HOLLYWOOD'S NEW SPIN ON OLD RELIGION

My kids love the movie Avatar.  My son owns the Blu-ray version and still went to see the movie for his 3rd time at the IMAX theatre last night.  Make no mistake about it, it is unquestonably the most technologically advanced and visually stunning movie ever produced.  At a cost of $500 million it is also the most expensive. 

Canadian writer/director James Cameron brilliantly included every element necessary to produce an international box office hit.  Action, drama, romance, science fiction, fantasy, and incredible groundbreaking special effects… although there was little of what I would consider real comedy.   A bit of a downer for a guy who spends most of his TV time on the Comedy channel.  I am really looking forward to the upcoming release of Bean Atar.

Somehow, to the shock of many, Avatar did not win Best Picture at the Oscars.  Nevertheless, it is still being lauded by many as the greatest motion picture of all time.  Probably not surprisingly to most of you, I am not one of them.  I did enjoy the unique concept and the overall experience but the unoriginality of the storyline and the obvious predictability of the outcome was a bit comical.  It should have been entitled “Pocahontas Meets the Smurfs in Outer Space”.

I have little comment either way about James Cameron’s overt environmentalist message or his broad handed swipe at the insensitive racist American imperialistic capitalist pigs that he lives among in his newly adopted home in Hollywood.  The real problem I have with Avatar is Cameron’s shameless pagan religious message.  Cameron has an axe to grind with Christianity.  He personally funded the production of Simcha Jacobovici’s The Lost Tomb of Jesus.  It was a combination of terrible science and contemptible intellectual dishonestly to try to disprove the resurrection and the deity of Christ.  The holes in the logic were so big you could sail the Titanic through them.  It is not worth even talking about and almost nobody bothered to see it anyway. 

titanic.jpg image by tbirdofparadise

Avatar is a different story because the whole world has seen it.  $2.7 billion at the box office so far.  Make no mistake about it, Avatar is a religious movie.  Most christian critics would call it neo-pantheism… the belief that Nature and God are one in the same.  More specifically, that Nature is god.  That there is no personal or creator God but that the divine nature is found only in the Cosmos itself  and all that it contains.  Cameron calls it Eywa or The Mother…  you know… Mother Earth!  Eywa sounds oddly familiar to Yahwah, and Pandora looks strangely like what one might imagine as the Garden of Eden.  The Na’vi (naive?) have perfect super-model slender bodies and are for the most part naked and innocent.  It all seems like a remake of the story of Adam and Eve in the garden.  Oh, and the brutish Americans have been cast as the deceitful serpent.  (Personally, that’s why I think it didn’t win best picture at the Academy Awards, but it did at the Golden Globes.)  There is even an unlikely saviour in Jack Sully, the dumb but good looking paraplegic jarhead.  But that is where the biblical comparison ends.

Cameron’s religious message is actually better described as Animism than Pantheism.  Outside of organized religion Animism is the oldest and most common religious philosophy on the planet.  It is the spiritual belief that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals , plants, rocks and natural phenomena.  Most primitive pagan cultures practiced animism which almost always included some form of ancestor worship.  Hollywood has not invented a new religion but has recycled the oldest of them all.  Again and again the message in Avatar is stated that all plants and animals are interconnected.  Eywa acts to keep the ecosystem of Pandora in perfect equilibrium. Living things on Pandora connect to Eywa through a system of neuro-conductive antennae; this explains why Na’vi can mount their direhorse or ikran steeds and ride them immediately without going through the necessary steps required to domesticate such wild animals.  It is a bit like a huge biological Internet; the trees being computer servers that store information. The Na’vi can upload or download memories from it using their tails.  The Tree of Souls grants the Na’vi access to the psychic essences of their deceased, which is how the Na’vi communicate with their ancestors.

James Camerson explains it this way,  “Avatar asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the Earth. And if you have to go four and a half light years to another, made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of the world that we have right here, well, you know what, that’s the wonder of cinema right there, that’s the magic.”  Avatar was just in the wrong category at the Oscars that’s all.  It should have won for Best 3D Religious Science Fiction Film of the year.

I think every Christian should see Avatar.  (Warning: There is some course language, but nothing you wouldn’t hear on prime time television.)  We need to see it first, just for the entertainment value, but more importantly to be aware of religious message Hollywood is selling to the masses.   We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our friends and family.  If you know what the lie is, it is much easier to communicate to them the truth.

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50 Responses to HOLLYWOOD'S NEW SPIN ON OLD RELIGION

  1. Christie Braun says:

    I haven’t watched Pokahantis, nevertheless I could not endure the Movie Avatar and left early. I felt embarrassed for Mr. Cameron – like squirmingly so, for the complete Lack of plot.

    I also was acutely reminded of the Daily Canadian Genocide of it’s Aboriginal peoples – Oh Canada! such a sweet and heartfelt country eh?

  2. Bruno says:

    I always found the Pocahontas reference to be a bit funny; I think the plot was so simple that people had to poke at it somewhere and then came the revelation that the story looked like Pocahontas!

