Let me get thing clear right off the go: I have a significant religious background. For eight years or so, I went to church three times a week or more, was part of a Christian drama group that performed all over the country, and even taught Sunday School to kids ages 6-12 for a couple of years.
With that said: those days have long since past for me now, and I’ve made a long and slow transition from happily optimistic to cautiously agnostic (forgive me, I watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan the other night). Nonetheless, when I see and hear things like this story that you’re about to read, it absolutely infuriates me.
Founder and Pastor of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, Mark Driscoll has been making quite a name for himself as of late. With his young, hip, and energetic appearance, and his grasp on what’s “cool,” he’s custom built to attract the multitudes of young people who seek guidance and answers in their life, and he and his church have been gaining popularity at an amazing rate. In this, there is absolutely nothing wrong; if these kids seek guidance and he offers them some hope, all power to him.
Continue reading on for a lot more and to watch a video clip.
Instead, as it would appear, Driscoll is after just a little more than to help people…he’s out for pure, unfiltered attention at the most maximum of levels. And what better way to bring in some great attention than to bash the box office destroying juggernaut that is James Cameron‘s Avatar?
During his sermon on Valentine’s Day, Driscoll lashed out at Avatar, calling it “the most demonic, satanic film I’ve ever seen,” and saying that its presentation of false gods and heavens and its portrayal of spiritual connections with the plants and animals of nature are all anti-God. Even worse, he tried to validate his negativity with a few layers about how they just filmed on the Spartacus set and that he and his friends love technology and the arts…just not Satan! This man chose to eviscerate Avatar — out of all the possible movies that you could extract some kind of Satanic implications from…he chose Avatar.
Look, if someone doesn’t like a movie, or doesn’t want to see a movie for whatever reason, fine, that’s everyone’s right. But to dig down so deep and to go so unbelievably out of your way just to bash on a movie this hard; to make it out to be some sort of hidden tool of the Devil to enter the souls of those who watch it — that’s the stuff that makes me sick to my stomach. Other churches and religions that actually care about the messages that they share, whether it be to one person or ten people, are made to look bad by people like this who have an addiction to the spotlight.
These people listen to the words that you speak; don’t preach this manufactured garbage to them and make up lies about someone’s hard work just to bring some kind of undiscovered enemy to your beliefs. There’s not one need for it, it does no one any good at all, and you make a complete fool of yourself to the world. If you hated the movie THAT much, ask nicely for your $10 back, go home, and for all of our sakes, shut the hell up.
What’s even better about it all: on his Twitter account, Driscoll listed off a few of his completely Jesus-friendly favorite bands, such as Interpol, Gaslight Anthem, Thrice, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Jimmy Eat World, Social Distortion, The Forecast, Death Cab for Cutie, Decembrists, 16 Horsepower, and Placebo. And while this is a nice little party of talented bands to us, I think this may be a tad secular for God’s tastes.
One thing people need to realize about religion leaders is that they don’t ALL care as passionately about their beliefs as others; some are part of this incredibly messed up corporate machine that is in the religion business for what I like to call “Jesus Money.” These people make ridiculous amounts of income from their congregations and others who donate their money and purchase various other items that they produce. This is the vibe I get from Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill Church. Someone who is involved in religion with hopes of finding visual and financial success. I may be wrong, and if I am, I do apologize, but that doesn’t change the fact that a movie was made out to be the ultimate evil for no reason whatsoever.
You can take almost any movie and claim that its characters and messages have religious symbolism and undertones, but unless that movie is The Chronicles of Narnia, your allegorical hunting party’s efforts will remain futile.