As compelling as Life of Pi is visually, its message ultimately boils down to the idea that religions are based on stories, and some stories are preferable to others. Choose the one you like best, and live your life according to what you picked.

That won’t do. When it comes to religious faith, there’s too much at stake to simply punt on the question of why major world religions differ from one another. Life of Pi doesn’t bother to make distinctions between the faiths at the heart of its story, and it suggests that truth boils down to mere subjective preference.

That’s a shame, because Life of Pi is a beautifully-made film full of dazzling imagery. It spectacularly brings to life a modern, widely read story. But in doing so, it distorts, compromises and sells out the greatest story ever told. Although Life of Pi may be faithful to its source material, it’s not faithful to the Christ whom Pi claims to know, or to the authority of the written accounts of Christ's life preserved in Scripture. It’s a film filled with beautiful pictures, but ugly at its heart.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Pi’s full name is Piscine, pronounced "pissing," which brings much teasing
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: None
  • Sex/Nudity: None; a scene of urination
  • Violence/Crime: A tiger kills a goat off-screen and is seen dragging off its body; a ship goes down in a storm; a hyena kills a zebra and an orangutan; a tiger kills a hyena; vomiting; Pi catches and kills a fish; a tiger attacks a meerkat
  • Religion: Pi proclaims himself a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim; a mention of "the way of karma, the way of God;" discussion of fate; the writer hopes Pi’s story will help him to believe in God; Pi says he was introduced to God first as a Hindu; an adult tells Pi that religion is darkness; Pi says he “met Christ” in the mountains when he was a young man, and that he couldn’t get Christ out of his head; a priest recites John 3:16; he thanks Vishnu for bringing him to God; Pi says God wasn’t finished with him at that point, and that later "God introduced himself to me again," this time as Allah; Pi’s father commends reason over religion; faith is described as a house with many rooms; Pi believes animals have souls, because he has “seen it in their eyes”; Pi says he spent his teen years “searching for something that might bring meaning back into my life”; a dance instructor tells her students to express their love of God through dance; Pi declares, “God, I give myself to you. I am your vessel; after killing a fish, Pi prays to Vishnu and thanks the god for saving the lives of those on the boat; Pi believes a tiger can be tamed "with God’s will;" Pi cries out, "Praise be to God! I surrender!;" believing death is near, Pi prays, "God, thank you for giving me my life. I am ready not;" Pi says God gave him a sign on his journey; Pi says an evil man brought out the evil within him

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.

Publication date: November 21, 2012