    However, when you start thinking about it further, a very very good portion of movies nowadays ARE Pocahontas story, I mean how often will there be one team invading the other team only to find out they have something in common. A Pocahontas story is not uncommon, it just seems like people finally saw it in Avatar. I personally didn’t mind the simplistic story, I found the emotion neat enough to carry it, I just find it weird that people are realizing that movie plots have a trend, shocking, I know :)

    I guess my question, if I had to have a question, would be how much the Paganism or Animism matters? Obviously I talk as a Christian and not as person on the fence, so maybe my religious beliefs are harder to shake than others, but is it not just okay to have amusement that is sci-fi or against morale life such a gangster movies, twilight zone episodes, and even dark thrillers? Do you see something definitely wrong about enjoying those or would you rather say that they should be enjoyed as long as they’re not taken too seriously?

  3. Steve says:

    I never understood what people liked about this movie.Once you get over the 3D effects it’s pretty much just watching a bunch of blue computer animated bums. I would have walked out but I was with other people.
    The story line was laughable. The characters were annoying. I was hearing all these people sniffling like they were being emotionally touched by this film while I was making jokes about how it looked like the characters were mating with their flying animals. A person beside me looked at me like they couldn’t believe I was laughing at this.
    It was definitely a new age movie. Designed to program people into a new age type of religion. Witchcraft, worshipping nature, chanting. Definitely pushing a new world religion. This is all satanic. I give the movie two humungusly naseous thumbs down and I wouldn’t recomend anyone see it. Don’t pay your hard earned cash into something designed to brainwash people like I did. Hollywood has enough of Christians money already.

  4. Ian says:

    I don’t want to see it. I’ve seen a few movies that I would put in that same category. Lord of the Rings being one of them. I don’t want a comparison to the Christian message. I want the real thing.

    I think we as Christians need to be very careful when it come to the movies we choose. Not live in a bubble but just be careful.

    As far as being open minded well from what I’ve read in your blog I have enough info to make my decision and I’m not going to stick my head in the sewer. I already know it stinks.

  5. SteveK says:

    Boy, I feel stupid. When I watch a movie, I never pickup these “social comments” or “hidden meanings”. I’m always amazed at how people can watch a movie and understand what message the director or writer was trying to convay.
    If I don’t fall asleep during the movie or if it feels shorter than it was, I would concider it a good movie. I’ve bought this movie but haven’t watched it yet and I’m sure I won’t pick up the “interconnected soul” aspect but glad you mentioned it.
    I’ve read somewhere (I won’t say where) a debate about animals having souls. I always thought they didn’t have one but it mentioned that if they didn’t, that means there’s no animals in heaven and if there’s no animals in heaven, where did the horse Jesus returns on come from. The message was to give hope to believers with pets who couldn’t imagine heaven being heaven without their furry children.

  6. Jasmine says:

    I wasn’t interested in watching this movie but I think I will go see it now. It seems like this movie is creating quite a stir and I’d like to form an opinion on it based on what I believe to be true about it. If Jesus is going to be riding a horse at his second coming, doesn’t that mean there are horses in heaven? How did they get there if they don’t have souls? And I do believe that every living thing that God created is in symbiotic relationship with each other and I believe that every birth and death has an impact on this relationship. Our God has placed relationship above everything else and this probably reaches to a depth, breadth, width and height that none of us can understand yet.

    I’ve been reading about what it means to be missional and it seems that a huge key to being able to influence the culture we live in depends on our own understanding of that culture. If I want to reach my family and friends, I need to be able to understand their mind-set first; and media plays a tremendous role in shaping the minds in this world.

  7. Karen says:

    I personally didn’t (and don’t) see the spiritual aspect of this movie. Somebody in passing said that “this movie is so close to Christianity.” and I’m thinking “where?” Once you get over the awe of the special effects and the disappointing plot you are pretty much done. Living within miles of a native community, I heard a lot of “that’s just like the natives.” Okay?! whatever.
    I’m getting a little tired of all the violence in movies today. I’m tired of stuff blowing up, people getting killed, and all of the hype surrounding this movie. I don’t want violence to be my entertainment. From now on, I’ll be looking for my entertainment elsewhere.

  8. Janessa says:

    While watching this movie, I was very impressed with the amazing graphics and creative design…however I couldn’t shake my disappointment with the overwhelming anti-Christian theme. It’s a real shame that majority of the popular entertainment in this world is so secular.

    So what should a Christian’s viewpoint be, on movies like this? Is it okay to watch and be impressed with some parts while disgusted with other parts? It’s almost impossible to agree with everything in movies…and yet the same is true of pretty much anything in this world. We’re called to be in the world but not of it. So if we are entertained by stuff that doesn’t line up with God’s Word, are we then being of the world?

    Pastor Mark could you shed some light on this please?

  9. Wanda says:

    I haven’t seen this movie yet. It is actually sitting on my fridge but when I look at how long it is…well…it’s hard to find the time.

