I would agree that Christian imagery permeates our culture, unfortunately — but you know, sometimes Jesus isn’t the focus. You wouldn’t know that, though from this list of 50 Films That You Wouldn’t Think Were Christian, But Actually Are. Some I would agree with; The Green Mile, sure, that’s a big ol’ blatant Christ allegory. But the others…whoa.
Would you believe Taxi Driver is a Christian movie? Travis Bickle is “God’s lonely man, working in the modern day equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah. But instead of simply trying to ‘lead a good life’ or ‘do the right thing’, Travis Bickle turns violence and retribution on those he deems most deserving, to the point where he threatens to tip over into the darkness himself.” Yes, I can sort of see it: a violent psychopath does have a lot in common with Jesus Christ, and of course, every 12-year-old prostitute is actually Mary Magdalene.
I expect there will be a new show put on in church basements all across the country: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is now revealed as secretly espousing Christian doctrine.
Considering that it contains lines like “give yourself over to absolute pleasure”, you wouldn’t think that Rocky Horror would have much time for Christian morality. But in its closing section all becomes clear, as Brad and Janet emerge from their ordeal with Frank N. Furter like Adam and Eve crawling from the vanquished serpent, out of the Garden of Eden and into an unknown future. Throw in Charles Gray as a disappointed, distant God and the effect is complete.
Please do send me photos of your local Baptist minister struttin’ his stuff in fishnet stockings.
Other films in the Christian vein: Eraserhead, Total Recall, Bladerunner, A Clockwork Orange. Bring that list to church (those of you who go to church at all, which probably isn’t many of you) and ask that they be shown in Sunday School!
Funny thing, though: I’m not seeing much correspondence between this list and CAPalert.
Glen Davidson says
Elements of culture affect other elements of culture.
I guess it was bound to be figured out eventually.
I used to attend screenings of “Rocky Horror” religiously when I was in college. Amen!
David Marshall says
Bladerunner is what we in the trade call “pre-evangelism:” repent, or LA will get the weather of Forks, Washington, you’ll have to order your lunch from holograms that speak garbled Japanese, and psychopathic robots will find novel ways of disembowling you after kinky love-making.
Or was that An Inconvenient Truth?
The Countess says
Considering one of my parish priests when I was a teen was a dead ringer for Tim Curry as Frank N Furter, I might agree that “Rocky Horror” is Christian.
I just watched “Eraserhead” again. It’s not exactly a family values kinda movie so I have no idea where the Christian references would come from. The only thing I can think of is the girl’s mother ordering Henry to marry her because of the thing that passes for a baby. It’s the perfect movie to show school kids to keep them from having unprotected sex, though.
Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says
It takes real stretching to turn Blade Runner into Christian allegory. Fortunately Daniel Mumby is up to the task.
This guy appears to have a thing for Malcolm McDowell.
PZ Myers says
I noticed the McDowell thing — it’s like an obsession. A deep, passionate infatuation with all things Malcolm.
Maybe it’s not that these are biblical/christian stories. Maybe it’s just that these films as well as christain stories are derived from themes based our shared prehistoric cultural lineage. Maybe the meme of a messiah is ingrained in our culture that great stories can hardly avoid it
Well with enough bullshit layered on everything is a christian allegory, including porn. “Rex penetrated sister Mary, just as the roman spear penetrated the side of our dear savior. And Susan was nailed just like Jesus….. There are just too many, and I haven’t even mentioned the resurrection.
Sally Strange, OM says
I remember thinking in high school English class, after reading The Old Man and the Sea, “Can we get some non-Christ metaphors up in here?”
They get really boring after a while, particularly if you haven’t had it drilled into your head that this particular metaphor is the Deepest, the Most Meaningful Metaphor EVAR.
It really isn’t.
Ing: Od Wet Rust says
They shouldn’t draw attention to The Green Mile because it tells the story better than the Bible.
If they wanted help, I have made a short list of my favorite Christ/Messiah figures. I wonder if they put in Robocop?
Bill Door says
Of course Eraserhead is a Christian movie; it even had its own hymn.
Oh look, someone has discovered the ideas of western mythology yet again! People are still recognizing the Hero’s Journey and labeling it Jesus instead of the other way around.
That CAPalert site is one of the most ugly website I’ve ever seen. Well, except maybe the weird one that predicted the end of the world on the 20 (or was it the 21 ?) of may. Or timecube.
