Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pandora's delusional world, heaven's reality

I read an article on CNN.com about the movie Avatar. What I read slightly disturbed me but also convicted me about not spreading the gospel like I should. My desires are weak and sadly I fear man many times more than I fear the Lord. But what I saw in the article was a group of people longing for heaven and they don’t even know it. Here are some clips:

“James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.”

On an Avatar forum online here are what people are saying:

Elequin – “That's all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about 'Avatar.' I guess that helps. It's so hard I can't force myself to think that it's just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na'vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie."

Ivar Hill - "When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed ... gray. It was like my whole life, everything I've done and worked for, lost its meaning," Hill wrote on the forum. "It just seems so ... meaningless. I still don't really see any reason to keep ... doing things at all. I live in a dying world."

"One can say my depression was twofold: I was depressed because I really wanted to live in Pandora, which seemed like such a perfect place, but I was also depressed and disgusted with the sight of our world, what we have done to Earth. I so much wanted to escape reality." Hill said.

Stephen Lang who plays the villainous Col. Miles Quaritch in the movie says - "Pandora is a pristine world and there is the synergy between all of the creatures of the planet and I think that strikes a deep chord within people that has a wishfulness and a wistfulness to it."

Stephen Lang is right and wrong about his assessment. The world “Pandora” does strike a deep chord with people because of its beauty and unity within that world but while “Pandora” is not a reality there is even a greater place than “Pandora” that is real. Elequin keeps searching and searching for more about Avatar. He says “living like the Na’vi will never happen” which is true but there is yet a greater place than “Pandora” where people will live greater than the Na’vi people. Ivar makes a great point about seeing “Pandora” and realizing this world is nothing in comparison to that world. He longs for something greater. While this world isn’t meaningless we must remember this world is tainted with sin from the fall in Genesis three. Ivar picks up on that reality without even knowing it. Deep in his soul he realizes something greater but has no idea where to find it. His greater world is delusional but the good news is that a greater world does exist.

The conclusion: “Within the fan community, suggestions for battling feelings of depression after seeing the movie include things like playing "Avatar" video games or downloading the movie soundtrack, in addition to encouraging members to relate to other people outside the virtual realm and to seek out positive and constructive activities.”

Christian, read and see that people long for heaven. We have the reality of heaven given to us by God’s amazing grace. We must be future focused in this life to give it meaning. This life is about spreading the fame of Jesus Christ. He is the One who grants us an eternity with him which is greater than any movie could ever display. “Pandora” has struck a chord of longing but they are missing the reality that it can be fulfilled to a greater degree in Christ. Christ gives us eternity with him. Listen to the greatness of heaven:

“And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Revelation 21:15-27).

People with no hope turn to video games and soundtracks as a solution. If we would be faithful to tell them about Jesus and the reality of everlasting life with him would satisfy their longing. The reality of unity and beauty are found in Jesus Christ. The delusional world of “Pandora” pales in comparison to the reality of Heaven. We must speak the gospel.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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