I saw the film “Tree of Life” over the weekend. Brad Pitt stars in it together with (almost starring) Sean Penn.
It was a breathtaking film in the most part. Great acting and great visuals. Rarely one had the feeling of “yes, I got the idea so now get on with the narative”.
But, one interesting thing happened. I started seeing the film as a fantastic piece of propaganda against the Creationist and personal-God positions. In the film there are good people leading good christian lives, praying to their catholic god to a background of having lost the parent’s “favourite” child.
Here I have to make a “full disclosure” statement… the film portrays a family with three boys (just like my family background) and is told from the perspective of the oldest child so his (my) perspectives of “favourite” are very subjective and questionable.
The scenes of the enormity of the creation of the Universe in contrast to the personal woes of the portrayed family shout at to me “get a sense of perspective” (similar to Douglas Adams’s piece about the “Total Perspective Vortex”), not for the family and their grief, for which I feel for them, but for their religion. If you believe in a God and that God is all powerful and all knowing, and thus moves in ways which are beyond human conception, there’s no point asking him/her/it “why?” as you’re not going to live long enough to understand the reasoning, even if it were possible for a human to understand.