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Today’s question: is James Cameron spreading paganism in Avatar movies?
Excellent question. Director James Cameron released his latest blockbuster titled Avatar part 2. The story goes like this: Planet earth is dying due to climate change. Humans travel to invade and occupy a planet named Pandora. This beautiful planet is inhabited by nature loving tribes like Na’vi and Omaticaya. A US army veteran named Jake Sully first works for the humans but later sympathizes with the Na’vi, marries a tribal woman named Neytiri. Jake Sully leads the Na’vi in a battle to drive humans off Pandora.
Throughout the movie, you will find spiritual themes running through the plot. If you look into James Cameron’s career, he spent enough time struggling with central claims of Christian faith. He made a documentary on Exodus claiming that Moses really did not divide the Red Sea by the miraculous intervention of God. He said it was not the Red Sea, but Reed Sea. He said that Jesus was probably buried in the wrong tomb. He espoused materialism and atheism in his personal life but in his movies he is promoting pantheism.
Avatar portrays human beings as a menace to this world. Humans are villains. They plunder Na’vi people mercilessly and savagely. No wonder many young people in our time choosing not to have a family. They think human beings have become a burden on nature. But nothing could be further from the truth.Human beings are created in the image of God. They are created to rule and control the natural world.
Na’vi tribe is shown to possess nature loving pacifism. The fact is all pagan tribes are intensely violent people. Many of them practiced horrible things like child sacrifice and cannibalism. While we should love the native tribes, we should not whitewash their violent traditions.
Pantheism: Throughout the movie, we see pantheism.
Humanoids develop a spiritual bond with the sea and its creatures: we see the Tree of Souls. Sea creatures and Na’vi people become brothers and sisters. Animals and humanoids communicate complex ideas using spoken language.
Jake Sully’s wife and her tribe pray to Great Mother. In other words, she prays to nature. Hollywood rarely features scenes with a serious Christian prayer to the God of the Bible. They usually mock Christian prayers. But in this movie, prayers to nature are portrayed with utmost seriousness. It seems Atheists are not troubled by pantheism.
Eternality of nature:
Another dominant theme in this movie is the eternality of nature. Water has no beginning and no end. You hear that statement a couple of times. The ocean has no beginning and no end. That reminded me Carl Sagan’s words. He said
“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. For James Cameron, the ocean is all there is. He spends a lot of time in underwater exploration. He was the first human being to travel to the deepest trench on planet earth. He probably got that ‘a tingling in the spine’ or ‘a faint sensation’ when he goes to the reefs. That is all good. But he never gives any glory to God who created the ocean. He never expresses any gratitude towards God who created all nature. He substituted nature in the place of God. He says, water has no beginning nor end. That description belongs only to God. Only God has no beginning and no end. Lord Jesus Christ said, I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the first and the last. He is the beginning and the end. That name belongs only to Jesus. You should not say those words about nature or water. Nature has a beginning and end.
Meaning of life: James Cameron is encouraging his viewers to find meaning to their lives in fighting for climate change, in connecting to nature. Many of his fans get a condition known as Post-Avatar Depression. They find their lives empty, meaningless and purposeless. Cameron encourages people to find meaning in their lives by connecting to nature. That’s a very bad advice. You don’t find meaning in your life by connecting to nature. It is impossible to connect to nature. You are a spiritual being. Nature is a materialistic entity. Nature has no soul. Nature has no spiritual nature. Nature does not care about you. The only person who cares about you is God. The only person who can give meaning to your life is God. The only person who can give you spiritual fulfillment is God. So, instead of leading people to God, James Cameron is leading them to natives and nature. That is like a blind man showing the way to other blind men.
Overall, James Cameron’s life displays what is wrong with our culture. First, a person rejects the truth about the living God. Then he or she starts worshiping nature. That is not surprising. That is what Romans chapter 1 preaches.First, people reject the truth about the living and true God. Then they start abusing their bodies, engaging in sexual immorality, identifying themselves more with nature than with God, worshiping creatures more than God.
Let us hope and pray James Cameron will repent of his sins and come to Christ before it is too late.