I recently saw Avatar, the film that is currently breaking box office records around the world.
Without question, director James Cameron has raised the bar for computer-generated graphics to a level never seen before. His depiction of the Na'vi, the imaginary creatures who live in the world of Pandora, is quite a spectacle.
An article on CNN's Web site described it like this: "The world of Pandora is reminiscent of a prehistoric fantasyland, filled with dinosaur-like creatures mixed with the kinds of fauna you may find in the deep reaches of the ocean. Compared with life on Earth, Pandora is a beautiful, glowing utopia."
Pandora is not real
Now here is where the rub comes. Some people have have gotten a bit too caught up in the CG world of make-believe.
The CNN article went on to say, "James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle Avatar may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora."
Say what? Depression and suicidal thoughts? Some people are taking this all way too seriously.
I do think this touches on something deeper, our unique makeup as humans that causes us to long for more than we have here on this earth. It really is a longing for heaven.
As the Bible says, "God has placed eternity in our hearts."
There is no indication the animal world has similar longings. I seriously don't think dogs (and especially cats!) think about the meaning of their lives and decry the emptiness of their lives, but humans do.
Deep inside, we all long for this place that we have never been. C.S.Lewis called it the "secret signature of each soul."
"There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven," Lewis wrote, "but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. . . . It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want."
The real thing
Heaven is the real thing. Pandora is a CG imitation, at best.
I would hope that those who are feeling depressed and even having suicidal thoughts would open up the Bible and read its descriptions of the future home of the person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ. You can read all about the very real place called heaven in the Book of Revelation, among other places.
Here is a glimpse of our future eternal home from Revelation 21 (from THE MESSAGE):
The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall. The City was laid out in a perfect square. He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal. . . . The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable . . . . The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God-the Sovereign-Strong-and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn't need sun or moon for light.
I'll take the real over the virtual any day of the week.