Spiritual Themes in "Avatar"
I've been to the theater to see Avatar twice. And, I wrote a book called Pop Goes the Church -- all about finding God in the pop culture of movies, shows and books. So, you would expect me to be able to unearth all kinds of spiritual truths in this movie. However, I was so captured by the creativity, story line and stunning graphics that I completely missed some of the spiritual conversations that could be started as a result of this movie. Lucky for me, Roy Shaff was more observant.
In a post yesterday, Roy talked about some of the symbolism in the movie relating to spiritualism in America, and then offers Christians some great discussion ideas. Roy writes:
- First, In the Gospel of John, Jesus is the Logos, the “Avatar” of divine wisdom. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. I do not want to go nuts; but, there is a good discussion here.
- A second discussion starter can come from the mother of Neytiri, Mo’at, is the Tsahik (Righteous One, shaman or spiritual teacher) of the Omaticaya clan (the Na’Vi). When she first meets Jake in Avatar form, she notes as others in the clan do, Jake’s overweening arrogant pride. This is fundamental. Human pride of conquest and Na’Vi humility are divergently central to the plot of Avatar. This is a key tenet to healthy spiritually life—that ability to learn. Jake’s interest to the Na’Vi was his heart. He has unprecedented heart. It is enough to ensure his ‘insanity [of spiritual pride] could be cured.’
- Third is the universiality of our search for God. Christians believe that God is self-evident (though deniable) and rewards of those who pursue the Spiritual journey with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Nicholas Wade’s new book, “The Faith Instinct,” lucidly lays out the scientific evidence that humans are hard-wired to believe in the transcendent. As philosopher Will Herberg says, “Man is homo religiosus, by ‘nature’ religious: as much as he needs food to eat or air to breathe, he needs a faith for living.” (Read Roy's entire post here).
What do you think? Are these good conversation starters for someone who is far from God?