The Giver gives us the secret to fighting the Culture of Death
I remember reading The Giver in junior high school and even as a child I knew there was something wrong with living in a world with no freedom. The main character in the story named Jonas empowered me as a youth to have courage and be protective of my free will.
It is many years later and the message of The Giver seems ever so relevant. The threat of a totalitarian society never seemed so imminent as it does today. As Christians, we are in a constant battle fighting for our freedoms.
I had the great opportunity to attend a pre-screening of the movie The Giver, starring Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and even a short appearance by teen icon Taylor Swift. This dynamic cast made my childhood memories reading The Giver come alive.
In case you are unfamiliar with the book and film, the movie’s plot summary reads
The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas, a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver, who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined - a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all - a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before.
Each member of the society is protected from the truth and reality of history, yet one person in the community is chosen to receive the memories of the past in order to inform the elders in their decisions. The society uses compulsory morning medication to numb the feelings and emotions of their people. Infanticide and euthanasia are how they maintain “sameness” and a “perfect” society.
That is until one person has courage to expose the truth.
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This perfect society demands that no one ever tell a lie, but the method they use to get their people to conform is through a series of lies; at best, willful ignorance.
One of the lines in the movie that stands out to me is when Jonas, the main character, says, “We haven’t eliminated murder, we just call it by another name.”
Is all of this sounding familiar? We live in a world where, although information is at our fingertips, people don’t seek to know the truth about our history in order to inform their decisions. News programs and politicians saturate us with lies in order to get people to conform to their biases. In the United States of America, for example, our government has just taken our choices in healthcare away and is chipping away at our other freedoms of choice and conscience. Yet, they continue to defend the choice of abortion. They haven’t eliminated murder; they just call it by another name….CHOICE. And, abortion/infanticide and euthanasia are how our culture weeds out the unwanted as well just like in The Giver.
One of the other restrictions of freedoms in the movie requires the characters to speak with “precision of language.” I imagine a pro-abortion person seeing this film and clinging to the story of the main character fighting for the freedom to choose, and naively thinking this movie supports their agenda. They will most likely miss the fact that the word “choice” has been hijacked and robbed of its actual meaning and purpose. Abortion advocates have successfully contorted that word to mask what they are really asking for in this so-called freedom of choice. Pro-abortion leaders have mastered the art of using “precision of language” to convince people that abortion is about choice rather than about a mother killing her unborn child.
So how do we turn this around? The answer is in The Giver. We think for ourselves. We allow love to guide us; instead of selfishness and false compassion. We seek truth in the past and do not be afraid of knowledge. We stop allowing people to distort our language and demand that people call things by what they really are. And, we have the courage to stand up against our friends and even family members who have been brainwashed into conforming to a type of “sameness” that is destructive to democracy.
This movie opened on August 15th and I imagine some people will walk out missing the point, but I hope it will be an awakening to what happens when we give others too much power over our freedoms and our thoughts.
Check out the trailer and information about the movie here.
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