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Sacred Representation in Modern Film Chris Art

Chris Arthur (271) stated that there are some important questions as yet unanswered as to where film intersects or should intersect with religion in contemporary society. Arthur (271) believes that popular film can be an important medium of religious expression in which the sacred is represented. The thesis to be explored in this report is that many modern films that do incorporate sacred representations, particularly those that are Christian in their nature, are often the subject of controversy and debate. Religious symbolism of the sacred is, on balance, integral to many contemporary films, Christian or otherwise, which attempt to come to terms with the conflict between the secular and the religious.

Andrew Greeley (22), a Roman Catholic priest and social scientist, maintains that many of the objections that are voiced toward films such as Dogma center on the belief that only a strict orthodox, literal, or what for want of a better term could be called fundamentalist depiction of God should be permitted in film. A position such as this would undoubtedly find Cecil B. Demille's epic The Ten Commandments to be an acceptable film employing representations of the sacred while simultaneously rejecting films such as Dogma. However, says Greeley (22), Dogma offers must that is positive in terms of its legitimate interpretation of Catholic dogma (the fundamental truths which a Catholic must believe to be a Catholic); for example, a God (even a female God) so involved in the affairs of men that he/she manifests to save humanity is integral to the Catholic and Christian tradition.

Dogma is an interesting case in the present discussion in that it is a story of two fallen angels exiled to earth as a result of having told God that Old Testament retributive justice is wrong (Stevens, 1235). The two angels believe that they have found a way to get back into heaven. The problem is that God, who is infallible and has exiled them from...

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