Redemption, Theological perspective as ” the protection

   Redemption, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil” (Oxford). Although a word that springs from a religious perspective, the theme of redemption has been widely used in literature, art, and television all over the world. ?Tamara Underiner tries to define Redemption from a Theological perspective as ” the protection against and deliverance from danger, sin, suffering, and evils in general, through some combination of divine agency and human faith, frequently involving sacrifice.” (Underiner) she also further states that “It is also a major theme in Western literature and popular culture, where its meanings often cluster around more earthly notions of public reparation, recovery (often from addiction), and deliverance from a burden of guilt”(Underiner).  In this essay, I would like to compare and contrast on the redemptive themes found in a Christian and Secular perspective in context to Film. ?     According to a religious- Christian perspective ‘Redemption’ has been understood as the freedom purchased by Jesus Christ, the Son of God who through his sacrifice on the Cross saved humanity from their sinful nature, thus redeeming mankind not through their acts of righteousness but through repentance followed by acceptance of the grace freely given by a God who unconditionally loves His Creation. Because the theme of redemption is a core element in Christianity, almost every Christian Film that was created contained the element of redemption. ?The early Christian films that were created initially carried the message of the gospel in all its directness and was used as a tool for evangelism. But as time passed the narrative began to change to a more subtle form of the gospel that was found through stories that addressed testimonials, encouraged moral values and shared about the love of God through everyday folk (Cinematic Salvation ch.1).     An example of a recent Christian Redemptive film would be the movie ‘The Shack (2017)’.  Based on a true story of Mackenzie Allen Phillips, a deeply touching story about a man who carried a painful childhood due to his abusive and alcoholic father whom Mack had killed due to poisoning his liquor. Years later Mack is happily married and has 3 children, out of which his youngest daughter Missy get abducted and killed on a camping trip to a Shack. The incident damaged Mack’s life for years and he was unable to come to terms with his loss. But one day Mac receives an anonymous letter from God asking him to go back to the shack where little Missy was murdered. On his return to the Shack, Mac meets with a personified version of God the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit through the form of real-life people who took mac on a journey of healing and redemption and understanding of the love of God. This movie contained themes of pain, bitterness, unforgiveness, depression, loss, fear and guilt that was addressed through the life of Mac and how a divine intervention had changed his perspective on life and through learning the agape love of God, Mac was able to let go of all his shortcomings and embrace the painful life he had, thus forgiving his father and himself for all that had happened in his childhood and with his daughter Missy.  Because of its ultimate element of transformation being a divine intervention by God himself taking Mac from a place of bondage and helplessness to a life of salvation and freedom in a more direct manner, this film constitutes as a perfect example and contains all the elements of a Christian based Redemptive film.    While an example of the secular Redemptive film would of something on a more similar plot line to make this analysis very clear; David Frankel’s ‘Collateral Beauty’. The movie just like ‘The Shack’ is based on a grieving father(Howard) who from being a happy family man is shattered to pieces at the death of his daughter Olivia, which led to his marriage separation as well as dealing with years of depression along with a failing career. The film personifies elements like Love, Time and Death who through a planned strategy by Howard’s concerned employees use to help Howard deal with his loss and in the process leading him to meet his wife at a group therapy session. The film uses different narrative techniques to convey the message of Howard’s struggle and he finds his redemption by meeting with love, time and death and having a much-awaited conversation with them, which triggers him to vent out his pain and open his heart to his wife who helps him notice the collateral beauty, that is, ”  about the search for meaning in heartbreak and death. It’s about love being in the middle of suffering, pain, and loss” (Pacatte). The theme of redemption is noticed in this film through the reconciliation of Howard to his wife and by accepting the loss of his daughter, pulling him out of a prison of self-pity, bitterness, and hopelessness towards a life of hope, peace, and joy. ?    I will, therefore, conclude that Redemptive cinema is unified by the stable themes of a life of salvation from a situation of bondage or struggle,  but it is divided into two spheres based on faith and beliefs; Christian and secular redemptive cinema. But at the end of the day, love seems to be the common denominator  in this equation is Love and according to 1 John 4:8, “God is love ” Therefore Redemptive cinema stems from a basis of mutual love and understanding that crosses boundaries of hate and struggle into a place of hope and freedom. Thus making Redemptive Cinema as a result of the influence of the message of Jesus Christ and its impact on the world. 


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