Avatar, Star Wars and science fiction spirituality

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science-fiction-moviesI saw Avatar in wonderful 3-D.  To see the movie on the big screen is something that won’t be duplicated on a TV; it is quite an experience.  Avatar was very entertaining and a real crowd pleaser.  I also liked how it was thoughtful at the same time.

Afterwards I pondered how spirituality and the paranormal are portrayed in science fiction films.  Avatar is a spiritual movie in its own way; even it explains away it’s spiritually in physical terms.  Ideally, the spiritual or supernatural shouldn’t be included in science fiction.  Yet, even hard-science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Contact are metaphysical.
 
star-wars-movie-posterIn some ways Avatar reminded me of Star Wars in combining science fiction with the spiritual.  With the Stars Wars movies, it was all hardware combined with an elusive paranormal energy called the Force…clairvoyance, telepathy and telekinesis. For the times Star Wars’ mixture of technology and mysticism was appropriate, trying to insert some mystery into the absolute rule of hardcore materialism.  It was as if Star Wars was trying to rediscover a popular Zen-like transcendence along with its science opera.

Avatar reminded me of Return of the Jedi, except instead of Ewoks, we have Pandora’s thundercats…the Na’vi who are bigger, bolder versions of Ewoks.  However, the spirituality is different then Star Wars.  With Avatar, it is about the interconnection of all life in balance with nature.  The times have changed since the 1970s and 80s when cold war fears of an evil empire occupied our imagination.  Now we have new fears.

avatar-movie-posterThe real-life consequences of technology’s triumph are environmental degradation, global warming and the near-future depletion of our natural resources.  We are facing a dire future if profit is the only thing that matters.  Is self-destruction worth the price of making money?  Unlike the Star Wars or Star Trek worlds, in Avatar technology is literally the enemy.

The movie directly faces this question, along with domination of one culture over another.  This is a movie for our times, a green movie.  Unlike Star War’s Force, there is no dark side.  Predator and prey are equal. This movie’s dark side is simply ignorance, profit seeking and carelessness.

29 Responses to “Avatar, Star Wars and science fiction spirituality”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    I loved this film and, despite some critics, I found it very thoughtful and very timely.

  2. Joanna Says:

    AVATAR ILLUMINATI MOVIE EXPOSED!

    http://rikijo.blogspot.com

    “Avatar is an occultic/satanic Illuminati movie”
    It incorporates spirituality which is identical to the New Age theosophical teachings of Blavatsky, and mainstram New Age guru teachings.

    http://rikijo.blogspot.com

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  4. piles Says:

    Avatar-one of the best animation movie of 2009 and a great example for animation students.Its superb.Its characters and their movements and all are amazing.Ne ways thanks for sharing.

  5. David Says:

    Hi Piles,
    I do consider it an animated movie, a great one, but still a cartoon. My one problem with the movie was that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief when I saw the “thundercats” and accept them as real. Animation needs another leap forward to make animated humaniods truly realistic.
    Dave

  6. David Says:

    Hi Joanna,
    I checked out your link, and it has an interesting perspective on Avatar. It is probably right that Avatar does not embrace traditional American values. Avatar could have easily been made a traditional Sci-Fi movie with the aliens as the bad guys and the earthlings the hero. From the perspective of the movie’s earthling/American characters, that was exactly the situation. I see Avatar’s message as empathy for those different from one’s self…to walk in another’s shoes before we judge them.
    Dave

  7. David Says:

    Stephanie, I think people should see this movie in 3-D on the big screen while they have the chance. It won’t be the same experience watching it on DVD on a TV. It is well worth the price of admission, a real bargin.

  8. Avatar sucks Says:

    Re: Avatar Illuminati movie exposed.
    http://rikijo.blogspot.com

    After watching this movie, and then reviewing this site, I have to agree that this movie is anti-American and anti-Human.

    Humans are portrayed as evil creatures that are even uglier than the real aliens that they are fighting with in the film.

    Conclusion: Avatar is satanism wrapped up in a movie.

