A lot has been going on my mind lately — mostly about Deadpool, Manny Pacquiao and the dangers of biblical literalism and cherry-picking.
Before I went to see Deadpool, I saw a couple of posts on Facebook linking to articles on why Christians shouldn’t watch Deadpool. At one point in my life, I took these kinds of articles seriously, so I decided to read them, for old times’ sake. One article said, “Choose not to see Deadpool because it will be unhelpful to your godliness.”
I don’t know how one person can judge whether something will be helpful or not to someone else’s godliness. How does one determine a person’s godliness anyhow? You might as well ask that question of every other movie out there. How is watching Avengers, Transformers, or Beauty and the Bestie helpful to your godliness, for example? In fact, if you’re really serious about improving this godliness, you should probably stop watching 95% of all movies out there and go cloister yourself in a monastery.
People watch movies with certain expectations in mind. You don’t fall in line at a roller coaster ride and expect to come out enlightened about the metaphysical transcendence of being. You just want to be thrilled, to have fun. In the same way, you don’t watch Deadpool with the intention of improving your prayer life or biblical knowledge. You just want to have fun.
And it is a fun movie. I found the script witty and the pacing just right. Of course it is not wholesome fun for the family but it never pretended to be. It was properly rated as R-16 and there were warnings to parents against bringing their kids along. However, it was fun a mature adult could thoroughly enjoy, so I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. What irritates me is when some people feel uncomfortable about what they see on screen and they use themselves as a standard and impose that standard on other people. “Oh, I feel guilty about watching this, therefore, you should feel guilty about it too.”
Another article quoted Matthew 5:28-29 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell,” and declared that, “Seeing naked women on the screen — or naked men — causes a man, or woman, to sin with their minds and their desires, and often with their bodies.”
Well I have news for this person. Some people can actually look at naked men or women and not feel anything — or they can simply be appreciative but not go beyond that. This is again another case of someone imposing his personal standard of morality on others. Just because he thinks he “sins with his mind and desires” then others ought to feel the same way.
Which brings me to Manny Pacquiao and his dreadful “common sense” remark that those practicing homosexual acts are worse than animals, for which he later apologized (probably when he realized that he just lost a huge chunk of LGBT voters, and oh, there goes that endorsement deal with Nike). As of the moment social media is polarized between those supporting Manny for “being true to God’s word” and those angry at his bigotry.
We have to realize though that the Bible was written by primitive people trying to make sense of their existence. By “primitive,” I do not mean to degrade them, but to state a simple fact that they were in a much less enlightened state of mind than we are. As such, we see that their writings are no different from similar writings gathered from their neighbors in almost the same era. In other words, their practices and morality derive from what was culturally accepted in their time.
The problem with biblical literalism then is taking their edicts and applying it to our time. And indeed it is a problem because if we were to truly credit Manny with being true to God’s word, then he would have to follow every jot and tittle of it. So what does it really say? “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)
So for Manny to be true to God’s word, he should go ahead and put these people to death. He should also go ahead and read the entire book which prohibits eating pork, shrimp, crabs, and what’s that on his body? Yep, tattoos. Oh, better peel those off. God isn’t too happy with those.
Oh and remember that other verse I quoted earlier about gouging one’s eye out? Shouldn’t Manny and other die-hard Bible fans have just one eye now if they were really true to God’s word? Of course not, because the truth of the matter is that people, even Christians, do not really follow the Bible. They just use it as an excuse to either promote or demonize their prejudices.
But you could always prove me wrong, you know, like giving ALL your possessions to the poor or something.
Go on. I’m waiting.
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.