Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jesus Goes to the Movies - The Dark Knight

Last summer's blockbuster The Dark Knight has a myriad of spiritual themes and ideas, especially related to morality and our ability to choose evil or good. I talked with the junior highers about how the Joker is the best representation of Satan I've ever seen in a film; lawless, manipulative, pushing people to choose evil instead of good. I asked a few students about their thoughts on the spiritual messages in TDK, and they had some great responses (via text message):
  • How Harvey Dent went from being the hero to the villain, and like how he lost faith in good and turned bad (Brandon)
  • Well Batman takes the blame of the crime so that he looks bad but he keeps like 50 criminals in jail. (Josh)
  • Batman does what he knows is right, and not what others think he should do (if that makes sense) (David)
  • Like at the end when Batman runs away from the dogs, he's going to be the bad guy so Gotham can find peace, kinda like how Jesus was willingly to be the bad guy to save our sins. Idk if there's a huge relationship there but that's all I could think of right now (Colton)
While I'm not totally convinced that the redemption message at the end of The Dark Knight is fully...well...redemptive, there is a parallel that the students have pointed out. The hero in the story must choose to take on the blame and sin of the city in order for the people to find a sense of peace. In a much deeper way, Jesus has taken the blame and sin of humanity on himself, beating sin and death and Satan (the Joker, in Batman's case).

Maybe the best way to put it is this: Jesus wins.

That's what we celebrate tomorrow on Good Friday and this upcoming Easter Sunday: Jesus wins. He's triumphed over sin and death, offering humanity a vibrant and meaningful life, and now we have nothing to fear. Love triumphs over sin. I shared this passage from 1 John with the students last night, as it sums up this idea in a poetic and succinct way:
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

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