Home > Entertainment > Vatican “Avatar” Critique Unnerves Neopagans

Vatican “Avatar” Critique Unnerves Neopagans

21-Jan-10 02:28 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Neytiri (Zo Saldana, right) teaches Jake (Sam Worthington) the skills he’ll need to survive as an avatar on the planet Pandora. (Twentieth Century Fox) Source: CBC News, Arts & Entertainment
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here was a bit of a stir in Entertainment news last week which I wanted to post a quick article about….  As background, see this report from the CBC covering the Vatican’s reaction to Hollywood’s latest flick blending sci-fi and theology.  Following below is the repost of a comment I filed on the news story (displayed below the article itself; but within the CBC’s cumbersome web interface that makes it impossible to find anything):

I’m a bit surprised the Vatican saw the neopaganism of the Na’vi (the fictional, tribal, alien culture from which some of the film’s lead roles come) – specifically the idea of a spirituality centred on nature – as being the most vulnterable element. Well, actually, the reviewer’s not that far off-target…I would say the easiest criticism one could make isn’t that nature is the subject of the tribe’s woship per se; it’s that they’re given plenty of empirical evidence of an afterlife whereas the leading Terrestrial monotheisms demand "blind" faith.

Indeed, the Na’vi in general were probably far too quick to dimiss humanity’s notions of spirituality and automatically conclude theirs was obviously a superior religion. Of course, one wouldn’t expect to find many grandiose soliloquies exhalting the greatness of humanity while one-dimensional "jar-head", and uniformly psycho representatives of the future’s Military-Industrial Complex rather spitefully went about the business of enthusiatically repeating the mistakes of Columbus, Cortez, and dozens of others from the Euro-American colonial era. But the inability of Earth’s leaders to select competent leadership or learn the lessons of history (even the more obvious ones) doesn’t somehow diminish Earth’s religions. Not even Catholocism, which some Christian churches cite for idolitry, can empirically demonstrate an ability to commune with the dead — nor even demonstrate the Pope’s ability to commune directly with God (i.e. walk out into St. Peter’s square and summon God to appear in person, etc.)

But the Na’vi can! Well, they’re more into ancestor woship….but they have no doubts about an afterlife. They can visit it; touch it and even neurally link with it. Faith really isn’t an issue – it’s missing…

Strangely, the follow-ups to my post pretty much ignored my comments; although I did get 15 approval marks to 1 disapproval mark.  But readers seemed more interested in either thumping their Bibles or defaming the Vatican and its legacy over commenting directly on the substance of the Vatican’s statement.  Remarkable how complicated theology (including atheism) can make the simplest questions….

(My CBC website profile contains an index of my responses to other stories covered by CBC News.)

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Categories: Entertainment
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Terry Glavin

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