Looks like it’s been programmed by an xian.
Bronze Dog says
*Warning: TV Tropes link*
Don’t you know that Everyone is Jesus in Purgatory?
Pretty much any movie that has characters redeem themselves will probably get called a ‘Christian’ movie. But really, I think the notions of Christian redemption and sacrifice are best found in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, since stupid Lion Jesus’s death is for a completely arbitrary, unexplained reason, and his resurrection also occurs for reasons only known to him. Also,no one ever bothers to ask Lion Jesus why, if he’s so good, did he not show up to fight evil years and years before? When you’re trying to better yourself and help and love others for believable, logical reasons, I don’t think its really ‘Christ-like’.
Andrés Diplotti says
Without looking I knew I’d find Dune on the list and have a laugh. The joke is, of course, that Dune is clearly based on Islamic, not Christian, folklore. Paul Atreides is explicitly hailed as the Mahdi, that is, the Muslim messiah.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: It’s Christian because it condemns materialism, Wonka leaving his dentist father to become a chocolate mogul is totally like the Prodigal Son (as if that parable has a complicated, completely original plot), and Wonka is obviously Jeebus.
Eraserhead: It’s Christian because the mutant baby is mutated because of the father’s sins! Obviously. That’s, like, the clear point of the entire movie (eyeroll). Also, because the Lady in the Radiator sings about “Heaven”. Christtastic!
Miyazaki’s films: Talks about harmony with nature (which somehow makes it Christian, despite the fact that Miyazaki more clearly draws elements from Shintoism). Also, because a character sacrifices itself! Sacrifice is Jeebus!
Truman Show: It’s Christian because…um…free will! Spirituality! A picture with Jim Carrey walking on a staircase into the clouds!
Also, who would’ve fucking guessed that the Book of Eli, a movie about fighting over a Bible, would’ve favored Christianism? Color me shocked.
Maybe the author should’ve tried to actually make a good case for a much smaller sample of movies, rather than padding out the list with the thinnest justifications for inclusion.
feralboy12, der Ken-Puppe Sie außerhalb in 1983 verlassen says
Also, Taxi Driver inspired a man to shoot a President, whereas the Bible merely inspires Christians to shoot abortion doctors.
But I do see the connection.
Art thou addressing me? Art thou addressing me? Whom wouldst thou be addressing? Thou must be addressing me as thee and I are the only souls present!
— Jesus Bickle
Wait how can Truman Show be Christian? It ends with Truman explicitly rejecting his God.
“In case I don’t see ya: Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”
Ahhhhh Capalert. Many a fine hour has been whiled away there, smoking weed and laughing my arse off at the utter inanity of it all.*
That’s some funny stuff.
*Obviously I don’t do that sort of thing now. Heaven forbid! And I never inhaled. Of course it was just ornamental weed I was just holding for a friend.
You do not own the human experience. Just because you can relate to a work of art using your own favorite myths does not make that art “Christian.” It makes it human. Also, people were most likely sacrificing themselves for others for tens of thousands of years before Jesus was a twinkle in Joseph’s eye. Get the fuck over yourselves already and stop trying to mark all of human culture with your special scented piss.
Part of our explore-real-life weekend visit from Nice Mormon Boy was watching Rocky Horror and The Invisible Man. Apparently he hadn’t been allowed to watch the 1930s version of the latter because “it was about a sociopath.” (Um, no, it’s a tragedy about hubris, ambition, and side effects.) I’m disappointed to discover that we were only presenting Christianity in a new and different costume.
(Also, if Tim Curry/Dr. Frank were Jesus, I might worship at that altar for a bit, if I could get out before the crazed murderous narcissism bit happened.)
You might regret asking for that.
Ing: Od Wet Rust says
If anyone’s interested for a decent horror movie, The People Under the Stairs, which I saw on streaming this weekend, is a retelling of Jack and the Bean Stalk.
I’m sure it too is somehow Christian despite the villains being of the First Weird Banjo Kid Church of the Boonies
Everybody go see El día de la Bestia. That‘s a Christian movie.
