Easy A gets a B

“Ultimately, if you are not a Christian or if you are but can handle a little criticism/abuse, I suggest that you pick up Easy A and watch it.  If you have children between fifteen and eighteen then I suggest you sit down and watch this movie with them, then discuss some of the themes within the movie and how they apply, or do not apply, to real life.”

A movie about a girl who lied and the ever-expanding fallout.

Olive Penderghast is not a Christian.  In fact she doesn’t have much time or care for Christians.  Let me be very clear about one thing, if you are a Christian, and you are easily offended, then you should not watch this movie.  Now as anyone who knows me can tell you I am not easy to offend, and I generally think that everyone else is far too sensitive about most things.  In this particular case I’m referring to Christians being too easy to offend, but generally everyone.

That being said this is an excellent movie with two strong social themes.  The first is a pro-morality theme which endeavors to show the danger in even small lies, promote abstinence, and generally encourage good behavior in teens.  The second is a strong anti-religious theme, specifically anti-Christian, with a slight anti-God subtext.

The movie is a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter.  In Easy A Olive Penderghast, a highschool student currently reading The Scarlet Letter for her English class, takes on the role of Hester Prynne.  Unlike most modern remakes of older books and movies, which keep the setting and characters while exchanging all of the deep and powerful themes for violence and sex-scenes, Easy A changes the setting and all of the characters while keeping the themes and core values of The Scarlet Letter.

Olive, who is portrayed as a generally good young woman, is an A student who cares about her friends and community and does her best to be moral.  However, in an attempt to avoid an awkward weekend camping trip with a friend, she lies about having a date with a college boy (apparently every high-school girls dream?).  This lie then leads to another lie when her friend, Rhi, assumes that Olive lost her virginity to her date.  This quickly becomes a rumor which leads to progressively more volatile lies until the entire school believes that Olive is trading sex for money, even though she is actually still a virgin.

Olive and Rhi while their still friends.

The strongest theme in the movie is centered on these lies, rumors, and the damage they do.  Olive’s reputation is destroyed, her relationship with Rhi broken, and the only people who speak to her are those who want something from her, either another lie or, in one case, a young man who believes all the rumors.  Interspersed throughout the movie are scenes which depict Olive’s family life and her parents growing worry.  One of the highest points in this excellent movie is Olive’s relationship with her family which, far from being the normal dysfunctional and destructive fare, is actually quite healthy.  Her parents trust her, they worry, they fret, they try to be supportive, they constantly reinforce their love for her, but ultimately they trust her and allow her to make her own decisions*.

Olive becomes an outcast in her school community and, being a high school girl, decides to take the most dramatic route possible.  She takes her inspiration from The Scarlet Letter, wearing her A proudly and defying the school that cast her out, which of course only gets her into deeper trouble.

The second theme I mentioned is the anti-religious, more specifically anti-Christian theme, which is, again, loosely based on the theme of legalism in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.  The movie has a number of Christian characters, none of them particularly desirable people.  Marianne, who is an average, Hollywood style, overzealous Christian who has no concept of healthy social interaction with people outside of her social circle, vacilates between persecuting Olive, in a manner reminiscent of the Westboro Baptist group, and half-hearted attempts to ‘reach her for Christ’, which generally consist of alternately screaming at her that she’s going to hell and crying on her shoulder.  Marianne’s boyfriend is the fourth year senior Micah, who is currently engaged in an illicit affair with the school guidance counselor.  Her best friend Nina, really just a jerk, is the other primary Christian in the movie.  However, Marianne’s father, though only in two scene’s, also provides a major commentary against Christianity.  He is a pastor who can brook no disagreement, as seen in his discussion of hell with Olive, and has major moral issues of his own, as seen at the end of the movie.

Just for the heck of it a poster from the inspiration for the movie.

The movie is an excellent example of well-crafted social commentary.  It’s primary theme, morality can and does exist outside of religion.  To be moral it is not required that one be religious and to be religious is not, necessarily, to be moral.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, despite it’s anti-Christian theme, because it was well-done social commentary with a very strong, very positive message about morality.  In fact the only message in the movie that I had a problem with, portrayed in only one scene, was the message that God is absent in our times of crisis.  Ultimately, if you are not a Christian or if you are but can handle a little criticism/abuse, I suggest that you pick up Easy A and watch it.  If you have children between fifteen and eighteen then I suggest you sit down and watch this movie with them, then discuss some of the themes within the movie and how they apply, or do not apply, to real life.

