The film Saved! dealt on one of the most common issue in the religious circles and debates – the question on the interpretation of the words of God in the bible and the discrimination on the people who did not abide in the words of God. In this paper, with the help of the film and the analysis of the situation in the real world, we are going to argue that groups who are literal in interpreting the Bible have to make adjustments for them to continuously ‘save souls. ’ In the film, the Bible became the central and decisive element for almost all of the actions, judgments and goals of the characters.
Whether it is acting for or acting against the Bible, the story rotated on the way characters or the institution per se (i. e. the school) interpreted what is written in the book. Characters like Pastor Skip, Mary and the Christian Jewels (e. g. Hilary Faye) tried to determine their actions depending on what the Bible says or what they interpreted the Bible says. For characters like Mary, Roland and Cassandra, they were judged in relation to what the Bible speaks of or what the people in authority interpret on what the Bible is saying (i. e. Pastor Skip, Hilary Faye).
In the story, everything rotated on the interpretation of the words of God that were written on the Bible. The American Eagle Christian School almost became an ultimate haven for the people who blindly and rigidly followed the teachings on the Bible. Though the school is not entirely exclusive for Christians or Protestants, non-believers are discriminated by the population itself. The case of Cassandra who was a reckless and liberated student is an example of this discrimination.
Though the discrimination for her is not as common as what we can commonly interpret as discrimination, we can clearly see how the population of the school reacts to her. Almost all of them want to change her to be one of them. For the rest of the population, until Cassandra becomes one of them, she will be seen as an outcast on the school. This biblical literalism and the bias on the non-believers and sinners was later seen when Mary was discovered to be pregnant. As seen on the film, she was advised to be taken care of in the Mercy House.
It is important to note that earlier in the story; her boyfriend was taken care of in the Mercy House by his parents because of being gay. The Mercy House is the place wherein ‘sinful’ people or kids were taken to be disciplined. It is also a place wherein gray areas in the teachings are brought to be not dealt by the church or school administration. If there is one issue that dominated the entire story that affected almost all of the characters, it is the rigidness and stiffness of the interpretation on the teachings of God.
For most of the population, issues on life are only either black or white without any gray areas. Directly quoted from Pastor Skip, he said that, “The Bible is black and white. ” These people interpreted the teachings in the Bible as something that is stiff, direct and authoritative. The people who walk away or even divert for even a single degree from these adapted teachings will be seen as outcasts and will be discriminated. This kind of approach of the school administration, with the consent of the population managed to establish the Mercy House wherein outcast or sinners shall be sent for disciplinary actions.
This kind of approach, in relation to the events in the film and to what is happening in the real modern world had managed to exclude numerous people. With the rise of modernity and advance of technology in addition to the shift in paradigm of most of the people in the globe, the biblical literalism of many religious groups had brought conflict and strife to numerous groups of people. The biblical literalism had managed to exclude numerous people. It also made possible the formulation of the ‘us’ and the ‘them’. It is not these ‘outcasts’ do not believe on God or deny His existence.
They believe on God, however, the situation is no longer as straight forward and direct to the point as before. The modern reality had brought numerous gray areas that are yet to be resolved. Issues includes premarital sex, homosexuality and abortion are some of the common concerns of these people. The question here is simple. Are these groups who have a stiff and rigid interpretation of the Bible must loosen up their grasp on their interpretation for even a little bit? Is the common black and white or evil and good distinction still hold on today?
Will the outcast be left to rot outside until they accept the rigid interpretations of the Bible? From here, I argue that Yes, there should be a shift in attitude in interpreting the words of God. Since time and memorial or since the rules of religion were established, there are thousands or even millions of changes that happened in our society. Changes includes the way we dress, the way we communicate, the way we are governed and even the way we work. These societal arrangements managed to produce entirely new kinds or groups of people.
It is difficult to argue that the environment and society of yesterday who relies on stone and fire for their survival will produce the same people that have the capability to adapt the teachings of the Bible then. The world had changes so much since then. Fire and stone can longer sustain our lives. What I am advocating is not a complete shift in attitude in dealing with the words of God that were written in the Bible or a completely liberal approach in the situation. What I am proposing is a more liberal or open discussion of the issues that are arising for every individual that wants to join the religious groups.
Rather than closing the doors right away and sending these people to the Mercy house if there is one, it would be better if we are going to take a look and investigate the specificity of every situation. It is important to note that not all that is happening to a person happened by his or her choice, whether it is teen pregnancy or homosexuality, in many cases, we can argue that he did not choose it to happen. The best thing is to see their situation in a new light, a light that is deprived of biases of universality and literalism. In this way, we can be able to become closer to them and shall be given a chance to turn them in the process.
The world had changed so much in the last thousand years of evolution. It is not the environment that only changed, deep within us; we changed dramatically than our forefathers. In many cases, it is possible that the things that they believed before can be harder for us to obey because of these changes. In these cases, an open minded investigation is necessary. Only, in this respect we can expect a modern society that is closer to God. Works Cited Saved! Michael Ohoven et. Al (producers) Brian Danelly (director) Jena Malone, Mandy Moore et. al (performers) DVD. United Artists. 2004