    A movie that I can recommend is “Fireproof”. I purchased this movie 10 days ago and can’t quit talking about it. It’s a movie that really has hit me hard in the heart. As a matter of fact I bought 2 of them.
    I wasn’t exactly sure why I did……but the reason came to me the other day.
    I have not spoken to my sister-in-law for over 8 months. Yes….a fight that is still not resolved. Well I was inspired by the Big Guy to send it to her. Well I did….but I didn’t put a return address on it.(sneaky eh?)
    Hopefully her or her husband will watch it.
    God talks but sometimes I don’t listen…this time I am glad I did.

  10. Karen says:

    Cameron paralleled a lot of cultures in our society, put them into this Na’vi culture, created a unique language, set them all to some amazing special effects, spent a lot of money, employed several people, wasted 12 years of his life and made an over rated movie. It feels like sometimes that our society (culture) is so desperate for some kind of spiritual connection to something that we are willing to look anywhere (including this movie) to get it.
    Maybe I am too cynical/practical/opinionated (I’m trying to find a better word and can’t) but I am struggling with the fact that so many people look for the spiritual connection in movies all of the time. Why do we always look for something that isn’t there? It’s a movie! God has been making it clearer and clearer to me over the past few weeks that He is where I should be looking for my spiritual needs, and not some updated smurf movie! (I love that reference to smurfs!)

  11. CLunn says:

    Gee, not many positive thoughts on this movie at all. I watched the movie once and plan to watch it again. I don’t know how anyone can think that it was DESIGNED to “program people into a new age type of religion. Witchcraft, worshipping nature, chanting. Definitely pushing a new world religion and that it was satanic.” When we look at WHO created the world and “nature”, why do you criticize it?
    It is a movie with fabulous graphics and a good story line, everyone interprets things differently. I think that too many times today people form too strong of an opinion and try to be holier than thou… and that’s your opinion and I have stated mine.

  12. Steve says:

    Well I never. That was so mean. Hmmph!
    Just kidding, I know people love movies and if this movie doesn’t bother you or you feel it is filled with God’s goodness, that’s your call. I felt the movie was otherwise. God bless.

  13. Steve says:

    Oh and CLunn, I might have jumped the gun saying it was pushing a new world religion. I have no idea what James Cameron’s intentions were. And sorry if I said things in a rude fashion. I am definitely not holier than anyone, don’t worry about that.
    Satanic? I said chanting because there was chanting. Speaking to spirits of the dead, well that is what they do in occult practices. Transfer of spirits to other bodies through rituals? Not satanic? Really? People can make up their own minds on that one I guess.

  14. Dominic says:

    I like your comments Mark. And I have to say I feel the same way. I watched the movie with my wife last night and I have to say that Hollywood conveying the spirit of the Anti-Christ. The ennemy is deceiptful and lying. It is that simple.

    However, I did like the special effects and the world that was created. I don’t know how people think of that type of stuff. And you know what… I think this is what the masses are hanging on too. They see the exterior, the effects, Pandora as a beautiful place, not the message or the philosophy behind all the nice looking aspects.

    All that being said, Hollywood is also preparing people for false flag terror, police state, martial law, etc. Entertainment is only a means to an end. Just look at the movies before and during WWII. They demonized Jews and showed Nazi’s as savior and good people.

    We are in deed in the begining of the End, my friends. Just looks at the SIGNS. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

    God bless everyone of you

    Dom

  15. Sally says:

    I did see the movie Avatar and enjoyed its action, graphics and visuals but felt uncomfortable with the new age message that it was sending to all the unsuspecting viewers who don’t know the Truth. I have heard that several people have become severely depressed after seeing the movie because they want to go an live on Pandora and become part of the Ewya and the tree of souls!…..
    And they (secular talk show hosts, media and so called pyschologists) have the nerve to say that the media has no effect on society!
    Pastor Mark, once again you did a good job of exposing the enemy’s hidden agenda (or maybe not so hidden)!

  16. Greg says:

    I am just happy to discover that I am not the only person that has yet to see this film. As I grow in Christ I have found that the desire to see certain films and listen to certain music has declined, mostly because I feel that God wouldn’t want me to be hearing or seeing it. That may sound dumb, and trust me, I still watch a lot of crap, but I am trying. I wish there were more Christian films out there that had a budget like Avatar but I suppose I can continue watching Narnia. I find that the less violence and swearing that I am bombarded with, the more optimistic I become, and then I am able to feel a little more compassion/sadness when things do happen that are violent or coarse. I don’t have any children but when I do, I would hope that they can find some quality entertaining things to watch.. maybe even Avatar 2: Jesus Saves Pandora. Thanks.

  17. Steve says:

    I think you’re right about what you said Dominic. I know people will think I’m a bit of a hypocrite when I say I’m a little addicted to war type video games. But these games they are putting out these days are terrible. They demonize Christians and teach kids to become heartless killers with no morals.
    One game I played teaches kids they will have friends if they join the army. And all the pain they’ve suffered in life, they can take it out on people in war.
    One of the guys in this game goes on to say how he killed some people he shouldn’t have and they all kind of make light of it. Another game teaches it’s ok to kill innocent civilians if you are a spy and need to convince the bad guys you are on their side.
    There are some horrible messages the media is sending to children and now they are using video games as well to influence young people.
    Pastor Mark, I’m glad you warn people about the movie Avatar and I didn’t mean to disagree with you about going to see this movie just for disagreeings sake. It just makes me upset to support these movies with our money and I guess I could take my own advice on video games as well. God bless and keep spreading the good news to our country.

