Last week I had two blasts from the past, one it rained on Easter Monday and two a classic book got the Hollywood treatment. So on Monday due to the rain we went to the pictures and saw A Wrinkle in Time. Not my first choice of film but I was sold on the idea it had 'boring physics stuff' in it. At the end of the film we were all left a bit flat, the effects were good and the giant Ophrah was funny, but the story didn't make a lot of sense. The reviews of the film were a pretty damming too, so I'm not alone in thinking it was a bit confusing.
You got the sense while watching that something had been taken out. There were some echos of a Christian story of love and redemption, but the story didn't flow or make much sense.
The strangest thing at the end of the film was when the girl was given the job of being a warrior for light against darkness. She was told how she was in a long line of other warriors. Despite the echos of a Christian message, none of the warriors for light were Christians.
My wife and daughter are reading the book which the film is based on at the moment. It was written in the 60s and is a standard young person book of the era. Guess what Hollywood have done, they have taken all the Christian bits out of the film. For example there is a magical guide who only speaks in quotes. Guess what quotes were taken out, yes the biblical ones. The magical flowers direct children on their journey, in the film they are gossips, but in the book they sing psalms.
That in essence is why the film makes so little sense, because the central theme of the book has been removed to be more inclusive. Because today we include people by excluding people we don't agree with. George Orwell called that double think. Holding two contradictory ideas in your mind at once and believing both to be true.
I think 'A Wrinkle in Time' is good allegory of why our society makes so little sense. Why we are bombarded by messages that seem to contradict and stories that don't make sense. The historical fact is that western society is founded on Christian values and Christian ideas. Whether you believe in God or not, it's just the historical fact. Our story as a society is rooted in the Christian story. But, like a tree if you rip the roots out the tree will not stand. If you attempt to air brush the Christianity our story it will make as little sense as this film did.
Now this makes me think about a discussion on the BBC programme about Santiago Costello. In this discussion one of the humanists said, Christians don't have a monopoly on values. Then there proceeded the standard, 'I know people go go to church and they are horrible etc etc.' Then we had the idea that there are fundamental human values that come from within. But that simply isn't true, if it was most or even all human societies would share the same values. The fact are that they just don't.
Throughout the world and throughout history human societies have had many different value systems. The Spartans, the Nazi's, the Communists, the Romans all have very different value systems. Napoleon for example set up a legal system where you were guilty till proven innocent. The truth is that we in the west have a set of values and a story rooted in the Jedeo-Christian faith.
The worrying thing is that the 20th century has seen many ideologies try and alter history. Attempts to air brush out idea that didn't match their world view. What we have to do is remind ourselves and our society of our own story. When things feel that they don't make much sense that's usually because someone has air brushed something out.
It all makes me think about my favourite rock band, Rage Against the Machine and a line from their song Testify.
'Who controls the past now controls the future, who controls the present now controls the past, now Testify.'
Truth is stronger than naked power and love is stronger than hate. That is the story of A Wrinkle in Time and another story I can't mention because that wouldn't be very inclusive.