After reading Jared Lardo's discussion I thought I would begin one with the opposite premise, movies and tv shows that were ruined by story lines relating to belief in god, or the supernatural. Or predestination - I do not believe in fate, destiny, grand plan, or any of that crap.

Note, if I know going in, that it's about the supernatural I don't have a problem with it like with Lost.

** Potential Spoiler alert for Battlestar Galactica and I Am Legend ** >>

An example is the recent TV show Battlestar Galactica, which I got hooked on. Then they completely ruined the entire series with finale where everything was god's plan.

The movie I am Legend with Will Smith. Basic message I got: Science caused the problem, god will save. Yes I know Will Smith's character Neville, discovered the cure but that would have been useless if god hadn't sent Anna to meet him and escape to the colony.

I recently watched the first episode of Flash Forward. I got a bad feeling about this one. Whether it's "god is punishing us" or future is set and can't be changed BS.

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Busy week, so I'm late to this threa... (un)Holy crap! Only a day old and this much response? Guess you hit a nerve Louis!

I will avoid a show or movie like the plague if its central theme is to preach the good word to me. But if it simply and realistically involves religious characters, I have little problem with it. And supernatural in general - I am an absolute scifi nerd.

Add to that I do find credibility in Unified Field and quantum physics - the interconnectedness of everything. So an out-and-out fate/destiny where our futures are pre-determined; bullshit. But a general flow/current where some things are 'meant to be' to whatever small degree? Absolutely. All people and animals and plants and objects are ultimately made of the same electrically charged 'stuff.' So it's not hard for me to believe that two people can have a connection or one person can get a funny vibe off another.

Translating that into entertainment, I absolutely love taking that idea to a sci-fi/fantasy extreme like wizards and witches and half-gods and demons.

- I love themes around ancient religions or higher-consciousness themed religions like Buddhism or Hindu. Especially when the scientific/psychological explanations behind some of it are uncovered or at least alluded to. Having lost a lot of our aboriginal connection to the Earth I do like it when the Shaman is able to charm the snake, or the Medicine Man accurately predicts, "This path is bad news for you dude."

- I loved "Slumdog Millionaire" which took the idea of fate and interconnectedness to a bit of an extreme but in a fun way that didn't preach at us.

- I'm only on season 3 of "Lost," but so far it's made more of a mockery of religion than anything. The way everyone's lives and stories are interwoven is great fun and I'm dying to know what the black-smoke monster thing is.

If they suddenly conclude in effect "Jesus did it all - praise Jesus" it would absolutely ruin "Lost" for me. But if it stands at some mysterious quantum physics thing, or the DI people are empathic or something, that doesn't bother me.
(Still struggling to find the right words here)...

I suppose the line for me is literally Deus Ex Machina. Christianity is nothing but that; a nonsensical and very obviously plagiarized, invented, and contrived religion-as-political tool where you have an all-powerful, all-knowing god which somehow doesn't always know and needs people to do its dirty work. So yeah, any shows where ultimately 'god did it' or the end result is 'praise god,' it does little more than nauseate me.

A good example of walking but not quite crossing that line is the movie "Signs."


One of the things that makes the movie brilliant for this M. Night fan is that it is so compartmentalized. We the audience don't learn anything about the phenomena outside of the little family we're following and their story. I.e.; we're left with a whole lot of "What exactly happened?"

But in that story, Mel Gibson's character is a former priest. While the atheist in me would have loved a more atheistic ending, the fact that the character finds his priestly side again is realistic to the narrative. It still doesn't preach at us, the movie still doesn't conclude that 'god did it,' leaving those mysteries open for speculation. That one character however realistically does think of god when seeking an explanation for the unknown, but even then he doesn't have the whole born-again moment. He simply goes back to being a priest.

Perhaps that made more sense than my first post!
I was wondering how long it would take for someone to recognize the Deus Ex Machina in all this. The Greek dramatists used this cheap device to extract the hero from an otherwise hopeless situation.
Maybe that's what religion is: a giant deus ex machina which will extract the world from the hopeless mess with a giant mass rapture, rescuing the heros with some device into the heaven of happy endings.
I've been thinking about this all day while throwing a sickie. I've decided that I don't have a problem with religion in movies/books etc. What I have a problem with is bad story telling.

Religion is a very potent meme and there are many circumstances where the metaphors of religion are very appropriate to the material. If it works, go for it.

However, lots of folks, in tv, books and whatever, use religious symbology and metaphors and not-metaphors because they're lazy, bad at story telling or letting their own ideas get between them and a good story. Deux Ex-ing their way out of terrible situation with a Godditit, or making something that was otherwise appropriately moralistic on its own terms into some kind of Christian parable is bad story telling.
For example: Shia LaBouf going to robot heaven in Transformers 2 was BAD STORYTELLING and therefore offensive, but the religous aspect didn't bother me in the slightest.
good point

Sorry to consume your mind all day :)
I agree. I'm not a huge fan of cop-out endings, (eg. the Sopranos), as long as things are tastefully done and true to the story, religiousness is irrelevant. Its like when you see a comedy that's just shock value, its not the same as watching one that's actually funny to you.

BTW, Transformers 2 is, by far, the worst movie I seen this decade. Soooo bad!
Transformers 2, I guess I'll have to check it and compare it with Closer - ack!
I have always enjoyed Phantom of the Opera. Recently I won tickets to the live Opera and took my boyfriend who was unfamiliar with it. He pointed out how strange it is that I am an atheist an love P.o.t.O. I hadn't really noticed all the god b/s in it before because I love the drama and music. He's concretely correct though, filled with religion, to ridiculous amounts.
Yeah but it's set in 1880's France. It would be historically innacurate to leave Christianity out of PotO. I never noticed them myself, actually, I've been too busy singing along for the last 20 years or so :D

Sing once again my love, our strange duet/ my power over you, grows stronger yet...
I have no problem with religion being in movies - it is part of society. :(
I hope I'm not ruining anyone's enjoyment of anything because of this topic.
TV show ruined with god/religion: DragonballZ I love DBZ, but the religious and spiritual stuff is always so gooey.


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