Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A world without sin

Why when I talk about faith, do you always assume I'm talking about God?

I got a DVD of Serenity for my birthday, and watched it over the weekend. Back when Rob got me hooked on The West Wing, he also gave Chris a boxed set of the TV sci fi series "Firefly", and Serenity is the movie that Joss Whedon the series' creator made as a follow up set in the same universe.

So what did I find when I sat down to watch it? It's an action adventure story set in outer space, but weirdly - and just like some episodes of The West Wing - the plot is driven by theological ideas. Specifically sin and free will.

"The Operative" who is the villain of the piece, wants to create a "world without sin", and accuses his victims of "the sin of pride". The hero is Mal, the captain of the ship, and according to Wikipedia:
Whedon has stated that the most important line in the film is Mal's snarl to the Operative at its climax: "I'm going to show you a world without sin." Whedon's point is that a world without sin is a world without choice, and that choice is ultimately what defines humanity.

This is a sentiment that could have come straight out of St Augustine's Confessions. I'd be tempted to think I was imagining this if it wasn't telegraphed so directly in the script. It's not even an allegory, just as I noted about President Bartlett in "Two Cathedrals", the words didn't get in there by accident.

Isn't it amazing? I'm starting to imagine authors reaching for the Summa Theologica if they're ever afflicted with writers' block. I'll have to watch the Serenity DVD again with Whedon's commentary on to double check I'm not going off my head.

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