If I were grading this movie I would give it a B, perhaps an A-, for two reasons.  First, there is no example of a positive Christian in the movie, not one.  While I understand the theme the movie fails to portray the reality of religious character because of this.  Secondly, and this is a personal judgment, I deeply dislike the message that God is absent and so that detracted from my over all enjoyment of the movie.

*Really, I wish more Hollywood families could be portrayed this way, it might do something to help repair the average American family.

********************************************************

Among The Neshelim: My first novel, Among the Neshelim, is now available from Smashwords here, and Amazon here. Print copies are not yet available, but will be soon.

Among the Neshelim

by

Tobias Mastgrave

Understanding. One little word, and yet it means so much. We spend our lives pursuing it in one form or another. We long for it, seek it out, and break ourselves trying to find it. But it is always a rare commodity.

Chin Cao Yu, priest and scholar, has sacrificed all he held dear in its pursuit. Now he undertakes the journey of a lifetime, a journey among the mysterious Neshilim, a people of power unlike any he has seen before – all for the hope of understanding. This journey will turn upside down the world he thought he knew and challenge all of his dearly held beliefs. Has he found the ultimate truth or the ultimate lie? And what will he do with it when he learns?

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About noothergods

I hate writing these things. Ok, a little bit about me. I split my time between this world and other worlds so I'm only here about 25% to 50% of the time. Other times my body might be here (or you never know it might not) but I am off somewhere else having strange and usually pretty horrible adventures. I consider myself a scholar of Christian Theology and of Religion in general, I love learning about other people's belief systems. I think that Shinto is fascinating and I'm obsessed with the theology of sin...and with monkeys...I don't know why I'm obsessed with monkeys but I blame Gus...if you know him you'll understand that, if you don't then...well...I blame Gus. Anyway, I'm the one of the blog that needs to be censored the most so if there's anything posted that you find offensive it was probably me. I think that my brain doesn't really work the way it's supposed to but that's an issue for a whole other time. I have two degrees, a B.S. in Religion and an M.Div. in leadership. I enjoy a great many things some of which include writing (gee, what a surprise), martial arts, anything media that has a good story to tell, cooking, discussing/reading/occasionally writing about Christian theology, General theology, religious belief systems, philosophy, etc. I also enjoy reading medieval and previous magical texts and studying the history, practice, and beliefs about magic from around the world. I don't practice magic and if you want to know my personal beliefs on the subject you can email me, however the intersection of magic and religion is a very interesting topic.

Posted on January 15, 2011, in Christianity, Educational Resources, Movie Reviews, Social Commentary, Tobias Mastgrave and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Frankly, it strikes me as the latest attempt in the age-old atheist quest to show that humanity can exist completely apart from God. They’ve been working at that for centuries, and still haven’t succeeded, so now they’ve moved on to movies, commercials, and signs on busses. In this case, they’re trying to answer one of the basically unanswerable questions: How can morality exist without God? If morals don’t transcend humanity, give me one good reason why someone shouldn’t use power to do whatever they like? Why is it wrong, as long as I can get away with it?

    So, from top to bottom, this movie strikes me as simply atheist propaganda, and your description of the fact that every Christian in the movie is a run-down stereotype only further ingrains that impression.

    From what you say, the film essentially sets up a straw man to pummel in the name of a pre-existing agenda. There is no attempt to really deal with the issues, only show that its ok to be an atheist in spite of them. So, I wonder at the fact that you scored this movie as high as you did, given that from what you say it doesn’t meet even your own definition of good social commentary. They have to be making real statements about real people or they’re really just commenting on a fantasy.

    And no, I don’t intend to watch it, not because I’ll be offended by it, but because I don’t see the point. Atheists would watch it to see a mythical view of reality where their worldview suffers no serious challenges, and they undoubtedly hope others will be influenced by it. If I’m going to watch it, I need to be able to get something out of it, and from all indications, it just isn’t there.

