Last night I saw the movie The Invention of Lying. It wasn’t what I expected and it gave me a surprising bit to think about. The basic plot is that humans haven’t evolved to the point of lying; everyone tells the truth, all the time – brutally and honestly. In a moment of desperation, the main character develops the ability to lie and is able to get, through deception, much of what was lacking in his life. There is a twist when his mother, terrified of eternal nothingness, is dying and he “lies” to here about the existence of heaven. This is compounded when this conversation is overheard and people demand to know what he knows. He basically “creates” his own system of morality to make humans acceptable to God – “The Man in the Sky.”
What is interesting is that, while the human race now had a hope concerning the afterlife, it made little difference in the way they lived. I could only assume that this is how the writer of the screenplay views religion: a list of rules made by a detached deity. If we have no relationship with God, than what He asks of us is nothing more than a list of rules that seem like nothing more than fickle, non-nonsensical dictates. God intends it to be understood in the complete opposite way. God protects us through His commands once we are brought into a relationship with Him, not to earn heaven, but to refine us along the way.
I wonder what influences the writer has had, spiritually speaking. What ugly message has he heard? Why is His view of God so skewed? I have observed that in the effort to “defend” Christianity, believers have made the Gospel very unappealing and have cloaked it in false righteousness: it’s your works that save you and you must maintain the outwards appearance of godliness by abstaining from everything. Very ugly, very untrue. It’s amazing how completely freeing the truth actually is and how tainted it’s become.