Sunday, January 24, 2010

Legion, The Movie: Why it's so Dangerous

I went to the movies with my son and his friend last night. I almost didn't go, thinking I'd drive over the the clinic and spend some time working on the computer and hanging out with my dog, Spot, who is recuperating from being hit by a car just before Christmas. But, at the last moment, I decided to tag along to the theater. They decided to watch the movie "Legion" - an apocalyptic-type thriller. 

In "Legion", God has grown tired of mankind's repeated failures and has decided to, once again, destroy the earth.

"And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth."
     --Genesis 9:11

True to his word, God doesn't send a flood to destroy the earth. This time, he sends his angels. The characters in the movie, understandably, mistake these angels for demons. After all, they possess the bodies of humans, distort their bodies, have razor sharp teeth, walk on walls and ceilings, kill the innocent, and otherwise do things that are far more demonic than angelic. But, Michael sets the record straight. Yes, that's THE Michael, the archangel of God who has, apparently, mutinied and come to earth to try to save humanity from God's wrath. He not only has to take on all of the heavenly host (looking for all the world like demonic spirits), but also the archangel Gabriel.

And, what is Michael's plan?  To save an unborn child. No, his mother isn't a virgin. In fact, she makes it pretty clear she is far from it. No sweet, innocent Mary-type here. She confesses at one point that she even went to the clinic to abort her baby, but was stopped by an overwhelming feeling of being swallowed up in darkness which she interpreted as the way death must feel.

By the end of the movie, Michael has defeated Gabriel, Charley (the mother), the baby and Jeep, a somewhat simple man who is not the baby's father but has taken on the responsibility of protecting Charley and her baby (think Joseph's role with Mary and Jesus), drive off with into the desert with a truck full of weapons of mass destruction waiting for the baby to grow up and lead the world from darkness into light.

"Legion" obviously borrows heavily from the "Terminator" and the "Matrix" movie series. But, my goal here isn't to just provide a regular film critique, but to point out the many, many major theological errors in this movie. Having said that, I realize the creator's weren't trying to enact the actual Apocalypse written about in the book of Revelations, but I see a disturbing and dangerous trend in these "Hollywood meets the Bible" movies that are being made in the last several years.

I know, I can hear my critics already saying, "But they are just movies, meant only to entertain." I beg to differ. I believe they are propaganda instruments created by the enemy to erode the belief system of Christians, and to prevent the non-saved from becoming Christians in the first place. Before you start ranting about me being yet another over-zealous Christian bent on saving the world, let me explain why I feel this way.

First, let's look at "Legion". Michael the Archangel mutinies against God, disobeys his orders, and decides that he is going to give God what he needs, not what he wants. I seem to remember another fallen angel who presumed to place himself above God. He goes by many names, Lucifer, the dragon, the serpent, the devil, Satan. Yet, in the end, Michael's decision pays off and he is actually rewarded by God for his disobedience. Michael comes to earth and cuts off his wings, thereby becoming "human" and no longer an angel. The symbolism here is very much like Jesus coming to earth and emptying himself of all of his deity powers, becoming a mere man.

Throughout the movie, angels bent on destroying the humans -- especially the unborn baby -- (think King Herod trying to destroy the Christ child, and the Terminator trying to destroy Sarah Connor) possess the bodies of humans (think Agents taking over bodies in the "Matrix" movie series). I'm having trouble with angelic beings being sent by God to kill the "future hope of mankind" for a couple of reasons.

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
     --John 10:10

Maybe I could have accepted demonic angels in this role, but not the heavenly host.

"For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
     --Psalm 91:11

Psalm 91:11 just doesn't sound like an army of beings bent on destroying mankind.

At one point in the movie, a man is hung upside down on a cross... another symbol of evil, not of good. This was also apparently carried out by the heavenly host in an effort to draw out the innocent and gain entry into the diner where the baby's mother and the former archangel Michael (and others) are holed up.

Then, of course, there is the whole issue of an unborn child who is destined to be the hope of mankind. I'm sorry, didn't that already happen?  If I'm not mistaken, the Messiah has already come. He was born to the virgin Mary. He died on a cross -- right side up, I might add -- for our sins. He was raised from the dead after three days, and he now reigns in heaven sitting at the right hand of the Father.

So, where is Jesus anyway in Legion? No mention of him at all. Was he not our intercessory? Did he not already pay the penalty for our sins?

Now, I will be the first to admit that if God looked at me, at my dismal failures, and my disobedience to his written and spoken word, I wouldn't be worth saving. The thing is, he isn't looking at us. He's looking at Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, the substitute, our surrogate. He looks not at us but at the one who paid the penalty of death for our sin although he was sinless.

The audacity of this movie, in the name of entertainment, to suggest that his sacrifice wasn't enough, that there needs to be another "savior" another "hope for mankind" is an incredibly dangerous and foolish path to tread. Add to that the suggestion that God has lost faith in man, but Michael hasn't (so then, Michael is another savior for mankind?) and you end up with a very confusing hypothesis of God, angels, heaven, salvation, etc.

If our salvation isn't complete, then there is no hope for mankind. 

Perhaps the reason Jesus doesn't figure into "Legion", is because this movie was made post "The Da Vinci Code", the 2006 blockbuster movie adapted from a book by the same title which became a worldwide best seller with over 80 million copies sold to date.

In "The Da Vinci Code", Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children. The author, Dan Brown, seems to support the Gnostic theory that Jesus was merely a human prophet, and not the only begotten son of God. If this were true, then Jesus would have lived, married, had children, died and been buried -- end of story; no resurrection, no salvation for mankind.

Now, there are a couple of small glimmers of light in "Legion".  In the end, mercy triumphs, and through Jeep, the simple is used to confound the wise.  But, the problem with these books and movies that are quasi-Biblical is that there is a curious mixture of Bible truth with downright evil.

The enemy is clever. In the name of entertainment, the saved and non-saved alike will flock to see these movies and read these books. He knows that our minds are fertile fields.  All he has to do is plant a seed. A seed of doubt will grow just as well as a seed of faith. In fact, probably better because it will receive more nourishment in this mixed up world than the seeds of faith -- unless you give them extra care and attention.

I can remember after "The Da Vinci Code" having a heated debate with a fellow Christian who said it didn't matter. That if Jesus was just human after all, it wouldn't hurt his faith. In fact it would make it stronger because he could identify more with him if he was a man and not God.

The problem is, then there would be no salvation. If Jesus was only a prophet, only a teacher, only a good man, then we are doomed to eternal damnation.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
     --Romans 6:23

Praise God he was much more than that. Praise God he is my redeemer and that he still lives today. Praise God that he is my light and my salvation.

My biggest complaint is that in the antagonist vs. protagonist, white hat vs. black hat, good vs. evil scenario, "Legion" firmly places God in the role of the bad guy. It casts God in the role of the destroyer instead of the role of creator and savior.

God isn't waiting in the wings, hand on the trigger, ready to exterminate humanity. God doesn't want even one person to perish. His mercies endure forever, and he looks at us -- always-- with eyes of love, seeing not our mistakes, our disappointments, or what we've done wrong, but seeing his son in our place.

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