home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

"You Must Suggest an Alternative" First You Need An Army

print view

Hollywood Doesn't Get It

by Christopher Chantrill
May 21, 2006 at 8:48 am


WHY IS IT UNTHINKABLE to imagine mobs of Catholics, carefully taunted into a fine rage, rushing out and burning a couple of multiplexes in defiance of a Hollywood that just doesn’t get it?

After all, Hollywood just put out a movie that denies the divinity of Christ, and you can’t get more blasphemous than that.

Hey, it’s just a movie. But can’t we at least feel some compassion for the PR guy at Opus Dei, Jack Valero, who, according to Mary Wakefield, left a press preview of The Da Vinci Code “for once without his trademark grin.”

“It is gruesome to see my brothers and sisters represented in this awful way, it bears no relation to reality,” he said.

The really gruesome thing is that the Hollywood guys don’t trash religion out of any particular malice. They are just picking up what is in the air, breathing an elite culture that experiences Christianity as a backward superstition, a bigotry that is standing in the way of the flowering of creativity and enlightenment. The Puritan Ethic was all very well in the pioneer days of the nineteenth century. But now it is time to replace it with the compassion and caring of the welfare state and a commitment to creativity and diversity. Said Tom Hanks in Cannes: “People who think things are true are more dangerous than people who ponder the possibilities.”

Easy for you to say, old chum. And dishonest too—or at least dishonest in the government-funded professor back up the ideological food chain whose single truth is that more funding is needed to ponder the possibilities, and that anyone who challenges that right is a McCarthyite enemy of academic freedom.

And yet, of course, Tom is right. Christianity is based upon the breathtaking truth claim that God loves the world, and every sinful human in it. To the favored child of the middle class, loved without question throughout an indulgent childhood, that might seem weird. But down in the trenches it is nothing short of miraculous. When you tell drug addicts that Jesus loves them, they don’t believe you. If they had the words to say it, they would echo Tom Hanks: Never mind about truth, just ponder the possibilities of the next score. But the magic of Christianity is that lives are transformed every day when people in the depths of degradation accept the love of God. It begins when you stop pondering the possibilities and take a leap of faith into the truth of God’s love.

Let us not deny Hollywood’s own truth, its celebration of youth and sex, of beautiful bodies and artistic creativity. It marks the central moment of life, the spark of generation. Everyone is in favor of that.

What Hollywood doesn’t get is that the real mystery of life begins in the next moment as the consequences of generation begin to spin themselves out. That is when you really begin to ponder the possibilities.

If you are a creative artist who has set aside the inconvenience of the bourgeois family—perhaps by buying into the Freudian family model and its castrating father, always a problem for the artistic type—then you can afford to ponder the possibilities forever. You can introduce them one by one into your creative life work as the mood, or the Muse, takes you.

But if you direct your creativity towards the creation and the rearing of children you find that you have to come to a decision about all the great philosophical problems, and do it right now. You cannot airily declare that you are a seeker on a spiritual quest. You must raise your children and conduct your life according to your lights. But how good are your lights? The practical thing to do is to come to a decision about spirituality and religion, and go with the best thing going. This is called growing up and becoming an adult.

There is one thing about having children. Every child is a miracle, an astonishing creation, and every parent makes a measurable and valuable contribution to the futurity of the human race. And even if your child is a disappointment, there is always hope in the grandchildren. With the movies, you never know. You could be a genius, with a great idea, a great script, the best actors and directors, and the whole thing could turn out to be a bore.

In that case the only thing that could rescue your movie would be a mob determined to be outraged.

In the Islamic community there always seems to be a gang of young men not otherwise employed who are available to revenge outrages and acts of blasphemy. But for the Christian convinced of the reality of God’s love, what would be the point?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact