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Friday, February 10, 2017

Catholicism vs "The Shack"

In a few weeks the movie "The Shack" is coming out. 


Let me preface by saying: I plan to see the movie.  I read the book and thought it was mildly entertaining.

No one is saying that we should be boycotting this movie....

It's a movie.  For entertainment.  We, as critical thinkers, can take the good and eschew the bad.

However, with that said, it's also naive to think that it's just a movie about a guy who goes to a shack, meets 3 people and comes back changed for the better.

Quoting from a friend, regarding the book, in 2010:  "Yes, we're aware that the book is fiction but it's the fact that it is another in a long line of things out there that are 'just fiction but have big parts that go against Church teaching' such as: The DaVinci Code, The Secret, The Golden Compass, etc."

It's a movie that definitely is trying to make some theological points*.  And some of these theological statements made in the book are contrary to what Catholicism professes.

To wit:  
-the renouncing of religion in favor of a "relationship".  Religion is a burden.  Relationships are what God is all about.  (Catholic response:  what is religion but a relationship with God? Catholicism embraces the both/and. We don't want to be sour-pussed saints who only mouth rules and rituals...but we also can't have a relationship without rules and rituals. We can't have a relationship with God if we don't know who He is. And the ONLY way we can know anything meaningful about Christ is through His Body, the Catholic Church).

-Christ did not come to save us from our sins, for there is no such thing as sin. (Catholic response:  if there truly is no such thing as sin, then what the heck was the crucifixion for?  Christ suffered for nothing?)

-All God wants is for us to be with Him, and if it's through Christ, or through Buddha, it doesn't matter.(Catholic response:  this seems to be an untenable position for Catholics, given the Scripture which declares that Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to God except through Christ).

-The portrayal of one of the persons of the Trinity as a woman.  (Catholic response:  God has chosen to reveal Himself as Father.  While it's true that God as a divine being is neither male nor female, we understand God through what has been revealed to us, and God is our Father.  Not our Mother.)

-The rejection of laws and rules. The main character, Mack says, “Are you saying I don’t have to follow the rules?” The response “Yes. In Jesus you are not under any law. All things are lawful.” (Catholic response:  Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.  All things simply cannot be "lawful".  That's just gaga, lala nonsense).

-Also, while a conversation with Jesus:  “Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy.”(Catholic response:  what the what?)

*If anyone objects to the above with this: "But you haven't even seen the movie yet, so how do you know any of these things will be portrayed in the movie?" I say: that is a valid point.  And if none of those criticisms appear in the movie, then no harm has been done.  But I suspect that those who loved the book because of its unconventional theology won't be disappointed with any diversion from the religious themes of the book.  


So, as with all things in our popular culture, we enjoy them with our guard up.  We receive what is good and reject what is bad, as it says in Philippians 4:8:  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” 

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