Silliness. On one hand, the Jesus story is, after all, a story, and so perforce will have some similarities with many other stories, there being not all that many ways to structure a narrative and many themes of near-universal concern that are likely to be treated in any narrative with any symbolic implications at all (though little analytical insight comes from overreaching attempts to identify a “monomyth” a la Campbell). On the other hand, the Jesus story and associated theology are among the most salient reference points in Western culture. So, from one direction or the other, it’s nigh inevitable that common elements can be identified between the Christian narrative and practically any other Western narrative with moral or metaphysical themes.
Sour Tomato Sand says
Eraserhead? Really? I’m most disturbed by the fact that the writer seems to think that the ending musical number to Eraserhead, sung by the creepy Girl in the Radiator, was intended to be comforting. Mental. Completely fucking mental.
“Yes, I can sort of see it: a violent psychopath does have a lot in common with Jesus Christ”
Well what would you call someone who says he is the son of god and says people he doesn’t agree with are going to be tortured for ever?
In fact, Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver‘s script-writer was raised as an extreme calvinist.
Beatrice, anormalement indécente says
I propose Dark Habits by Almodovar as another Christian movie. Most of the characters are nuns, so it must be Christian. Heh.
If it’s true that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Christian because it uses the prodigal son story, then Christianity is Buddhist because a similar story shows up in Buddhist lore. Also what’s his face walking on water is probably Buddhist too, since a very similar story shows up in Buddhism as well. Therefore Christianity is actually Buddhist.
Miyazaki movies christian? Seriously?
Ing: Od Wet Rust says
I think Miyazaki would have a problem with the Christian dominion over nature thing.
Noah the epistemic pinata says
The Wikipedia article for Christ figure not only points out the obvious and intentional connection between Aslan, Gandalf, and Jesus, but also informs us that Optimus Prime, Spock, and even Atticus Finch are really Jesus in Disguise.
It appears that people actually write semi-serious sounding papers about this kind of stuff, too. Fascinating.
I’ve only seen Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and there’s a particularly christy moment or two in there. I am surprised the author did not mention it, nor do I know what in particular environmental stewardship has to do with christianity. Mumby seems to have missed the obvious and gone for redefining christianity as environmentalistic rather than, you know, about worshipping Jesus Christ. Of course, actually paying attention to the thing that makes it christ-ianity would give him far fewer excuses for force reading christian themes into pop culture.
Egnu Cledge says
Indeed. This used to drive me nuts, too. If all you’ve done is change the names and settings of the Christ story, you really haven’t done much work as a writer.
'Tis Himself, OM says
Obviously Pulp Fiction is a Christian movie. Consider some of the dialog:
How more Christian could a movie get?
“O Lucky Man!” (which when I finally saw it, turned out to be a over long and not good enough movie) was rather obviously a Zen Buddhist thing, complete with the “teacher” whacking the student when the student was trying to hard to intellectualise what he’d been through, the blow leading immediately to his not thinking and therefore understanding. That’s classic Zen 101 story stuff.
And the guy missed the original (and only good) “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, which was deliberately written to be a Christ allegory (and the writer and director expressed surprise that people generally didn’t see that). An alien comes down to earth with an important message for humans, walks among them in human form, using the name “John Carpenter” (initials JC, last name Carpenter; come on, they tried to make it obvious enough), is killed by the authorities and brought back to live for a brief period to deliver his message (which is “if you stay here, do whatever fool things you want, but you bring that behavior off planet and you’re toast”). Okay, the message is different but really.
If this guy was so wrong about those two movies, and he was, he just isn’t clever enough to write articles like that.
Bill Dauphin, avec fromage says
I think it’s just a scam: An excuse cooked up so good, Dogfearing Christians can justify watching movies that are actually interesting.
It’s not a movie (and I’m not a Catholic), but I recently re-watched The Prisoner, and by the time I got to the end of the series, I really felt like I’d been tortured by Cardinal Fang. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but man-oh-man, The Prisoner just SCREAMS at you for even thinking of leaving the Holy Mother Church.
My flabber! She is gasted!
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if someone finds most of these on a list of anti-Christian films. Lovely thing, apologetics. It has no problem whatsoever with p∧¬p.
Whatever would he make of Ken Russell’s The Devils?
Beowulf and Grendel has Christians.
Come to think of it, Låt den rätte komma in, has a girl(?) vamipire Jesus in it.
What? No “Deliverance”?
