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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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       I was shocked as a read an article about the recent hit movie "Avatar."  While I have not seen the movie myself, this movie has been so incredibly popular that it is on track to be the highest grossing film of all time and is currently second only to "Titanic" (Wikipedia - Highest Grossing Fimls).  But what shocked me so much about this film was not its success, but some people's reactions to it.  With the movie being available for 3-D viewing, the article I read stated, "some fans say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora" (Read Full Article Here).  In fact, on the official Avatar website forums, there is even a thread called "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible," and it has already received over 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression.  There are many other places that have mimicked this forum, also having people with similar depressing thoughts.  A user named "Mike" wrote, "Ever since I went to see Avatar I have been depressed...I even contemplate suicide, thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and that everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "  There are many other people who expressed similar thoughts of depression and suicide. People also have feelings of disgust with the lack of beauty on Earth compared to Pandora, disgust with the human race, and a detachment with reality.
       I do not know what your reaction to all this is, but I found it all to be extremely sad.  How could people possible be so unhappy with their lives that they wish to die and become part of a world which does not exist?  Is there not more to live for in this life than the longing to be on Pandora?  Is there no hope in their lives?  No matter what their thoughts or feelings may be, I find it unbelievably sad that strong feelings even exist for an imaginary place.  More than anything, this article simply reaffirms that people without the Lord have little hope in this life or anything beyond this life.
       I wonder what the reactions would be if someone could produce a film that adequately depicted what life would be like in heaven.  Would there be many people who would long to be there?  I imagine every single person who saw an accurate depiction of heaven would instantly long to change his/her life in order to be in this wonderful place.  While we do not have it on video, the Bible has done a wonderful job describing what heaven will be like (Revelation 21-22).  No tears (Revelation 7:17), no death, no pain, no crying, no sorrow (Revelation 21:4), an unfathomably beautiful place, and so much more.  No matter how beautiful Pandora may appear, heaven will be so remarkably better that it will make Pandora look like a sewer.  Not only this, but heaven is a real place!  And we can all go there!  All we have to do is obey the Lord, and follow Him (John 3:36; James 1:22-25; Matthew 10:32-33).  The people who have sad, depressed, and suicidal feelings about leaving this life and being on Pandora are people who probably do not have much hope in and after this life.  Let's make sure we are living our lives right so we can have hope to be in the best place that will ever be known; heaven.
--Brett Petrillo

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