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Deus Ex Machina


owen652
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I was watching Narnia (Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe) today with my kids, which is actually a great movie and I really enjoy it. However, when it was released I was still a Christian and I remember thinking something was really weird about it. Today it really rammed home. Obviously C.S. Lewis crafted it as a shrewd (although not so subtle) analogy of the Christ story, but he was unwittingly forced by the source material itself to use a plot device which every screenwriter or student of cinema knows as a 'deus ex machina', or 'god from the machine'. Basically, an impossible predicament or unsolvable problem is overcome by the introduction of a contrived resolution out of thin air. A common one would be 'it was all a dream', right after the hero gets killed. In ancient Greek theatre a mechanical contraption would descend and literally pluck the hero to safety at the end of the third act. Every screenwriter avoids the deus ex machina because it is an inexcusable cop-out that leaves audiences feeling cheated. Yet Lewis had no choice, because the author of the Bible employs a deus ex machina in the resurrection of Christ. So here we have Aslan, having just made the ultimate sacrifice in trading his own life for Edmund's, being suddenly and inexplicably raised from the dead so he can save the day. Okay, so... exactly what sacrifice did Jesu.. I mean, Aslan... make? Well, none. He died, sure, but then came back from the dead pretty much immediately. Big fucking deal.

 

Funny that even as a Christian I really knew deep down that it made no sense, yet I kept on believing. Now I just feel ripped off and want my ticket money back.

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Funny that even as a Christian I really knew deep down that it made no sense, yet I kept on believing. Now I just feel ripped off and want my ticket money back.

 

That has always struck me as odd, that Jesus gets so much credit for temporarily dying to save all of mankind. Millions of people die horrible deaths to save just one person, a child or something. It seems to me that the pain-to-gain ratio is much higher for such people than it was for Jesus, but their recognition is fleeting or their sacrifice goes unnoticed.

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I LOVED the Narnia books, I read them as recently as my early 30's. I voided seeing the movie because I didn't want it to spoil my own take on it. One night it was on and I started watching and I suddenly couldn't root for the "good" side anymore. What made them "good"? I couldn't figure it out.

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