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This Is The End: What Movie Would Jesus Watch?

Why can't people of faith make films this funny?

by
Andrew Klavan

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October 18, 2013 - 11:00 am
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When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.   But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

– Matthew 9:11-13

Because pompous judgmentalism feels good and loving forgiveness is difficult, it’s no surprise that some Christians come to sound suspiciously like the Pharisees. The guys who criticized Jesus for having dinners with sinners are alive and well, leveling charges of moral relativism at anyone who repeats the Christly injunction to judge not and has the bad manners to mean it. One trick to achieving the Pharisaical mindset is to take those portions of Scripture that condemn stuff and read them as broadly as possible, then take the lines calling for forgiveness and read them as narrowly as possible.  Thus if you can find a 6th century BC verse in Leviticus demanding the death penalty for homosexuals, then by gum Neil Patrick Harris must die! Whereas when Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek,” he only meant if you happened to get slapped by a Roman Centurion. “Love your neighbor but…” “Judge not but…” “Forgive your enemies but…” If such people would take their buts out of their heads, they would discover that the interior task assigned to Christians is so difficult that it leaves very little time for condemning other people. Damn it.

All of which I mention on the way to explaining why I so thoroughly enjoyed and admired the raunchy, drug-filled, scatological comedy This Is The End and why I wish openly Christian filmmakers made films more like it.

The plot: a group of raunchy comedy stars — Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill and so on — play themselves as shallow, backbiting, pot-smoking narcissists. They’re gathered at a party at Franco’s new mansion when the Apocalypse hits, complete with Rapture. At first, they can’t believe it because, if the good people are being taken up into Heaven, why would actors be left behind? They’re actors! They bring joy to people’s lives! But as things go from apocalyptic to worse, the sober truth begins to dawn.

“This means there’s a God,” says Rogan, in one of the movie’s best exchanges. “Who saw that coming?”

“Like…  95 percent of the world,” answers Baruchel.

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Top Rated Comments   
IMO, the Christians who tell you you're going to burn in Hell are the ones who have lost the love in faith. If I've read my Revelation right, they risk being in for a rude surprise themselves.

It's not that we aren't to judge actions for ourselves and in others; it's not even that we aren't to chastise. What we need to always remember is that we should never lose sight of the love. We should always love even when we criticize, and you should never mention someone's sins without losing sight of your own.

A lot of people will not be happy with you for it. My 3-year-old gets really angry when I point out his flaws, but because I love him, I persist, and maybe someday, he'll understand why I make him play nice with others.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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I cannot fathom why Mr. Klavan is so adamant that homosexual activity is somehow compatible with Christianity - it is not.

Constant Church teaching against it is not merely based on one obscure verse in Leviticus of the Old Testament (for specific New Testament condemnations read: Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1...but Mr. Klavan already knows this).

Natural law itself is what dictates that homosexual acts are 'unnatural'; they do not proceed from a genuine physical complementarity (in other words, a man and a woman are physically made to be compatible with each other; sodomy is merely an attempt to try to imitate this). Furthermore, a homosexual act is never anything but a sterile act - it cannot produce new life. (To those who would argue that the heterosexual act might sometimes prove infertile, this is because something has gone wrong, not because it was impossible in the first place, as with homosexual activity).

Mr. Klavan, the Lord's Prayer reads "thy will be done", not "my will be done".
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I enjoyed “This is the End” and my husband and I laughed ourselves silly watching it. The humor is rude but hilarious and the underlying message is quite astonishingly conservative and Christian.

The unworthy are left behind. When the boys get back from the initial catastrophe, they find the house party at James Francos house completely unaware of anything wrong. So clever! The Hollywood types almost to a person are thrown into a very terrible Hell, and only the ones that figure out true Christian beliefs — honestly and with real understanding — are saved.

Heaven is white and fluffy and there are gates and haloes and an awesome dance party. You end up smiling at the end. I liked it.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wanted to add something serious here: There are many, many unchurched young people in this country, who have no connection to Jesus and the Bible. To those young people this movie might inspire them to ask the question: Are you there, Lord? And you know what happens next.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bad theology on so many levels in this movie, where should we start?

First, Jay's character reading a passage from Revelation that doesn't exist. People are not saved by their works, but by the mercy and grace of God who sent His son to die for us, even though in His righteous justice He would be justified to condemn all mankind.

Second, rapture theology is only a recent invention of the evangelical church. Christians are not going to get beamed out of here before Jesus returns to judge. Rapture enthusiasts need to jump through some pretty big hermeneutical hoops and have presuppositions in place to get there.

Thirdly, Revelation is a symbolic book and represents the entire period between Christ's first and second advents in an apocalyptic format. It is not a literal description of the period immediately preceding Christ's return.

Lastly, the movie's depiction of heaven is vulgar. People celebrating themselves with God conspicuously absent. It looks like the heaven that entertainers in their arrested development (and all unrepentant sinners) wish for...paradise but on their terms. Heaven in reality is where God's people continually praise His absolute sovereignty and awesomeness.

