Sunday, April 29, 2012

God and I Am Legend

   I am not one to watch new movies. Actually, I'm not one to watch movies, period. Typically I'll just watch a movie on TV if I've got nothing better to do on a weekend night. Such was the case last night when I watched I Am Legend.

   The movie wasn't too bad, but the whole god part of it all was a bit disappointing. Robert (Will Smith) and Anna get into a conversation about a colony to protect the survivors of the zombie virus. She claims it exists; Robert claims it doesn't. Robert goes on to ask Anna why she thinks it exists. Well, she "just knows." What she should have done is turned the tables and asked him how he knew it didn't exist as Robert was also making a positive claim. Anna apparently isn't that bright, and, when asked again, says "God told me," or some shit like that. She goes on to talk about how the timing of their meeting couldn't have just been a coincidence; therefore, it was part of God's plan. See, Robert had been broadcasting a message to survivors on all AM radio frequencies for years. She only just now heard that message. And the timing was great because Robert had become suicidal, so Anna had to rescue Robert from himself. Well, Robert goes into a problem of evil speech and yells, "There is no god!" at Anna a couple times.

   Immediately after this, the movie begins to climax. Zombies find Robert's home and attack in droves. They eventually have to flee into the basement, where Robert has a lab where he experiments with potential treatments for the disease. After years of testing, it turns out that his latest treatment is working. So, since zombies are closing in, he draws some of the healing human's blood and gives it to Anna and then hides her and a boy named Ethan in a little alcove. Robert remains outside to kill the zombies (and himself) because he suddenly realizes there is a god and that god's plan was indeed to send Anna to find Robert so he could give her the cure that he has found just in the nick of time. Even though Robert has to die, it's a happy ending because he was an angry atheist who found God!!!

   Except, there seems to be a bit of a problem. That has to deal with why Robert had become suicidal. That happened because his dog, Sam, became infected and he had to kill her. And that happened because Robert got caught in a booby trap. The booby trap involved a manikin. My two main questions are (1) how did Robert just notice this manikin? Was he driving through a neighborhood he had never traveled through before? And (2) how had zombies not even accidentally set off that trap? My assumption is that trap was put there by a human. Based on the story, that manikin would have likely been there for years. I can understand the zombies not falling for a manikin as a trick, but to not even check it out or just wonder by? No, that doesn't seem right. I suppose the other alternative is that the manikin and trap were placed by the zombies, but, while the zombies are not completely stupid, it is suggested in the movie that they may not be all that smart either. At any rate, it seems like God's plan must have then involved Robert getting caught by the trap. Otherwise, Anna wouldn't have had to rescue Robert from depression. In other words, God's plan involved making Robert depressed by making Robert kill his dog. That doesn't sound like a very nice plan.

   I suppose religious apologists could provide two explanations*: (1)Satan! It's typical for the religious to find a scape goat to explain why things go wrong. And (2), this wasn't part of God's plan. It happened because Robert wasn't listening to God. (Maybe this god should have given Robert a reason to listen!) At any rate, God can't lose! And that's one thing I hate about religious people: anything seemingly good gets attributed to a god and anything bad is someone else's fault, and it's all asserted without evidence! It was a disappointing end to the movie.

* Sure, it's just a movie and a work of fiction, but the "it can't just be coincidence" argument unfortunately reflects real life arguments.

UPDATE: When I originally wrote this, I was at a loss for words on that last point. It's hard to really argue against people who can make up whatever they want. So, I have instead thought of an alternative explanation to hopefully highlight the problem: "Robert could not hear the one true god, Flying Spaghetti Monster, because Robert did not eat pasta, the media through which FSM delivers His message." Maybe that's the problem. Why not? I have just as much evidence for my claim as anyone who would say Satan or ignoring god was the problem (if we are to assume a god exists).

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