Which movies and which individuals do I have in mind? I offer Roger Rabbit and Wall-E as a comparison and constrast between a secular and sacred (specifically Christian) Saints. I use the term ‘saint’ with a capitalized “S” normally to indicate a hero of the Christian tradition and faith. Roger Rabbit strike me for some odd reason as more a secular saint than secular hero, after all Roger represents virtues very much unlike those of Achilles, a more traditional hero. For reference, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a 1988 movie mixing 24-frame animation directed by Roger Zemeckis featuring Bob Hoskins and a zany (a term of art) Roger Rabbit in a mystery story featuring murder, possibly adultery and of course intrigue. Wall-E is a computer animated PIXAR film which is less easily classifiable. I commend both as wonderful examples of some of the best of animated cinema.

Back in the day, in the 90s and when WFRR came out, I became convinced that Roger was saint, and at that time I was pretty much a secular fellow so it might be considered at that point that perhaps Roger is a secular not sacred version of the saint. Why did I consider Roger to be a saint. It is one of his lines in the movie, “I just want to make people laugh.” And that is indeed his (and perhaps all of “toontown’s”) mission in the movie. Bob Hoskin’s character is quite the sourpuss. Underlying the entire narrative is the “want to make people laugh” as a them. Spreading joy and enjoyment is the highest virtue, the highest calling from Roger’s (and the Toon communities) point of view. And for this, I considered Roger a candidate as a, secular, saint.

Wall-E too is a saint, but in a very different way. He is a hero of circumstance as well, but that just confuses matters. That is to say that while he is the person (or more accurately the intelligence) that is in the right place at the right time, making the right decisions which turns the human race around and saves the species. However that is not what makes him a saint in a Christian sense. What, for me, makes me consider Wall-E a portrayal of a saint is that seems to me connects more with some of the real Christian Saints. Wall-E is filled, seemingly ontologically, of a transforming grace. Characters in this movie, and while its been a while since I’ve seen it but I think this includes all of them except perhaps our villain(s), are transformed by Wall-E. You can identify (and likely they would be able as well) the change in them catalyzed by Wall-E. You can identify their character development with a watermark, identified by a ‘before-I-met Wall-E” person vs the “after-I-met Wall-E” person. An example of this might be the incendental contact he makes with one of the ship dwellers in passing who shortly thereafter finds himself noticing and interacting differently with his neighbor.

And this I think is a identifying difference between my perception of this sort of secular and sacred saint. The secular saint by effort and calling effects change in people in a conscious fashion. This particular sacred saint on the other hand, unintentionally awakens a fullness (or perhaps in a lest loaded “Eastern Christian term, a turning to their teleos or purpose) in those he contacts.

Filed under: ChristianityEthics & MoralityMark O.MoviesReligion

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