Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book of Eli - Two Approaches to the Bible

The Book of Eli is set in a post-apocalyptic world. Eli is in possession of the last remaining bible on earth. (It’s interesting that many descriptions of this film say it’s a sacred book without mentioning that it’s a bible.)

Carnegie wants that bible for his own purposes, and will do anything to get it - even kill people. It’s hard to understand why a man like Carnegie would want the bible so badly, until we realise that he wants to use it to control people.

Most Christians, if not all, would find Carnegie’s approach to the bible abhorrent. Yet I’m sure some people have used the bible to try and control people, and probably still do. I think such people probably do not have genuine faith. But I could be wrong. Faith comes in many different forms. And often people who start out with a genuine faith may end up with a very warped faith.

And although we may not use the bible to try and control societies, I think people do often use the bible for their own purposes. Instead of really trying to discover what the bible has to say, they want to use it to show why they are right. The bible becomes just a tool for them, rather than the living word of God.

But this isn’t a movie about one person who has a bad approach to the bible and another who has a good approach. Because Eli also has a faulty approach to the bible. Eli is so focused on trying to protect the bible that he’s forgotten to live by it.

Near the beginning, there is a somewhat anti-Good Samaritan moment. Eli sees some travellers being attacked. Instead of helping them he says words along the lines of ‘Not my concern. Stay on the path.’

And I do think that many Christians, Christians of genuine faith, have the Eli approach to the bible. They’re too busy protecting it, they’ve forgotten to live by it. They concentrate on doctrine and forget about practice. They memorise bible verses but never do any of them.

The bible is not just meant to be used or protected, but lived. 

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