Here are a podcast and notes on Avatar (12 minutes).

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  • Avatar is a term from Hindu theology, though it is also common in computer and virtual reality applications. Click here for the origins of the word.
  • "Jake" visits Pandora through an avatar, a 10-foot tall blue-skinned alien, though in fact it is Jake and his American friends who are the real aliens! The plot centers around the exploitation of a pristine planet by Americans, and how their efforts are ultimately thwarted, but only after they have brought tremendous destruction.

What was cool

  • Extremely visual, colorful. Special effects excellent.
  • Just as the main character, Jake, enters the world of Pandora, so we feel like we are entering that world.
  • Emphasis on ecology.
  • Depiction of the connectedness of all life.
  • Brutal exposé of the US military-economic machine.
  • Symbolism:
    • Navi (like Hebrew and Arabic words for prophet)
    • "Unobtanium"
    • Eywa (the deity) sounds like the Hebrew word for Eve, or living.
    • The planet named Pandora patently portends problems for those who ignore etymology.
    • Parallels between Joshua/Rahab and Jake/Neytiri. Click here for more.
  • Jake as incarnation – develops empathy. Effort to understand others.

What was off

  • Mother earth (Gaia). Worship creation in place of creator -- Romans 1. The Bible teaches that idolatry puts us on a slippery slide, morally.
  • Creator is a she. While occasionally in the Bible feminine imagery is used of God, usually it is masculine. Not that God is masculine; he is beyond gender. Making the earth female is actually a form of sexism.
  • Romanticization, of indigenous peoples, e.g. in Amazonia.
    • As far as imperialists, colonizers: one corrupt civilization supplanting another. (Not to justify how the Europeans laid claim to the Americas, enslaving, killing, robbing those who had already been here for 10-15k years.)
    • Natives are more advanced than their would-be conquerors? Hmmm….
      • Not in terms of technology.
      • But they were, insofar as they were more moral than the their exploiters.
      • Jake and Neytiri do not marry; they mate.
  • Woolly-minded thinking of the New Age movement. To illustrate:
    • Gnosticism is an ancient religion that is now popular, through the intrusion of eastern religion in the west.
    • Its prophets include Tolle and Byrne. (Click to see my comments on their bestselling books.)
    • For more on this movement, click here.

Most useful

  • This film makes us think about missions, emphasizing the importance ot awareness, making the effort to under to understand and connect with other.
  • It does a masterful job promoting ecological awareness.
  • Finally, it serves as a poignant warning against materialism, which offers an elusive dream.  Achieving true happiness and meaning through wealth is "unobtainable"!