  9. David Says:

    Hi Avatar Sucks,
    I don’t think Avatar is embracing Satanism, but animism. Animism is the spiritual/religious view that spirits exist in everything, not only human beings. Plants, animals, and even mountains and seas have their spirit according that belief system. This is a very old idea that goes to prehistory. It could be the first form of religion, when man did not understand natural phenomena and everything in nature seemed “alive”. Satanism is a Christian concept, and animism existed before Christianity.

  10. Avatar sucks Says:

    David, what you just described is pure satanism, you fool LOL

    The worship of nature, trees, water, earth etc is pure witchcraft in the most fundamental, which is pure satanism in reality.

    It doesn’t matter what you want to diguise it as, it’s still satanism packaged up in a high tech movie designed to manipulate the senses to the reality of satanism, and witchcraft.

    You should READ the review before you comment on it
    Link-
    http://rikijo.blogspot.com

  11. David Says:

    Hi Avatar Sucks,
    I know there is a viewpoint that any religion that is not born-again Christianity is inspired by Satan. According to this view Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Catholics, Mormons and so on are all Satanic. If some Christians have that viewpoint, that’s their right. As long as nobody can force their belief on another person, let anybody believe whatever they want. If you believe Avatar is Satanic, more power to you.
    Dave

  12. Avatar sucks Says:

    David, stay on topic.
    If it is your “opinion” that those who do not practice “Christianity” are not “Christians” then you are correct! -You win a prize.

    But, David, why did you refer to Christianity in the first place? Is that a really bad place for you? LOL

    Why didn’t you refer to Islam, voodoo, or shamanism?
    What does this ridiculously obvious satanic film have to do with the “Christian” viewpoint?

    It is strange that you would immediatley refer to that, instead of the thousands of other religions in the world today. In other words, leave Christianity out of this.

    This is not a Christian movie, it is a satanic witchcraft themed movie.

    I want you to tell me in the same context what this film has to do with right wing Othodox Kabbalism, or maybe fire worshipping mystycism, could you do that for us :)

  13. David Says:

    Hi Avatar Sucks,
    I refer to Christianity because Satanism is a Christian concept. With its reference, I assume you are approaching this movie from a conservative Christian perspective (who else worries about Satanism?). If you referred to Avatar as endorsing paganism, you might have a point. Satanism and paganism is not the same thing. Again, if you believe the two are identical, you are perfectly entitled to your belief. Its a free country.

    As I write this, Avatar has brought in over $1 billion worldwide. Pretty impressive. I also checked out the general conservative Christian opinion on the movie, and I was surprised at the negative backlash against it. Why take this cartoon movie so seriously? I’d say the culture wars are alive and kicking.
    Dave

  14. Avatar sucks Says:

    David, once again, why are referring to the univeral known fact that satanism is just a plain reality.
    It’s not made up as yoiu would have yourself believe.

    JAMES CAMERON IS A SATANIST FREEMASON FROM THE ILLUMINATI <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON’S MOVIE HAS SATANIC THEMES <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON BELIEVES IN SATAN WHICH IS A PAGAN DEITY <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON’S FILM IS INTENTIONALLY SATANIC IN MANY WAYS/FACETS <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON SUPPORTS THE TRANSGENETIC SATANIC REASEARCH HIS FILM IS CENTERED AROUND <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON IS A SATANIC NEW WORLD ORDER ADHERENT <-FACT

    JAMES CAMERON WORSHIPS “LUCIFER” <-FACT

    THIS IS A COMPLETELY SATANIC PROPAGANDA FILM<- FACT

    Any more questions? :)

  15. Poffo Says:

    wtf is wrong with you ppl??
    No, excuse me. What is wrong with YOU, Mr “Avatar Sucks”?

    Are you so brainwashed? Do you have nothing better to do with your time? I would like to have a serious debate with you. A one on one conversation about your “Satan”

    I challenge you.. find me on AIM, here’s my SN: “PoffoMan13″

    E-mail me if you like: PoffoMan13 @ aol.com

    Your blatantly dogmatic posts and smug, self-righteous hypocrisy disgusts me. Find me and let’s talk about what Satanism really is.

    Oh and btw.. i assume you’re a bible-believing Christian, correct? Maybe you missed this verse:

    “anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22)

    And what did you say to David?

    Let’s see:

    Avatar sucks Says:
    January 3rd, 2010 at 9:01 pm
    David, what you just described is pure satanism, you fool LOL”

    So, according to your^ Jesus, YOU are in danger of hell.

    Oh, but I’m sure you’ll just justify that somehow.

    Maybe you should try actually following some of Christ’s teachings before you rip all over people and judge and condemn. David was right, animism and paganism were around long before Christianity. And your devil only exists because Judaism was heavily influenced by Zoroastrianism during the Intertestamental Period.

    Don’t get me started… Mr, “zeal without knowledge”

    Here’s a few more verses for ya:

    “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge…”
    (Proverbs 19:2)

    “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? (i sure do) There is more hope for a fool than for him”
    (Proverbs 29:20)

    So, according to your bible, YOU are in danger of hell AND there is more hope for David than for you.

    Hmmm…

    Faith without works is dead, and all i see is bad fruit coming out of your mouth.

    Go ahead and comment. I welcome it.

  16. David Says:

    Avatar Sucks,
    Satanism has a short, sad and pitiful history. It essentially began with a book, Malleus Maleficarum “The Hammer of Witches”. It was about hunting imaginary Satanists. It helped get the inquisition rolling. Many people were tortured and murdered by the medieval church, not because they actually believe in Satanists, but it was a useful tool to suppress heresy and dissent, and to steal people’s property. I put Malleus Maleficarum up with Mein Kampf in the literature of hate which had real life consequences.

    Conspiracy theories about Satanism may be just for goofy fun, but it has a real history behind it. Does anyone really want to be connected with that tragic legacy?
    Dave

  17. David Says:

    Hi Poffo,
    I think Avatar Sucks should meet some pagans and chat with them. They are mostly mellow, kind people. The best way to learn tolerance towards others is to interact with people of different faiths, beliefs, races and backgrounds. It is hard to make someone a villain once you get to know them.
    Dave

  18. Poffo Says:

    Dave, you seem like a very mellow, patient person yourself. I admire how calm and collected you’ve stayed throughout this post. I just get so angry when i see all these fundies attacking others. Where does he even get his info from?? All those ridiculous accusations towards James Cameron… come on. You know what “satan” means in Hebrew? “Accuser” ..so who’s really being the “satan” here?

    I completely agree with you about the Witches Hammer btw.. those were horrible, horrible. Such a disgusting misuse of power. So many innocents brutally tortured and burned alive… and all using the bible as justification. Avatar Sucks would have us going back to the Dark Ages if he could. It’s all so hypocritical. Christianity IS paganism… just dressed up and titled as something else. Every religion borrows from those that came before it. Blah, i could go on and on, but I’m sure you know the history. To anyone who’s interested, I’ve written a great deal on these and other subjects. Here’s some links to a few of my blogs:

    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=20362813&blogId=395460738

    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=20362813&blogId=483256284

    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=20362813&blogId=374263797

  19. David Says:

    Hi Poffo,

    I think it is useful to hear what Christian extremists are saying so I let Avatar Sucks have his say. Occasionally I listen to right-wing talk radio or watch televangelists do their shtick, learning a lot about how extremists think and what they believe. I think I understand their worldview, which is truly scary stuff. Yet, even they have a right to believe whatever they want, so long as they can’t force it on another (outside of voting for politicians with similar views). That is why I am a fervent believer in the separation of church and state. And why extremists hate church/state separation…it limits their ability to bring back the burning times.

    Thanks for the links!

    Dave

  20. *lynne* Says:

    Wow Dave, these comments are hopping! :) I was just dropping by to say I’m looking forward to seeing the movie in 3D sometime before it leaves theatres so I can legitimately weigh in on the movie’s message… but now I have added impetus to see it :D

  21. David Says:

    Hi Lynne,
    I can understand why some people are offended by the movie. It is a “green” movie, and people who don’t like Al Gore or think global warming is a hoax won’t connect with its message. I think it is more a political difference then anything religious. But for people without a political axe to grind, the movie will be great fun. Its like ‘Dancing With Wolves’ but with cartoon aliens instead of American Indians.
    Dave

  22. dayofwrath Says:

