This Is The End (Movie Theology)

by jpserrano on June 24, 2013 · 0 comments

The Movie

Last week I saw This is The End.  

On RottenTomatoes it earned on the Tomatometer an 85% from critics and an 84% from fans.  These reviews, especially from the critics, surprised me because I thought the film was ok in humor but poor in message.  I get why people liked this movie.  It is irreverent, funny, and movie stars play a version of themselves that poke fun at the Hollywood lifestyle.  It had funny parts and I laughed, but it wasn’t funny a-la Pineapple Express.  I’ll be honest, up front, as a theologian I couldn’t get past the soteriology (the method a person is saved) in the film. 

For the plot of the movie read this wiki entry. 

The theologically inclined person will immediately notice that this movie is set within a world similar to Tim Lahaye‘s Left Behind Series with its rapture/tribulation theology.  But, This Is The End has a stoner Hollywood twist.  

Warning: Spoilers

Soteriology

So, after the good people are raptured, all hell breaks loose on earth: sinkholes, earthquakes, fires storms, and roaming devils.  The gang waits it out for a while, but eventually decides they have to do something and get out of the house they are held up in.  Through a series of events, they realize that if they are self-sacrificing and do a good deed, they will get beamed up to heaven.

The movies soteriology is clear: Doing Good Deeds = Going To Heaven.

I think American popular culture believes this for the most part.  If my good deeds outweigh the bad, I get into heaven.  It should be pointed out that this is not a Christian understanding of salvation.

Afterlife

In the end the gang makes it into heaven, which is a cloud city where people have wings and get whatever they can imagine.  One character imagines a live performance by the Back Street Boys and the movie ends with a ruckus concert.  This is not a Christian understanding of the afterlife.

The End 

I worry that Christians will see this film and it will provide fodder for poor theology.  A theology where good works get a person into heaven and where in the afterlife a person gets whatever they want.

Maybe I’m thinking too much about the theology of a stoner movie, but I can’t help but think that if it’s in the public arena it should be used for discourse.

-jpserrano

Did you see the movie?  What did you think?
What was your take on the theology of the movie?
How does it similar or different to what you believe?

 

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