Each Week on Saturday, I’ll be asking a “Question of the Week.” I’d love your input and discussion! Ask a good question in the comments and it may show up as the next week’s question! I may answer the questions in the comments myself.
One of my favorite activities is to go to the movies and evaluate a film from a Christian worldview perspective. In light of that, I wanted to ask you, dear reader:
What’s your favorite movie in regards to the way it portrays a worldview? Why?
When we watch a movie, we must always realize it has a “worldview” in it. What movie has impacted you most in the way it portrays a worldview? Let’s hear it, in the comments.
Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more.
Book Review: “Hollywood Worldviews” by Brian Godawa– Speaking of worldviews in the movies, why not check out my review of this book which seeks to provide a method for analyzing film from a worldview perspective? Let me know what you think.
Engaging Culture: A brief guide for movies– I outline my approach to evaluating movies from a worldview perspective.
I have a number of ways in which I have critically engaged with culture in movies, books, and other arts in my posts on current events (scroll down for more posts).
Time Changer, for sure. It’s a Christian film, but it’s one of the best Christian films ever produced. It’s the gold standard I hold other Christian films up to, and the vast majority of them fall short. But it’s about a theology professor who tries to argue that we can remove the name of Christ from our explanations of morality and publishes a paper to that effect, and has the opportunity to travel into the future to see the implications of that belief.
That sounds like a movie I really need to watch! Thanks for bringing it up!
I really like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for the way it questions the worldview of its main character.
In Raiders, Indy makes it really clear that he thinks the supernatural is bunk (let’s ignore this discontinuity with the Temple prequel for now). At the end of Raiders, he sees very clearly that God is completely real and powerful, because God’s power melts some Nazi faces.
In Last Crusade, he’s all about finding his dad. He doesn’t practice any faith, doesn’t pray about it or anything, and is quick to outright kill assailants. Wouldn’t he be a believer at this point?
It reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and how they see very clearly that Christian objects have the power to thwart unholy powers, but almost nobody is practicing Christianity. Everyone’s either oblivious to God/religion (even though CROSSES and HOLY WATER have HOLY POWERS), or practices witchcraft.
Anyway, back to Last Crusade, the thing I love about it is that when Indy and his dad meet up, his dad IS a Christian and takes these things seriously! What a breath of fresh air! He is agast at the fact that his son is killing people, and finds justification only later — by noting that they’re “at war.” He rebukes his son for using Christ’s name in vain. He imparts the importance of finding the Grail as the only thing that matters, even above finding their friend Marcus, because he knows and recognizes its power.
Now, obviously we don’t see God stepping in and causing overt miracles in these movies, except (in this case) indirectly through the Grail’s healing. There’s this “disconnection” that’s maintained, where God is behind a veil. I actually think this is okay. God’s “behind a veil” in real life in the sense I mean, of course, and invoking God’s overt miraculous intervention would come off as contrived deus ex machina.
But it’s cool to have a movie where inexplicable unbelief in the face of obvious “Christian power” is answered by somebody with “sense” enough to be a Christian.
Thanks for your comment here. I like your take on Indy!
The Dark Knight. Is there any better example of lawless nihilism taken to its conclusion than The Joker, played by Heath Ledger, who, apparently, became too enmeshed in the role and could no longer separate the role from reality? While it’s important to compare and contrast the differing worldviews out there with Christianity, I believe the truth is that the only logical alternative to Christianity is nihilism. Truly, if God doesn’t exist, then, in the end, nothing else matters.
The Hours. A movie that forced me to confront how I would face the fact of my own death and how that approach would effect the rest of my life lived out in that knowledge…Just to add much like the planet Melacholia will destroy the Earth in Von Triers movie of the same name. Everybody needs to confront their death through the movies then they can get on with their lives and live them to the full.
Ruby Sparks. It show the foolishness of meticulous determinism.
Wow I see someone else said Dark Knight. That is rich of illustrations of the problem of bad worldviews lived out, and that “monsters” are the product not of super powers but bad ideas.
I would also add Hitchcock’s “Rope.”
I plan to do a summer series on some worldview films and it will include “Rope.”
I look forward to that series! I haven’t seen “Rope” so I am also eagerly awaiting your insights. Thanks for stopping by.
Perhaps not my “favorite” but way up on my list is Mr. Holland’s Opus in which the spirit of John Donne’s “no man is an island” demonstrates how much our lives impact, for better or worse, others (see here for the clip). Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, also captures this (see here for the clip).
I’m a huge fan of both of those movies! Thanks for sharing that perspective, too. I hadn’t thought of them in that light!
Fiddler on the Roof is a classic that asks us to consider the role of tradition and where one should draw the line between what can be changed with the times and what is indispensable to what one believes, and it does it with a lot of humor.
More recently I would have to say that The Grey is a movie that got in my head and stayed there for a while. It forces the viewers to examine the reality of what they believe in in light of the cruel, cold realities of the world at its worst.
I also love Fiddler on the Roof! It’s a great movie and it does get quite a bit of thinking going when one reflects on the role of tradition. What’s the premise of “The Grey”? I haven’t heard of it.
It’s about a group of oil workers in Alaska whose shuttle flight to Anchorage crashes in the Alaskan wilderness. The lead character (played by Liam Neeson) is a professional hunter who shoots wolves that attack the workers out on the pipeline. He leads a small group of survivors as they try to fend off a pack of wolves that slowly reduces their numbers as they try to trod through the wilderness hoping to find civilization. A few of them have at least vague notions of God, providence, etc., while others mock any such notions. Nesson’s character is a materialist, though he says at one point that he wishes he wasn’t. The movie asks the question, Is there really something beyond the cruel realities of life, and either way, what does that have to do with how we survive in the here-and-now? When you’re fighting for your life against a merciless pack of wolves, is there really Someone “up there” who cares? A lot of existential, Ernest Hemingway – type themes.
I may have a new favorite myself after watching “Edge of Tomorrow”- https://jwwartick.com/2014/06/16/edge-tom/