Here are a podcast and notes on Avatar (12 minutes).
To download the podcast, right click on "download" and select "save link as" or "save target as" and you can download the podcast and listen to it later.
- 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.
- Navi (like Hebrew and Arabic words for prophet)
- 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:
- 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"!