Hypatia's Daughter says
Many years ago, while flipping channels (how else does one end up watching them??), I ended up watching a xtian talk show where some guy was explaining how “He-Man”, the kids cartoon show, was anti-xtian because Skeletor, the villain, was all covered in satanic symbols – the skull face, the goat-head scepter, etc. He seemed to miss that the good guy, He-Man, was all blond, pure and wore a cross on his chest.
Gee, our very xtianized culture uses xtian symbols of evil to represent evil. Well, Duh.
But I also realized then that the average xtian needs someone to spell out what they are permitted to read or watch because they are incapable of figuring out its moral worth themselves.
You must never be seen enjoying anything that is not approved by your church, your pastor and your fellow parishioners.
David Marjanović, OM says
It was A Bad Joke. A Particularly Bad Joke.
Hey, in the scene where Spock sacrifices himself, he says explicitly “I am not human”!
And what does God need with a starship anyway?
tim gueguen says
I wonder if some of those films are being laballed Christian because of the people involved as much as the content, Arnie in Total Recall being an obvious possibility
Fuck that. Clockwork is NOT a jeebus film. That is heresy.
I once read an explanation of Eraserhead from a Christian perspective. It was dreadful. Ugh.
I feel so unclean.
This list is like a list I saw of “conservative” musicians that included The Beatles because they made a song called Tax Man. Somehow, they missed the rest of what The Beatles sang about or did. You can twist anything to fit your worldview.
John Hattan says
I was always surprised at how few people see the heavy humanist undertones in “Toy Story”.
It’s the story of a person who’s been deluded from birth into thinking that he’s currently stuck in a mundane existence but is destined for a much greater future. He cannot show that any of this future it actually exists, but he still states emphatically and repeatedly that it is so.
After some bouts with reality, he finally comes to accept that he is all that he is and there is no great “infinity and beyond” for which he is destined. And he realizes that the here and now is enough for him.
Lancelot Gobbo says
Clockwork Orange? Heresy, I say! The sacred Burgess canon is not to be contaminated with christian filth!
anthrosciguy: O Lucky Man ain’t so bad. A bit self-indulgent on the part of Lindsay Anderson, but if seen as a sequel to If… it all makes sense, especially if one lived through the sixties in the UK. Poor old Rachel Roberts suicided in real life after doing so in the film. The third part of that trilogy is just so close to actuality in hospital administration it’s no longer funny but rather depressing.
Matthew Hodson says
Searching for “escape to reality” on google landed me on a weird grace site where a recent article was titled “Star Trek and the Great Commission: 12 Parallels”
After browsing the site a bit to try to determine if it was a poe I came to the conclusion that is was serious.
I also noticed that most of the articles are dedicated to making arguments for why the author’s particular theology is supported by the bible. I guess this way of thinking flows naturally onto other topics and the apologist sees their theology everywhere.
“Without looking I knew I’d find Dune on the list and have a laugh. The joke is, of course, that Dune is clearly based on Islamic, not Christian, folklore. Paul Atreides is explicitly hailed as the Mahdi, that is, the Muslim messiah.”
Not to mention, one of the central themes of Dune is about the dangers of religion. Paul laments that he is revered as a god figure, because it leads to massive death and destruction carried out in his name.
Wow, the list is rather messed up. I didn’t get very far before finding films that pointed out that religion is basically BS, but the site claims it demonstrates christian righteousness.
I think this is most telling: “Cronos is mainly concerned with the failures of the church rather than the faith it claims to uphold.”
So basically, the site can claim anything good is part of the faith. And anything bad is just the church doing it wrong.
Nothing like xtian rationalizations to make it all better.
It was from Frank Herbert’s Dune that I learned the concept of jihad, although for a long time I thought it was a word of Herbert’s coinage. I was rather shocked to discover that it was a real word borrowed from Islam.
Titus Vader says
You know, I’m not that surprised that A Clockwork Orange is on there. What with being chock full of violence, a dash of rape and some brainwashing.
How dare they drag my beloved clockwork orange into this. I take it they didn’t see the ending where our dear singing bethoven loving rapist murdering asshole realizes the brainwashing wore off and he has a wicked smile on his face
Rick Litherland says
Whoo-ee. When I read the post, the first thing I noticed was that the list included two films based on Philip Dick stories. By the time religion started to creep into his stuff, Horselover Fat was a Gnostic; didn’t the compiler know this? Since I’ve checked the site, I realise it’s a postmodernist exercise in demonstrating that an author knows diddly-squat about his own work, so the question is moot. The great delight of checking this out was that “The Bed-Sitting Room” is included. I think that scores a perfect 10 on the obscurity scale. It means that, along with “Being There”, two of the three major Goons were included. Since Secombe was a devout Xian (and also, as far as I know, never appeared in a film), I guess the trifecta was out of reach.
