America is awash, particularly among young folks whose worldviews have been warped by “higher education,” in a form of secular humanism that contends religion itself is to blame for humanity’s greatest ills.
Terrorism, war, bigotry, hate, intolerance – these supreme evils, the theory goes (disregard murder, theft, godlessness and sexual immorality; those are such passé, so-called “sins”), are all fueled by religions striving for control of humanity. Without Muhammad’s dictates, this humanism contends, terrorism would evaporate; without the Bible’s laws, intolerance would cease. Just look at what’s going on with the Catholic clergy abuse scandal. Get rid of religion, the masses cry, and we could all learn to get along!
And while this neo-enlightenment claims to be all about tolerance, the disdainful condemnation of all things religious sometimes grows so fierce, so arrogant, so loathing, what else can it be called but hate? Hatred for religion. Hatred for the Bible. Hatred, especially in this once-Christian America, of all things Christian.
Few places have displayed this attitude been more clearly than the movie theater. A few months ago, “The Invention of Lying” demonstrated just how insulting secular humanism’s hatred for religion can be.
But with jaw-dropping audacity and nauseating, clothes-ripping blasphemy, “Clash of the Titans” has taken Hollywood’s hatred for God to a whole new level, and I’m not just referring to its 3-D special effects.
Make no mistake, “Clash of the Titans” is not just a movie about fighting monsters and the gods of Greek mythology; it is a theological manifesto for modern humanism. And like all good lies, it contains some elements of truth – in this case, a framework for its story that sounds, at first, vaguely Christian:
According to the film’s story, the god of the heavens created mankind out of a desire to love and be loved. But mankind rebels against its creator and is thereafter plagued by the lord of the underworld, who, in turn, tries to dethrone the supreme god and, failing that, lashes out at creation.
Then enters the story a being conceived by the father-like god and born of a woman. This child – part god, part man – grows to become the one called “savior,” the hope of mankind. Prophesied to die, his victory upon a cross vanquishes the lord of the underworld into the abyss.
Sounds sort of Christian, right?
To be fair, “Titans” is set against the backdrop of ancient Greek mythology, so the part of the Father is played by Zeus, and the Satan-like character is his brother Hades. The savior son, furthermore, is not born of the Holy Spirit, but born of Zeus raping a human woman. These are basic tenets of Greek mythology, however, so there’s no need to see these elements as a reflection on either Christianity or modern culture.
And had the filmmakers stuck to Greek mythology, audiences would have been left to enjoy a somewhat mediocre, but at least inoffensive fantasy action flick.
But instead, “Clash of the Titans” draws dozens of parallels to modern-day religion and specifically to Christianity, each time putting a secular humanist spin on the story.
For example, “Titans” builds itself on the premise that the gods actually need human prayers, that they feed on faith, from which they get their powers, prompting humankind to cry out, “The Gods need us, need our worship. But what do we need of them?”
Thus begins the humanism, as the people rebel against the “tyranny” of the gods declaring, “A new era has begun, the era of man. … We are the gods now.”
And yet, behold, a voice cries out in the wilderness, calling the people back to worship. Only … in the end … this preacher, this prophet, turns out to be a servant of the evil Hades and a high priest of sham religion. At the climax of the film, this satanic priest leads a congregation of the fearful masses astray, fashioning a cross of wood and preaching, “Pray to the one who shoulders our sin and offers us redemption through blood!”
Wait … that’s devil worship?
But then, the son of a god, a fisherman named Perseus, rises up as the savior of men.
“If it’s true that you are a son of Zeus,” the disciples say to Perseus, “you can save us!”
An obvious Christ-like character, this Perseus, however, twists the savior story line to trumpet secular humanism’s primary claim – that mankind no longer needs gods, for we can do it on our own.
Case in point, when Perseus is about to undertake a daunting new task, his father sends him a magical sword.
“A gift from the gods,” his quest companion tells him, “accept it.”
To which Perseus defiantly answers, “I can do this as a man.”
When suffering and on the verge of death, Perseus’ friends tell him to pray to his father (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), but Perseus would rather die than acknowledge Zeus.
Later, when his companions tell him to take up his divine nature, Perseus insists, “If I do this, I do it as a man.”
And even when his companions explain to him that a mere human cannot save humanity, Perseus scoffs, “According to who, the gods?”
Later, the father god confronts his son: “Man’s entire existence is a gift of my grace!”
“For the one who made us, you don’t know so much about us,” Perseus replies. “We live, we fight, we die for each other, not for you.”
And when Perseus completes his quest in the name of man defying the worship of any so-called god, the people turn to the humanist Jesus to be their leader. But no, for in humanism, Jesus was not God; he was just a good example.
True to form, Perseus the humanist Jesus says, “I cannot be a king; I’ll serve you better as a man.”
Am I reading too much into it? Am I spooked by shadows of a persecution complex? I’ll let my readers be the judge. But lest you think me nuts for thinking the parallels weren’t meant as a poke in the eye to Christianity, I’ll leave you with the final words from the father god to his conquering son of a god:
“I wanted man to worship us,” Zeus says to Perseus, “but I didn’t want it to cost me a son.”
Of course not. If it did cost a son, that might make John 3:16 actually mean something, and, well, we won’t have any of that.
“Clash of the Titans” is woven with religious dialogue, symbolism and characters. The dose of religion in “Titans” rivals the potency of “The Passion of the Christ,” in that it is the central and inescapable theme. It is constant, and the film cannot be appreciated solely as an action flick by attempting to avoid the religious metaphor. Sorcery, magic and Greek mythology run throughout, while some images clearly portray the demonic.
The film contains heavy levels of fighting, killing, violence and gore.
The movie contains almost no foul language, though one, dramatic profanity made its way into the script.
Sexuality in film consists of some temple prostitutes flirting, a fight scene where a male character lands atop a female, with some implied sexual tension, and a couple of conversations regarding the gods “taking” (raping) women. One such sex scene is portrayed, though quickly, by showing a god approaching a nude woman lying on her stomach. The male god is seen briefly in the nude (from behind) when he flees the scene.