in the Movies,
with Specific Attention to the Movie Titanic”
Seminary - www.worldvieweyes.org
A Handout for CIY
Some Questions for a Christian to Ask When Watching Video
Is there a prominent worldview presented? (e.g. Biblical
Christianity, Deism, Secular Humanism, Nihilism, Postmodernism, Existentialism,
New Age or Pantheism)
What does it (or its main characters) say about ultimate
God, Universe, Man, Truth, Ethics, Death
Does it promote thoughts or behavior that are inconsistent
with the Bible? (Matthew 5:27-30)
Does it improve or worsen my attitude?
Does it cause me to violate my conscience or somehow hurt
others? (1 Corinthians 8; Romans
Is it a productive use of my time? (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Am I watching it with “the right crowd”? (I Corinthians 15:53)
Am I being deceived into thinking that it’s O.K. for me to
watch it? (Jeremiah 17:9; I Tim.
Specific Things to “Look For” When Watching Movies (see Brian Godawa, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching
Films with Wisdom and Discernment,
InterVarsity Press, 2002; and www.Godawa.com)
Look for the Protagonist and the Antagonist (hero and
Look for the hero’s weakness/fault/need.
Look for the hero’s self-revelation: “The point near the end of the movie where the hero has his
speech about what he learned or how he changed his mind is the redemption of
the story. This is how the
storytellers think we should or should not live in the world” (Godawa).
Look for the opponent’s rationale (why does he do what he
Look for the factors that make the characters change their
minds and why (e.g. is it a near death experience? a taste of their own
Look for the four “W”s: Who Wins? Who Loses? Who Dies? And
Look for consequences to behavior (e.g. does it end
positively; is the behavior considered legitimate?)
Look for repeating phrases.
Look at how it ends.
Nine Basic Elements in Most Stories (with a focus on The Truman Show). See Brian Godawa’s Hollywood
Worldviews, chapter 2)
Theme (what the story is all about; the moral or purpose)
Dead Poets Society:
“Conformity kills the spirit, but individuality frees it.” (p 44)
The Truman Show: “God’s
sovereign control of our lives leads to slavery; human autonomy leads to
freedom” (p 45).
Hero (Truman in The Truman Show)
The Hero’s Goal (Truman’s goal is to leave his small home town
and to find a girl he fell in love with earlier in his life.)
The Adversary (could be a person, nature, or chance)
Character Flaw (something blocking what the character wants)
(In The Truman Show, Truman’s naivete is
Apparent Defeat (Truman has to face a sea storm)
Final Confrontation (between the hero and his adversary)
Self-Revelation (where the hero learns what he wanted was not
what he needed)
Resolution (the results of the hero’s change or lack of
Redemption (how does the hero and others overcome their flaws
and apparent defeats by the Antagonist?)
A Suggested Model for How to Watch a Movie with “Worldview
The “vision” of the Titanic and the worldview of “Modernism.”
1. Ship of Dreams - A
visual introduction to the grandeur of the ship.
2. Full speed ahead -
Shows the mechanical system of the ship.
3. Dining room scene -
The ship is described.
Rose’s early tensions with Modernism.
1. Intro to Rose-She steps out of the car and is not impressed
(God himself could not sink this ship).
2. Roses mother forbidding Rose to see Jack/good name poor
3. Mother explaining proper etiquette to daughter.
4. Jack telling Rose while they are in the gym to her to free
Rose’s sense of despair:
Modernism isn’t working.
1. Rose initially walking onto the ship.
2. Rose at dinner table before she runs to
1. I’m the king of the world.
2. Jack at dinner. Life is a game of luck.
Rose’s attraction and conversion to Existentialism.
1. Jack and Rose dancing, “just go with
2. Spitting scene.
3. Rose is flying while she is being held
4. On the deck Rose tells Jack she is
going with him when the ship docks.
Jack and Rose:
Religion is shunned; personal “salvation” is pursued.
1. Jack and Rose pause momentarily to
listen to the priest but move onto to save themselves.
2. Rose saying, “he saved me in everyway
possible” verifying she accepts Jack’s existentialism.
A Summary of Relevant Worldviews in the Movie Titanic
Secular Humanism (Optimistic Atheism or Modernism)
TEACHER: As you go
through these worldviews, you could first ask for students to share some
examples in culture that come to mind BEFORE you give your own examples. REMEMBER: try to involve the students
as much as possible. Keep working
God does not exist.
Very optimistic (“Waterboy” philosophy: “YOU can DO
Humans became “king” by chance evolution.
Truth & progress are brought by science and technology.
Emphasizes human reason (not feeling). (“Let’s use our heads!”)
Basic theme: “We
can do it if we put our minds to it!”
Other Secular Humanist Movies: Titanic; Mission Impossible; A.I. (Artificial Intelligence); Contact (most scientists); Armageddon.
Nihilism (Pessimistic Atheism)
God does not exist.
Nothing has real value, meaning, or truth.
Very pessimistic (despair; no hope).
Life is absurd:
“I don’t care” or “I give up” (suicide).
Often confuses reality and illusion.
Preoccupation with death and fatalism (“you
can’t change anything”).
Notable examples/advocates: Curt Cobain
Basic theme: “Life
is a black hole. Nothing matters.”
Tries to escape the pessimism of Nihilism.
“While life is absurd, I will ‘revolt’ by choosing to be
Emphasizes personal freedom and choice.
Wants to be free of rules and obligations created by
Emphasizes feeling (not reason). Choices are based on feelings.
Emphasizes the present—today (not the past or the
Emphasizes chance in life.
Death creates great anxiety, but death should be faced
Basic theme: “Life
is meaningless, but don’t give up. Be free and have fun.”
bibliography of books, videos, and Internet sites dealing with developing
a Christian mind, understanding non-Christian worldviews, and interacting
with contemporary culture is available. Please ask the teacher if you want a copy.
NOTE: The WorldviewEyes
Youth Program hosts four grant-funded week-long summer youth seminars for a
select group of Christian teens.
These “accelerated” seminars are held in Colorado (“Creation &
Psychology,” July 27-Aug. 2); Chicago (“Worldviews and Urban Ministry,” July
13-19); Lincoln, Illinois (“Worldviews & Contemporary Culture,” Aug. 3–9);
and New Hampshire (“Church Planting,” June 8-14). Applications are required. While the budgeted expenses per student are about $900, the
cost to attend is ONLY $75! Some
scholarships are even available.
Please seriously consider applying. Openings may still be available for the summer 2003
seminars. (The seminars will be
offered again in 2004.)
An Internet class on “A Christian
Perspective on Worldviews” is also available for college credit or for a
non-credit achievement certificate.
WorldviewEyes is also
completing a curriculum for high school youth groups, campus ministries, and
home-schools on “Worldview Inoculation: A Christian Approach to Alternative
Worldviews”—a thirteen-lesson series on Christian faith and competing
www.worldvieweyes.org for more information.