Monday, March 06, 2006

Harry Potter and Da Vinci Code in the Movies

What’s With These News Headlines?

  • "The Vatican's chief exorcist yesterday claimed the Harry Potter stories could lead children into Satanism."
  • "Last week a catholic priest [who will remain unnamed here] urged Catholics to boycott the movie Da Vinci Code."

First it was the idea that movies are too sexual, then they’re too violent. That is, of course a matter of opinion and many cases it’s true. A movie-goer can plunk their movie down for anything on celluloid and sit through some pretty awful stuff out there. But a thinking person knows better and can decide what is offensive and what is just plain “not good” in the matter of script, plot, premise, and acting.

Neither warning about sex and violence has changed the movie industry much. (In fact, now we have violent and sexual video games and escalating sexuality and violence on television.)
In America, at least, people are allowed to think for themselves and decide what they want to watch and have the right to avoid watching what they don’t want to watch. YAY Democracy.

I don’t like graphic violence in movies; I think if it is integral to the plot it can be done with less gross, icky images. Yuk. On the other hand, I love CSI and remind myself when they show icky stuff having to do with insides of dead bodies—it’s FAKE. Also, I always have the right to close my eyes, turn off the tube, or walk out of the theater, if I haven’t decided to stay home and not go into a theater in the first place. No one is forcing me to go. So why do I need someone to force me not to go?

After attacking violence and sex, now we have the moral-watchdogs of the world telling us what movies not to see because they contain differing viewpoints of spirituality, religion, and thought provoking philosophical theory.

The most important thing to realize is that these movies are FICTION. They are based on made-up things out of the imagination. They aren’t real and they aren’t true!!!!

Where is the threat there? That movies will encourage people to imagine the “wrong things?” Are we to believe God doesn’t want us to use our brains for thinking and imagining? Must everything be work, work, repent, repent, close your mind, don’t think, don’t feel, and avoid entertainment, don’t escape reality for a couple hours, and turn your back on merriment?

Harry Potter uses the venue of MAGIC—such as the guy that gets up on the stage with a pointed hat, waves a “magic” wand, says abracadabra, and makes a rabbit appear out of a hat! There is absolutely NOTHING in Harry Potter series that shows him and his friends doing evil or worshiping Satan. In fact, they spend 3- or 4- hundred page fighting evil. It’s FICTION. DUH.

Da Vinci code is a suspense thriller and murder mystery. Again, the good guy goes around fighting the bad guys. It’s FICTION. DUH.

As a point of fact, almost ALL fiction portrays the fight between good and evil, and the development and growth of the character’s souls, to either a higher level or to a failure (which can teach people something, too.) There is just nothing else worth writing about except maybe wildlife—and even that is a constant struggle of survival over difficult and harsh circumstances of nature. Animals eat each other and eat plants that are alive, too. SO? Didn’t God want everthing to survive by eating?

Why are these two movies being singled out as evil influences? What about movies like What the Bleep Do We Know? This movie is obviously not Catholic. It attempts align spirituality with science--showing that both topics can be examined with open-minds. It brings up more questions than answers. It obviously aims to make the audience THINK about things. That’s all. It doesn’t pretend to teach universal truth written in stone that you’d better believe OR ELSE!!

What about the Bible? The stories in there contain violence and sexuality as well as people that dare to think and act for themselves. If Moses hadn’t killed someone and run off into the desert and married a woman from another race, the Jews might still be wandering around in the wilderness. (Oh, yeah, I forgot—the Catholic Church would rather their members NOT read the Bible but let the clergy interpret God for them. Have to have that go-between at all costs…can’t connect with Spirit directly. The Gnostics tried that and the church ran them out of business in the Year One.)

Thank God democracy hasn’t condemned thinking and spirituality along with pretend sexuality, enactments of violence, and discussion of alternative religions/viewpoints. Not yet any way. (I can see it coming if the so-called conservatives stay in power—they want to take the country back into the good old days—like the period when we burned people at the stake or their political and religious views? But that’s another topic for another blog. I ought to get to that before the government starts reading every single word put on the Internet. Wow, that’s going to create more government jobs than the building of Hoover Dam!)

You can still find all kinds of movies and TV shows that twist your mind into knots—but the freedom comes from being a discerning viewer, deciding for yourself what’s thought-provoking and inspirational and what’s evil and trash. Theoretically, watching portrayals of opposite beliefs can strengthen a person’s belief system and make them turn to it in a new and powerful way.

Letting good church members see what’s available out there in the world, can potentially teach them how to weed out the influences they don’t want to expose themselves (and their children) to. If the church tells people not to expose themselves to a variety of entertainment, it is any different than telling them NOT to think and decide for themselves? In that case, wouldn’t their actual “decision” for church rather suspect? What is it based on if not thought and choice?

I'm just wondering what gives religious groups the audacity to claim exclusive rights to everyone’s mind and soul? And to decide that certain individuals have a monopoly on what is true or not?

When aliens finally land on Earth, are all the various churches going to rush out and SAVE them? Does Christianity have an exclusive right to every being in the Universe? What if alien people (if they exist) know more about God and Heaven and spirituality than we do or have a greater awareness that we could learn from—such as peace and harmony and love?

If something can afford us a closer walk with the bliss that a relationship with the Creator can give us, what would be wrong with that? Finding joy and love and peace and unity and all those qualities spirituality aims to give human beings would be wrong HOW?

Next time you go to a movie, remember, “It’s just a MOVIE. It’s FAKE. And it designed to be FUN.” Think for yourself. Examine your beliefs. Exercise your discernment and discretion. There is plenty of choice out there for everyone in the movie world. Pick your favorite but let your neighbor pick his favorite.

What was it Augustine, the Christian Mystic said, “Love God and do as you will?”

I say that, too. Amen.

Rev. Sandy

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