Well Avatar didn’t win the oscar and rightly so in my mind.  The amount of money made by this film is mind boggling (its the highest grossing film of all time) unfortunately the film itself is not.  I personally was not overly impressed, the themes and plot lines are predictable and shallow to say the least, and I was not totally convinced that the 3D effects added to the movie.  A damning review! – perhaps I felt letdown, I had not seen a feature film in 3D before and we went all out for the full IMAX experience.  The hype surrounding the film suggested a truly extraordinary viewing experience, alas it wasn’t to be.  However, there were some themes germane to this blog that merit some attention.  Seemingly in it’s effort to portray a holist view of the environment as well as provide a commentary on environmental concerns in our own time ultimately resulted in a disappointing position on both religion and science.  Let me explain my views; firstly science: a work obsessed, bossy, smoking, drinking, lab coat adorning female scientist who discovers some kind of biologically interconnected sentient life force … really is this the best they could come up with.  Secondly religion: the film clearly espouses pantheism: identifying God with nature, the Creator with the creation (this sentiment was also conveyed in James Cameron’s recent Golden Globe acceptance speech).  This is contra to traditional Christianity which has held the position of divine transcendence, set apart and wholly distinct from creation.  Recent thinking has moved towards the middle ground of panentheism (see, for example, Philip Clayton, God and Contemporary Science, 1997).  Whereby “the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that every part exists in Him but (as against pantheism) that his Being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the universe” (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church).  John Polkinghorne has a more nuanced view (see, for example, Science and Christian Belief/Faith of a Physicist, 1984 and Faith, Science & Understanding, 2000) whereby panentheism isn’t the present reality, but will prove to be the the eschatological (end time) relationship between God and creation.  Although no Philosopher I like this view especially when considered alongside the brilliant passage of Mark 1:10 (“And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove” ESV).  This violent imagery of heaven being ripped open, puncturing Earth with that triple point connection of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in intimate relationship which sets in motion the ministry of “Jesus Christ, the son of God” (Mark 1:1) culminating in the death and resurrection of our Lord and laying the seed of the new creation which will grow until eventually God will be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28)

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