So the inspiration for this came from a sermon by a local pastor. It was part of a "God at the movies" series from North Point church One of the first things I would like to say about this, is if you've been to the movies much lately, it's hard to say with any certainty that God is actually there. Especially in a movie such as Avatar.
The Sermon, which I don't think you can see on their website but you can find on ITunes, was not good. "Pastor" Tommy Sparger used the movie as an example of empathy, learning to walk in some one else shoes. And the movie does explore that quite literally. There is nothing wrong with empathy. Empathy is good and the world probably needs more of it. However this was a church and the pastor was using a decidedly unGodly example to try to make a point of Godly empathy. I would have thought a better thing to preach from would be say maybe Mark ch1 where Jesus goes to the desert to be tempted by Satan, or any number of points in the New Testament where the writer talks about Jesus taking on human form for us.
The sermon was decidedly not Jesus centric. The high point of the sermon came towards the end where he talked about how their was not judgement at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ just grace. Which is true, however he neglected to say grace for what. Never once when talking about the cross did he go in to any explanation of why Jesus went to the cross. He didn't explain that Jesus Christ went to the cross in our place. That he took the punishment that we should have gotten for our sin and that we all need to repent of our sin and believe and accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior! Apparently he was too busy talking about how judging is bad and that we need to be empathetic and not hurt peoples feeling to tell them that we are all sinners bound for hell except for the those who accept the saving grace of Jesus.
This is not an anomaly. This is pretty much par for the course for this church and for more and more churches around the country and the world. The job of the pastor is not to tickle peoples itching ears with little feel good lectures and pretty speeches, it's to proclaim the Gospel. that Jesus Christ died for our sins. That he rose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God and he's coming back for those that believe and to judge those that don't.
So lets turn now to the movie he use, Avatar. Don't get me wrong I actually like the movie. It's a good fantasy/sci-fi flick, beautifully filmed and technically amazing. However with that said I don't think I would ever take any theological ideas from it. Pastor Mark Driscoll once called it a "Demonic and Satanic film" and I'm not sure he's far off. The Ideology put forth in Avatar is not in any way, shape or form Christian. It's just not.
The Na'vi, the natives of the planet on which the movie took place were the very model of paganism and pantheism. They worshiped the planet and everything on it as well they had a "goddess" called "Ehwah" who was said to be part of everything, and that the whole planet is "alive". This is the Ideology that they fight for in going up against the human who want to mine the planet. In the end they win with the help of the planet as the many of the wild creatures begin attacking the humans in the last battle of the movie.
The whole movie could be considered a Gaia theory/extreme environmentalism PSA with a little new age spirituality tossed in. So ,yeah you could easily call this movie demonic from a biblical point of view. Which is why I say it was completely inappropriate to use this or pretty much the majority of movies as examples in a church. I did write a blog using matrix point of view but I don't think I would actually preach that as a sermon in a church, it was a response to another point of view.
This same church has a sermon series coming up about Hell. I am both curious and concerned about his take on Hell. The bottom line is, that Pastors need to get back to preaching the Gospel and if you're going to use an example from the world you better be able to tie it back to the Gospel or not preach it.