  18. Jasmine says:

    I’ve watched the movie now and it seems like James Cameron has just taken tidbits from different world religions and combined them into a plot that has no religious significance because it is a mish-mash of different beliefs. The Hindus and Buddhists believe in the wheel of life called the “samsara” which symbolizes the cycle of birth, life, and death. When one revolution of the wheel is completed, life begins again with rebirth. This was mentioned by Arturi when she was explaining the energy/force to Jake Sully and she told him that all energy is only borrowed and that one day you have to give it back. The Buddhists don’t believe in self or souls but in a stream of consciousness which the Tree of Voices may represent, and they believe that all individuals are one and that coming into life is caused by karmic forces (which could be the network of energy that flows through all living things that Arturi was teaching Jake about).

    First Nations culture involves the training of males and testing through ceremonial rites into manhood. The Na’vi appearance is also reminiscent of aboriginal tribes, many of whom wear their hair long and braided and also use body art for religious rituals and/or war. They have a deep connection to and respect for nature and the spirit world which includes animals. They pray to the spirits of animals for help and believe them to be an integral part of the kinship of all creation. Prayers of intercession and supplication are not made for the sake of one person alone but for the entire community. The spirituality of the community is not only defined by humans but also by the entire spectrum of nature and reality as it appears to them.

    When the seeds of the Sacred Tree, the very pure spirits, settled on Jake it could be interpreted as the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jake also mentioned that every person is born twice, and the second time is when you earn your place among the people, which could be interpreted as being reborn to the Spirit of Jesus and finding your identity and purpose in Christ and the community of believers. And just as God incarnated Himself in human flesh and lived among us, Jake Sully became like the Na’vi and lived among them. But Jake was not their saviour because the message he was sent to relay to them was not one of salvation but of warning. He wasn’t sacrificed for their sake, he was only there to negotiate with the Na’vi. In a small way, he was missional in that he did become like the Na’vi to bring them a message that they could understand in their own cultural context, but he contextualized himself to the extreme point where the integrity of his own beliefs were compromised and he fully accepted their beliefs as his own. He didn’t teach them anything that they didn’t already know or give them something that they didn’t already have, and instead became one of them.

    The Americans did not come from a planet similar to Pandora which shows how Eywa could not have created the universe. Eywa was also limited in her power because she only controlled what happened on Pandora. She didn’t reign over the universe as the Christian God does. There was no mention of the Cosmos or the universe in this movie, only the flow of energy that connects all living things on Pandora. And the cognitive sharing through neuro-conductive antennae reminded me of the Vulcan mind-meld on Star Trek, only they did it by placing their fingers on each other’s foreheads.

  19. Bruno says:

    Aww video games got dragged into this, wondering if that was going to happen…

    I think I figured out most of the games you’ve made allusion to :) and all of these titles are rated 17+, meaning that the good parent who looks at what his kids watch should do the same with games. However, I think that overall, videogames are easy scapegoats because (A) they’re the new media and (B) it’s easier to blame the games than the parents. The median age of gamers is at shocking 30-something, not 14 like FOX seems to make us believe.

    But all in all, I think it comes down to the simple fact that parents need to be educated so that they may send their kids in the right direction. Make them understand that when someone gets punched in a Warner Bros movie that it’s still not a right behavior.

    I think you can enjoy much more than you would think possible when you’re in control of what is fantasy (games, movies, etc.) to what is the fact (God and God’s teachings.)

  20. cj says:

    i cant believe a PASTOR is talking about hollywood movies and even encouraging people to go to a theater. i cant believe you watch movies and let your kids. the reason i feel this way is because i dont think as Christians we should support hollywood or support the actors. i feel the same way about tv too.
    is it the best for us? are we living our holiest or pureist when watching this? would Jesus watch tv or movies or recommend it? no He would not.
    the Bible says our eyes are the windows to our soul and what we see, we will never forget.
    we get immuned to sex scenes, gay scenes, sci fi, anti Christian, swearing etc etc. we get immuned to it and then we little by little we accept it.
    make no wonder so many so called Christians are now voting in favor of gay marriage etc. we have become so accepting.
    when are preachers gonna put their neck on the line and step on toes and suggest boycotting tv and movies instead of suggesting we go see a certain movie “because even though theres some swearing, its no different than prime time tv’.
    im disappointed, i thought you were different than all ther other main stream pastors but your just the same.

    im a pastors daughter myself and im just sick and tired of worldly preachers. make no wonder so many people are fed up with church. the people in church act the same way, watch the same shows, theres no difference.

    you should be able to look at a person and just by LOOKING at them, see something holy and pure about them. by hearing them speak, you should be able too, one should be able to tell they are Christian.

    “if it acts like the world, looks like the world, talks like the world (and watches the same tv shows and movies like the world) then stop calling it Christian”

  21. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Fantasy is not entertainment for me.