  2. First of all you are confusing practical morality with theoretical morality and ethics. You are correct that from a philosophical standpoint morality cannot exist without deity as there must be a source of morality. However this movie has nothing to say about the theory of morality or ethic, it addresses only the practical standpoint that people can act in a moral fashion without believing in a particular deity. Which is a fact proven because atheists are not all ravening monsters.

    Secondly, due to the direct relationship between the themes in this movie and the themes in Hawthorne’s book, if this movie is simply atheist propaganda then so is the book. I do not have in issue with the Christian characters portrayed in the movie because I have personally known at least one Christian who fits into each of these stereotypes, in many cases more than one. Thus the Easy A, in a manner similar to Saved, is a good example of an outside prospective on Christianity at large. The point of the movie is not to pummel Christianity, the point of the movie is to address the issue of rumor and reputation. Christians become the enemy in the movie because they were the enemy in The Scarlet Letter.

    While there is plenty of anti-christian, and anti-religion, propaganda out there I see no reason to assume anti-christian propaganda in movies like this, Saved, or Dogma, when it is not truly there.

    • I don’t think you can so easily dismiss the connection between theoretical morality and practical morality, and I do think that in doing so, you’re giving Easy A a pass. The practical side of morality will never stand the test of time for atheists if it is not also theoretically sound. After all, atheists are essentially asking everyone to be moral, just because they say so and think it works. It is always only a matter of time until someone intelligent enough to ask the right questions–like Stalin, or Mao, or the Columbine shooters–comes along and asks the right questions, and then acts on the answers. It is a poor, shallow attempt to deal with these issues if it doesn’t dig deep enough to even address the theoretical.

      It also doesn’t make sense to say that since there are similar themes in the book that originally inspired the movie, that the book must be atheistic too. Perhaps it was, it was certainly anti-puritan, but it doesn’t have to be. The modern context is drastically different from the one in which the original book was written, and Hollywood regularly picks and chooses what themes and ideas it wants to use when it “reinvents” a book. For instance, Peter Jackson took one small comment from the opening chapters of the Fellowship of the Ring (“so do all who live to see such times…”) and recast it as the central moral theme of the entire movie. So, I see no reason why that shouldn’t be the case here. Hawthorne’s original intent had no necessary bearing whatsoever on what people today do with it.

      Also, atheists themselves see the themes in the movie. Take this blog, for instance: http://politicsandpucks.blogspot.com/2010/09/does-easy-have-positive-atheist-message.html. The author, an atheist, argued that “One idea I like most about this film is that it is a very positive atheist image, and it’s not controversial. …I think this atheist imagery for this audience [young women] means that this [atheist] movement is going in the right direction!”

      So, while I don’t look for atheists behind every tree, it’s really hard to miss it when they smack you in the face like they do in this movie. It’s not as obvious as that Bill Maher waste of time, but I think its pretty clear here.

  3. I only take exception to movies like these when I feel that they are not being intellectually honest. While you are obviously right when you say that “atheists are not all ravening monsters”, the assumption this movie seems to be operating on is that all Christians are hypocrites or don’t really believe what they profess to believe. Why is this a reasonable argument?

  4. I’m afraid I have to agree with the other two critics. I have a major problem with the stereotypical portrayal of Christians that Hollywood puts out. Yes, you will always be able to find someone somewhere who fits those stereotypes, but they are not what Christianity is about and not a good representation of Christians in general. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if they were balanced out by realistic portrayals, but a movie (at least one that purports to be serious)with nothing but stereotypes is simply atheist propaganda.

  5. All Christians are hypocrites. We claim that it is our calling, duty, responsibility, etc to be like Christ yet we still sin. We do not DO what we say we SHOULD do, this is a basic fact of the Christian condition. If you know a Christian that is perfect then please, bring him forward. Secondly Christians make this argument in the opposite direction on a consistent basis. I cannot count how many times I have heard it ‘proven’ that there is no such thing as an atheist and they are all actually agnostics; or ‘proven’ that all agnostics actually believe in God they just don’t want to admit it. If you want to shout down these arguments from Atheists then you should shout them down from Christians as well.

