Warning: While this is not meant to be a movie review, there may contain spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens at the end of “Life of Pi”, don’t read! 🙂 Thank you.
I knew little about this movie going into it. The main plot is a boy stuck on a rowboat with a full-grown Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. You can imagine how difficult that would be, it’s exciting to watch how he creatively survives. The boy, Pi, grew up in India as a Hindu. In Hindu fashion, any and all gods/goddesses can be worshiped. He dabbles in Catholicism and Islam. His father owns a zoo and decides to move to Canada (via water) when Pi is a teenager. There is a mysterious accident that causes the ship to go down. Pi leaps into a lifeboat, a zebra from his father’s zoo also drops in. While in the raging water a hyena joins him, Richard Parker also struggles to climb in. Once the waters calm, they are joined by an orangutan. The hyena, being a carnivore, kills both the zebra and orangutan. To Pi’s surprise, Parker jumps out from under a sheet in the life boat and kills the hyena. Using it and the other animals as food. Thus the story continues. He must learn to catch and eat fish, being a former vegetarian doesn’t seem to matter now. He must get fresh drinking water. He must somehow cohabitate with a hungry set of three inch incisors. As I said, it’s interesting and thought provoking. I thought about what I would do, I concluded I would probably just die. He lands on an island shaped as a Hindu god. By day it is a beautiful place to live, by night the island eats you alive if you are on its land. So, the tiger and Pi return to the lifeboat, finally making it to the shores of Mexico. Parker heads for the jungle, Pi to the hospital. Investigators do not believe Pi’s outlandish tale of tigers, man-eating islands, etc. So Pi tells a different tale, three humans accompanied him on the lifeboat (one human for each animal) and the tiger represented himself. At the very end, Hindu-Catholic-Muslim Pi says whichever story we like better we should believe. Then “And so it goes with God”.
And so is the problem. As exciting as this movie is, that part ruined it for me. The “whatever floats your boat” mentality is deceiving millions, maybe billions, of people. There cannot be many paths to God. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Religions that deny Christ as God, Savior, Messiah, Lord and therefore do not go through Him to the Father cannot be right paths. Choosing whichever religion you’d like is a silly idea. Most would choose the easiest religion. The “do whatever you want” religion. No focus on holiness, obeying God, reading His Word, going against what you want in order to please Him, denying self, sacrificing time and money. That stuff is hard work, those are the kinds of things the God of Abraham and Isaac call us to do. No, in our flesh we would choose things like “I love Jesus, but ____” fill in the blank. “I love Jesus, but don’t want to go to church on Sundays.” “I love Jesus, but don’t want to tithe my money.” “I love Jesus, but also like to get drunk sometimes.” Or it could go in the opposite direction like the Pharisees “I [claim to] love Jesus, but I also love to bask in the fact that I’m better than everyone else.” Many religions outright deny Christ as God, which makes His sacrifice just another martyrdom. It wouldn’t have mattered if He was just another guy. A good guy, maybe even a godly guy. But if Jesus Christ was not God, His perfect, blood sacrifice meant nothing. Jews sacrificed animals over and over again for their sins, because animals are just animals.
Being a good person or doing more good deeds than bad deeds will not help anyone. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; We are only as good as someone worse than us. I’m better than someone who has killed someone, but I’m worse than someone who has never stolen anything. According to God’s law, we are all guilty. If you don’t think so, take the test. The 10 Commandments were given as a guide…Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever coveted? Have you ever hated someone so much you’d wish they’d die (same as murder)? Have you ever lusted after someone (same as adultery)? Have you ever dishonored your father and mother? Those are just some of the ten, how are you measuring up? Personally, I didn’t do so well. I’ve broken all of the ones I listed. On judgment day, when God takes out His law, will He declare you innocent or guilty? I’d be give a sentence of “guilty”, I have broken several of His laws. There has to be a punishment (or wage–Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.) for breaking the law. It’s true with our legal system and it’s true with His legal system. However, we have a propitiation (a big word for satisfactory payment) 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus is the satisfactory payment for our sins. Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. What other religion can offer that kind of security? A works based religions is based on wishy-washy us. Are we good enough? Did we do enough? I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see. There is no guessing with Christ…Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The short section of the film with the man-eating island was a little trippy, but I took it to mean if someone stays with one religion, it will destroy them. A weird notion, but maybe not to those who choose to follow everything and everyone figuring one of them is right. Pi is a fictional character in a fictional movie, but the reality is, in choosing all different paths, he went down the wide road. Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. It’s called wide for a reason.
The movie (which is also a book) overall was suspenseful and stimulating. It could really have gone without the not-so-subtle religious messages.