Brent Plate’s book Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the Worlds premises that we find meaning in the myths, stories, and believes that we create. Through an analysis of elements of various films, Plate argues there are similarities in the construction of cinematic and religious narratives. In particular, he notes that cinematic features such as sound, mise-en-scene, and lighting are used to influence the audience perception of various events (Plate 18). Similarly, religion frames its narrative through myths, symbols, and rituals. In this regard, films and religion have a similar underlying concept when creating a pre-determined ordered world.
I find Plate’s relationship of religion with cinema to be offensive. In Christianity, it is wrong to assume that bible stories are fictitious narratives. In particular, Christians believe that God inspired the authors of the bible. Therefore, Plate’s views are not only offensive, but they also undermine God. Further, Plate’s opinion that cinemas and religion aim at re-creating the world threatens Christians’ beliefs. His views imply that religion is merely a myth that was established to satisfy human needs.
Plate’s comparison of the epistemological experiences of filmgoers to that of worshippers is also offensive. According to Plate, the appeals in both religion and films are primarily based on emotion. As a Christian, this view is wrong. I believe that a person’s religious acts are due to his/her faith in God (Hopfe et al. 112). Additionally, his/her actions both in a spiritual environment are directed by the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, experiences in cinemas are primarily due to the aesthetic appeal of the film being shown.
Although Plate makes a good attempt at finding the relationship between religion and films in the re-creation of ideal worlds, his lack empathy to the former makes his opinions weak. In particular, he fails to consider that there are various mysterious aspects of our life, such as religion, which we must accept. Moreover, he oversimplifies the elements of faith, miracles, gifts, and talents, which are aspects of various world religions, into just emotional experiences. Consequently, his research findings are inconclusive.
Hopfe, Lewis et al. Religions of the World. 13th ed. Pearson, 2015.
Plate, Brent. Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the Worlds. Columbia University Press, 2017.