Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do you want to build a worldview?

With the success of Disney’s most recent princess tale “Frozen” much discussion has been swirling about since its release concerning the overtones and themes hidden in the message of the movie.  One camp says that, though admittedly unintentional, the movie teaches several Biblically supportable principles. 

For example: The older sister, Elsa, contains her powers and ignores that she even has them until one day through a series of events she unleashes them on the kingdom and quickly ushers the entire land into a winter that is only reversible by her.  She then runs away and sings the now world famous song “Let It Go”, the ballad of her breaking free from the years of oppression and now she is just letting go and doing with her power what she wants.  What does she come to realize?  Spoiler alert: She comes to realize that though in her ballad she sang “no right, no wrong, no rules for me” that sort of behavior only brought about trials and misery for all those who looked to her for care. 

Additionally it isolated her from the rest of society.  Interestingly enough, the Bible teaches that there actually is a law, God’s Law, and it is written on the hearts of all mankind (Romans 1). If we violate that Law we are indeed sinning against God as well as our sin has effects on those around us who trust us or, in some cases, who look to us for provision and protection.  We would love to be able to say that there is no right, no wrong, and no rules that we follow but that is moral relativism that ultimately makes truth a subjective matter that leaves a true adherent to that worldview in total chaos.

The Bible also makes plain that there is absolute truth, God (Genesis 1:1).  When Jesus declares that He is the Truth, the Way and the Life He effectively closes the door on the validity to any other worldview that opposes that which is revealed in the Christian Bible.

Secondly, absent from “Frozen” but present in nearly every other Disney film is the theme of following one’s heart.  Disney has made billions of dollars selling the lie to our children that to find happiness and fulfillment all one must do is follow their heart.  While Frozen falls woefully short of labeling it dead in sin, it does imply that our hearts can be difficult to change and what is needed is love.  While I am certain that Disney’s definition of the love needed is quite different than the Bible’s, I find it interesting that they are sending this message.

Thirdly, Disney’s Frozen ultimately sends the message that what was needed was not the true love of a love at first sight romance that is usually so obvious in all of Disney’s princess films, (spoiler alert) rather it was the unconditional love of a sibling.  If we are to draw a parallel there to Biblical truth we might say that Anna, the younger sister, is the archetypal Jesus who we see loves her sister though her sister consistently rejects her and pushes her away.  Just as Jesus pursues us though in our sin we reject Him; His love never fails.  Ultimately it is the Anna who is willing to sacrifice her own life so that Elsa’s is spared.  Seems I’ve seen that act on a eternally grander scale somewhere before... Ephesians 2:1-0; Romans 5:1-10

None of those themes were in there for the benefit of the Christian community I assure you. It is not Disney’s hopes that people will repent and turn to Christ as a result of their film, so please do not begin to write your “Frozen” Bible studies because Lifeway, Family Christian, and Mardel are sure to snap them up and get them on the shelves quickly if you do... the next Christian publishing goldmine?

But if you, like my family, saw the movie and enjoyed it these might be some great themes to discuss with your children after the fact.

On the other side of the issue we have the not so hidden agenda of the homosexual community.  They would have us believe that the ballad “Let It Go” is ultimately a song about ending homosexual discrimination.  According to that view it is said that the message of the movie is that people need to learn to love their homosexual family/friends regardless of the consequences that their life choice may have on others.  Let me be clear when I say that Christians are called to love others period.  We do not have to agree with a person's behavior and choices and we may label some of those things (such as homosexuality) as sin.  However, the most loving thing you can do for a person is be truthful with them.  Not accepting homosexuality as natural and normal is not automatically equal to being intolerant or unloving.  If that is the theme of the movie there is a problem.  As pointed out above Elsa comes to realize that letting go and living with no rules is actually not helpful at all but very harmful indeed.

All of this coming to the forefront of the media due to a recent interview given by some of the song-writers who were hired by Disney to write for the film.  (Source story : http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/04/22/award-winning-song-writers-behind-frozen-out-with-giant-claim-about-disney-and-god/ )

The claim is that Disney does not allow God to be mentioned in any of their films and prefers for His Name not to even be mentioned at all in any form.  Some Christians are upset over this but I, for one, am thankful for it.

I do not need, nor do I desire, Disney to teach me or my family theology.  In fact, I am very glad that they keep their hands off of it.  Much harm has already been done to the doctrines held by many through films and other media that teach horrible theology as it is.  If Disney teaches me a principle through their media and uniquely labels it as God's truth and it happens to be false, then they are guilty of blasphemy and leading others to idolatry.  It is better Disney stick with their secular moralism than try and teach something that they are woefully unqualified and incapable of teaching, namely Biblical truth.  All the while Christians ought to remain prayerfully hopeful that not only those associated with Disney but that all who are lost and dead in sin would be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Even in the examples cited above of the Biblical truth parallels contained in Frozen, upon further dissection many of them break apart because as I mentioned it was not Disney’s intent to teach Biblical morals or truth through the film but rather to provide entertainment to the masses of moms and dads who would flock to the theaters with their daughters for one more princess film.

In the end, whether you go to watch Disney’s film or any secular media for that matter is more or less a matter of conscience.  Something that you must work out by examining what the Scriptures say about how Christians are to conduct themselves.  If you do go to see these sorts of films, please... please... I beg of you... do not go home thinking that now you’ve found the golden key for teaching your family Biblical truth.  You haven’t, because it is not contained in a Disney (or any other) film. The theology built on Disney film teaching or any other secular medium will fair no better than Olaf in summer.

If you have the Bible, you have the key to teaching your family truth and explaining to them the Gospel and their need for Jesus Christ.  Open the Scriptures with your family and explore them together.  It is God’s prescribed means for spreading the truth about Himself in this world.

[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

[5] Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
(Proverbs 30:5 ESV) 

(In case you didn't see the movie, the title of this article is a play on the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" featured in Disney's Frozen.)

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