Alpine Summit

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KPax A Biblical Allegory?

I was watching "KPax" the other day and while I saw this theme over and over again, one particular scene sticks out illustrating disbelief in spite of overwhelming evidence to the extraordinary.

In KPax, Prot (Kevin Spacey) inhabits the body of a convalescent man for the sake of doing research for his planet: KPax. The "tour guide" for Prot is a psychiatrist played by Jeff Bridges who has been assigned to figure out why Kevin Spacey's character thinks he's an alien from a different planet.

To the movie watcher keeping score, the evidence for Prot's claim is always affirmed. The situation is that Jeff Bridges character (Dr. Mark Powell) presents his new found evidence to others who then come up with an explanation why or how Prot could do certain things.

This brings me to the scene that sticks out most in my mind: the scene at the planetarium. With several of Dr. Powell's astronomer friends looking on, Prot proceeds to solve an astronomical riddle regarding his home system to the amazement of all the scientists in the room.

To me, this seems like almost 100% proof that this guy might just be who he says he is (which is the question a viewer asks themselves over and over again during the movie). However, even with this intimate knowledge of a distant and little-known star system, people still think the man is just crazy and can't accept that he may in fact be an alien doing research on Earth.

This reminded me of the doubting people have of Jesus and His miracles. Despite all of Jesus' signs and fulfillment of prophecies, people still doubted him to be the messiah. At the heart of this is the "prove it" claim that if someone was really (x) then they would be able to do (y). I was reminded of the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell,[a] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

It's interesting that even though we have been told, and even though we have seen, we still doubt. To me it has to be because on some level, we don't want to believe these things because they challenge our own "business as usual" attitudes about the world. We get so used to seeing one thing a certain way that we start to believe that it's the only way we can see that thing. For example, we always see things thrown into the sky fall back down to earth that we can't believe it when someone tells us they just flew around in the air in a new contraption called an airplane. Even after we've seen it, we start thinking: "there has to be some kind of trick behind it--I'm being deceived."

Eventually we learn to accept the new worldview and move on to our next disbelief. Was Prot an alien, or was Kevin Spacey's character relapsed from a waking coma for a short period of time to ultimately tell someone about how he became a vegetable. This is the ultimate question in the movie. Our disbelief can sometimes make us miss the quality of whatever amazing thing is going on as a result of this amazing event we find ourselves questioning. While Jesus' existence and claims to messiah-ship are denigrated, shouted down, mocked and denied, those same people are missing out on His salvation and love. Few should disagree that Jesus' teachings have done more for humanity as a result of His three year ministry than others who have spent lifetimes improving mankind. Perhaps that's something to think about.