From the Pages of History

Stories, Pictures, Quotes & Trivia (and more) that tell the story of the world.

Archive for the tag “Bible”

Literary picture quotes #5: Resurrection


C Easter 1 rain

C Easter 2 purple daisies

Blessed Resurrection Day!

Literary Picture Quotes #4: Narnia and the Stable


A season-appropriate quote from the land of Narnia. The Baby born in that stable changed everything! Merry Christmas! 

“liberty: because”


Why do we have Liberty?

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Victory


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For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ~

War, peace, and Ender’s Game


This is a post that has been in the works for a while. It concerns the movie Ender’s Game. Besides being a cool sci-fi film, I thought it raised some interesting ideas. In college, I took a course on international relations. When we watched the movie, the course was fresh in my mind, and I got to thinking about elements of IR in the movie. Here are some of my thoughts 🙂

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To start, Ender’s Game is set in a futuristic world in which there has recently been a battle between the Humans and the (intelligent) Bugs. The ever-expanding Bug colony wanted to take over the Humans’ world but the Humans beat the Bugs back, at great cost. The movie opens with a conundrum on how to deal with the factions of Humans vs. Bugs, as the former suspect the latter of an uprising.

There are a few main ways to look at the international system and what goes on in it, whether it be wars, trade, treaties, or the Olympics—two of the most famous are realism and liberalism. Realism sees each nation in the world system as looking out for its own interests first. This can include wars but does not have to; whatever best helps the country will be pursued. Liberalism would like the nations of the world to work together. Cooperation and not war is its preference.

There are elements of both realism and liberalism in “Ender’s Game.” The two extremes are demonstrated in Ender’s siblings. His older brother Peter is aggressive and mean, and his younger sister Valentine is loving and peaceful. Neither is accepted into the training academy. When it is Ender’s turn to go the academy, he must find a balance between these two extremes.

Ender has a good character; he does not seek fights but looks for the diplomatic or peaceful solution. He tries to find win-win situations. However, when forced into fights, he will fight back. When attacked by a gang of bitter boys at the academy, Ender tries to walk away at first, but the leader forces him to fight. When he gets the upper hand, he kicks the leader repeatedly, hoping to beat him so badly he will lose the desire to bully him, thus preventing any future attacks. However, Ender does not enjoy doing this. I like how this illustrates the Proverb “answer a fool according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:5). If all they understand is violence, a lesson must be taught that they will actually learn.

There is also a bit on leading by love vs. fear, another issue in IR. The kids are arranged into squads. Because of Ender’s goodness, fairness, strength of character, and likability, he becomes popular with most of the other trainees, but there’s one squad leader, Bonzo, who prefers to rule by fear. Bonzo quickly drops in popularity and seeks to hurt Ender. When Ender acts in self-defense, Bonzo is badly hurt, and Ender is devastated for what he unintentionally did. Even though I think Ender didn’t have to be so upset over the situation that wasn’t his fault, this further demonstrates his gentle character and raises him in favor with the other trainees.

The mantra of the adult in charge of the training academy, Colonel Graff, is realism. His goal is to protect the world from the bugs at all costs. It’s “us vs. them” and he’s determined to win. He sees potential in Ender and wants to develop him into a decisive, skilled leader. He has no problems playing games to do that. He puts Ender in situations to see how he’ll react. He observes Ender’s way of either beating up bullies or cleverly turning them to his side with great interest and approval. Unfortunately Col. Graff also has no problems with lying to Ender and keeping secrets from him in order to make Ender behave the way he wants, all the while showering him with praise. Ender does not appreciate the way the system is set up to mold these kids into military leaders. He also does not like the secrecy and lies that permeate the academy. But who would? Col. Graff wants to make Ender a great military leader, but doesn’t trust him enough to tell him the whole truth of the situation and let him figure it out. Graff still wants to be in control.

There is also a mystery that surrounds the Bugs themselves. They are the enemy, obviously. But most in the leadership of the training academy leave it at that. It’s “us vs. them.” Ender prefers to understand his enemy. He does this in simulations as he returns to the games and analyzes them, wanting to go deeper than just what appears on the surface. Then, once he understands the opposition, he usually ends up sympathizing with them. “When you really know your enemy, then you love him” he says. This is generally a good principle, but we must be careful not to go too far or act unwisely.

Ender’s final test is a battle simulation. He comes on the enemy and sees they are just sitting there, waiting. Wondering at this, but wanting to gain victory, he and his team strike first and destroy the enemy, though at a great cost to his own fleet. However, the situation turns out to not be a simulation—that is, or was, the entire enemy fleet, and Ender has just decimated them. He is hailed a hero, but instead of celebrating he is crushed, exclaiming, “I will bear the shame of this genocide forever!” Through visions, he finds the lair of the Queen bug, and finds her sick and weak and only wanting to care for her baby. The movie ends with him going to find a new home for the bugs, who were not planning to wipe out humanity after all.

Ender was firm that the liberalist way was best in this case. And I agree with him there. The enemy turned out to NOT be all ready to attack, as Col. Graff and the top brass kept insisting. And if Ender had been told the truth at that point about that situation, he would have sent people to reconnoiter and see what the enemy was doing. Once it was ascertained that an invasion was not imminent, parleys could be held, and/or peace terms could have been worked out. This is the liberalist way of doing things. Not that avoiding war at all costs is smart. But “if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18). If there are alternatives to war, it’s best to take them. These are real human lives that are being dealt with. Also, you have to look at the big picture—the long term impacts. And, the fleet’s avoidance or at least postponement of attacking the bugs in this instance would have been a smart thing to do. The enemy’s off-guard position should have been noted, and more effort should have been put out to find out what they were actually doing. Lives on both sides would have been saved.

