Friday, May 13, 2011

Hollywood Spirituality Fail: Bedazzled (2000)

In 2000’s remake of the 1967 film, Elliot is given a chance to fulfill his dreams in exchange for selling his soul to the devil. In this interpretation, the devil presents itself as a woman. Through the process of having is wishes fulfilled, Elliot learns that he should be content with the life that is given him, and that he can play a part for good by helping other people have a better life. Unfortunately the film decides to present God as an inactive and uninterested creator. He is not even present, aside from one ambiguous character that Elliot meets in jail.

Elliot’s Cellmate has special insight right from the start. We know he is not what he seems. Later it seems he must be and angel. (Or perhaps God?) But right away we begin to realize that this is not a Biblical worldview. Consider some of his statements:

“Our soul belongs to God.” (Biblically, human souls or spirits are dead as a result of sin meaning that they are separated from God and the life He gives; we are slaves to sin and death until we accept salvation from God.)

God is “that universal spirit that animates and binds all things in existence.” (Biblically, God is the triune personal creator of the universe with whom we can have a relationship as a result of Christ’s death on the cross.)

“Open your heart and mind you will get it right in spite of mistakes.” (This is typically, new age, postmodern spirituality. Intentions in spite of results are all that matter. Instead, good intentions are no good when our separation from God is a result of our sin. Every person has personally rejected God as God. No one is good enough to save themselves. Our own efforts are not enough to get us out of the mess we are in.)

“The Devil’s bit is to confuse.” (That is a biblical take; the devil is the author of confusion.)

“Doesn’t matter how far we go, but how we get there that matters.” (In spite of what Hollywood and our culture try to tell us, there are absolute truths. Our desires or intentions do not change these truths. Wanting to walk through solid matter does not enable us to, intending to please God on our terms doesn’t either.)

In addition to these statements, there are other interesting aspects in this story:

The angel/God character cusses and smokes, while the devil always seems nice and somewhat good. (This is an interesting take in the story. Biblically, the devil presents itself as an angel of light. Evil is beautiful. Not all is what it seems. Sometimes coarse characters can be good ones.)

Elliot is saved by an unselfish act. (This does point to a biblical truth, in part. The unselfish act that saves all of humanity was Christ’s death on the cross. He was able to save us as humanity’s representative, but only as God was He able to defeat sin and death.)

The once tempting club where the devil lives is revealed to be a lie. (The devil’s Temptations are lies.)

In this film, supernatural plains are just special effects. The “real” Heaven and Hell are in us. (Biblically, Heaven and Hell are real states where humanity will spend eternity, not just ideas symbolizing good and bad in human nature.)

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