If they got one thing right, it was Danny McBride's depraved character as a representation on humanity's hopelessly fallen and sinful state. He accurately represents man's true nature, thus the need for the Savior.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree, although I think the film needed a good edit.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is the main audience for this movie teenage boys? And maybe those who are extending adolescence into their twenties? I watched the movie, and it's too crude for the demographic I belong to, but it does make a point about morality. I'm with Andrew on this one.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nobody likes to laugh more than I do, and growing up in a strict Baptist Church believe me when I say I appreciate there's a lot of Christians that need to lighten up, but I'm not comfortable with this Andrew.

I think it important to remember that God is a Holy God. There are somethings so revered they are beyond parody. And God or Jesus the Christ if you prefer are first and foremost amongst humor.

Laughing at Christians is not only great, but deserving - we're all fallible and it keeps us a little more humble. But my approach to an Almighty God and His message is anything but humorous...humility, awe, and thankfulness are required.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like Mr. Klavan, but I cannot agree with his comments on this movie. Christianity must be different from the world. We must strive for a high standard of moral purity. There was nothing moral about this movie.

Let me give you the statistics and you can decide for yourselves.
... "F" word or middle finger.......................262 instances
... "S" word ..............................................71 instances
... Name of God used in vain ......................39 instances
... References to female genitalia................22 instances
... References to male genitalia...................25 instances
... Masturbation jokes ................................28 instances
... Depictions of drug use ...........................14 instances
... Jokes about rape ................................. 11 instances
... Talk or depictions of suicide or murder ... 21 instances
... Urination jokes ......................................3 instances

*The use of the "F" word was ubiquitous, more than two uses per minute.
* There was a long sequence about men not wearing panties.
*There was a long profanity filled sequence about blowing cocaine in someone’s face.
*There was an extended joke sequence about which one of them would have sex with Emma Thompson.
*There was an extended sequence about masturbating to a porno magazine and leaving seamen behind.
*One of the characters is wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “take your panties off” written on the front.
*One of the characters prays a profanity filled prayer where he asks God to kill one of the other housemates.
*There is one scene where the devil comes in to sodomize one of the characters. We see the shadow of the demonic phallus up against the wall.
* One of the housemates becomes possessed by a devil and ends of being burned alive.
* The character engage in smoking marijuana even after they get to heaven. The camera spans the crowd of heavenly revelers to show bikini girls dressed in "pure" white bikinis. One of the characters intones the phrase that you can "have anything you want in Heaven."
*The message of the movie is that if you are nice person you will go to heaven for eternity. There is no talk of holy living and no depictions of anyone behaving in a Christian manner.

I agree with Andrew that Christian movies need to be more appealing and less preachy, but come on man. There is nothing wholesome or uplifting about this movie. It breaks nearly everyone of the
Ten Commandments. Count me as judgmental if you want to but the root word of judgmental is judgment. Goods judgment, yeah I think I'll go exercise some of that.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can you please provide an example of a funny comedy made in the last 20 years that you believe is acceptable for Christians to watch?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
LAWDY, LAAWDY!!!!!
AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY FART JOKES??????
Totally deranged.
UNCONSCIONABLE.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Somebody had to tally this. I hope this didn't fall to your lot........

What you describe is a POSE. Christianity is already different from the world and the transformation comes from within. Those of Bad Faith busy themselves by differentiation and segregation from the world. This is not Christian so much as it's tribal and pagan. Jesus made Himself a pest at the Temple for this very reason..........
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
ZZZZAPP!
Good shot.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please explain this "bad faith". Being a peculiar people does not mean we should wall ourselves off. Of course we have to be in the world! How else do we spread the good news? Being separate means to be strong enough not to join the evils in which the world engages.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://www2.fiu.edu/~filosof/Site/Current_Issue_files/4%20Daniel%20Paredes.pdf

TL;DR probably. If faith was never tested that is, if faith "were expected to remain within the bounds of the ethical", then whats the point of faith over a collection of cheap and easy ethics?........
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I play in a rock/ metal band and we often times play covers.

The tunes I'm most often asked about whom the artist is/ was are Ozzy fronted Black Sabbath and late-great Ronnie James Dio songs. Whereas these songs speak of Love, Faith and yes, God.

Specifically Sabbath's 'A National Acrobat', 'A Hard Road', 'Junior's Eyes' and 'Orchid'.

And DIO's, Homeward'.

The Sabbath tunes, other than Orchid which is an acoustic-only song are very retrospective. Which I'm willing to bet a then mid-late 20 something Ozzy Osbourne much 'living' in that then-Sabbath tenure and the aforementioned songs are evidence inasmuch.

DIO's 'Homeward' was an early 70's song for a children's show soundtrack.

These folks curiosity indeed gives me some faith. For religion needn't only be exuded from supposed 'squares'.

There's some excellent Christian metal bands. Though they're few and far between for me because often times their message isn't a well balanced medium of beats/ rhythm and religious connotations.

Then again the irretrievable 'perfect' balance is near-impossible in love, political and other matters.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Klavan the other posters have already touched on your religious misinterpretations,

Though I'd an inkling to comment on this movie. For me like all other Hill, Rogen-led films: they're completely unfunny, lazy affairs.

The mediocre late-90's - present day SNL cast is Mensa-like in the funnybone department when up against the likes of Rogen, Hill & co.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Depicting anything about anything is potentially dangerous. A valid Christianity embraces it. A Bad Faith Christianity shuns it and tries to wall itself away.......
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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