Prayer, God and Alien Invasion: Is Falling Skies a Christian Show?

Today I watched the fourth episode of Falling Skies, a new series created by Robert Rodat and movie legend Stephen Spielberg. I’d already been intrigued by the character “Lourdes” played by Seychelle Gabriel, who talks about how her faith is “stronger than ever” and the importance of prayer, giving thanks, etc. In episode four, she leads a group prayer, concluding with the Catholic/Episcopalian creed, “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

So what exactly is going on here?

Is Falling Skies Christian?

We have to keep in mind that Spielberg regularly throws in religious characters, who add to the complex characters interactions. And the plot of Falling Skies (Alien Invasion) is not all that different from “The Mist” (2008) – in which Marcia Gay Harden uses the social chaos to become a spiritual leader/total-freaking-psycho-nutjob. The difference so far is that Seychelle Gabriel is young, cute and naive; but in episode four many of the older, wiser, main characters seemed to join in and support her, urging her to “say something else” and lead them in prayer.

Are people more likely to be religious when faced with tragedy? Yes. Religion feeds off fear and social upheaval. No doubt an alien invasion would cause a flourish of passionate cult-joining and prophet leaders. I expect we’ll see Seychelle Gabriel continue and become a kind of religious leader, opposing some of the other characters with her God-language and small army of faithful followers (at least I hope so. If she’s only there to bring an unnecessary Christianizing element to Falling Skies, I’m going to stop watching).

Jesus vs. The Aliens

The thing that really gets me though is this: With the current lack of proof and mystery of the universe, it’s not completely irrational to believe in God, Jesus, etc. Having Faith, Giving Thanks may be beneficial for morale, society and community. But when an alien race attacks the earth and basically wins, destroying human civilizations, how can people continue to believe in God? Did God not know about the aliens? Is he only the God of this world? Can he not protect his planet, his most cherished species, from extinction?

These questions are always asked when bad things happen – but doesn’t an entire other species with more advanced technology kind of blow Christianity out of the water? (God gives his son Jesus to save humanity… but isn’t bothered to tell us that we are not alone, that we’ll be annihilated, and that he isn’t going to do anything about it?)

Also – while all the other characters in Falling Skies are out doing important stuff, “Lourdes” stands around praying over the lost children. Do her prayers help them? she is asked. “They help me” she says… so praying helps her feel more comfortable; and that’s probably true. And she can share her faith with everybody else and make them all feel more comfortable as well. But no amount of faith is going to get the children back or defeat the aliens – prayer has nothing to do with what actually happens; the heroes of Falling Skies are the young fighters who are out kicking alien ass and gathering supplies while the religious folks stay at home and talk to God.

So which are you? Are you praying for a better world, or are you out physically contributing?

What do you think of Falling Skies? Do you think religion can survive an alien invasion?

Update (8/3/2012)!

 

 

I lost interest in Falling Skies but download an episode when I’ve got nothing better to watch.

But wait a minute – in Season Two, Episode 7, Lourdes loses her boyfriend. Suddenly it’s not all Jesus and Angels anymore. Now she says bitterly:

Talking won’t change a damn thing. It doesn’t matter if you have a good attitude or a bad one, or if you’re an honest person or moral. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, sooner or later something terrible is going to happen to you.

She says it with righteous conviction and immaturity. Somehow her blind negativity is as bad as her blind faith. Maybe religious people simply let their moods and beliefs shadow their existence to such an existent that they’re never present in their actual reality, but only in their own dreams and nightmares.

Her faith has been put to the test, and apparently lost. Where was God? Nowhere. Not before, not now, not ever.

No wonder she’s bitter. But unlike the other characters who weren’t strong believers in the beginning anyway, and are content with small victories or small hopes – like the hope to get to Charleston and eat some crab and drink some cognac, there is nothing that can replace the void that God used to fill for Lourdes.

 

  • David E

    Yes, religion can survive an alien invasion….religion has long practice at getting people to engage in doublethink.  Those inclined to respond to chaos with increased religiosity aren’t going to be bothered by cognitive dissonance.

