Of Jesus, Salvation, and Terminators

This week, I had the opportunity to go out with some friends and see Terminator Salvation.  The title itself would have piqued interest but I have been watching this series since it first came out.  I thought it was a pretty good effort (better than the third but not matching either of the first two) but was fascinated to read some of other reviews on the net when I got back home.

For those of you that “Terminator” movies just aren’t your thing, suffice it to say that these movies offer the opposite of the Star Trek optimistic humanist view of the future.   Instead of humanity building a virtual paradise where good guys only need to raise up to fend off the occasional bad guy, in the Terminator movies, the good guys struggle to survive.  But here is where it gets interesting, some people are running with the idea (including the producers)  that John Connor is somewhat modeled on Jesus (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/may/29.66.html)  Even their initials paralleling are intentional.

Does the future depend upon John Connor in the movies?  Sure it does.  But to think John has a vision similar to Jesus is – stretching it to say the least.  John Connor is the typical American hero in an action movie – the problems of the world are not my doing and the future depends upon no one but us.  There is no praying.  There is no point beyond surviving (and helping others to survive).  And success depends upon courage and innovation.

Jesus did not put us in the center of the stage but God in the center.  He also did not see vanquishing the “bad guys” as the key for success.  As a matter of fact, Jesus seemed intent on finding ways of turning the bad guys.  In the movie the Terminators are building “infiltration models” to sew seeds of destruction.  Jesus, by contrast, infiltrated the ‘bad guys’ (all of us) to turn us for life instead of termination which faces us all.

The most interesting character in the movie isn’t John Connor, it is Marcus Wright – which I won’t write about in case you’re going to see it.  It is in that story, versus John Connor, that you find the strongest parallel to Christ (not as much at the beginning of his story but especially at the end).

All in all, an ok Scifi flick.  But I often think there are many in our society who still “don’t get” the real message Jesus offered.  If true, it places the challenge on all of us to change that.

All the best and until next time,

Tom

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