I enjoyed Avatar for its special effects and its plot. There was rarely a dull moment, even though many of the themes were borrowed from The Matrix, Star Wars, The Third Day and other science-fiction movies. It is important for anyone who professes to be a Christian to be aware of the deeper message of the movie.
At the outset, American troops are sent to the planet Pandora. It quickly becomes apparent that these individuals are, for the most part, the greedy and unethical "bad guys." Only a couple of them, apparently along with the scientists on the mission, seem to have any sense of moral direction.
The alien life forms that are the focus of Avatar are portrayed as a close-knit community with strong family values. They practice a religion in which they believe that there are spirits in every living thing, including trees and animals. There also is a reference in the movie to a female deity who is recognized by these alien life forms. Near the end of the movie, we learn that she does "not take sides" but rather "preserves the balance of life," according to one of the main characters.
Christian parents should point out to their children, and to any other Christians who care, that there is a deep message in Avatar that is not consistent with their beliefs. Also, there are references to communion with departed tenants (necromancy) as well as hints of ancestor worship.
Christians believe that God manifest Himself in flesh as Jesus Christ, died on the cross in their place, rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, intercedes for us and is coming back. Other religions of the world look to "self-realization" in some form or fashion, and Avatar is a poster child for this type of thinking.
Everyone has a right to believe or not believe whatever they choose as far as religion. This is a great part of living in the United States, along with the right to express our views on these issues. I hope that mature Christians will decide to see Avatar when it comes to the discount theatres. The film's producers already have made enough money.
But we do need to be aware of what is being promoted as an awesome movie, and we need to be especially aware of the deeper message.