The Hunger Games and running on the fumes of Christianity

We went to a sold-out 10:30 a.m. showing of The Hunger Games today.  Apparently this is a popular movie.  My wife is a librarian and likes to keep up with young adult literature.  I haven’t read the books or any reviews of the movie, so what I’ll offer here may have completely missed the point (that tends to happen when I analyze anything artistic — remind me to tell you about my paper on a poem back in freshman English and how much my professor  . . . er, uh . . . loved it.)

Without offering any spoilers about anything not shown in the first 60 seconds of the movie, it was a bit like The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.  Kent Brockman of The Simpsons summarized that in a pithy way: “A chlling tale of conformity gone mad.”  People are randomly selected to die to offer some sort of benefit for the greater good of the community.  Hey, what could go wrong with that?!

Side note: I had a fun 10th grade English teach that had us recreate the killing from The Lottery, only with wads of paper instead or rocks.  One person was randomly selected from each row, then one of those people was picked to stand in the corner while everyone threw paper wads at her.  Good times.

Back to the movie.  I assume that it was some sort of cautionary tale about what might happen.  But I didn’t see it as futuristic, but historical (think Roman gladiators and feeding Christians to the lions) and contemporary (think video games, movies, ultimate fighting and, to a lesser extent, pro football).

One of the main mistakes any society makes is to ignore the reality of original sin.  They think we’ve evolved, when we’ve done no such thing.  Exhibit A: The ancients who wrote the Hippocratic Oath knew abortion was wrong. It was only in our “enlightened” times that we’ve rationalized away the immorality of killing innocent but unwanted human beings. Hey, even Planned Parenthood used to be pro-life.

So I didn’t see movies like The Hunger Games as warnings about what we might do.  We are already doing all sorts of horrific things and are blinded to their evil.

The only reason we haven’t descended further into mayhem is that we are running on the fumes of Christianity, but those are dissipating as I write this.  No matter how hard they try, secularists cannot ground morality in their molecules-to-man worldview.

Everyone knows moral laws exist (see Romans 2-3) but so many people deny God in their rebellion against him (see Romans 1).  When you reject God then, as the saying goes, everything is permissible.  People may deny Christianity, but if they understood history they would realize it under girds the few moral truths they have left (even though they wildly misinterpret those truths).

My prayer is that believers will abandon the prosperity gospel, theologically liberal (read: fake) churches and other falsehoods and man up to share the truth of the real Gospel in love.

P.S. I enjoyed the movie.  Good acting and story line.  Now we need to see October Baby and I will have fulfilled my quota of two visits to the movie theater per year.

P.S.S. I have now read a couple reviews of the movie.  Good review of the movie from a Christian perspective here.  Warning: Plot spoilers.  I also noted from other reviews that the movie works better if you’ve read the books.  I realize that is sort of a “duh” statement, but some of the criticisms of the movie wouldn’t apply to the book.

13 thoughts on “The Hunger Games and running on the fumes of Christianity”

  1. I’ve read several reviews and this type of movie isn’t what I’d spend my time on, and I really don’t think we should be allowing our kids to watch it. We have friends with 12-year-olds who have read all the books and will now be watching the movie. I like Debbie Schlussel’s review – she doesn’t take any prisoners.

    This one was also posted today, but it is more about the books:


    1. Off topic, but I’m all done with Debbie Schlussel. I don’t think that woman has ever seen a movie she liked.

      I used to spend some time at her site, and she was busy ripping the Fox News network up one side and down the other because it never says anything critical of Rupert Murdoch, the guy who (she says) “owns” FOX. She went on to complain that it (of course) biases its reporting and that Murdoch is laughing about it all the way to the bank.

      I asked her a simple and serious question, “If not Fox, then where do conservatives get their news?” I don’t know why, but something about this question set her off even more. Instead of answering (by linking to some news source that she considers reputable), she flew into a profanity-laced tantrum.

      I posted again on her site, criticizing her for the above and also pointing out that Fox News is a publicly-traded corporation; it isn’t “owned” by Murdoch or anyone else. I signed off by calling her “pathetic, clueless, and bitter” and mentioning that I wouldn’t be returning to her site. That was at least a year ago and I’ve kept my promise.

      Schlussel is a bitch, frankly.


      1. cylarz00,
        I don’t know how much of Schlussel you read, but she praises tons of movie as well as pans tons of them. I think she’s about equal. I agree she gets caustic sometimes, but I don’t see where she is any worse than Ann Coulter in that regard. She certainly isn’t “clueless”; being misinformed on some things doesn’t make one “clueless.” I wouldn’t consider her a “bitch.” And I also don’t think that is something Christians should use as an epithet.


      2. For the record, here is what I actually said to her:
        Oh, get off your high horse, Debs. I was louder than anyone in my criticism of Bush’s kid-gloves handling of the Mideast, his excessive spending, lack of border enforcement, and all the other things.

        By the way, I’m not a moron. (Yes, she really called me this.) I’m probably better educated than you are, as evidenced by the fact that you couldn’t even answer my original question, “Where are we supposed to get our news?” I ask one simple question and you launch into a childish temper-tantrum. I am not here to “defend” FOX; I’m here to call you on your B.S. The network is supposed to be a bunch of raging hypocrites because it doesn’t spend every waking minute ripping up Murdoch? By the way, he doesn’t “own” FOX. He’s one of many stockholders. You are familiar with the concept of a publicly-traded corporation, correct?
        I can’t believe anyone pays you to write this drivel. You seem to have an ax to grind, and it shows.

