Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Invention of Lying

I saw an incredibly interesting film last week -- The Invention of Lying.

I realize that you may not think of this as being an interesting film. You may have even heard that it espouses the idea that God is a myth. When it was originally released, commentators asked why it had not inspired a rash of Christian boycotts.

In the article linked above one expert proposes that it doesn't give Christians much to get upset over. I will go a step further -- I found it incredibly convicting, inspiring and even sad.

The setting for the film is a land in which no one can lie. I don't mean just blatant un-truths like "I can run 22 miles" but even the tiny falsehoods or maybe-not-trues we use every day. For example, if you ask how I'm doing and I say "I'm fine" as a courtesy, even though I'm really mostly just OK, that's a lie. In this world people instead say EXACTLY how they are. Another example: advertisers only say things that are completely true about their products. "Coke. It's very famous."

Because nothing is said that is not categorically true there is very little hope and no optimism. People only know what they are experiencing in that moment or what is known to have happened in the past. There is no religion.

And so when Ricky Garvis' character discovers the ability to lie he invents something that no one else understands or knows how to do. He is encountered with his dying mother who is terrified of death. He lies to her and tells her that there IS life after death, that she will get to see all of her friends and live in a beautiful mansion. She is able to die in peace.

When he tells her those things, however, he is overheard by the doctors and the nurses who are absolutely astounded and encouraged beyond words by the news. They go and tell their friends and soon he has a huge crowd on his lawn clamoring to know more. In a Moses with the commandments meets Christ scene he instructs the people in what "the man in the sky" told him about life after death. While he knows he is lying, everyone else can only believe he is telling the truth. Everyone wants to know more about this "new information." Everyone runs to tell their neighbor.

And that is the scene that made me cry. I sat on my couch and wondered what the world would be like if I treated the precious information I hold about life after death with the awe and enthusiasm with which the people in this movie greeted and spread it. I wondered what it would be like if instead of being jaded and skeptical, people treated the news of Christ with wonderment. And I wondered what it wouldve been like to be with Paul when the news he spread WAS brand new and WAS received gladly.

.... that is all.

1 comment:

  1. Im so happy to see that our discussion inspired a blog post :)