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Why you should see "The Giver"

Jeff Bridges stars as the Giver
Jeff Bridges stars as the Giver
Photo by Michael Loccisano

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God…(Ps. 14:1).

What would a world without faith in God look like? It could look a lot like the world of “The Giver”. The movie, based on the award-winning book by Lois Lowry, and championed for some fifteen years by Jeff Bridges (he originally optioned the book to direct his dad in the role of the Giver), portrays a dystopian futuristic society where faith, family, and feelings have all been eliminated by the government in an attempt to build a more perfect order. One of the key lines in the book comes from Meryl Streep’s character who says, “When people are given a choice, they choose wrong.” But what we see in the story is that when government makes the decisions for us, adrift from the moral and spiritual anchors belief in God provide, they can end up creating a society that robs us of the things that make life meaningful. Things like faith, family, and love.

Most of the articles I’ve read reviewing the film tend to emphasize the parallels of the world of “The Giver” with government intervention in America today. But what about a world where belief in God has been eliminated? In the book and film, I would suggest that it is the loss of the basic morality taught in the Bible that leads to a place where infants that don’t meet the standards set for newborns, and men and women who reach the age when they are no longer considered contributing to the common good (whatever that is!) are “released”. The film graphically shows a baby being injected in the head in the “release” ceremony and then placed in a crate and sent down a chute. As the main character Jonas cries out that the babies are not being “released” but killed, those around him look on with blank stares, not even understanding what he is protesting.

King David wrote that the person who didn't believe in God was a fool. You already know what happens when a fool is given the freedom to choose: they choose wrong! The freedoms and values we hold dear are the product of a culture with roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The further we drift from our biblical roots, the more likely we are to embrace a world where peace and prosperity are valued more than human life and liberty. I highly recommend you spend the time and effort to see the film. It is a story driven film rather than a special effects driven film, and the story shows what life could be like if the drift away from God in Western Civilization continues.