Apropos of nothing, I’d like to share my favourite headline from The Onion with those who missed it: Jacques Derrida “dead”.
M Groesbeck says
@ heliobates #46 —
Would answer your “?”, but…spoilers, and things in the book that the movie doesn’t quite address.
Rick, PKD, if I’m remembering his biographies correctly, was a serious Episcopalian all his adult life (And a serious Gnostic for at least his final nine years). When does religion “creep into his work”? It’s certainly there in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich (1964), which is based on a vision that he consulted his priest about. There’s hints of it in his 1962 novels as well.
What’s interesting about the Christians picking Total Recall and Blade Runner is that they’re not PKD stories: they’re Hollywood redactions of PKD stories that eliminate the Christian elements in favor of conventional movie plots. Remember, in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, there’s an explicit endorsement of a religion (Mercerism) and an ending in which Rick Deckard goes back to his wife. Like several other Dick novels (and like a lot of short stories by Hawthorne, whose name appears in a few Dick novels), there’s a kind of “Suffering is inevitable, work while it is still day, do your duty by your family, cut the grandiosity and power-tripping” message. Compassion and humility stuff, which may have Christian resonances, but not to the kind of people who think Travis B is a hero.
David Utidjian says
While he was on a Malcolm McDowell trip he forgot one of the last films before McDowell disappeared for a while: “Cat People” (with Natasha Kinski (who could forget her in those hip waders!!))… but I will take a shot at it:
Malcolm was the debbil (the evil pussy cat)
Natasha was Eve (the nice pussy cat)
And there was incest, almost. And demons. And some voodoo. And some fire. And some ancient curse. So yeah it was Christian.
Crap, I am no good at this. Never mind.
Why he’d consider Alien 3 a good idea to include to uphold his side is beyond me.
I’ll accept The Assassination of Jesse James and The Proposition, because frankly, I don’t think Nick Cave could make a sandwich without there being some Xtian allegory in there. (I like him anyway.)
Also with the Malcolm McDowell theme, “Caligula” must be a Christian film. It’s even in the right time period.
Eric Paulsen says
Anything can be linked to anything else if you are bent on it. As a teen we used to play a game where you would link any random object thrown out by the group to being a tool of the devil (it was our sarcastic response to that group who decided the Smurfs were satanic. Crappy sure, but Satanic?) For example a clowns nose: it’s red, red is a color in fire, and fire is a tool of the devil – ergo a clowns nose is Satanic. It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon for bored suburban slackers.
I’m sure that Blue Velvet or Natural Born Killer can be just as easily reconciled to being Christin allegory.
like Adam and Eve crawling from the vanquished serpent
And, yet, on the flip side, so many things that look distinctly Christian to non-Christians apparently don’t seem that way to Christians:
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s science.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s history.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s patriotism.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s healing.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s political leadership.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s art.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s teaching.
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s “The Truth.”
Oh, that’s not Christianity, it’s idolatry, Satanism, blasphemy, heresy…
Given that the Christian story shamelessly rips off older mythology, all those movies obviously refer to Heracles and Gilgamesh.
Marcus Hill says
Well, he did get one thing right. Charles Gray is god.
He might be wrong about the movie “A clockwork Orange”, but he has a point if one considers the book. Because the author most definitly had christian motifs in mind when writing it. Burgess was actually quite stressed, because many christian organisations were less than happy with the movie and did not get the points. There was also the problem with the missing last chapter…
Fuck the last chapter. It ruined the book for me. Sticking to a literary device should not detract from the story.
Ray Ingles says
Anyone else remember the ‘controversy’ over “The Invention of Lying”, where it wasn’t sufficiently disclosed in the advertising that it was an ‘atheist’ movie?
Somehow, the same people didn’t object to the Christian subtext in ‘Signs’ that wasn’t in the advertising. Even more egregious, they didn’t complain about the religious subtext in “I Am Legend” – that not only wasn’t in the advertising, but wasn’t even in the source material.
It takes a lot from someone for them to notice ‘wrong doing’ when it isn’t directed at them or is directed against something they dislike.