    So far I’m liking the show and doubt the religiosity portrayed will end up “Christianizing” the show.  If they do take it in that direction I’ll also stop watching.  I don’t have much interest in having TV shows preach to me.

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      Thanks for the comment David; I’m also sure religion would survive – religion always grows in times of trouble and suffering… I guess imagining a god that loves humans despite a more powerful alien race is not much different than imagining a god who, for example loved the Jews even when they were persecuted and sold into slavery, or decimated in world war II, without actually doing anything about it. Difficult for me to fathom what the hell he was doing (or not doing) but I’m like Jacob – I demand my God to do something for me believe I decide to worship him.

  • The Doctor

    I’m done with the show.  Not because of the overt religiousness (although that doesn’t help), but because frankly the show sucks.  Great premise, but terrible writing and ho hum acting.  Everyone except Noah Wiley just seem to be caricatures of various racial stereotypes and character archetypes.  Not to mention that the invasion itself has barely been discussed, and the “missions” they keep going on are basically pointless, poorly planned, and pointlessly hazardous.  What happened before the invasion?  What happened during the invasion?  What the hell is going on?  It might have been more interesting if they had opted to do Lost-style flashbacks to before and during the invasion in order to give us some context for these characters’ lives, but honestly I don’t even know their names.  Much less care about them or what happens to them in any way.

    Bottom Line:  Great idea.  Terribly executed.

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      I wasn’t sure I agreed with you until I watched the last episode (#5, I think). Which is pretty pointless and silly. They have a captive alien but keep opening the cage and reaching inside. Surprise, it kills the doctor. Yes to the pointless, poorly planned missions. It’s got absolutely nothing on Lost. I’m still waiting for something new and decent enough to watch for more than a few episodes.

  • Jsands

    I’ve enjoyed the show so far, though i can definitely appreciate the critiques mentioned by others. And would add to them a comment about the ridiculous amount of commercial time.

    I was pleasantly surprised with Lourdes’ character. You usually don’t see a religious character on tv anymore.

    My concern is that they are setting up Lourdes’ character. Something will happen and she will lose her religion/spirituality. They will want to show that religion is a thin veneer that people hide behind. But we’ll see.

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      Interesting take; I’m not sure that’s what will happen but who knows. I can see her dying, and creating a cult movement. In the last episode, they revealed she’d gone to med school and apparently she knows her stuff enough to assist with surgeries. I don’t like her because I don’t see any depth to her. So what if she’s “religious”? A good character has conflict, inner and outer. Her religion gives her peace – but no conflict. Does she have family? Does she love any one or mourn for anyone? Does she want anything? No – she seems happy, content, and fulfilled: this is the dream of the religious, the opium of the people. I’d like to see her faith sorely tested. Have someone she loves die, have her arms and legs ripped off, scar that beautiful face of hers, have her love unrequited. Give her terrible migraines, or boils, or toothache (the kind of gnawing pain that never goes away). In my experience, that kind of pain makes you turn to God in desperation and praise him when the pain is removed… but eventually you get tired of the pain and begin to doubt. She is an interesting TV novelty… but so far there’s no evidence that the writers know where they are going with her.

  • http://0xf.nl antihero

    It made me want to throw up.

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      Ha – yeah it was strange, especially at the ending. Seems like a lot of us noticed it though.

  • Michael

    Huge Scifi fan but after the overt religious element in the 4th episode I won’t be watching anymore. Are you kidding me, you can still believe in Christianity after an alien invasion? How thick are you?

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      Yup, it raises all sorts of problems. Although I guess it can be explained in the same way as the persecution of Christians (why does all this terrible stuff happen to us if our religion is right? Well — it must be part of God’s plan, or he’s testing us, or we’ve done something wrong). Or they could just ignore the aliens like the ignore the dinosaurs and science; saying “God must have created the appearance of these aliens to lead the weak astray, but WE have more faith!”

    • Dee Night

      please google “Miracle of the snow” painting. And MADONNA COL
      BAMBINO E SAN GIOVANNINO
      The vatican has known of them for centuries. Ever think they come from a different dimension. I saw one once and it was coated before my eyes.