        Not that it matters much…I won’t be returning to your site. I’ve about had a belly full of your cynical reviews of everything the theater has to offer. Admit it…you hate nearly everything. You’ve ripped plenty of movies up one side and down the other that were actually quite entertaining, well-written, original, and funny. Transformers 2, for instance. Outstanding film, and you hated it. What the hell is wrong with you?

        It seems you go out of your way to find the subtle political messages (often no more than one spoken line in the entire film) and act all outraged, usually on behalf of Christians – of which I am one and you are not. I don’t pretend to know what offends Jews…would you care to extend the same courtesy to us? You could probably save yourself (and your readers) a LOT of time by simply writing, “Avoid the theater this summer. It’s all garbage. – DS” I can’t recall the last time I read so much jaded blather in one spot.

        You’re pathetic, Schlussel. Pathetic, clueless, and bitter.

        Cylar on September 8, 2010 at 3:33 am

        Coulter, someone said, at least has that twinkle in her eye when she’s being acerbic. Schlussel? Not so much. Unlike Coulter, she isn’t a Christian, for one thing. And thanks for the aside, telling me how I should be speaking; as you can see I didn’t actually call her that word on her site.

        You’re welcome to your opinion, Glenn, but I stand by what I said. All of it, actually. You want to read Schlussel, go ahead. I’ll be getting my movie reviews somewhere else.


      3. Matt,

        You stated in the comment above that Schlussel was a bitch. I don’t care what was in your letter, I was addressing your use of the word here.

        Again, with your comments about her movie reviews, I don’t know how much you could be following her because she loves a whole lot of movies I wouldn’t waste the time of day on. And, by the way, I agree with her on the trash “Transformers.”

        So it’s okay for Coulter to be “acerbic” because she’s a Christian but not okay for Schlussel because she isn’t? Sorry, but I see two standards here. Coulter is arrogant and caustic and Schlussel is arrogant and caustic. I see a lot of the same in the two of them, but you give Coulter a pass because of a “twinkle” you seem to find in her eye. Personally, I found your letter to be plenty disrespectful all the while calling her pathetic.

        I don’t rely on Schlussel for reviews – I read hers along with others such as plugged-in-on-line. But I think Schlussel has some very good viewpoints to consider.


      4. We’re going to have to agree to disagree. Once again, I’m standing by what I said. Schlussel’s reviews are useless. She seems to go out of her way to find something to be outraged over. I also have no use for a supposed conservative with such a low opinion of Fox News. It’s not perfect, but far better than any of the alternatives. The fact that she couldn’t address my question in a mature way has destroyed any respect I had for her. I find her “viewpoint” to be worthless.

        As for my use of the word “bitch,” I’ve tried to be polite to you, but in the end, whether or not I use that word here (or anywhere else) isn’t your call to make. Neil will let me know if he has a problem with it.

        Thank you for your high-handed response. I’ll be sure to give it the consideration it deserves.


      5. So not only do you resort to using abusive language about Schlussel just because you don’t like her commentaries (so very tolerant of you), in opposition to what Paul tells us in Eph.4:29, you then make an ad hominem attack on me claiming I am “high-handed” because I point out your double standards.

        I’m standing by what I said – Debbie’s reviews are quite useful.


  2. Great post! I love how you used the Hunger games to set up your post especially dealing with original sin. I fully intend to read your review of the movie from a Christian perspective. I totally agree with your conclusions especially in dealing with how Christianity “undergirds” the few morals our society has left. I would love if you would be willing to take a look at my blog its called “a seed to a tree” and is a church planting resource. I am telling the ongoing story of my journey as a church planter as well as providing reviews, and resources to help others on their journey. Your thoughts on it would be greatly appreciated. Grace and peace.


  3. “Running on the fumes of Christianity”—I think that’s a great term for it. The atheists I argue with are very interested in reason and the pursuit of truth (and even, as you say, in holding on to the moral law); have they noticed that even atheists like them seem to arise only in the Christian and post-Christian West? When they decide they don’t believe in God, they’re trying to cut off the branch they’re sitting on, in terms of intellectual tradition.


  4. Back to the movie. I assume that it was some sort of cautionary tale about what might happen. But I didn’t see it as futuristic, but historical (think Roman gladiators and feeding Christians to the lions) and contemporary (think video games, movies, ultimate fighting and, to a lesser extent, pro football).

    Yep. It’s also about reality TV, and I think the point was that we have done these things before and we likely will do them again. Panem = bread, right, as in Bread and Circuses (not the grocery chain)? Gladiator fights? Yep, we’re back to the Romans, with enough modern elements to remind us that humanity isn’t as evolved as we like to think.


    1. You mean like that stupid UFC octagon-fighting thing they have now? My co-workers are all over that. Watching a couple of guys beat each other up really doesn’t do anything for me.

      That’s what I like about the Bible. Among other things, it is an excellent reminder of just how little humanity has changed in thousands of years. Borders, politics, and cultures may change; human beings themselves do not. As ‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams put it, “People are greedy, people are horny, people are stupid.”


  5. Sort of OT but I know you’d like to see this if you haven’t already: Is the teaching of religion really a form of child abuse? — graphs from a study that looked at childhood religious upbringing and subsequent behavior by these children as adolescents, noting a positive effect (more volunteering, etc.) as well as a lack of a negative effect (less drug/alcohol use/abuse, etc.) from children that were brought up in a church.


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