    However, first of all, on that point about morality, non-Christians have a moral history generally equivalent with Christians. Members of both sides find reasons and justifications for doing terrible things. Ultimately the argument that ‘atheists can’t be moral because they don’t believe in God’ fails the test of time. Yes, there are outliers such Stalin, Mao, or the Columbine Shooters however the majority of Atheists live within the bounds of the law. I even know a few atheists who live more ‘moral’ (defined in the strict terms of Judeo-Christian morality) lives than myself and most Christians I know.

    Secondly, while Olive is clearly not a Christian in the movie, nor apparently strongly affiliated with any religious group, nor is she strongly atheist or agnostic either. Apart from being harassed by Christians Olive shows no strong religious or philosophical leanings.

    Now I am not going to say that this movie is a good example of religious commentary, but religious commentary is not it’s primary concern, social commentary is. Nor is a movie that has positive images of non-Christians ‘Atheist propaganda’ anymore than a movie which has positive examples of Christians ‘Christian propaganda’. The focus of the commentary in the movie is on Olive’s experience being outcast and vilified by the school body as a whole.

    Lastly, until you have actually watched the movie to see what it contains, any conclusions you draw about it’s intentions, messages, and implications are from secondary sources at best, biased by the sources intentions, messages, and implications which they read into the movie.

    • Sorry, but if you’re looking for body count, atheists and religious people aren’t equivalent. Atheistic worldviews have killed more people in the last 100 years than all the wars of religion combined. Worse, with religious atrocities, there is usually a strong case to be made that the actions are antithetical to the worldview–people are making up justifications and it is clear to objective observers that they are. That is the case with New Testament Christianity, certainly. You cannot say that with the atheistic worldviews. If atheism is true, then these sorts of atrocities are a logical conclusion of their position, and not inconsistent at all. Just because most atheists don’t realize this or pretend not to has no bearing on the fact. So, I challenge anyone to give me good philosophically consistent reasons why people shouldn’t be treated like cattle, or that Mao, Stalin, and Hitler were wrong to do so; the reason cannot degenerate to “I just don’t like it.”

      So, there is a very big difference between religious and atheistic morality. Period.

      • Any dictator you mentioned was not fighting for Atheism, but trying to forcibly remove blockades to power.

        However, it is in dispute that Hitler was Atheist when he made comments like this “In a speech at Koblenz, August 26, 1934, Hitler said: “National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary it stands on the ground of a real Christianity . . . For their interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life . . . These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles!” ”

        Also, Stalin was raised a Christian and even wanted to be a priest.

        I highly doubt that these can be good examples of how Atheism leads to violence.

        No war would ever be fought to expand Atheism, because it’s just a non-belief in a creator. What’s to fight for? Wars are about expanding territory and power, which usually uses religion as a reason to fight.

        As an atheist myself, it was extremely rare to see a moral Christian. Horrible people, really for the most part. What scares me the most about religious people is that you have to be told how to act by a book. I came about with my morals because I knew what was right and wrong and what actions would cause grief, that I myself wouldn’t want to feel. I have no trust in your actions. At least your religion is better than the Muslims. But only because it was changed with the New Testament.

        • Atheism isn’t so much an end in itself as it is the removal of potential moral and philosophical road blocks to absolute power. If atheism is correct and we are nothing more significant than animals produced by mere chance, then there is no reason for humans, these dictators in particular, to be prevented from doing anything they please, even mass murder. So in that respect I agree with you. However, it was atheism that smoothed that path for them, not the Christian religion.

          As for the dictators, you’ll want to read up a bit more on Hitler, and I don’t see where you’re going with Stalin. Hitler was forced to play political games with the very powerful Christian church in Germany, and said many things to it and about it that he didn’t believe for a moment. If you look at his personal beliefs and where he wanted to take the Nazi Party, he was a strange mix of Darwinian atheist and neo-pagan (he essentially worshipped the German race). As for Stalin, since he abandoned his Christianity early on and very obviously departed from it, I see no clear reason to say he was a “Christian” ruler any more than we should label Dawkins a “Christian” author because he once attended church.

