Monday, May 10, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Invention of Lying

Last night, Noelle and I rented a movie that was funny and surprising. It is called “The Invention Of Lying” and came out sometime last year. There are many actors/actresses you would recognize – I don’t think it made it all that big time, however. I can’t officially endorse it considering it had quite a bit of sexual references, though not necessarily sexually charged activity if you will (I always feel weird describing this stuff). The premise of the movie was that at the time of the movie no one in the world had ever lied – lying simply didn’t exist. Everyone said exactly what was on their minds, no matter what. They insulted each other, they admitted their fears, they confessed sexual desires, and so on. They said some seriously funny stuff. But that wasn’t he main point of the movie, from what I gathered.
The main character in the movie, Mark Bellison, was very down on his luck. His mom was dying, he lost his job, he was about to be evicted. Then something happened that changed everything: he told the world’s first lie. And since everyone believed everyone’s word, he got anything he asked for – tons of money, a girlfriend, and he even got his job back by “discovering” a completely made up story about aliens coming to earth in the 14th century (he was a screen writer). The turning point of the movie was when his mom was about to breathe her last, Mark told her that everything she knew about the after life was wrong – you don’t go into nothingness forever, instead you go to your favorite place and get a mansion and everyone else is there with you. Word got around that Mark knew something about the afterlife that no one had ever heard, and so the world literally gathered to hear – on his lawn, on TV, on radio, any way they could. Mark took a while to make something up (because by this time he knew he was lying), but eventually wrote down 10 important things people needed to know about the afterlife. Here’s the kicker (for me at least): he wrote them down on Pizza Hut boxes because he thought they looked like tablets and he claimed to have gotten his information from “The Man in the sky”.
Sound at all familiar? The movie did an amazing job mocking much of the Bible’s storyline about the afterlife, the 10 commandments, and so on. It was seriously intriguing to Noelle and I as we watched the rest of the movie to see how many things they poked fun at. Eventually Mark was being questioned about all kinds of things but all he had to do was say “the Man in the sky is talking to me…” and he was free and clear. Since everyone naively believed Mark, and since the Man in the sky says so, they went along with whatever they were told. I’m telling you, it was an all out assault (albeit indirect) on Christianity and the Gospel. But here’s the problem: the movie only vaguely resembled the Christian message.
No where in the film was forgiveness, sin, justification, the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and so on mentioned. The only important thing was that you don’t do 3 bad things while on earth so you can get your mansion. God was a Man in the sky, a figment of Mark’s imagination – not a loving Creator who redeems mankind from their bondage and spiritual death through the bloody sacrifice of his Son. Not a Father in Heaven who created us for his glory and our joy, Someone who pursues lost sinners by grace and mercy, patiently bringing us to repentance and faith in his Son. Nowhere was the Gospel given, nowhere was there a turn for the better. The ending was interesting and I’m not going to spoil it here. But I will tell you that the entire thing was portrayed as “people make up a God in the sky to make themselves fell better”.
I really hope I didn’t ruin everything for you, because if you are an adult who decides what they watch and doesn’t have movie-watching guidelines, I do suggest seeing. If nothing else it is a portrayal of how many people see Christianity and the God we claim to be the true God. It lays an axe at the root of much of what we hold dear, and yet it also cuts short the beautiful Gospel of Christ that we love. If you’ve seen it already or if you see it soon, let me know what you think.

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