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View Full Version : Pantheism has been Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation



TygerTyger
January 21st, 2010, 07:09 AM
It’s fitting that James Cameron’s “Avatar” arrived in theaters at Christmastime. Like the holiday season itself, the science fiction epic is a crass embodiment of capitalistic excess wrapped around a deeply felt religious message. It’s at once the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, and the Gospel According to James.
But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, “Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.
In Cameron’s sci-fi universe, this communion is embodied by the blue-skinned, enviably slender Na’Vi, an alien race whose idyllic existence on the planet Pandora is threatened by rapacious human invaders. The Na’Vi are saved by the movie’s hero, a turncoat Marine, but they’re also saved by their faith in Eywa, the “All Mother,” described variously as a network of energy and the sum total of every living thing.

Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/opinion/21douthat1.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)

I urge you to ignore the movie and concentrate on the elements relating to Pantheism.

Is Pantheism the religion of Hollywood?

Does Ross Douthat understand Pantheism?

Should we be celebrating such a high profile in society?

thepuck
January 21st, 2010, 02:44 PM
Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/opinion/21douthat1.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)

I urge you to ignore the movie and concentrate on the elements relating to Pantheism.

Is Pantheism the religion of Hollywood?

Does Ross Douthat understand Pantheism?

Should we be celebrating such a high profile in society?


1. I disagree. "Avatar" is "Dances With Smurfs", and is more an apologia for imperialism than anything else. It's an age-old tale...oppressive people send in agent to oppressed people, agent "goes native" but rather than end up bottom of the chain-of-command, becomes the "hero" who is instrumental in saving everyone. It's lame and it's bad art.

2. Hollywood has no religion, except perhaps the "official religion" of America: capitalism. No one who believes in any god would put nipples on the Batman (I'm look at you, Schumacher!).

3. No. He's a disgruntled monotheist who dislikes having his god's monopoly challenged; this stance doesn't tend towards deep understanding of other the diversity of religious stances in the world.

4. We should "celebrate" a much higher profile. The only way to change anything is actually try to change something.

*oonagh*
January 21st, 2010, 02:56 PM
wait...i thought scientology is the religion of hollywood <smirk>

TygerTyger
January 27th, 2010, 05:15 AM
1. I disagree. "Avatar" is "Dances With Smurfs", and is more an apologia for imperialism than anything else. It's an age-old tale...oppressive people send in agent to oppressed people, agent "goes native" but rather than end up bottom of the chain-of-command, becomes the "hero" who is instrumental in saving everyone. It's lame and it's bad art.

I so agree with that statement!

Is Pantheism the religion of Hollywood?

Without doubt Profit remains the true god of Hollywood. Although movies often play with religious themes I think very few movies actually take on religious questions seriously, certainly not enough to suggest that Hollywood has any kind of dominant religion.

Does Ross Douthat understand Pantheism?

Quite clearly Ross Douthat does not understand Pantheism if he thinks films like The Lion King, Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and the Star Wars Franchise are good examples. Although he quotes several references he is limited, either by column space or understanding, to using them for effect only.

Should we be celebrating such a high profile in society?

I don't think that Pantheism does have a high profile myself. Mentioning the word pantheism does not initiate a fervent debate amongst either other adherents or informed people, more like "you what?"!

HetHert
January 27th, 2010, 11:35 AM
I so agree with that statement!

Is Pantheism the religion of Hollywood?

Without doubt Profit remains the true god of Hollywood. Although movies often play with religious themes I think very few movies actually take on religious questions seriously, certainly not enough to suggest that Hollywood has any kind of dominant religion.

Does Ross Douthat understand Pantheism?

Quite clearly Ross Douthat does not understand Pantheism if he thinks films like The Lion King, Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves and the Star Wars Franchise are good examples. Although he quotes several references he is limited, either by column space or understanding, to using them for effect only.

Should we be celebrating such a high profile in society?

I don't think that Pantheism does have a high profile myself. Mentioning the word pantheism does not initiate a fervent debate amongst either other adherents or informed people, more like "you what?"!

Can you explain why you feel these movies do not encompass the spirit of Pantheism?

TygerTyger
January 28th, 2010, 03:44 AM
Can you explain why you feel these movies do not encompass the spirit of Pantheism?

The Lion King: posses an oblique reference to something referred to as ‘the circle of life’. At some points in the film it suggests further meaning but nothing is explored in depth. What is suggested is not really pantheism, possibly animism?

Pocahuntess: more panentheism I think? I seem to remember an earth goddess in tree form.

Dances With Wolves: I’m no expert on the religious beliefs of the plains Indians but I don’t remember this being a significant part of the movie either. There is a reference to the white soldiers not being able to adapt to the environment of the wilderness, hence the fort being abandoned when he first arrives, but I don’t remember anything else.

The Star Wars franchise: the force is described as an energy that surrounds and binds everything, as a Pantheist that would be the universe to me! The ‘force’ is a shallow religious belief that Lucas has never really expounded upon.

The spirit of Pantheism for me is totality, that is, everything that is in existence is God. None of the films mentioned above come near that in either sympathy or concept.

Xander67
January 28th, 2010, 04:25 AM
wait...i thought scientology is the religion of hollywood <smirk>

some people don't even consider them a religion any more... they have abused their non profit status and they ...

nermind... not the topic..... sorry.... my bad :weirdsmil

*oonagh*
January 28th, 2010, 09:51 AM
The spirit of Pantheism for me is totality, that is, everything that is in existence is God.

this.

i really don't know these movie very well (tragic, i know), so i'm not really qualified to judge.