Demonstrated are interesting cases where a strong stand is better, and the ending demonstrates that war isn’t always the best solution.

So, those are some thoughts of mine on the movie Ender’s Game. I really liked it, not only as a cool sci-fi film, but also for the thought-provoking issues it raised. Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

12.13.14


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An interesting and noteworthy date! And here are a couple verses to keep in mind every day of the year.

The exalting of a nation


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Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
~ Proverbs 14:34 ~

Passover and Easter: Jesus brings it all together (history + photos)


My post on Passover and Easter. A bit of history, plus pictures. 🙂

Passover and Easter: Jesus brings it all together | This Is Our Father’s World.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug


(Contains some spoilers.)

The unexpected journey continues.

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The background: In the opening scene, it is noted that, in order for the dwarvish armies to join together to reclaim their homeland of Erebor, Thorin, the rightful king, must posses the Arkenstone to demonstrate his legitimacy. Thus, the quest of the 13 dwarves and Bilbo to the Lonely Mountain to find the priceless stone.

The plot: Things definitely heat up in this second installment of the Hobbit trilogy. Azog the white Orc is called away by superiors and Bolg takes over as the company’s new foe. And he is relentless in the pursuit. The friction between Elves and Dwarves comes to the forefront. Thranduil the proud, greedy King of Mirkwood clashes with Thorin, who is still furious over his desertion of Erebor when it was under attack from the dragon. And a confrontation between the Dwarves and Smaug the dragon heats up to an inferno.

The hobbit: Bilbo, armed with not just “his courage,” as he remarks to Gandalf, but also with the magic Ring that grants its wearer invisibility, saves the Dwarves several times. Though it is tragic to watch how the Ring is slowly starting to take hold of him, influencing vicious actions.

The bad: The worst thing about the movie was the love triangle between Tauriel and Legolas and Kili the dwarf. It made things rather ridiculous. Like, Tauriel, supposedly captain of the Elven guard, was totally irresponsible, immature and impetuous to leave her position and take off to follow a dwarf—and if she was like that she would not have become captain of the guard in the first place! And the scene in which she sang over Kili, with the slow-mo and glowing light, was totally, totally a copy of the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where Arwen first comes when Frodo is hurt. I’m disappointed in PJ for reneging on his promise to not make Legolas a part of any romance. The Tauriel character is cool, but the romance is unneeded in the story.

The book: I really liked how some things from the book were portrayed in the movie. Beorn the skin-changer is there, as a raging bear and a gruff man. Bilbo’s defeat of the spiders of Mirkwood with the use of his (newly named) sword Sting and the Ring is very neat. The barrel scene is there, though it is livened up with an Orc attack and swinging and jumping Elves everywhere. Lake town is really well done—so real and gritty looking. Bard the bowman gets fleshed out so much and even has a family; he’s a really nice character. The failure of his ancestor to kill Smaug in that attack so long ago weighs heavily on him, but he is a good, moral man who wants to do what’s right and refuses to be drawn in to or intimidated by the corruption in his town.

The action: There was a lot of fighting and action. I’m a big fan of the little band type of fighting (though I like the big army type too) and there’s a lot of that, with Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs all attacking each other. There are also major confrontations. Legolas faces down the huge Bolg and wields a mighty sword in the hand-to-hand combat. Gandalf confronts the dark powers at Dol Guldor in a battle of light against dark. The climactic scenes of Bilbo and the Dwarves in the dragon’s lair inside the Lonely Mountain are quite breathtaking. “Smaug the stupendous” is just that, plus being totally conceited. The vast underground chambers and piles upon piles of loose gold strewn all over, covering the floor, make for a dramatic setting for the showdown. The forges are lit and soon molten gold is streaming.

The lessons: A major development is the rapid growth of evil unexpectedly taking place. In the first movie, seeing Orcs was puzzling enough, but now their increasing numbers are plain alarming. Gandalf leaves to investigate further at Dol Guldor, the place where Radagast fought the Ringwraith and found the Morgul blade in the first movie. While the Dwarves and Bilbo are encountering Orcs, giant spiders and Smaug the dragon, Gandalf discovers that hundreds of orcs are massing at Dol Guldor and it has turned into a veritable fortress of the dark lord Sauron. This is bigger than any of them suspected.

“We’ve been blind…and in our blindness the enemy has returned.” -Gandalf

Things are clearly coming to a head. Evil has returned. It is growing. What to do?

Tauriel says it well.

Legolas: “It is not our fight.”

Tauriel: “It is our fight. It will not end here. With every victory, this evil will grow! If your father has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide with in our walls, live our lives without light and let darkness descend. Are we not part of this world? Tell me, Mellon [friend], when did we allow evil to become stronger than us?”

This is what every hero in Middle Earth thinks, and acts on. This is why there is a story to be told here at all. There is evil in the world. When it presses in, do we hide? Do we retreat? If we did, the darkness would overpower all. No, we must fight.

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
-Proverbs 4:18-19

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
-Romans 13:1

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
-2 Corinthians 6:14

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
-1 Thessalonians 5:5

 

And some pictures, courtesy of http://www.TheHobbit.com.

(Click on pictures to bring up larger versions.)

Some wallpapers, courtesy of http://www.MoviesOfHollywood.com.

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Noah built an Ark: 5-star reviews of a 0-star movie


Find out what Hollywood’s “Noah” movie is really like. Read the story and spoilers here, and don’t waste money on seeing this film.

Review of story, with spoilers.

More detailed analysis of what’s wrong with the movie.

List of bad/weird stuff.

Detailed review, with warning and responses for Christians.

Instead, watch this short film by Living Waters and find out about the real Noah, and the end of the world.

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