Saturday, October 28, 2017

Why Christians Need to See Blade Runner 2049

If you can handle three short scenes of nudity (one is an animated ad that is sexual, the other so clinical to remove any sexuality, the third very brief), then you need to see Blade Runner 2049. It is a beautifully crafted film. Running at 2 hours and 45 minutes, it starts slow but accelerates to a breathtaking ending. The acting, writing, and effects are excellent and come alive in some of the most stunning cinematography I've ever seen of which it should win an Oscar for.

It is also the most disturbing film I've seen in ages. I warn you, if you do see it, it will attempt to suck every last essence of hope in your Spirit. So why would I recommend that you see it? Because it is the quintessential humanist movie. If you want your agnostic, atheist friends to have their worldview smacked into their (and yours) face, then have them watch this film with you. It's not pretty.

In Blade Runner 2049, the world has suffered a major ecological disaster (the one the global warmers have warned about for the last fifty years and fortunately has not occurred). Trees are gone and animals nearly non-existent. Food is grown in protein farms. Humans are cloned in vats and are called 'Replicants' who are used as slaves and considered soulless. Ryan Gosling does a great job portraying one who is used to hunt down an older version of the Replicants who went rogue in the first movie.

The movie takes place in the greater Los Angeles area. A great wall has been built to keep back the rising Oceans and Las Vegas was nuked with a radiation bomb. The city is filled with apartment complexes that have small apartments built like safe rooms to keep out the residents who literally reside in the stairwells. It rains constantly. The law exists but is barely keeping things together and is overruled by corporations which pretty much do what they want. Nine worlds outside Earth have been colonized, however, although not stated it is pretty much understood; only the ultra-rich have left, and hints from the first movie indicate that there is war there also.

In short, a dystopian nightmare.

Francis Shaeffer, in his book, "The God Who is There" discusses a 'line of despair' that modern man crossed when he discarded God and Biblical Truth.  If there is no God, then there is no truth except which that he creates himself and man can never verify that what he creates is real. Blade Runner takes that philosophy and slaps us, repeatedly, in the face. Harrison Ford states defiantly in the film, "I know what is real!" but we, and him know it's all bravado. The film painfully tries to find truth and reality in a world collapsed with no religion and no moral code. It is difficult to watch.

There is a nice plot twist and I won't spoil it. The Replicants become the center of the story, and possibly the hope of the future. Soulless machines who can kill without remorse and are free from any moral constraints become the heroes. Why not if a man is not made in God's image but is simply an accident of the Universe?

Blade Runner 2049 has barely made $200 million in worldwide box office sales. Why? I was in a theater that was about seventy-five percent full. When it ended, you could have a heard a pin drop. No one likes to see the full implications of their worldview played out, albeit it beautifully, in front of them for three hours, even Christians. The Biblical worldview ends in hope; it doesn't remove the pain and despair we will feel at times in this fallen world but it offers peace and joy in the midst of them and a promise of a future and eventually ultimate redemption.The humanist philosophy as Blade Runner so aptly portrays, will have none of that. Life without God is indeed hopeless and offers no comfort from pain and trades the assurance of reasoning and truth with despair that comes with the lack of a concrete reality.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Science Versus Philosphy

I was blog trolling, a favorite late night sport when I happened upon a wonderful blog. I read about five of Eric Hyde's posts and subscribed which is rare, I presently subscribe to six blogs total. He has some great insight and to one of his posts about atheism he received some wonderful, intelligent and well though out responses from the other side of the aisle which was a nice reprieve for what is called 'debate' these dark days on the internet.

One response in particular caught my eye and even though late in the game (the post was from October of last year), I could not help respond. Here is her post:

You’re right, the ancients saw things subjectively – meaning that had no real reason or logical thought process, only personal experience. So they sparked the beliefs that (at least, this is how I view it) eventually led to your idea of God. They didn’t understand objectivity because they didn’t have any decent ways to test their theories, just believe. So in a way, all ideas of God are the result of disunity from the very first God or Gods, because the idea of a God started with these ancients, likely as a means to explain the world around them. Humanity’s ideas about God went on from there, and more religions were created – everything from Hinduism, to Paganism, to the Gods of the Romans and Greeks which we regard now as stories, to the Judeo-Christian beliefs of today – in fact, many of the teachings and mythology surrounding Christianity appeared in many religions that came before it. (Italics added by myself). 

