That’s the message of the new Avengers movie. The movie doesn’t come right out and say it. Well, except for the “mankind is doomed” line, but it does illustrate man’s hopeless state and that we are our own savior. It laughs at the Christian worldview and elevates a humanistic one.
I know that sounds conspiracy – esque of me, but stay with me a little longer and maybe my assertion won’t sound so crazy after all.
It’s not often I go to an action-adventure flick and hear quotes from the Bible. Not that it’s never happened. I mean if you’re going to create a character with a god complex, it only makes sense to quote the good book. But Avengers Age of Ultron moves beyond character development to the edge of agenda pushing.
I mean there are at least three exact quotes from the Bible and another six or seven biblical allusions, including a rather misdirected reference to Peter. All of these references weave themselves together to create the picture of an angry God (Ultron) who finds nothing redeemable about mankind. Hence the wiping out of humanity. The movie doesn’t stop there, though. It goes on to give us another character, Vision, who offers us a less grumpy version of God. Of course, this god-like character is man-made, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. When asked if he’s a robot like Ultron or a man like the rest of us, Vision replies simply with the words of God, “I am…”
I don’t think so. I think Joss Whedon knew exactly what he was doing. Some (Washington Post writer*, to name one) have hypothesized that Whedon wrote the Avengers script to offer hope to the world, but that’s not what I’m seeing. What I see is a dismantling of fundamental Christian doctrines in such a way that it seems harmless, and I look like a lunatic for pointing it out.
There’s no overt message bashing people of faith. It’s all implicit, subtle, and almost “Christian.” And people are swallowing it, even comparing Joss Whedon to C.S. Lewis. Hello. Did we see the same movie?
Don’t get me wrong. I can watch just about any movie and find a thread of truth that correlates with the Bible. And sure, Avengers depicts the hope that if mankind can work together we might be able to make something of ourselves and our world. But that’s not a Christian theme. That’s a secular humanism theme. Not that us Christians are against everyone working together and making the world a better place. We just happen to know that it’s going to take much more than that to correct the ills of our world.
Maybe the closest Whedon came to a truly Christian idea is that we are all doomed. He just left off the part about the almighty God of the universe doing something to fix it. Jesus is our hope. Not us.
I submit all of this to you with an encouragement to think for yourself. I’m not afraid of what Whedon has done. That is, after all, entertainment. What worries me most is that people will not think. They won’t question the movie or the articles on both sides that have been published on this topic. They won’t even entertain the idea that perhaps their worldview is being disassembled scene by scene, as they swallow stuff that has an appearance of something spiritual, but denies the power of the unseen.
So please, think. Think about it. And if you see something completely different, please let me know. But don’t tell me it’s just a movie, and it doesn’t matter because it does matter. What we believe about God does matter. Joss Whedon was intentional in the script he wrote. Will you be just as intentional in how you receive it?