Joseph Campbell boldly claims in The Hero with a Thousand Faces that ancient stories across cultures portray the “monomyth”, detailing the hero’s journey. Testing the assertion, does Jesus Christ of the Gospels follow this template? To a degree, yes, but his life and teaching also stand in contrast to the underlying worldview that Campbell professes. Let us delve into his story and come face to face with Jesus the Hero.
Two timeless classics, Star Wars: A New Hope and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe climax in a throne room, where the main characters receive honor and recognition. The scenes share many similarities, but the stark contrast between them, when applied to our lives, can lead to joy or sorrow.
In the original trilogy, Han Solo embodies the archetypal reluctant hero, as he transforms from a selfish, cynical individual to one who sacrifices for others. Unlike Vader’s journey from his murderous commitment to the Dark Side, we can more easily identify with Han’s redemptive arc as we seek to look beyond ourselves and live selflessly. But Solo changes the story. How? And what can we learn from Han’s new arc?
Avengers: Infinity War asks the question, “can we sacrifice a life for the greater good?” As nearly every character must give their answer, the movie presents compelling, emotional arguments for and against, leaving the audience with the tension of the question. While we may have to wait for a thematic resolution in the next Avenger’s film, let’s see 5 insights from the movie with political implications. (Lots of spoilers.)
In Dan Simmon’s novels, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, Sol Weintraub dreams that a voice tells him to sacrifice “your daughter, your only daughter Rachel whom you love”. As a Jewish ethics professor, he questions the morality of sacrifice and any god who would ask for it, whether in his case or in the story of Abraham and Isaac. While he raises typical objections, the events of the story change his perspective, giving us insight into sacrifice and the purposes of God.
I love Star Wars, and I love discussing it on social media. Sometimes however, fans make disturbing comments. I find people who root for the Jedi, but based on their opinions, they would be Sith. This serves as a warning against hypocrisy and a call to examine ourselves in all areas of life.
Cloud Atlas, a movie based on David Mitchell’s novel, tells the story about the universal struggle for justice. Consequently, this cannot be limited to one point in time, but occurs around the world and over the span of centuries. While people make the same mistakes and find similar solutions, the characters and audience learn we need the stories of those who have gone before us, and we need to see the world through the eyes of the oppressed.
“The Jedi must end.”
Why would Luke say this? We heard it in the trailer, and the movie teaches us the lesson Luke learns the hard way. (Spoilers below.) If we grow beyond the mistakes of Jedi Masters, we’ll find a balance in our lives — and our politics — that is needed for the galaxy far away and the one we live in.
If you’ve seen Wonder Woman and loved it, ask yourself, “Why?” True, it has witty dialogue, like-able characters, and impressive action sequences, but most importantly, its message speaks to our hearts. The film retells key themes from the Greatest Story Ever Told, the Good News of Jesus. Don’t believe me? I’ll let the movie speak for itself, providing Wonder Woman quotes with minimal commentary.
Although Doctor Who typically presents a secular worldview, Biblical spirituality often surfaces. The episode, “Gridlock”, which happens to by my favorite, contains the clearest presentation of the Gospel message. It challenges the notion that “religion is the opium of the people”, reveals our society’s true addiction, and points to Jesus as savior.