Thoughts on Dystopian Films and Scientism 

Dystopian films have been increasingly on the rise I’ve noticed. These films, displaying all their fancy advanced technology and depressing future, show how citizens live in abject oppression by brutal government cronies who were supposed to be put in place for the collective good, and the opposing resistance banding together to overthrow the unjust system.

Just look at the list of a few box-office and acclaimed films released in the last 30 years:

Blade Runner (1982)
Robocop (1987)
Gattaca (1997)
Minority Report (2002)
I Robot (2004)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Hunger Games series
Divergent series
The Colony (show)
Children of Men (2006)
3% (show)
In Time (2011)
The Giver (2014)
Maze Runner (2014)

The Purge series

Although not a complete list of films, they have managed to capture our minds with their depiction of what life could be like.

It’s not a surprise that cinema is a big piece of the American lifestyle. Cinema and plays have been here with America since the beginning and have shifted as the culture changed. For instance, Birth of a Nation (1915) came out when the KKK was an immensely large hate group. Also, Midnight Cowboy (1969) won the best picture at the Oscars during the Sexual Revolution of the 60s. Straight out of Compton (2015) was seen as an inspiring movie for the rise of police brutality amongst Black men.

Currently, our culture for many decades has been fixated on science and the future. The underlying message of these movies is that science and human ingenuity alone can create the conditions for a perfect society where no hate and social problems exist.

“The old world had too many conflicting things such as religion or social class, so let us make science as our guide for a better and more perfect standard for truth and justice” is the philosophy of these films.

In fact, scientism is the pervasive view in all areas of our life. It permeates in our schools, college system, medicine, laws, etc. It rests on the idea that science is the most proven and reliable standard source of truth. Scientism has grown because our culture has become increasingly more advanced. And that’s not a bad thing either! The philosophical separation of science and religion has caused scientism to triumph.

To naturalist and materialist, the idea of the supernatural having influence or influenced our world is folly. Genuinely neglecting God doesn’t lead to a better society, but can create disorder. Science in isolation of the Creator isn’t possible.

In fact, The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 159 beautifully states the following:

“Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

At the heart of substituting God is pride, “we can do it better than some imaginary All-Powerful person.” The human brain and its creativity have become our God. Its the source of us Worshipping the Creature vs. The Creator. Similarly, the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9) experienced the same fate. Human progress and pride at the isolation of God caused confusion amongst its builders.

If our society is leading toward a Dystopian path, which I’ve heard many people claim we are, then we can change with the message of Christianity and natural law being at the forefront of our culture.

Follow me on Twitter @Menny_Thoughts

3 comments

  1. I do not think a “Dystopian path” is the only one society is headed down. As I say the “virtual path to hell” is more like it! Great post and thanks for sharing. God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good point, Catechism 159, and good to see made.

    Dystopian films may be more common now. I get the impression that they got respectable for filmmakers in the 1960s.

    We had a mess of more-or-less cheaply done ‘invaders from space’ movies before “The Day the Earth Caught Fire” and “Dr Strangelove” – both in the 1960s.

    I’ve wondered if maybe writing ticket-selling screenplays for bug-eyed monsters with ray guns, folks trying to not die as bombs fall, nomads in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, atomic zombies, or whatever is easier than crafting a plausible Utopia that’s actually nice to live in.

    And then finding a problem in it that’s enough to keep actors busy for 90 minutes.

    It’s been done. “Things to Come” is a still somewhat-viewable 1936 film based on H. G. Wells’ “The Shape of Things to Come.” The movie’s message – that our hope for secular salvation is solely through science – may have made science seem even more ‘Satanic’ to tightly-wound American Christians. Oh, well.

    I haven’t seen the 1979 “The Shape of Things to Come” film – and probably won’t. Aside from the title, it sounds like the typical dystopian potboiler that’s still being made.

    My own take on what’s ahead is that unconsidered optimism and unthinking pessimism are both imprudent. We’ve got brains, so I figure using them makes sense.

    I’m cautiously optimistic. Partly because I’ve noticed that we do learn. Slowly, but we learn. ( http://brendans-island.com/catholic-citizen/veterans-day-2017/#learning )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always marvel at your comments. You always seem to usher in an insightful perspective from faith and personal experience. That is consistently reflected in your blogs, which is great for me since I love to lean people (especially those older than me) perspective about life and current issues.

    In you article, you mention the aftermath of WW2 and how the world learned a bit of information. I think after WW2, the world learned a good deal information, especially in regards that saw reason and science as the basis human progrss. This eventually led to many believing that we really don’t know what truth is and gave birth to post-modernism.

    On the flip side, post WW2 saw a great expansion of human rights as many nations began recognising inalienable rights that people at naturally endowed with.

    But thankfully we’re slowing moving forward

    Like

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