Conversations with God

Starring Henry Czerny as Neale Donald Walsch; directed by Stephen Deutsch.

There are a lot of good things about Neale's revelations. He discovers the freedom of confessing his imperfections so he can move forward from wherever he is. This is practical for daily living, it's also reminiscent of true redemption. Neale also discovers that the most beneficial thing for himself is to seek that which benefits others (at least this is what he says, I didn't notice him risking much for other people).

There are also a lot of dangerous half-truths in this movie. Half-truths are oftentimes more dangerous than blatant lies because they mislead even well-meaning people.

For example, the Voice just wants Neale to be happy. This is a half-truth because God wants people to be happy, but this is not His top priority. Happiness, joy and contentment are after-effects of aligning oneself with God's priorities, or obeying God. Obeying God is difficult, painful and at times even humiliating. Jesus, of all people, deserved worldly prosperity or at least some comfort. But what did Jesus get in return for His perfect life? He was beaten, mocked and then hung on a cross until he either suffocated or bled to death. The point is: success from God's point of view is not as predictable or as calculable as the movie Conversations with God would have you believe.

Another half truth is that monetary well-being equals being right with God. This is a man-made, health-and-wealth gospel, a far cry from the real gospel, which requires dying to oneself daily. I fear for the people who will hear Neale's message and think that their material lack is one more confirmation that God hates them. This underlying message made me feel self-conscious by the end of the movie.

Please, do not be deceived. God loves poor people. In fact, Jesus says poor people enjoy a spiritual advantage over wealthy people because they have less to distract them from having a pure faith in God.

Another partial-truth: "It doesn't matter what others think of you, it only matters what you think of yourself." What this is really getting at: "It's all about you." This lie dominates Conversations with God more than any other lie.

A conspicuous lie from Neale's Voice is: "The universe is conspiring in our favor." Although the earth contains the material we need to survive, the world is overwhelmingly prone to snatch away life. Death is one of the unavoidable end of life on earth. Ten out of ten people die... it's a dependable statistic. But God's mercy offsets the death and destruction that saturates this existence. Every breath demonstrates God's astounding mercy. "The universe is conspiring in our favor" is the kind of philosophy that a spoiled, luxury-saturated society would invent. For this reason, feel-good religion prospers during times of material prosperity. But the faith in the Real God endures through any circumstance.

The Voice that Neale equates with God confuses me in much the same way the Force from Star Wars confuses me. The Voice is divine and yet part of Neale, who is not divine. So also, the Force is part of everything and everyone, and yet It doesn't seem to have it's own consciousness. Is Neale talking to Something divine, or is he talking to himself, or is he talking to creation in general? Is Neale answering himself, or is Something else answering? When characters in Star Wars say, "May the Force be with you," are they commanding the Force to be with someone? Can a Jedi, for example, address the Force directly? "May the Force be with you," sounds similar to "God bless you," except the latter implies direct contact with God. If I say "God bless you," that means "I am asking God right now to bless you."

There is one main thing, or I should say, Main Person: Jesus Christ. He is the Great Dividing Factor. People always will and always have invented different gods for themselves, but Jesus Christ came to eliminate all doubt that God is everything He says He is: holy, righteous and worthy of all worship and admiration forever.

1 comment:

yourfriendinspirit said...

I absolutely admired your candid review of this movie and it's message.

I've not yet seen the movie myself; although I am quite familiar with Neale Walsch's writing...

I agree with many points you made here regarding his work.

What a blessing your site brings to others who are seeking growth, knowledge and wisdom!

Thank you for sharing your soul here.

Eye's Wide Open