Saturday, January 16, 2010

It comes down to faith

No doubt there will be much debate over the movie "The Book of Eli." For my family, it inspired many questions about just what we believe and how we respond to those who believe differently.

The star of the movie is Eli (ya think short for Elijah?) who has spent the past 30 winters (after war destroyed most of the world) listening to a voice guide him . . . guide him first to the last remaining Bible in the world, then guide him "west" where The Book would be safe and used for good by the good. His biggest challenge comes from a  man who wants to use the knowledge of The Book for personal gain and power (like that hasn't happened before).

There are great moments in this movie. Some will go unnoticed by the unknowing.
  • When asked if The Book would save the world, Eli stated some believed The Book is what caused the final war.
  • Early in the movie, Eli stayed hidden while a person is attacked and killed. "Stay on the path; this doesn't concern you," he mumbled to himself. Later, he confessed his mistake and admitted he got so wound up protecting The Book, he forgot to live by what The Book taught: "to care for others more than ourselves." How often could we say that of ourselves?
  • I won't spoil the movie for you, but it was touching to see at the end a copy of the Bible placed in the last remaining library between a copy of the Torah and a copy of the Quran.

Throughout the movie, Eli performs amazing feats of physical strength which become even more unbelievable with the revelation at the end of the movie. "How could he . . . " we heard from movie-goers as they left the theater. It is the same thing repeated by unbelievers --"How could God . . ."

Faith. The movie comes down to faith, just like your personal beliefs come down to faith, and that's why some people just won't "get" this movie. One reviewer stated the movie "stretches believability," but isn't that what faith must do? Faith is one step past what we see and what we know.

How do we know? We don't. We simply have faith.
"Show me proof," some may demand, but we have none. We believe in a God who wants us to believe in Him without promise of proof. On the ride home, Jenny said she once explained it to a friend: "If there were proof, everyone would believe."

Faith is not knowing; it's simply believing and that's a tough story for some to accept. Do I know there is a heaven? No, but in faith I believe it to be true. Do I know there is a God? No, but in faith I believe Him to be true.

I don't have all the answers, and thus, some of what I believe may be wrong. I'll take that chance and, like Eli, let my faith carry me through the journey.

Photo credit: Wil Bingman, The National Cathedral