Thursday, October 14, 2004

what if god was one of us??

I rented a bunch of movies this week...I have been home sick for much of the week, so I have enjoyed sitting on my duff and coughing through a number of films. *coughs* *coughs*

But the one film I really want to write about is Saved! Heather wrote about it in her blog and had some really insightful thoughts. But you see, Heather has much more faith and religion than I my thoughts about the movie are in many ways quite similar and in many ways very different.

In a nutshell, the film is about a girl named Mary who believes that Jesus told her that to save her boyfriend from the plight of being gay, she must sleep with him in order to show him the way of heterosexuality. Mary is a devote Christian and is a member of heavily religious girls at school...who see the work of Jesus in everything. Well, Mary's plan...umm, has some flaws...mainly being when she becomes pregnant and then becomes ostracized by her school and her friends.

When I was done watching the film, I thought a lot about Dogma....which got a lot of the same attention. Dogma was seen by many as anti-religion and blaspemy. It was seen as a picture that mocked the Catholic religion and people's faith. It was widely protested...and even got an official mention of its evilness from the Catholic Church. And yep, by the is my favorite Kevin Smith film.

Saved! is very much cut from the same skirt...people say that it is anti-religion and that the whole movie is a sin. People have said that anyone who respects religion and god....should not even see the film.

Is there a mocking tone in both of these films? Sure there is. Do they make jokes at the expense of religion and some of its followers? Sure thing. But, I think that a difference that is clear to me...and I wish was universally that it is not religion being mocked, but the zealots. The films both take a hard look at those fundamentalists...who take something as beautiful as faith and turn it into something dark and judgemental. The films take a hard knock at those who take an idea like faith and pervert it...many with good something that falls away from many of Jesus' own teachings. They openly mock an idea of turning God and religion into some sort of mind control to get people to behave in a manner in which you would like. That is the area and scope of religion that these movies attack....

So, does that make movies like Dogma and Saved! anti-religious? In my These movies teach us a lesson...that religion is not a cookie cutter business. These movies teach us about how different faith can be...and how beautiful that is. It teaches us that God's work can be done in a variety of ways. The films show that faith surrounds us all...not just those who play "by the rules"....and that God is all knowing and all forgiving.

In each of these films, the person who was tested...and yes, strayed away from the traditional teachings of God...walked away more confirmed in their faith. In the end of Dogma....after so much destruction and pain, God appears and brings peace to Earth. She sees the good in those around forgiveness....and also fixes the ailments she sees. And in the end, Bethany...who was questioning if God even existed in the beginning of the left in her own words with an "overabundance of faith."

And in Saved! is much the same. Mary was blindly following God in the beginning of the film...and would do whatever she felt Jesus or his followers told her to do. Through the film, she grew to speak her own voice and to find a sense of faith within that. In the end of the film, her character as well...talks about how now she knows that Jesus exists...and she sees it in the people around her...the compassion and the struggle.

Movies like this...have the reverse effect on me than the church thinks. They increase my faith. They remind me that I need to look for faith outside the cookie cutter molds of many of the churches...and that faith resides in us all.

I highly recommend seeing the film...even and especially if your church tells you that you might go to hell for seeing it!