The Invisibility of Christian themes in Blockbuster Movies

May 17, 2011

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written several times on the relationship between biblical narrative and literature HERE.  I have also called on Christians to consider turning their creative energies to the writing of literature for broader audiences.  Who will be the next C.S. Lewis or J.R. Tolkien? But perhaps there is a greater challenge facing Christians with film. David Dale in the Sydney Morning Herald has rather amusingly made the observation that it seems like every imaginable religious worldview is being represented in recent popular movies except Christianity.  He asks wryly "What has the Judeo-Christian system done for us lately?" He writes:
Transmigration of the soul, a belief of Hindus, Buddhists, and followers of the Jewish Kabbalah, is the trendy trope for screenwriters. A film called 'Source Code', which sold a  healthy 130,000 tickets during its first week in Australian cinemas, assumes a person's mind can be placed into the body of another person for the last eight minutes of person B's life (thus permitting person A to learn who murdered B). It's not so much reincarnation as preincarnation. Don't ask how the technology works. Just have faith.

'Inception' uses a similar principle, except that the soul-jumping happens when both parties are asleep. And in 'Avatar', human souls are transferred into bio-engineered alien bodies (on a planet whose inhabitants engage in Gaia worship, just to offer another option).

It's an amusing read but is there a significant message for Christians? How can we ensure that the Bible's central narrative themes are represented in literature and film? While there are plenty of films and books with Christian themes evident, he is commenting on recent blockbusters and the seeming dominance of other faith traditions at the moment. Of course, the trend begs the question is this evidence of people buying into other faith positions, or simply being willing to suspend their beliefs and reason to enjoy a good story? I'll let you judge that one, here's the trailer.

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