    On that Day and it is near some people are going to curse the day that their mothers bring them to this world.To James Cameron It would better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.
    dayofwrath

  23. David Says:

    Hi Dayofwrath,
    Well, Mr. Cameron will have a lot of company with his millstone. All Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Jews and just about everybody else will be damned on judgment day. But what if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the one true religion and only they are saved on judgment day? Assuming you aren’t a Jehovah’s Witness that could mean you might also have to wear a millstone too, along with James Cameron. It could be you, me and director Cameron together. Since I view all religious people as brothers, I am fine with that. Its good company!
    Dave

  24. Poffo Says:

    Wow, i can’t believe this is still going on…

    Dayofwrath, can you please tell me EXACTLY what it is about James Cameron and his movie that offends you so much?

    Is it the parallel between the humans who are conquering Pandora and how the Spanish and the Europeans ruthlessly conquered the Americas? Is history offensive to you?

    Is it the portrayal of the corporate entity as greedy and the military as thoughtless, in regards to wildlife and the natural world? Are you against environmental conservation? Do you think it’s a bad thing to take care of the earth?

    You know, it’s funny, because i remember reading somewhere…

    “The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it.”

    -Genesis 2:15

    Do you think it’s wrong to present greed and selfishness in a negative light?

    “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” -Luke 12:15

    “nor thieves nor the greedy… will inherit the kingdom of God.” -1 Corinthians 6:10

    Aren’t we supposed to expose corruption?

    “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

    -Ephesians 5:11

    Are you in the military by chance? Because i can see how some military folk might be offended, as the film is very anti-military (or more specifically, anti-corruption and blind obedience within the military), but doesn’t the bible also say…

    “The thoughtless believe every word; but the prudent man watches his steps”?

    -Proverbs 14:15

    Is it the idea that we should respect and take care of animals?

    “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” -Proverbs 12:10

    Or maybe it’s the underlying message that all life is sacred, that we’re really all connected and that animals each have their own spirit?

    “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

    -Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

    You see, i know the verses you’re quoting from about the millstone(Luke 17:2, Mat. 18:6, Mark 9:42), and what I’d really like to know in all seriousness is how it is you think James Cameron is leading people astray through this film, when everything about the film is positive, encouraging and inspirational at its core. Not to mention the fact that all of its themes are actually taught in the bible.

    I’d really like an answer,

    Thanks.

  25. David Says:

    Hi Poffo,

    I am baffled why Avatar has pushed the buttons of religious folk. There are many more movies that are truly offensive, like the gruesome torture porn movies that are popular nowadays. Avatar is a nice movie and parents don’t have to worry about older children seeing it. Besides, religious people can produce movies that support their values if they want to. Nothing is stopping them. All it takes is some talent.

    I think it is a remarkable accomplishment Cameron created two billion dollar movies in a row. Maybe that is the reason some people are offended by Avatar, it is popular and people are responding to its (liberal?) message. I bet if Avatar was a thoughtless action movie like the Transformer movies, nobody would care.

    Dave

  26. Poffo Says:

    Good points as always Dave…

    You know, I’m really tired of defending the movie to all these fundies, I’d actually like to talk about the film itself and what i got out of it. Maybe that would be a better approach.

  27. David Says:

    Poffo,
    I think those who hate Avatar don’t like it for cultural reasons rather then strictly religious ones. Avatar could be interpreted as “liberal” and thus evil. I haven’t seen Denzel Washington’s “Book of Eli” yet, but from what I have heard it should appeal to the religious right. The Right had Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”. Why begrudge Avatar? The Right always needs something to complain about, evil to resist, a culture war to be fought.
    Dave

  28. Ellen Says:

    Wow………I just thought it was a good movie…..Can’t we just view this as entertainment?? Nice love story…great sci fi…cool special effects……3D is great…so lets just quit arguing…..and go to the movies! :0)

  29. Udolisa Says:

    I cant imagine pple mis quoting the bible, the film or cartoon is EVIL, i dnt care if u read ur bible upside down. The ultimate thing here is Christ and noting more… “BE YE IMITATORS OF CHRIST” wat has avatar got to do with The CROSS? Dnt be deceived by carnal knowledge, seek spiritual one dt’s 4rm above…

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