Koreans differ with Vatican over Avatar

A poster of the film 'Avatar'

SEOUL — Korean theologians have differed with the Vatican over the blockbuster movie Avatar saying the film holds a message against greed.

Vatican publications denounced Avatar for pandering to “all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium.”

Father John Song Yong-min, theology professor of Incheon Catholic University, said that the message of the film was not so serious or dangerous as to shake or confuse the faithful.

“The Church teaches God’s revelation through Jesus which is quite different from the movie’s view on divinity.

“But as God is an unknowable mystery, and such a mystery can be differently expressed according to cultures, so there is room for us to understand Him through the Holy Spirit as ’spiritual energy’,” he said.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

The film’s action takes place on Pandora, a utopian planet where an alien tribe has been living in harmony with nature until humans arrive to exploit resources there.

“It is true that the movie contrasts economic development with the preservation of nature. In that we can read a message,” Father Song says.

“The focus of the film is the religiosity of a native tribe on a planet whose life is closely connected with nature amid threats from modern people’s greed,” said Father Francis Cho Hyun-chul, theology professor of the Jesuit-run Sogang University.

He said it would be unfair if Christianity claimed other religions, like the fictional one in the movie, were wrong to use Christian language or concepts like an “absolute God” or pantheism.

Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and the Vatican Radio criticized Avatar. Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said such reviews reflected the Pope’s views on confusing nature and spirituality.

Protestant theologian Reverend Koo Mi-jung rejects the Vatican views out of hand.

She said that it went too far to say the movie incited people to nature-worship or animism.

“We don’t see the scene where the tribe in the movie communes with nature as animism. Rather, we see it as [depicting] God as the foundation of our being, which modern people used to Western dualism have lost,” she suggested.

Avatar, which has been packing cinemas worldwide since it opened in mid-December, has been seen by well over 10 million South Koreans.

[Article printed from UCA News: http://www.ucanews.com]

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017