The Book of Eli Analysis

This is an older movie so I am not too stressed out about spoiling the movie. I did want to take the time to dive into what the movie was trying to say, and at one point the writers view is the core message of The Bible. I don’t think I am even going to take time to summarize the movie.

Eli you learn later is blind. “I see by faith, not by sight,” he is quoted to saying, and he literally can see from faith. He wears sunglasses not to protect his eyes from the sun, but to not show people that he is blind. He has been given special privileges from God so to speak. He took on a task that has taken him over 30 years, surviving off of a wasteland. It isn’t just the surviving from the elements, but from gun fire. The first gun fire scene Eli was literally standing with no cover, and the audience hears bullets flying by. This maybe typical in other Hollywood movies, but this one had a purpose. It was showing that God was protecting him on a more literal level. Not to mention when he gets shot, and somehow by God’s plans, a friend comes and helps save his life.

He takes life and he hates taking it. Probably the coolest action scene is towards the beginning of the movie. He uses his blade. And after he was done protecting himself, he slams his blade with disgust. It’s to show that he follows what he reads. He knows it was to protect himself, but he hates taking the life of another.

What made the movie more interesting was the stance of the antagonist. He wanted to use The Bible as a means of power. By using their faith, they could be more righteous by building more towns, or something to that effect. He wanted to use faith as a means of expanding his power, of having his people follow him. By slanting the word of God, he could control his uneducated citizenship into doing things mainly for himself. I feel considering the statements made in his movie, the writing are showing not only what was done in the past with God, but also what should be done instead.

When I think about religion being used as a means of power, I automatically think of The Crusades and The Inquisition. As I understand it, by using what the bible says about bringing Christianity to all parts of the Earth for the second coming, this justified eliminating or saving the heathens. This created more conquest, and therefore more power. Depending on how you worship Christianity, there are some denominations that have you pay money to help loved ones pass into the after life – in the olden days, you had to pay the priest in order for your prayer to be heard by God. The Inquisition brought fear to the church, a fear that was used as a means of power. You fear the church, you do as the church says. These were once dire moments of our history, but people of God have evolved so to speak. Now through the Christian faith, there are different flavors of worship, but I believe what The Book of Eli said as to the main message of The Bible, is basic but very true.

Keep in mind Eli has been reading this book (it’s in braille) every night for 30 years. He is asked by his friend, the one who saved his life, indirectly, “what did you learn from this book?” Keep in mind she has no concept of God, of Jesus, or Creation, I mean anything. It’s the last Bible on the planet. Eli said, “Do onto others you’d want to do onto you.” The Golden Rule basically. This message is shown through love and caring throughout the entire Bible. I would argue that at some points the love is hard to see – however especially in The New Testament, love is a theme found throughout the book.

On this issue of spirituality, and faith, I think there comes to be two kinds of people that approach this phenomenon on whether or not to worship a certain religion. The first kind, take a leap of faith and believe in that God, to later find the evidence for that religion. The second, are people that require proof in order to worship whatever said God. The main difference that I can see, is for one the second group have to put forth loads more amount of effort to even come to a decision. The first group is able to put their belief into something and not require proof. This is admirable, but did they make the right decision? Only faith will tell.

Eli basically said if you were to remove knowledge of all the various characters of The Bible, and all the various stories, that the main message is the golden rule. Imagine, as John Lennon would say, what our society would be like if we treated others as we would like to be treated. It’s really difficult to be that way in our current society, with how people are vultures with our money. As they should be, because it seems if there is a financial incentive to do something, regardless of the ethics involved, you do it. As I have said before, our society is individualism. You could expand individualism to units of people, like your immediate family and friends. It’s okay to look out for the ones you love, but it is not okay to do that at the expense of others livelihood. People have forgotten that, people have forgotten the message of Eli. I wouldn’t be so against capitalism if it didn’t corrode the souls of so many people that partake in it. We seem to be taught the golden rule, but we refuse to execute that into our lives. Admittedly, that is the hard part. It is much easier to learn of a concept, rather than to incorporate that change into your life. I hope we can come together as a people, rather than be divided. We are so divided on so many levels. But class, sex, race, religion, political ideology just to name a few, we are so separated that we aren’t even an American people. What drives this conflict, is money, even where race is involved. Didn’t this book say money is the root of all evil?

When Eli prayed, he didn’t ask for anything. He thanked the Lord for everything. He will only take that of which is given to him, and what is planned for him, but he will not request it. If we all showed that humility, our world would be a much better place.

“Image no possessions,
Wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.”

“Imagine” by John Lennon

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