I finally saw Bruce Almighty

I finally got around to seeing this movie. At first, I was opposed to seeing this film just on the grounds of its subject matter. The idea of God handing his powers over to a man is a bit blasphemous in my opinion.

I was at home recovering from my recent carpal-tunnel release surgery and the movie came on. I decided to go ahead and give it a critical eye. I say that relatively tongue-in-cheek — I’m no movie critic. But I like to think that I don’t watch movies or TV entirely passively. Overall the movie was pretty funny.

The “God” displayed in this film is tragically flawed and is not the God presented in scripture. But he is a god that is more palatable to a Western mindset. God presents Bruce with 2 rules. 1) don’t tell anyone that he is God and 2) don’t interfere with free will. It is the second of these rules that is so anti-God-of-scripture.

However, I’d bet that most Christians of America wouldn’t find the ideas in this movie all that offensive. Oh, they might be offended at the premise like I was. But the idea that God cannot interfere with free will fits in nicely with most Americans’ view of God. This is the view of God that seems so prominent in Western culture. In this view God is helpless against the almighty human free will.

There is a scene where Bruce asks God, “How can you make someone love you if you can’t interfere with their free will?” God replies something to the effect, “If you ever figure that one out, let me know.”

In the film, God hears prayers and seems powerful enough to be able to do something about the requests He hears. But he also tells Bruce that people really just need to learn to handle life themselves. The viewer is left with the impression that true “spirituality” is making your own miracles through self-effort. Indeed, Bruce learns this lesson so well that he disconnects his “prayer computer” at one point with a comment along the lines that people should start handling it all. This scene is during a montage of scenes showing the viewer that Bruce is finally “getting it” in terms of his God duties.

In the end, the viewer is (I presume) supposed to come away with the idea that being God is really a lot tougher than one would first believe. There are so many people, with so many conflicting desires in order to make them happy. God just can’t do it all, and is really doing the best He can.

This isn’t the God I love and serve. But it seems like a reasonable God, given our Western cultural mindset.