A Knock at the Christian Faith: The Newest Movie Bashing Believers as Extremists
The new movie Knock at the Cabin is a blood libel of Christianity. It’s also a film about the apocalypse that makes you hope it will arrive soon. Its first half is boring and uninvolving. The second is an excruciating exercise in horror-porn. However, what’s most notable is what it tells us about Hollywood. None of that is good.
To explain why that is I have to give away the story. So be alerted that this review contains more than a few plot spoilers.
Painting Christianity as a Death Cult
Like nearly all M. Night Shyamalan’s movies, the film is set in a rural area of his home state of Pennsylvania. A gay couple, Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and Eric (Jonathan Groff), has taken their adopted Chinese-American daughter (Kristen Cui) to a rented cabin on a lake for a weekend get-away. There they meet four seemingly crazed figures who break into the cabin in order to inform them that the apocalypse is about to begin. The only thing that can prevent this, the two men are told, is if they kill one member of their family, offering God the human sacrifice that he desires.
Andrew and Eric are certain that their intruders are psychotic. But reports on their TV set tell them of a series of global calamities. As they watch the images shown of earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues and plane crashes, they gradually realize that while the invaders have been affected by visions, their horrid premonitions of coming catastrophes are real. Equally real is their insistence that God is desirous of a homicidal act of retribution and atonement.
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On several occasions, the film makes clear that the end of the world event it anticipates is an expressly Christian happening. One indication appears late in the film when Eric explains that their four intruders are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse referred to in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation.
Another comes from one of the visitors (Nikki Amuka-Bird), a nurse who tells them that the prophetic awareness she has gained inspired a re-awakened devotion to her local church. Eric even hints that he has seen a vision of a figure, presumably Christ, who is trying to persuade him to take on the role of sacrificial lamb.
What’s wrong with this?
Sacrificing to the Wrong “God”
If there is one thing that is explicit in Christian theology it is an aversion to human sacrifice. This carries on from earlier Jewish traditions. The Philistines were an ancient tribe. Neighbors of the Israelites, the Philistines were among the larger number of people whom we now call the Phoenicians. These two groups — Jews and Philistines — spoke a mutually intelligible language. So you might think that they were friends.
However, they were usually at war. This was because their customs and their faiths were entirely different. The Philistines were not believers in one God. Rather, they had many deities, and they regularly engaged in “burnt offerings.” This is to say that they would take a certain number of their babies, place them on an altar, and slit the infants’ throats in the hope that these ritual sacrifices to Baal and Tophet would win them favor with their cruel gods.
The Hebrews regarded this with hatred and scorn.
In this, the Jews were establishing a new view of the world and of divinity. For research shows that human sacrifice was practiced in ancient times on every inhabited continent. This Jewish opposition to it finds its embodiment in the book of Genesis, through the Binding of Isaac, or, as Jews call it, the Akedah. Here God refuses Abraham’s offer of Isaac’s life, instead providing Himself a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place.
With the appearance of Christianity, the meaning of this event became more definite. No Christian sect has ever even engaged in ritual sacrifice of animals, and no religion has ever been so unambiguous in its condemnation of violence or in its opposition to human sacrifice. Indeed, Christians believe that Jesus was God come down to earth to sacrifice Himself for man. That’s the opposite of any pagan practice.
We might even see the pagan rites as demonic inversions of the God-given order of things. (Editor’s Note: See Jonathan Cahn’s new book, The Return of the Gods, for much more detail on pagan practices and their preternatural origins.)
Though Shyamalan is Hindu by birth, he attended a Roman Catholic prep school, and he is undoubtedly familiar with all this. That a Hollywood studio — in this case Universal — had no problem financing such a movie is reprehensible. Unfortunately, it is also typical of the movie industry’s routine distortions of and manifest hostility towards Jewish and Christian religious traditions and beliefs.