After Earth: Fear is a Choice

Posted: November 14, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Tags: , , , , , , ,

after-earth-final-posterI know I’m very late to comment on this movie, but I just recently got around to seeing it. Many people bashed this film and said it was horrible. Critics and fans alike were more than disappointed in M. Knight Shyamalan’s work. And, after seeing the film, I would have to agree. I really like Will Smith and I really like Shyamalan.  Even though Shyamalan’s last several movies haven’t been up-to-par, he still has made some excellent films.  He’s just in a bit of a slump right now, and I think we can continue to show him some more grace.

That being said, there was a very interesting quote in the movie.  And, the filmmakers were very aware that it was an interesting quote, because it became the tagline of the movie and was also featured in the trailers.  The tagline reads, Danger is real. Fear is a choice.  This is taken from a lengthier quote Cypher Raige [Will Smith] says to his son:

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.

Now, I need to go ahead and say that I don’t fully agree with this quote.  Fear is very real.  Fear is in our DNA and it is valid. God continually tells us in his Word that we are to fear Him.  Psalm 2:11 commands us to, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”  The Bible also tells us that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge [Proverbs 1:7].  The fear of the Lord is better than great treasures [Proverbs 15:16]. So, we can see that the Bible affirms fear is a very real thing, not just part of our imagination as Cypher states.

I think the distinction here is between godly fear and worldly fear. From the quote above, it seems that it is describing worry or anxiety, not the fear God is commanding us to.  “The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future”, sounds very similar to what Christ said about worry and anxiety, “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” [Matt. 6:34a] Worry is often stress or anxiety about something that hasn’t even happened and, most likely, won’t happen – as Cypher says; therefore, Cypher’s quote is very accurate in some ways.

Our worldly fears are often the result of these false stories we make up in our minds.  Stories that may never come to exist. When Cypher states that he began telling himself another story, he is referencing something referred to as “ghosting”. Cypher discovered how to stop fearing the future. This was important to the story because aliens called Ursa were attacking their planet.  These ursa were blind but could smell fear. Once Cypher learned to ghost, he could fight and defend himself without being attacked.  So, telling himself this different story, allowed him to ghost and fight his enemies.

This is very similar to the Christian life. We are all telling ourselves a story. Often times the stories we are telling ourselves produce worldly fear. Fear of others – what if they don’t like me, what will people think if I wear this, how do I look in other’s eyes when I say or do this – we feed these fears by telling ourselves stories. However, God has graciously given us his Spirit to tell ourselves another story. When we listen to the story accomplished through Jesus Christ, the story that tells us we are loved and accepted by the Father based on the finished work of his Son, it dispels our fear. So the Spirit (or for the sake of this post) the Holy Ghost gives us another story that indeed makes fear a choice.

  1. […] After Earth: Fear is a Choice […]

  2. Derrick H. says:

    Very simply, look up what the word FEAR is translated in the scripture you means Reverence, different than the word FEAR, when God says, I have not given YOU the spirit of FEAR, but of Love, Joy, and sound mind, none of which you can do if you FEAR.

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