    • Snake Plissken

      And that’s the great deception. Do you even Illuminati?

  • Heather

    In the Old Testament, God’s chosen ones were the Jews – and in the Old Testament, He repeatedly allows them to get completely beat up and carried off captive or at least completely blasted by “alien”  (albeit not the extraterrestrial kind) groups of people.  In the New Testament, God no longer was using the Jews as His exemplary “chosen people” type of literary foil, but if we were now to extend the example to say that all humankind is God’s chosen race, this does not preclude civilizations from being more advanced than Earthlings nor does it preclude alien civilizations from waging war and destroying a certain percentage or other of the population. The Bible does not teach anything about aliens whatsoever and to foist a certain view upon the Bible about this topic has been done, but done so erroneously.  Being God’s chosen in any sense still does not mean that one is the center of the universe.  My guess is too that God loves the creatures He made on other planets as much as those He made here, even if they are just as violent or more so than us.

  • James

    If there’s one thing I know about putting Religion vs Science/Cynicism/Non believers into a TV show, whatever you want to call it, is that unless you are balanced in both the characters for example Baltar and Six (someone mention that earlier as a perfect example) who are complete opposites at the start, equalizing the show and the views that they believed.

    This gave it something that most others didn’t, there were many examples were shifting events caused both of them to doubt their beliefs, or have them confirmed, they would shift their judgments and their morals according to their experiences. This in turn caused the audience, myself included, to look inwardly to question some of the thing I overlooked or had believed to be right or wrong.

    Using this type of approach in a TV series, film or even book gives the story depth, something more than action can provide, but they compliment each other. The problem I see with Falling Skies approach is it general unbalanced and incomplete approach. The girl, i forget her name, which for one is just a good example as any as to why the character is weak at best (almost always to be honest) is first seen in the show as almost stalking the main character’s son, which is one of the only two things she does. I’m far from trying to imply that “Christians are mad rar rar rar” im not a fan but im not overly prejudiced. But if you think back (btw i have only seen up to s1 ep5) literally every scene she is part of she mentions god, or praying, or how lucky we are to be here.

    The fact that her role is extremely limited (in time alone/with others she must have barely 5-10 min the the first half of s1) makes it seem like they tried for go for shear velocity of differing views etc to achieve the same effect as BSG by doing a very unbalanced 20 mins of shoot-outs, scavenging, running and hiding and other the other hand 2 mins of condensed god-babble (again not meaning any offence, but like an earlier comment this girl seems not quite with it, like she doesn’t understand how totally screwed every single thing is and has only two reactions, stalking or praying mode.)

    I did like how the cynical CO (the main characters boss) of the group interacted with her, they were the only real moments of conversation that i felt existing in the plot. And that’s the difference you tell the “conversation”, exchange of emotion and the typed, generic “words” and having both only highlighted the other for me.

    Well, looking back i seem to have rambled on for quite a while, but I feel that a subject like this needs deeper analysis, something that the show misses because of that. If they spent half the time thinking about the character as I have just done in the last 10 mins, they would have seen that too. So, that’s it for me, im not sure of the current plans for continuing or for that matter what lies ahead in season 2, but i hope that the balance is corrected because despite this tiny, gigantic mistake i still like the show, even if i have to cringe for a little bit.

    PS I hope I’ve been two sided, but by all means tell me otherwise, love to hear from the “other team” i guess you could say lol since i as a person of little faith in the organised fashion, ie believing in gods that man has held as true, god, buddha, allah, because as far as im concerned, if there is a god who are we to give it name, shape, image without a knowledge of existence, god is probably laughing at us now as what silly things we say about him.

  • anj

    I’ve happened across this discussion a few years late, but thought I’d chime in since someone in the thread asked to hear from “the other team,” although I certainly wouldn’t put it that way (unless a person professed being on “Team Evil”). As someone who does believe in one supreme God, Jesus as our redeemer, and the Bible as truth, I would like to add that the Book of Revelation actually speaks of this very sort of intense persecution at the end of the world and that many will lose their faith because of it. Faith isn’t just about comfort in hard times, it’s about acknowledging Someone bigger than yourself and trusting in His purposes for the greater good–no matter how bad things look from a finite, human perspective. That’s not to say that many don’t have a crisis of faith when they go through tough times, but many come out knowing God in an even deeper way.