    I love movies based on truth.

  22. Betty says:

    I think it is totally fine, to be different from the world.
    I have been asking myself, many times lately, can other people see, or hear, that Jesus lives in me?
    For some reason, I have no desire to watch this movie, and my choice of movie’s that I like to watch, is very limited.

  23. Tomah says:

    I’m going to start by saying that i am a huge fan of this movie and have seen it more times then i have fingers. Each time i see it i see different things and have tried seeing it through different eyes. I have also read a ton of reviews and opinions on it and i can say that people take what ever they want out of this movie to make it apply better to their life (which is what we humans do with everything)

    @Steve I don’t know if i would use the chanting argument because it seems to me we do the same thing in the christian church. and yes I know we do it to the right God and other cultures don’t but they are convinced its the other way around. In the movie when Grace was shot and the Na’vi were trying to heal her, they gathered around her (just like we do), they raised hands and laid them on each other (just like we do), and they started praying out lowed to their deity (just like we do). I saw and heard a lot of christians get mad and angry at this because it seemed anti christian but to me i saw that it was the same way we do it at church (minus the cool bio-lumanecent lights)

    When i saw this movie i wasn’t looking for all the differences and anti-christian themes i was looking for similarities. I find that you see only what you want to see.
    If you read reviews on Avatar, the themes people see change depending where they are in their life. If you ask someone who studies native culture they might tell you all the similarities between Avatar and the native american genocide. If you study environmental technology then you might see the Nature in this movie being a metaphor for what earth should have been before we over urbanized it. Even people who do computer networking might tell you the planet is an analogy for the internet. And it doesn’t even stop at studying and occupation, i find what you take from this movie is also based on your convictions that you feel. If you were feeling convicted for driving you car every day to work you could start seeing the nature theme more in the movie. If you were convicted on bullying coworkers and your relationship to other people then the war theme could make its self more evident in the movie.

    Us being christians see the world through the bible. and sometimes we forget that not everyone thinks like us and sees the world the way we do. Some of you guys talk about optimism and not wanting to watch movies and thats fine but how about watch movies with an optimistic attitude? Instead of going in and getting angry that this movie is science fiction and doesn’t portray anything close to what you believe, why not look for the similarities. Sure they may be praying to a different God, and yes there is no Jesus to save them, and yes they run around indecent. But what about the fact that they worship their god like we worship ours. How about the fact that they pray and talk to theirs like we do ours. Maybe this movie is having a different effect on people then what we say. Instead of making them believe in new-age maybe its opening them up to the idea that there is a tangible God who loves you and has a desire to know you. One that you can get to know and One that can perform miracles.

  24. Truth wanter says:

    Tomah, I know alot of people who think just like you. And when I watch their life I can see them slipping slowly and further into the world and the way the world thinks. The Bible tells us there will be a great falling out in the last days before you know who comes. The bad guy churches don’t like to talk about anymore. How will this happen? Could it be that outside influences will infiltrate the church somehow? Could it be that churches will buy into a lie? I’ve been a Christian for a while now and I’ve seen how many churches function. Alot of churches go by numbers. The amount of high profile preachers that agree on something. And this something could be something the Bible is not in agreement with. But because these so called high profile preachers agree with it, it must be right. And so everybody buys into it hook line and sinker. It takes guts to stand on the truth these days because even big name Christians are endorsing what the Bible tells us to stay away from. The whole earth will fall under a delusion the Bible says, even some of the supposed elect. The Bible also tells us to discern which spirits are from God and which are from the devil. The devil masquerades as an angel of light don’t forget.

  25. Just me says:

    AMEN Tomah!!!

    CJ – OH MYYYY – so basically by your comment and I quote “you should be able to look at a person and just by LOOKING at them, see something holy and pure about them. by hearing them speak, you should be able too, one should be able to tell they are Christian.” And my comment is: YOU, a preacher’s daughter, are being EVER SO JUDGMENTAL – judging people by the way they look and speak?????
    And to your question – “would Jesus watch tv or movies or recommend it? no He would not.” I beg to differ – I watch Christian movies with excellent messages and I don’t think Jesus would mind at all !!! Shame on you! I wouldn’t be so quick to criticize Pastor Mark – there should be a lot more Pastors and Christians like him!!
    May God Bless you!

  26. Just me says:

    I think that Pastor Mark better write another blog – people are running in too many directions.

  27. Steve says:

    So sue me. I insulted a fairy tale. Look,I have the Holy Spirit and when I went to that movie, I felt I was greiving the Holy Spirit. And there’s alot of other things I’ve done in my life where I’ve greived the Holy Spirit as well. I aint perfect but I call a spade a spade. If God is telling me in my heart something is evil, should I then try to see positive elements in it or should I get away from it? Don’t hate me cause I’m honest.