It was a well thought out response and made some valid points that needed to be answered. But it is all based on a mistaken premise, one that many Christians themselves share.  The idea is basically this; early humans were primitive and ignorant. They had the inability to use logic and reasoning so hence came this idea that there must be a God. Then good old science came along using logic and reasoning and showed that there is no God so you can still believe in God but it's irrational and has nothing to do with reality. It's all 'faith'.

There is only one problem. It's hogwash.

Man has always been a logical being capable of reasoning. The lack of knowledge may cause one to arrive at incorrect conclusion, but Scientists are still doing that in this century even with a vast amount of knowledge available to them our ancestors did not have. The behavior of light, the theory of relativity and quantum physics upended all of their conclusions in the mid 20th century and they are still struggling to assimilate the shipwreck in the last twenty years.

I can give you an analogy. The ancients did not have the knowledge that red blood cells carried oxygen to your body in your blood but they were fully aware that blood was vital to living and if you lost enough of it you would perish. The ancients did not know that a man's sperm would fertilize a woman’s embryo and thus produce a baby, but they were fully aware that a man's semen was needed to produce a child as this was one of the first primitive forms of birth control (along with the calendaring method as they understood there were only certain times that a woman was likely to get pregnant during her cycle).

All of these correct conclusions made by the 'ancients' came from observation, hypothesis and testing. Signs of logic and reasoning. Yes they came to the wrong conclusions on many things, but so have scientists since the 'Enlightenment'. Scientists my know that a sperm cell will fertilize an embryo but how the cells understand when its the right time to develop the brain, grow tissue, bone and muscle and when to stop is still a mystery. Scientists still do not understand the mechanism of how a baby is developed in a female womb.

Scientists understand that there are forces in physical world, but that doesn't mean they actually understand them. Take gravity for instance. They know its there. They can see and measure the effects of gravity. But just as the ancients knew if a man bled out he would die and not know why scientists today know gravity exists but have no idea how or why.

This idea that the ancients used the idea of God(s) to explain the world around them since they did not have access to logic and reasoning is false. They believed in the idea of God(s) to explain philosophical questions. Philosophical questions are questions that Science can't and never will be able to explain. The reason most people, including Christians, do not understand this is because they really don't understand Science. Most people believe that Science is a way for human beings to get Truth with a capital 'T' using reasoning and logic. But that is not what Science is by a long shot.

Science is the methodology used to explain how the mechanisms of nature around us actually work. The methodology used is; Observation, Hypothesis, Testing, Conclusion. Rinse, repeat. I am simplifying a bit but in reality this is about 95% of what science should be about.

Observation is the problem child for Scientists. It is particularly problematic for what I call the 'Historical Sciences'. Scientists can postulate how old the world is but in the end nobody has a clue because they cannot historically go back in time to see the Earth form and know what the environment was like during that time. Everyone is guessing. Scientists can say there is no God, but they can't get outside the system to prove it. You can say there is nothing outside the system but you can't prove that either because your the fish in the aquarium. The fish in the aquarium can deny there is anything outside the aquarium but until he is prepared to die to find out he won't know.

So the 'ancients' were not being irrational by stating that they believed in a Creator, Supreme Being(s), a Force that created what we see. They were being philosophical. Philosophy says, 'I have never ever, and I mean not once ever, nor has any other reliable human being on the face of this Earth ever seen something arrive from nothing. So if I am experiencing something then it must have come from something else. Logically then, something created everything we see around us, something outside of the present system.”

The ancients were being incredibly logical to arrive at a reasonable philosophical answer that there is a force outside this system that created this one. Now they may have made their force [God(s)] silly and human like and may have been wrong about the characteristics of their God(s) but that is a Philosophical argument, and not a Scientific one.

Side note: It was Ionian pre-Socratic philosophers who came up with the idea that the Universe was self contained and there was nothing outside the Universe which lead to the first Greek atheists. Stop acting so hip and original. Your not.