          I’m sorry you’ve had such a rotten exposure to immoral “Christians.” I’ve seen more than my share too, and. I’m dealing with some humdingers right now. Still, I think that Christianity is much bigger than individual person’s behavior (much bigger than my own, thankfully). That is, after all, a priviledge you’re granting atheism yourself (Unless, mass murder aside, you want to insist there are no atheist jackasses out there).

          So, just to clarify my original main point, I’m not suggesting that atheists must by definition be evil, nasty twits any more than I’m suggesting Christians must be perfect angels. Many atheists are quite nice, yourself included, and many Christians are jerks (I think the common thread is that we’re all human, and therefore aren’t perfect.), but that there aren’t any necessary safeguards built into atheism that should result in ethical behavior. Without an external moral reference, power and the ability to enforce ones will practically determines right from wrong, and inevitably more and more people are going to realize that. (I don’t think I want to be around when they do.)

  6. Yes, on a theoretical level you are correct. However the theory of what could or should happen and the practice of what DOES happen are two different things. The only reason that the Atheist body count is higher is because of the time periods when the majority of Atheist atrocities have happened. Do you think that if modern warfare technology were available during the any one of the crusades the body count would have been any lower than a modern war?

    In practice the majority of Atheists, while not abiding to Christian standards of morality (which they should not be held to as they are NOT Christians), are people who live within the law. In practice the majority of Atheists are moral people. As stated above, one message of the movie is that a person can be moral without being Christian, which is, in practice and as evidenced by the world at large, true.

    • No, I don’t think the body count would be as high. Atheistic worldviews have a tendency to systematically exterminate entire people groups, and they did so in peacetime as a matter of cultural normality, not during a war. So, you can’t lay all this at the feet of improvements in military technology. It would have taken longer, but Stalin, Hitler, and Mao could easily have killed just as many back then as they did in the Twentieth Century. And I would challenge you to find consistent examples of Christian leaders and their countries acting in a similar way outside of war (which makes all sorts of people act like idiots).

      The greater point is, though, that the main reason why you can maintain that this is “real” is because they are ignoring the “theoretical” and you are letting them. The line you’re drawing between “theoretical” morality and “practical” morality is mostly fiction, since people act in according to their worldview. It is then only a matter of time before someone “wakes up” and takes them at their literal word. It is ironic, though, since Christians are hypocrites when we act in an immoral way; atheists, by definition, are hypocrites when they act in a consistent moral way. They have no good reason to do so, but they do it anyway.

      This connection is what Easy A conveniently overlooks, and you seem determined to give them a pass on. Any socio-religious commentary that does is simply shallow and somewhat pointless.

      And I think you might want to look back over history, if you thing that the world, at large, has been all that moral.

      Somehow, what confuses me the most is the apparent double standard I see emerging here. If this were a “Christian” movie–one that portrayed all non-Christians as offensive morons and, let’s say, tried to show that one can believe in God without worrying about the problem of pain–you would be all over it (and I would agree with you). Somehow, though, since this movie is pushing non-Christian morality, it’s ok.

  7. My point is that, both today and historically, religious and non-religious people have been generally equally immoral. Here are some demographics:

    United States Religious Demographics

    This table offers a glimpse of U. S. statistics for religious and nonreligious worldviews as reported by ARIS 2001 and 2008.
    American Adults Religious Identification (Age 18+)
    Christian Religious Groups 2001 2008
    Catholic 24.5% 25.1%
    Baptist 16.3% 15.8%
    Mainline Christian
    (Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian/Anglican, United Church of Christ, etc.) 17.2% 12.9%
    Generic Christian
    (Christian Unspecified, Non-Denominational. Christian,
    Protestant Unspecified, Evangelical/Born Again) 6.8% 5.0%
    Pentecostals/Charismatics
    (Pentecostal Unspecified, Assemblies of God, Church of God) 3.8% 3.5%
    Total Christian 76.7% 76.0%

    Other Religious Groups
    Jewish 1.3% 1.2%
    Muslim/Islam 0.5% 0.6%
    Buddhist 0.5% 0.5%
    New Religious Movements
    & Other Religions 0.9% 1.2%

    No Religion Groups
    Agnostic 0.5% 0.9%
    Atheist 0.4% 0.7%
    Not a worldview group, but rather
    individuals who stated: “No religion” 13.2% 13.4%
    Total No Religion Specified 14.1% 15.0%

