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Monday, May 25, 2020

Religion and Ethics: A Christian Interpretation Transcending a Film

Although dramatic tension is a crucial element of a narrative, the main point is not necessarily in the resolution of the tension. Dramatic tension may be used as a means by retaining viewer-interest through a film whose main points are made along the way. Such points can transcend plot and be even more important than the resolution of the narrative. Man from Earth (2007) is a case in point. In the film, John, an anthropology professor, has just resigned from his teaching position. The entire film takes place during the send-off party at his house just before he is to move away. As the discussion ensues, John admits to his university guests that he is actually a 14,000 year-old caveman. Because he looks about 35 or 40, he explains that once he reached a certain age, he stopped aging due to a biological abnormality (i.e., a genetic mutation). That his anthropological and biological lenses cover even religious matters makes his religious interpretations interesting and even useful to the viewer. I am assuming here that coming in contact with a different perspective can enrich a person’s understanding of a phenomenon. It is in this sense that the film provides valuable information to the viewer and is entertaining even beyond viewing the film. Indeed, a method for interpreting the faith narratives of Christianity, and religion in general, can be extracted and applied outside of the film.

The full essay is at "Man from Earth."