The Devil in Disguise (Part 1/2)
When a movie is good even the popcorn tastes better.
That’s why I consumed an entire gallon-sized bucket full while watching Will Smith in I Am Legend. I’m glad I paid the mere fifty cents extra to super-size my soft drink.
The opening scenes of the movie reveal that a cure for cancer had finally been found through the use of an altered strain of the measles virus. The cure, however, mutated and wiped out 90% of human and animal life on planet earth.
The initial excitement caused by this discovery quickly spread across the nation and around the world. Death and mutation spread even faster. Will Smith’s character was one of 2% of humanity worldwide who was naturally immune to the virus. Those who were neither killed by the virus, nor immune to it, degenerated into a vampire like existence. Smith worked from his home in New York City to find a vaccine.
What was initially thought to be the cure was actually the curse.
While this blog post is not intended to be a movie review, I do think there is an interesting parallel:
In the face of religious fanaticism the ideology of relativism is promoted as the path to peace for mankind. With images of 911 vividly captured in our corporate psyche, we all tend to flinch at the term “fundamentalist.” Perhaps this is what makes a rejection of absolute truth claims so appealing.
Regardless of your theological or even political perspective, I would contend that this new relativism is no cure at all.
To paint the topic with a broad brush: the old relativism taught that everyone has equal opportunity to freely believe as they choose. The new relativism teaches that all beliefs are equal. There is a big difference; a difference as subtle, yet as significant, as cure and curse.
Because the new relativism forbids religious propositions founded on absolute truth claims, we find that nothing is ultimately permissible except for the abdication of all religious and moral authority. Indeed, the new relativism is extremely absolute.
Thus, the only game in town with any authority is the politically correct aficionados who rule with an iron fist. The new penchant for the populace is “never, ever offend anyone.” Could it be that we have swallowed the cultural medicine promised to rid the world of hate-filled fanatics only to wake up and find ourselves accursed?
Is the answer really to say that there are no right or wrong answers?
Will devout Jews, Muslims, Christians, et al, really adopt the idea that their belief systems are equal?
Because the major world religions teach mutually exclusive and contradictory paths of salvation, it is impossible to say they all believe the same thing. However, we must fight for, and never concede, the equal right of all to freely choose their beliefs.
Religious diversity does not require nor necessitate a denial of absolutes.
Herein lies our challenge. If all religions cannot be equally true the question must be, “Which one is right?”
Okay, enough ranting. Let’s get back to the movies.
In the final scene Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, discovers that his blood alone can provide a cure for the cursed race. I wonder where they came up with that storyline. Packaged with all the bells and whistles Hollywood could afford, this blatant exclusivity went unnoticed.
Jesus made a similar claim, however, his assertion brought an entire city to a screeching halt as the Son of God was beaten and then murdered. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He claimed that no one could get to the Father except through Him.
Unfortunately, some who have claimed to be his followers prefer a broader way of envisioning truth and salvation.
In our day there are some — cloaked in pastoral garb — who deem it more culturally appropriate to censure the words of Christ than to speak the truth in love. They have swallowed the pill of relativism and have been inoculated to Truth. Like vampires, they are full of death and have no spiritual life in them. They are doubly damned.
They are the devil in disguise.
….to be continued.