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digitalimpression's avatar

What do you think of this take on "It's a Wonderful Life"?

Asked by digitalimpression (9910points) December 24th, 2011

Larry Alex Taunton says that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a fitting metaphor for a nation absent Christian belief.

Is it a fitting metaphor? A large percentage of jellies will disagree with this statement (I’d wager). What are your reasons?

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6 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

I read the article you linked, and it has some salient points, indeed a lot of our “values” and “traditions” as a nation have evolved from a Judeo-Christian base, but I don’t agree yes, @digitalimpression , feel free to point to that and say“see! I was right! People disagree just like I said!” that the level of hopelessness portrayed in the movie ”...is a fitting metaphor for a nation absent Christian belief.”, I think it is a fitting metaphor for the personal hope that resides in each of us, spiritual belief or not, that we are having enough of a positive influence on our world that it would indeed be a poorer place without us. Of course I don’t know what Capra intended, maybe someone has a link that can enlighten us to that.

Blueroses's avatar

The beauty of a parable is that it can be interpreted to fit any individual’s belief system.

Capra possibly (probably) intended a Christian metaphor as many of his other films also have relationships to biblical stories.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Blueroses Well, I’m not sure you can conclusively say that a parable can be so versatile, but I see your point. Metaphors aside, what do you think of the idea that more and more people are concerned for the future (statistically, as stated in the article)?

ETpro's avatar

Only those whose entire understanding of the world consists of Christians like ma and “Dangerous, Evil Other” would think that. It’s a Wonderful Life “is a fitting metaphor for a nation absent Christian belief.”

The obvious falsity of that can be seen right now, as Benton Harbor Michigan becomes a real-life “Pottersville” under the Dictatorial hand of the Emergency Financial Manager appointed by right-wing Republican Governor Rick Snyder to run the town. Please listen to the video linked below, and as you do, bear in mind that Rick Snyder, Representative Al Pscholka who wrote the Emergency Financial Manager law and who will profit from it, and Whirlpool Heir and owner of the new Golf Development, Fred Upton are all right-wing Republicans who claim to be models of Christian morality.

Meanwhile there are towns and nations run by people from religions of all different stripes and by those who largely do not subscribe to any religion who are acting more like George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character in the film. In other words, while the religious right is largely like Potter or empower those who are, many atheists are the antitheses of him.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t know what Carpa intended but I always saw the movie in a slightly different way. I understood the movie as meaning that we each carry responsibilities in caring for ourselves and our friends and neighbors and that our lives are intertwined for the good and the bad. We can choose to be born (active in our community for the good) or live a life where we contibute nothing to others (not be born). In doing nothing we contribute to the evil side of nature.
I agree with the following statement in the article:
The problems of human society are the problems of human nature, wrote “Lord of the Flies” author William Golding. Indeed. This was the discovery of the monastics. Seeking to escape the evil of the world, they found instead a doctrine central to Christianity: that evil is innate to us all. History tells us that a given philosophy, creed or religion will either restrain our darker impulses or exacerbate them, but escape them we cannot. Not in this life, anyway.

digitalimpression's avatar

After bringing it up I’m almost sorry that I did. I like the movie the way it is without any metaphors or comparisons to real life.

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