That and Christians on average are used to having their ideology in everything from Hollywood to my mother’s selection of refrigerator magnets.
Anubis Bloodsin III says
So A Clockwork Orange is xian by some spurious analysis?
Well considering the gang rape, murder, pathological insanity, and peer pressured criminality and mayhem perpetrated by a gang mentality and the overbearing response by an authority out of their depth with an agenda but with a short term pompous attitude of grandstanding to a populace.
Creating more questionable practices then before …
probably as accurate a description as any!
Xians really do not understand irony do they?
Oh wow. I missed a few more egregious ones from my #18.
Cronos is Christian because someone recites the Lord’s Prayer before being bitten.
Blade Runner is Christian because “love conquers all” is a Christian idea! Thanks for telling us you have the monopoly on “love” in all of its forms, asshole.
If… is a Christian film because a guy walks up to a priest with a gun. “Anderson’s film demonstrates how once-noble ideals have been corrupted by institutions to the extent that they now mean the opposite of what was intended.” That’s right: pointing out the corruption of Christian religious institutions makes something a Christian movie. I think Bill Donohue owes some major apologies. To almost everyone and everything.
The Lion King is Christian because Simba and Mufasa are obviously like Aslan the Jeebus Lion of Narnia (presumably because they are lions…), and Simba is like Jesus/Moses/Elijah because he comes out of the wilderness to defeat evil and lead his people. Yeah. Except this means that, if he was like Jesus, the wilderness was Hell. That explains Timon and Pumba. Demons, obviously. I don’t see how it is like Moses because Moses was raised by the Pharaoh (which in this case would be Scar), and only ran into the wilderness after he was full-grown and fucking killed a guy. Also: he ran away from Egypt with his people, never overthrew the Pharaoh. Also: miracles.
What the fuck is wrong with this writer? He could’ve just said “Ghost Mufasa in the sky with the booming voice was God the Father” and he might’ve had something resembling a point. Instead, he bullshits that Simba is vaguely similar to 3 different Biblical figures without daring to realize that the character is only similar because of how vague and generic he is making the relevant Biblical stories.
Oh, I see what the fuck is wrong with him: He’s a moron.
From The Clonus Horror: “The Clonus Horror compares the present-day role of scientists to that of priests in mediaeval times. On the one hand, they are at the cutting-edge of ‘technology’, interceding between the people and power they cannot understand; on the other hand, the computerised confessionals drape a veil of ignorance over proceedings.”
Yeah. The Clonus Horror is Christian because it compares scientists to priests in a negative light. As long as it bashes scientists, that’s sufficient basis to deem a work Christian, even if it bashes scientists by comparing them to religious authorities. Consistent with the whole “you just have faith in atheism/science” schlock where they throw faith under the bus in order to pretend, for one brief moment, that no-one has logic/evidence on their side.
Conclusion: This Daniel Mumby is a simpering fuckwit.
there are little Christian motifs throughout, culminating in the revelation of Paul Atreides as the god-like being who will end all wars and unite all peoples.
This man has no clue of which he speaks. The result of the events in Dune was a universe spanning jihad that killed BILLIONS. When Paul’s son did “unite all peoples” it was with the knowledge that the union would inevitably split asunder (resulting in TRILLIONS of deaths) in a diaspora that would insure the survival of the race as a whole by specifically inoculating the human species against individuals with god-like powers.
These are novels centered around an organization that uses religion as a tool of social control. It’s as cynical a view of faith as you will ever find.
Chris H says
“Dead Alive” would definitely be a Christian movie then as Father McGruder states that he “Kicks arse for the Lard!” Can’t believe they missed that one.
That guy really liked Ridley Scott & Malcom McDowell. LOL It was fun reading but I get annoyed when anything existensial is deamed xian by default. Any theme of redemption or searching for one’s purpose is not exclusive to a xian experience. I would also add the obvious, that using xian imagery does not equal a pro xtian film. It seemed that several of the films on his list were openly critical or hostile towards xtianity.
Someone took a Film As Art class in college & now sees messianic imagery everywhere.
More people should read Joseph Campbell & learn about other cultures. Then they would see how many ideas xianity actually *cough* borrows *cough*cough* from pagan mythologies.
Ing: Od Wet Rust says
Christian privilege. Since it’s so ingrained int eh culture we’re supposed to accept it as the default. Much like the white male hetero protagonist.