    United States Religious Affiliation of Prisoners

    I don’t have a year for this set:

    Response Number %
    —————————- ——–
    Catholic 29267 39.164%
    Protestant 26162 35.008%
    Muslim 5435 7.273%
    American Indian 2408 3.222%
    Nation 1734 2.320%
    Rasta 1485 1.987%
    Jewish 1325 1.773%
    Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
    Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
    Moorish 1066 1.426%
    Buddhist 882 1.180%
    Jehovah Witness 65 0.890%
    Adventist 621 0.831%
    Orthodox 375 0.502%
    Mormon 298 0.399%
    Scientology 190 0.254%
    Atheist 156 0.209%
    Hindu 119 0.159%
    Santeria 117 0.157%
    Sikh 14 0.019%
    Bahai 9 0.012%
    Krishna 7 0.009%
    —————————- ——–
    Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

    As you can see from these statistics the general prison population is relative to the general religious population, with slightly higher percentage of Catholics. The percentage of Atheists in the general population is roughly equivalent to the general percentage of Atheists in the prison population (0.7% [2008] vs. 0.21% in the prison population [so actually somewhat lower]). While the same is true for Christians who make up 76% (2008) of the general population and 75.5% of the prison population (not including Mormons or Jehovah’s witnesses). Prison numbers for both Atheists and Christians can probably be lowered slightly to account for in-prison conversions. Ultimately the number of ‘bad people’ in both groups is proportionally equivalent.

    You say that this theory is sound and that the majority of atheists obviously just don’t realize what they actually believe. The problem is that the general trends of society do not fit the theory. Every group has it’s outliers, your argument is that the outliers represent the true atheists while the rest of them are simply delusional. Generally speaking the method across all sciences is that when a theory is not supported by the facts in evidence then there is something wrong with the theory, something that has been missed. I do believe that the moral argument is missing something because the facts in evidence do not fit with the theory, the majority of Atheists are not criminals or monsters any more than the majority of Christians are, in fact each group has a relatively similar number of criminals and monsters, which group’s monsters are more effective isn’t an issue (I’m not going to try to get into the intricacies of the Moral Argument at the moment to identify exactly what it might be missing). One individual or a small group of individuals cannot represent the whole. Stalin, Hitler, and Mao cannot represent all Atheists anymore than Torquemada, Eddie Long, or Pedophile Priests can represent all Christians.

    The world is not a particularly moral place and never has been, however it is the case that people who purport to follow all belief systems follow the same general trends in regards to the law. There are stellar examples and horrific examples among every group with the majority being somewhere in between. Theoretically speaking if ‘true atheism’ inevitably results in monsters than there are relatively few ‘true atheists’ and Easy A does not promote ‘true atheism’. If, on the other hand, we allow that there is a roughly similar bell curve of behavioral abnormalities in any particular philosophical or religious group then the argument has some serious problems to overcome as it does not fit the reality we see.

    However, As I’ve said a couple of times, the purpose of this movie was not to bash Christians, the purpose was to promote morality. Christians were shown in a negative light because they are the antagonists in the movie and that is why I did not rate the movie any higher.

    The movie Passion of the Christ represented all Pharisee’s, indeed the majority of the Jewish population, in a negative light and yet I did not, and would not, attack it. Why? Because the message of the movie is not that all Jews are terrible people, the message of the movie is about Christ, the Jews are simply the antagonists. In similar fashion this movie is not about Christians being terrible people it is about Olive dealing with the rumors, slander, and persecution that come against her. Christians are only one part of that. In similar fashion it could be argued that the most recent Rambo movie portrays all Burmese as evil terrorists because the only Burmese present in the movie are evil terrorists. However I also have not made this argument because the purpose of the movie is not to present the Burmese as evil but to present these particular Burmese as evil. The movie says nothing about the larger Burmese population.

    Every story needs an antagonist and sometimes Christians will be cast as that antagonist, it’s something that we have to deal with. If the purpose of a movie is specifically to portray all Christians as evil then I will have a problem with it, just as I would with any movie intended specifically to protray any given people group as evil. However the fact that a movie uses Christians as the antagonists does not mean that it attempts to portray all Christians as evil and I do not believe that that was the purpose in this movie.