    My hope would that any who do not currently believe in God (I’ve wrestled through my doubts and questions over the years), would at least open your heart to the possibility–or perhaps take it the other way and put thought in trying to disprove His existence rather than just dismissing or making light of this all-important decision of faith. Many famous former atheists found God when trying to disprove Him. It’s not about religion and ritual, it’s about faith and man’s core spirituality. Much of what man has done with the spiritual externally, in the name of “religion,” has totally wrecked it for so many. But I believe God can draw anyone near who softens their heart to consider Him in earnest.

    Regarding the show, I haven’t watched yet so can’t comment, but have been considering it which is how I happened upon your review. Thank you for considering my thoughts.

    • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

      Thanks for your comments, of course I’m always eager to hear the opinions of believers… I was especially looking forward to how Christians deal with their faith in the face of a possible Alien Invasion (which brings up SO many critical challenges). And I also feel that somehow your comment proves a point: rather than watching the show and sharing the subject of the debate (the Falling Skies TV show) you’re diving into the conversation with no personal experience and only your previously held convictions and history of belief… not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, but it seems like misplaced effort (a marketer, for example, would make sure he finds the right kind of readers, who are primed to accept his message… you seem to be employing a shotgun approach; spray the message everywhere and hope it sticks.) Of course as a moral believing person, it’s your duty to spread the word of Christ (you can’t be a good person and a believer without doing everything in your power to share)…but if I were still on your team, I would think more deliberately about the direction of my efforts. Thanks though for visiting!

      • Dee Night

        Please see my above comment in regards to the Vatican. Christians who do not believe that inter-dimensional beings exist are not doing their deeper homework. I am a “knower” of Jesus Christ. How you protest? Because I seeked and He drew me to Him like He says He will. Gave me healing and revelations. People will say all kinds of nasty things about that but I have always had both oars in the water and I know what I saw.

  • rommell shah wing

    Brothers and sisters have you really let the earths way of thinking and living cause you to apply things that man only tell you on behalf of what man thinks? There are things about the way that everything came to be, but this can only be revealed to you if you would of kept your faith in His son, but I tell you only this there are others besides us that My Lord Jesus and My father created, so brothers come and follow and repent of your sins and change completely the way you think! Study His words and apply My Lord Jesus christ and my Father to be approved by His spirit then when the harvest is ready for the reap then all things will be clear!

  • Attila Borguet

    The fact that Tom is literally playing Jesus is not helping 🙂

  • Juan Sánchez

    I can see I come to the discussion (and the show) a bit late… I started watching Falling Skies today and right after the fourth episode I am quite annoyed by what it seems so far unnecessary religious (Christian) presence so I looked for some info on the web and I arrived here :). Thanks for the post and the update!, which I think is helping me continue to watch the series a bit longer hoping it improves in this sense. Cheers.

    • Snake Plissken

      I’m sorry Jesus is annoying to you. It’s all part of the false alien/demon deception at the hands of the UN. There are plenty of resources out there.

  • Snake Plissken

    See project Blue Beam. New age occultism, Freemasons and Rome are only some of the systems of deceit by these aliens/demons/fallen angels.

    We’ve all been brainwashed by everything around us. Time to grow up and wake up.

    Jesus is the absolute Truth. Remember that when the UN brings the world together to unite us with peace and security and the promise of satan’s Vth (5) age.

  • Ngozi Nwachukwu

    Of course! Religion CAN survive an alien invasion. I for one count on God to help me in times of trouble when I feel like I am doomed. I don’t even have to do anything and He still will provide me and help me get through tough journeys. If He has already done so much in my life, then why can’t He help me in an alien invasion? Even He weren’t to do anything during an alien invasion. If He let’s it happen then that would mean that it’s more want to be. It would mean that He is doing so to make you stronger. And as Paul would say, “These alien invasions would mean suffering. Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. And character produces hope.” So this is why religion could survive an alien invasion.