, a large white investor backed by sophisticated military equipments impose their will by planning to evict forest area in a nowhere land on the planet 'Pandora' (which is inhabited by dark-skinned native creature) by means of creating mutant with human consciousness, but can enter the indigenous community with a physical body as the natives.
Jake Sully a paralyzed marine veteran was sent as a mutant to the indigenous creature and serves as 'Avatar' (mediator) with the intention to persuade the natives Na'vi to accept the relocation plan. Once there, he fell in love with the daughter of its King. His effort as Avatar was not successful, in fact he finally favor the Na’vi people and fight against his own human friends who come as aggressors who want to destroy the natural wealth of the planet in pursuit of a lucrative mine product. As a result a massive preemptive strike was launched by the aggressor that also met with violence by Na'vi creatures. At first the Na’vi was defeated, but with the heroic spirit built by Jake Sully they managed to fight totally with the existing weapons to avoid the human colonization.
The first essence of the movie is ‘white race supremacy’ that even in a less number but supported by massive capital and sophisticated militarism weapons with powerful strategy, they imposed their will on the colored native Na'vi (Na'vi princess played by colored skin Dominican actress). This film is apparently a metaphor for the story 'Poccahontas' in which the white European people invade colored Indians in America where one of the European fell in love with Poccahontas, the daughter of the Chief of the Indians.
Hollywood was indeed beware of the mistake that featured white supremacy colonialism on skin colored people, that’s why they made a movie 'I Am Legend' (Will Smith) in which the color of the world savior is black, but James Cameron as a white people, apparently still using the old image with a feature story in 'Avatar' in which the mediator who rescue is a white man (probably to avoid the white killing each other, the colored princess murdered the commander of the invaders). Racism is so prominent in western films, and used to dye some Hollywood films such as 'Dances with Wolves' (Kevin Costner) and 'The Last Samurai' (Tom Cruise). Until now stereotype of white supremacy is still strong even in the figure Sinterklaas (white) with his black slave (Piet), but it seems that Americans have realized that it was wrong, therefore the present elected colored skin president is of African descent! (Santa Claus in America do not have slave).
The second essence is ‘secular modernism versus primitive magical-mystic primordialism.’ This film heavily promotes the spirit of New Age (New Age Movement) i.e. to return to the spirit of ‘mother nature’ and worship it. It is clearly visible in the film the mystical belief / magical consciousness where all beings are regarded as one with nature (earth, trees and animals) and praise 'Ewa' (The Great Mother Nature) which is the energy essence of the universe (cf. with the concept of' Chi which is present in all beings; that 'Atman should merge into the Brahman' in Hinduism; and ‘Ewa’ the magical spirit of Voodoo in Haiti).
The third essence is 'World without God'. The film is absolutely promoted the impersonal nature god, and although the names 'God and Jesus' were mentioned several times it is infact mentioned in vain. The film shows the problem of human greed to control natural wealth for its own benefit with its own power or with the help of impersonal “nature spirit." Vatican vocally criticized the film and commented that: "The film voiced the highlight of modern doctrine of natural worship (Pantheism) as a replacement for religion. ... Nature is no longer the creature to be preserved, but to be worshiped."
The fourth essence that permeates Avatar is ‘harsh violence as in most new age films’ like 'Star Wars' (cf. the war in the Khurusethra war in the Mahabaratha epic of ancient India). The message of this film is 'to use violence against violence, terror against terror.' The same philosophical theme is favored by many Hollywood directors and actors lately. Titanic produced by the same film director James Cameron describes a horrible mass death.
Another thing that is promoted by the film is that modern capitalistic and militaristic culture has failed, but primordial mystic-magical culture is considered ideal and eventually won. Here the film somehow forgot that God gave to mankind the reason that enabled men to rise from the life of a broken world, but the movie teaches us to preserve primordial mystic-magical culture instead. So not the best solution was taken, but the film is selecting one of two alternatives that are equally bad.
Finally, why are there people who compare the avatar of the film with Jesus the Savior? It is clearly different, it is right that the term 'avatar' is etymologically means 'the mediator' but the mystical concept of 'Avatar' means it as 'Savior' in which all religious figures including Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammad and LaoTzu equally believed to be the avatars who are bringing people to God (the ‘ONE’). From this concept of 'avatar' James Cameron produced 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus' film in which Jesus died as well as experienced by the other avatars.
In the Bible, Jesus (with the same human skin in the context of his native land) is the only 'Son of God' who sacrificed himself on the cross for the salvation of mankind, while 'Jake the avatar' is a paralyzed human but superior in skin color tried to persuade the natives to surrender and follow the will of the invader. Jesus proclaimed ‘God’s Kingdom’ on earth, 'while the avatar of the film’ destroyed his own human kingdom. Jesus is the savior who reconciles God with human being, but avatar of the film imposed the will of his superior and resulted in the destruction of both sides. Thus, Avatar is far from Jesus in modern image.
We can’t just forbade children in order not to see the popular film, even though it is labeled as Parental Guidance (PG-13), because copies of the film are circulated widely and easily purchased in shopping malls as easy as we buy roasted peanuts. What can be done by parents is 'not take the children to watch the film,' and if the children had already watched the film, give them healthy spiritual teaching as a balance (Proverbs 22:6). Parents also need to educate their children in order not to be affected by the influence of New Age mystical/magical worldview and mindset which depends on human tradition and rather than on Christ (Colossians 2:8) which is influencing today’s Christian youth, otherwise we will regret it later when the growing kids will be secularized and mysticized that leaves God behind, but glorify human nature and the ability of reason and science. ***
With Love from Yabina ministry www.yabina.org
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