The World According to kcillini77

March 5, 2007

Recycled Worldviews

Filed under: America,Arts,Christianity,Movies — kcillini77 @ 2:12 pm

Over the weekend I watched the critically acclaimed movie Little Miss Sunshine. I love movies, even though I don’t get to see them as often as I used to since the little one has arrived. I thought the movie was artistically well done and enjoyable. It did certainly have some content that would offend many people. But I am less concerned with counting cuss words in a film than I am with the underlying theme that movies present. If there is one thing that frustrates me to no end, it’s people in general, and Christians in particular, consuming movies and television and summarizing their feelings on the movie with “I liked it.” With the exception of some slapstick humor flicks, movies are always trying to impart a message to us and if we don’t listen for it we simply absorb it uncritically.

Though lauded for its originality, the theme of this movie was decidedly unoriginal. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. People are all different, but they are basically good at heart, and if we would just let everyone live how they want to without judging or criticizing them, we would all be free and the world would be at peace. I think about 80% of Hollywood movies have this as their underlying premise or at least is communicated as a secondary message. It’s a lie. We are not basically good at heart. We love evil, but we have the capacity to do good. That’s not semantics – these are two very different philosophies, and it is important that we decide which of them we believe because what we believe about our nature shapes how we view ourselves, our fellow humans, and our God.

If we’re basically good, we have no need for a savior and we should expect training and good behavior to make our world a better place. That obviously hasn’t happened up to this point. If we’re basically evil – or, in other words, have a sin nature, the good news of Christ makes sense. Examine yourself honestly. Do you really believe you are good at your core – at the very root of your soul? Or does your knowledge of your desires and actions show you that you love darkness, but can break out of that sometimes to do good? Follow the evidence. Don’t believe the lie.

February 11, 2007

Mocking religion

Filed under: Arts — kcillini77 @ 7:52 pm

    This has been on my mind for a while, but I haven’t taken the time to sit down and type it out until today.  The same day my last article was published in the KC Star there was a blurb in the Faith section that stated “Two Fox network shows, ‘The Family Guy’ and ‘House’ consistently mock religion and people of faith, a study by the Parents Television Council says.”  My wife and I have become regular viewers of “House”, a drama about an abrasive doctor (Dr. House), who diagnoses and treats all kinds of mysterious illnesses.  I was somewhat taken aback at the statement, but resolved to pay attention as we watched both new episodes and some old ones we are catching up on via DVD.  I have done that, and I would like to rebut the statement made by the Parents Television Council.

Let me preface my comments by stating that, to be sure, there is content in the show that is certainly worth keeping children away from, and certain episodes require discretion by adults.  So I will allow that an organization for parents is well within its role to caution parents about the show in general.  But stating that it mocks religion and people of faith smacks of hypersensitivity by people who cannot tolerate opposing viewpoints on any issue.  The main character, to be sure, is a self avowed atheist.  He makes all kinds of snide comments about just about anyone who doesn’t believe as he does.  But he is presented as an extremely flawed character – as someone incapable of love or compassion.  Other characters, both patients and other doctors, are presented in neutral or favorable lights as they offer other viewpoints and show caring for people.   Some episodes present a contrast between his character and people who manage to care and love someone as unlovable as Dr. House.  The contrast between Dr. House and “real people” is the show’s crowning achievement.  Most of the time, I can see some of myself in both Dr. House and in the people he is compared to.  This is a very real presentation of the human condition.  We are all deeply flawed people, but (through Christ – here is where I must extrapolate what the show does not present) we are able to overcome our flaws and love.   The statement by the Parents Television Council seems to imply that we should not be a party to a show where disparaging comments are made about our faith.  But we live in a real world, and people disparage our faith every day.  If we turn off a television show when someone makes a comment we don’t agree with, we can feel self-righteous about our decision and think we are doing what Jesus would have done.  However, if we turn away from the people around us who are hostile to our faith, we are being decidedly un-Christlike.  Maybe instead of flipping to a more innocuous program when a question of faith is addressed, we could use the opportunity to think about how we would respond in our workplace to such a situation so that we can be prepared with an answer.

“House” is a show that prompts discussion between my wife and I about varied topics often including our beliefs and how we might better love other people.  I can’t think of more you could ask for in a television show.  It is certainly not mindless entertainment.  I think it is important as consumers of television and movies to make choices that teach us.  “House” does just that, if you will let it.

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