    Lastly a movie, that was well done, with the message that it is possible to be a moral Christian without dealing with the problem of pain I would also not attack because this is true, people do it all the time. Relatively few people think deeply about their faith. On the other hand a movie with the message that it is possible to think deeply about the Christian faith without dealing with the problem of pain in some fashion I would have a problem with. Not every movie has to deal with deeper philosophical issues, the deeper issues of morality are not the purpose of this movie and so it rightly does not attempt to deal with them. If it had attempted to deal with them I doubt that it would have been nearly as good of a movie. The purpose of the movie was to deal with SOCIAL issues which it does very well.

    Now if the purpose of this movie had been to explore the deeper issues of atheist vs. christian morality then it would be a terrible movie. Every movie/book must be looked at according not only to the way it presents its messages but the messages it intends to deal with. For example if someone were to say that my book, The Neshelim, was a terrible book because it does not deal with the positive aspects of beauty only the negative my response would be that my purpose was not to address the positive aspects of beauty. That is outside the purview of the book.

    The deeper aspects of moral/ethical theory are outside the purview of Easy A, thus it should not be judged on their absence.

  8. Ironic, isn’t it, that in pretty much every secular made movie in which Christian are portrayed, they just so happen to be the antagonists/comic relief/mindless dupes? All Christians may be hypocritical to an extent, but if you honestly believe that all Christians, or even the majority, are represented in the characters in that movie, then you have a very tragic view of God’s ability to change a sinner’s heart. We are not better people in and of ourselves, but we are set apart from non believers because we have the light of Christ in us.

    Yes, sometimes that light is hidden, but if we are so often like the Christians shown on film – hypocrites, idiots, cruel and vindictive judgers – then whatever God did to us simply didn’t work. Just because we still sin does not make us hypocrites. We would only be hypocritical if we judged others and said they should be perfect and then went ahead and were unrepentant sinners ourselves. We strive to honor God, we fail, we ask forgiveness, are forgiven, and continue to strive. There is no inherent hypocrisy there.

    When movies start showing Christians as they truly are (which will likely never happen because the secular community does not understand what being a Christian means – that is, that we are flawed, but new creations in Christ), then having a movie in which Christians are the chosen antagonists would not only be acceptable, but admirable, because it would be humbling.

    As it stands, like other posters have said, Christians are not portrayed as they are, and so this movie, rather than being enlightening, seems only to promote further misunderstanding by the secular community of what being a Christian means. That, to me, is the major concern. It is not so much that it offends Christians as the fact that the secular community will continue to think that being a Christians means being a hypocrite, and that they are always antagonists.

    Good Christian movies attempt, at least, to show the whole spread of people. They show petty Christians and strong ones, normal people both saved and unsaved. They don’t generally tend to attack any one people-group consistently, at least not that I’ve seen. Jews are given equal treatment, sometimes shown as the antagonists, often shown as decent, regular people. That’s called balance, which is what secular movies do not lend to Christians.

    That’s my take on it, anyway.

    *steps off soapbox*

    • I never said that the Christians in this movie are, or should be considered, representative of all Christians. In fact I have said several times that they do not represent all Christians and that they were not intended to represent all Christians in my opinion. You are correct that Christians often get the raw end of the stick when it comes to Hollywood, generally they are portrayed antagonistic and rarely do you see good examples. However if that is a reason not to watch a movie then you should simply stop watching anything that Hollywood produces.

      The fact that a movie misrepresents Christians does not mean that the movie is not worth watching. Television is the same way, take Supernatural for instance, or Law and Order, or White Collar, all have very negative representations of Christian characters or ideal within them, however those are not the point of the show and so we see the value in them despite that.

      On the other hand the television show Firefly has a fairly positive example of a Christian, or at least a believe in a very Christian-like religion in Shepard Book. Babylon 5 also has some positive examples of religious individuals. While this movie has negative examples of Christianity they are not the primary purpose of the movie, which is why I did not label it as an Anti-Christian movie, simply a movie with Anti-Christian themes which it draws from Hawthorne’s novel.

  1. Pingback: Aspects of Social Commentary in Fiction « While We're Paused

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