Chris Swanson says
I actually write for this site from time to time and I must say, of the films that I’ve seen that are on that list, most are actually appropriate, for a given value of “Christian films”. There’s Christ allegories all over the place in many of them. I do find it vaguely amusing that he put Gladiator on the list, since that particular film features characters who are explicitly not Christians.
John Morales says
Yes and no.
(Look at the recent history of the Balkans in the 1990s)
Please Chris, examples. At very least, many of the explanations in the article for why any given film could be considered “Christian” were blatant nonsense. I’ve noted ten particularly notable examples of that, in addition to PZ’s Taxi Driver and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Beyond that, there are other good arguments against the inclusion of Dune given by others, and Gladiator, remarked upon yourself. I’ve also noted that at least one member of the list, The Book of Eli, shouldn’t have been included because the very concept of the plot makes its position of favoring Christianity obvious. Also, PZ mentions Total Recall, and the author’s sole argument for including Total Recall is “The sight of a mountain erupting with life-giving oxygen and the liberation of the Martian mutant underclass are clear uses of Christian imagery, as are the positioning of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Ticotin as the new Adam and Eve.” Apparently, exploding mountains, freedom and a male and female in love are sufficient to get a movie labeled “spiritual” and Christian. Fancy that.
That’s a total of 16 entries out of 50 that are demonstrable nonsense, which is only keeping track of the ones I give a fuck about. The only one I saw that actually had a good, solid point was The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and he did okay on Senna and the Secret Garden (because I don’t know the last two films enough to know if he is leaping to conclusions). I also think he might have a point for Harry Potter, but he doesn’t make it very well. Please, tell us: What films do you think this Mr. Mumby got right?
Aratina Cage says
One thing about finding the Christ allegory in any movie is that it is often very flimsy and you have to ignore tons of content that would negate it, especially when trying to settle on one character as being the Christ figure.
For instance, in Alien 3, Ripley could just as easily be seen as the Madonna who bears the Christ (the alien) to the world to save (slaughter) the sinners (the prisoners) from Hell (the abandoned lead foundry). Or maybe it’s supposed to be a mini apocalypse (aren’t all Alien films?) with Christ (the alien) returning to judge mankind. You can almost sense the glee with which Fincher twisted and warped Christian allegories in that movie. And just look at how he treated those Born-again Christian Soldiers–only a single one survives.
And then at the end, there is the notion of sacrifice to save humankind, but this is what is really happening: Ripley is going to die either way in a couple of seconds–either taking the alien down to burn in the furnace jets with her or letting the Company get it for their bioweapons division as it bursts out of her chest on the platform. So there isn’t really a selfless choice involved but a moral, courageous choice for Ripley to take her own life and end this alien mess right now or to cower in fear of her own demise and practically hand over the alien to the Company. And if you’re going to argue that Ripley is Christ saving the sinners from God’s wrath, then is the Company supposed to be God or something? It doesn’t make much sense. It doesn’t fit.
In the end, I think Alien 3 has much more of a nihilistic, atheistic theme to it where religious fantasy is crushed in the harshest possible way and there turns out to be no savior, no afterlife, no fairness in the natural order, no strength in brotherhood. Belief in a god and religious tradition protects no one and even significantly lowers their chances of survival. And the hero, the only woman and the only person who isn’t deluded about reality, dies a meaningless death, forgotten forever on a desolate planet. It’s quite a beautiful ending.
And I guess I have about as much faith that Harry Potter is inspired by Christianity as I do with Alien 3, which is to say, not much at all. Really, I think people are wrong to compare Harry Potter to Jesus Christ for much the same reason. I would say the same for Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, a post-apocalyptic film devoid of gods entirely, and Mononoke Hime, which featured dozens of gods not one of which was Christ or YHWH (you might as well say ALL Miyazaki’s films are Christ allegories if those two are!). I mean, cripes!, go read the “Christ figure” article on Wikipedia to see how silly it all is. Those are things many fictional characters have done, not just Christ. I think people are far too infatuated with the Christian narrative and seeing it into places it doesn’t go, a kind of cinematic pareidolia. Can’t we just enjoy films without having Christians project their imaginary friends onto the characters?
This was sort of the point of a blog post I made. The Messiah story and imagery is COMMON and many stories do it better than the Christ myth.