  28. Tomah says:

    My point wasn’t that your opinion was wrong about the movie. Im sorry if it came off that way. My point was that everyone has their own opinions and convictions and we can’t simply judge something based on what WE see. You have to see a bigger picture. Art is art and what you see in it can be completely different then what other people see. Whether that is paintings, music, movies, dance or anything. What you see is totally different then your neighbour. Sure somethings are wrong and i get that but those things generally don’t go far or only have a very niche crowd. Take a vulgar rap song for example. We christians listen to it and since our vocabulary doesn’t consist of many swears those are the first things we pick up on. Next we listen to the context of the lyrics and realize that none of those things are holy and often times blasphemous. Yet rap has a very small group of people listening to it. Same thing with extremely gory horror films or even nude art. But if you take Jazz or a family comedy or a simple picture of a bowl of fruit then the target “audience” widens a lot because more people can appreciate it. Since Avatar was so popular that means that a TON of people connected with it. Some where at some point in the movie people went “Oh wow, that could be a metaphor for _____ in my life.” It’s all perspective and we just have to see things from a different angle . I’m not saying Avatar is perfect but i think you have to realize that you can take the good things and leave the bad, you don’t have to stand up and scream from the roof tops every time there is any injustice. Pick and choose your battles wisely other wise you will bog your self down. If the corruption in Hollywood really motivates you then go out there and fight it, but i would suggest taking a look a little closer to home because there are dozens of bigger problems knocking on your doorstep.

    What Mark was saying i totally agree with. We should get to know what the enemy is trying to message the masses. and we can’t stay in this little Christian bubble for too long because we often get too comfortable.

  29. Kay says:

    I agree with CJ. Although I appreciate an awful lot of what Pastor Mark has to say, I find it disappointing that a pastor spends so much time watching Hollywood entertainment. For example, having blogs about the TV show, The Office, which should be very offensive to a Christian. As for Avator, we went to see it and walked out because of the language, and suggestive sexuality. And if I am watching a TV show with that kind of language or inappropriate scenes, I turn the channel. I can’t believe Mark used the excuse that because there’s just as bad stuff on TV, that gives us the right to watch/listen to it in movies. What scripture verse backs that up?
    (By the way, I’m making some brownies, with just a little bit of doggie doo-doo in it. Does anyone care to try some? )
    I know that we can’t totally escape all the sin in our world, but I don’t think that means we have to get taken up with all the worldly entertainment out there. The Bible says that we should be filling our minds with things that are pure, of good report, etc.
    I don’t believe that Jesus would be sitting here watching inappropriate TV/movies and then think that if he has “healthy dialogue” on it, it makes it all okay.
    I know, that my comments will cause the “judgemental” card to be played. So play it, but after that, read Jeremiah and some of the other prophetic warnings in the OT that were given to the church, and see if we aren’t in the same place today.

  30. Mark Hughes says:

    Just for the record I spend little time in front of the TV, I am way too busy for that. However, I make a point of knowing what people are listening to and watching. I will never apologize for trying to engage our culture with the gospel. Pop culture has a HUGE influence on both the churched and unchurched alike. Many pastors frankly are doing a poor job of reaching them because they don’t know what is going on around them.
    Though there are lots of great blogs by those who are exegeting scripture. That is not what I am doing here. I am confronting our culture with a biblical worldview… something very few others are doing. And unfortunately it is not just the non-christians that have bought into a secular worldview, but many of the christians as well. Why? Because we are bombarded by it on every side. My goal is to try to relate God’s word to a fallen and lost culture. And I think that is exactly what Jesus would do. If He walked the earth today He would be roundly criticized. They called Him “a friend of sinners”. Why? Because that is who He spent time with. He explained it this way, “I did not come for the righteous but to seek and save the lost”. Where would you find Jesus today? In our churches? I think you would find him outside the movie theater… telling people that He has a much better way.

  31. Karen says:

    A very wise person in our church told me one day that: “you can’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”

    I applaud pastors that keep up with the times so that they can preach an informed message to their people. It is important that we meet people where they are at…not where we want them to be.

    Good Job Mark!

  32. Jasmine says:

    I’ve been reading a book called “Borderland Churches: A Congregation’s Introduction to Missional Living” by Gary V. Nelson, and one of the points he made in his book that really resonated with me is the fact that churches that don’t keep up with the times are dying. I attend a church that has only 35 members and most of them are seniors. Their children and grandchildren have no interest in coming to church, and we don’t even have a Sunday School in our church. I am one of two members in our mid-30′s who are doing most of the work to keep the church functioning. I have been given grief for trying to introduce new ideas and more contemporary ways of doing things in the church because our members are accustomed to formality and tradition. They give no thought to being seeker-friendly and they still have the mindset that the lost can find Jesus inside the walls of their church. They just don’t get the concept that Jesus is everywhere in this world and the church is a gathering of believers–not a building– that can happen anywhere and anytime. And that our God-given mission is to meet people and care for their needs where they are instead of waiting for them to come to us, because that rarely happens. I know people whose first thought on Sunday morning is where they’re going to go for breakfast rather than which church service they’re going to attend. IHOP, ABC restaurant, De Dutch and White Spot are filled to the maximum while our church members are still waiting for these folks to walk through our doors.

