Friday, April 12, 2013

"Rise of the Guardians" (2012)

“Rise of the Guardians” was one of the better animated films last year, from a purely technical, artistic point of view. The animation was enchanting, the direction and design appealing and the story was very engaging. However, the ideas behind the story are rather troubling, especially because they encompass so precisely the way a lot of people exercise faith today.

The basic premise of the story is a battle against fear. The world of the Guardians is one in which people used to be ruled by their fears. To combat that situation, and free people from the rule of fear, the Moon—yes, the Moon—appointed or created beings to protect people from fear. As long as enough children believe in the Guardians, they will continue to exist and hold fear at bay.

There is so much that is ridiculous about that premise that one is tempted to laugh at it and go with the story for a bit of entertainment, but it really does encapsulate the way a lot of people approach faith. It is not what you believe about the world that they find important, but rather HOW you believe it. Basically, if it makes you feel good, if it appeases your worries and holds your fears at bay, then that is enough.

Reality says that we often do err in our fears. If we let fear control us it can destroy our lives. Too often we fear things that are mere potential problems, and we make mistakes or avoid things we should be doing. But fear can also be founded in real danger. On the other hand, faith is merely something we believe in such a way that it impacts our lives. If we believe in something that is not true it is no different, no better than fear.

So at its heart, “Rise of the Guardians” is asking us to trade our fears in for faith—any faith. To quote the movie “The next time the moon tells you something, believe it.” That is basically the new Animism or Neopaganism. The problem is that a lot of people today, even “Christians” have a religious worldview that is not much different.

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