  33. Truth wanter says:

    There is a prophesy from 1965 by a guy named Stanley Frodisham. In this prophesy he warns about the endtimes saying there will be many false doctrines and decieving spirits. How ministers of righteousness will start out preaching truth and when they have gained the trust of people then they will bring out their false doctrines to decieve the people that put their trust in them. We are not to put our trust in the words of any man but instead we are to test what people say with what the scriptures say.
    The devil loves to creep in by letting little things slide. Things that seem harmless, but his plan is to use this to allow the next sin in that is not so harmless and then sooner or later we have full blown heresy in our churches. Do we care more about popularity than God’s word?

  34. Jasmine says:

    Isn’t this what Paul did in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23? “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

    I think it has more to do with reaching people for Christ than for gaining popularity. There are many churches out there that have less than 100 members and are still doing things in their community that are making a difference in the area God has placed them, because they are willing to explore and understand their reason for existence and the part they play in God’s mission in this world. But the church I belong to has been rendered ineffective in our surrounding community because of their blindness to the changing world around them and their own resistance to change.

    Growing the membership in my church is not important to me. What I see as the most important thing for us at the moment is to discover who we are as defined by God, and follow where God is leading us to serve in order to fulfill the purpose He has for us. I’m talking about a group of people who show very little interest in making disciples or even being disciples. This church has been stagnant for many years because spiritual growth came to a standstill long before I started attending there.

  35. Steve says:

    I think what they are doing in your church Jasmine is a sin as well. They should be caring for people out there and not judging them but at the same time they need to guard themselves from evil in the world. We are not to condemn people out there, we’re supposed to love them and be kind in spite of where they are at in their life but does that mean we have to watch what they watch? That just doesn’t make any sense.
    People want to see that we can live a life that’s full and awesome without doing the things everyone else is doing, otherwise our testimony will be cheapened in their eyes.
    People may say some bad things about us if we try to rid our lives of sin but inside they are yearning to see someone prove them wrong.

  36. Jasmine says:

    Steve,

    I could understand your point if it were something like porn that we were being asked to watch, but you can’t compare apples to oranges. The society we live in has deemed this movie acceptable to be viewed by people as young as the age of thirteen. While porn is blatantly ungodly, the messages Satan is putting into the impressionable minds of our youth are being relayed more insidiously through the medium of this movie. And how are we to combat this if we know nothing about it?

    The most impact we can make on our youth is through everyday conversations that start off nonchalantly with something like, “What did you think of the movie Avatar?” which we can then use as an opportunity to draw them into a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between what was portrayed in the movie and our own beliefs. And then let them draw their own conclusions based on our explanations. Isn’t that what witnessing is all about?

    We might be able to control what our own kids watch, but don’t we have a responsibility towards the rest of the children in our society? Who is talking to your kids when you’re not around? Wouldn’t you rather have someone educate your kids about this movie instead of just say to them, “Well, I can’t comment because I haven’t seen it.”? We lose our credibility with them if we do that, because we don’t have the knowledge we need to form an informed opinion on the subject. Isn’t it a bit selfish to say, “I’m going to keep my eyes and ears closed because I don’t want this damaging my soul, so I’ll let someone else take care of our future generations.”?

    How is it that Jesus can claim to understand our temptations? It’s because He’s been there and experienced it for Himself. It is the reason why He can relate to us. Jesus was tempted with everything known to mankind and He was still able to remain pure. And if we are firm in our own faith, and by God’s grace, there is no way this movie would have the power to change the fundamental foundation of our beliefs and compromise the integrity of who we are in Christ. Our strength to overcome the evils of this world is supernatural and comes from God alone. And if the Holy Spirit is within us, Satan can have no hold over us.

    And if we are to be like Jesus, we need to be able to relate to those around us who don’t know God’s Truth and are thus being deceived by the ideas that are considered the norm in our North American culture. How else are we supposed to connect with them if not through the things they already know and understand in their culture—such as movies?

  37. Mark Hughes says:

    Jasmine is right on the money here. We must learn to relate to our world without becoming like them.

  38. Jay says:

    Where is the line drawn then. Jesus did not go looking for temptation, he was put through it. Are we to tempt god? Where do we draw the line? If one christian has conviction to not see this movie or a tv show or whatever than let him not. And you as a pastor and shepard and as a church on a whole need to not tell people to see it. This is a fine line you are telling people to walk. What is acceptable and what is not is between a christian and God, and is taught in the scriptures, but there are some things like this that are a conviction to some and not to others. To present the fact that we are more likely to lead others to Christ by watching what they watch and exposing ourselves to what they do is a dangerous road for some. There are some that are weak believe it or not. After all it is Christ who leads to salvation and not us.
    The holy spirit convicts us and if things like this does some christians, then so be it. God will use us either way. I dont agree at all with your stand on food and what we eat but does that make me wrong? Your decision and blog about the food you eat seemed more out of fear than out of anything else. Does that make you wrong? No. Your conviction your choice. Not mine. All i am saying is that we as christians do need to be aware of whats going on around us, but we also need to be aware that we cannot tell everybody to embrace what we embrace. There are some that could fall. Look at the whole situation with the Davici code. Many people watched this and were weak and ended up questioning their faith. Some things we need to be aware of and what they are and could do, but to suggest that people go see it???I agree with Steve, we need to be very careful of what we expose ourselves to.

    Romans 12-2
    Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may PROVE what is that good and acceptable and perfect Will of God.

  39. Mark Hughes says:

    For years we had preachers telling christians that it was a sin to go to the movies. Instead of making them better christians it turned many of them into hypocrites as they went anyway and pretended they didn’t. That type of legalism is worse kind. The line for me is this; I wouldn’t watch any movie I was not able to watch with my children.
    I do agree that if someone is convicted by the Holy Spirit, then they should walk out of the theatre. Most people who walked out of Avatar did so because they thought it was pointless. I doubt it will shake anybodies faith to the core. The Davinci Code was even more pointless. And yes, I saw it too!

  40. Steve says:

    I haven’t looked at this blog in a while but I read what you guys said and I understand that going to the movies isn’t wrong or right. I used to see a movie every week if not more. I guess I’ve been watching what the world has been putting out lately and all I can gander out of it is nothing but sin and a downward spiral into occultism and an antichristian agenda.
    I do watch movies, I just don’t think we should go around in church saying you need to watch this or that movie in order to reach the lost.
    Jay, thanks for your comment. I know I will not have my faith destroyed by the movie Avatar but there are people out there who are trying to stand strong by ridding their lives of all kinds of sin. When they hear they should see a movie they would consider sinful, their consience is gonna backfire on them and their faith will be rattled because what their conscience is telling them is sin is now being pushed on them in order to save souls. That’s just not right.
    Pastor Mark, you’re a great pastor and I believe you want to do the right thing. If you let God take over everything and submit your church completely to Him in every way shape and form, you are going to see amazing things happen there. It’s a scary thought but God wants to do some big things in this city if we let go and give God free reign. I’m no great prophet or anything but I feel the Lord’s prescence right now and His Spirit is telling me something amazing is headed for Winnipeg. Wow. This is not my agenda, I just felt the Lord as I was typing this.

  41. cj says:

    just me… i know i was judging him…duh. and i am prepared to deal with God on that. however in my heart i didnt mean to be mean only aired my frsutrations which probably came out mean. but whatever, im not a preacher. but pastor mark is. he is the one in the hot seat about this post, not me so lay off me ok. this is between me and him. mind your own business because the Bible says thats what you should do. thanks.

    anyway pastor mark, its not abot legalism. i attend a liberal pentecost church. ummm no legalism there my friend as you know. so dont give me that cop out. everyone uses that excuse whenevr someone wants to live holy and pure and challenge those who arent living their holiest and puriest. dont tell me a legalist. puh lease.
    anyway,, i do feel your a flase teacher. leading many astray. yes your promoting filth and worldiness. Jesus would NEVER behave like you. I dont even see Jesus in you. He is PURE and HOLY. when He was hanging around the world,it wasnt to be like them!!!! so why are YOU trying to be like the world. your so wrong on so many levels but you would never admit that. your just going to continue on doing what you do. pastors like you never change, you will make a new post now with another snide little remark about my comment. and it will show your true colors.
    people need to beware of preachers like this. just realize that while he is a nice, likeable and funny guy (i agree) he ight not be living his best as a preacher and respresentation of our HOLY God.
    i know it seems like im a hater but im frustrated and hurt by the main stream preachers of today and had enough.
    while i give pastor a bit of a hard time here, i hope he can take it, maybe think about it, maybe change? and maybe still forgive me for my brashness and know that somehow i actually love the guy as a brother in the Lord. i do.
    and being a newfie, we dont sugar coat our words.

  42. mark says:

    I am sitting here and live in downtown Calgary and the stampede is on ,I am or was listen to a rapper rap at a look bar in the area becaause it so hot in my apartment that have to keep windiows open and every second word he says is F*** this and F*** that.Then he asks The crowd to repeat those words also.It amazes me how people follow others.A wise person once told me you do not go to a house of sin for a kiss.And another pastor told me once that he was waching a movie with his family and inlaws when his father inlaw got up and told him he could not watch the movie,he responed with would you have these people around you or your Family.So watchout to what you wach or listen to

  43. mark says:

    big brother is already watching in calgary the police have set up cameras everwhere downtown.Who know who else watches those cameras

  44. Mark Hughes says:

    Just so ya all know, the Mark above is not me. I am always logged in as Mark Hughes.

  45. mark says:

    keep talking and blogging

  46. mark says:

    you are so funny pastor huges

  47. hahahahahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahhaahaha BEANATAR XD !!!!!!!!!!

  48. Tj Freezn says:

    For an actual DETAILED comparison between the movie Pocahontas and Avatar:

    http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2010/01/james-camerons-avatar-disneys-pocahontas/james-camerons-pocahontas

  49. Tj Freezn says:

    Steve,
    here’s an actual DETAILED comparison between the movie Pocahontas and Avatar:

    http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2010/01/james-camerons-avatar-disneys-pocahontas/james-camerons-pocahontas

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