My kids have recently watched and re-watched and re-watched and re-watched the video release of Moana they found at our local library. This has given me ample time to analyze the film and I have come to some intriguing insights.
One of the first things I noticed was that the animation giant has moved past marriage. There is no love interest on the horizon for Moana.
Another thing that stood out was how easy it was to teach kids the truth of Christianity using the mythological remake.
Society moves past marriage
The lack of a love interest for Moana reflects our culture’s conscious decision to do away with the institution of marriage.
Despite being groomed to be the leader of her people, there is no mention or even suggestion that Moana may need a mate.
Instead, she is a strong-willed girl that is encouraged to listen to her inner voice and write her own story.
Compare this to the traditional Disney storyline where there has always been a love interest, even if the heroine is forging her own way forward.
It is hard to stay whether the movie is a reflection of where society is or whether it deems to lead common thought. Regardless, it looks as if society has moved passed the idea of marriage, for the most part.
Yet, it does not change that our God made them male and female from the beginning and he did so for companionship. We should not belittle or discard that Holy purpose for marriage just because we would rather run off and write our own story. There is only one author of the Book of Life.
Moana and Apologetics
One of the most exciting things about watching Moana with my kids has been the ability to use the film to demonstrate the truth of Christianity.
While there are doubtless other elements of the film that can be used to point our kids back to Jesus the three most obvious are:
- Creation story
Moana begins with a creation story but it is not one that many of us are familiar with, unless you are from the island culture. Christians too have a creation story but it is much different from the one in Moana. Are your kids aware that the background of this movie is myth? If not, it is an opportune time to teach them the difference. You can start by looking at how the Christian creation story has scientific evidence that points to its truthfulness.
- Gods, goddesses and demi-gods
Teaching our kids the difference between a man-god or demi-god or minor deity and Jesus is a crucial part of their spiritual upbringing. Disney has made Maui funny – and funny is good – but his charm doesn’t make him real nor a god. Ask your kids if Jesus was half-god and half-man? Or if he was a mortal man that was given god-like status? These are good ways to tease out the truth in our kids’ hearts. They usually end up at one of my favorite arguments for the truth of Christianity: the Apostle’s horrible death. If they were simply trying to give their buddy god-like status they got a raw deal. They went to their deaths confessing Jesus as God. The Apostles knew in their hearts what the truth was and they also knew they could not stand living if it meant denying that truth. The psychological stress would have been too much. As well, if Jesus were only half-god he would have no right to forgive sins or to accept worship, both of which he did often.
- Life after death
In the movie Moana’s grandmother comes back as a sting ray, something she predicted before her death earlier in the film. This version of life after death contradicts what we believe as Christians regarding an eternal existence. Although the reincarnation idea plays well into the Moana story it does not accurately reflect what we know to be true: Jesus died and was resurrected in His human form. Moreover, the promises in the Bible indicate that we will also rise again – in Human form. To support the claim that Jesus resurrected see #2 regarding the Apostle’s death. Because God kept his promise of salvation and because Jesus did what he said he was going to do, we can trust what the Bible says.
Although Disney can still spin a good story we need to be mindful of what our kids may pick up from these mythical tales. We can counter these issues by using films, like Moana, to reinforce the truth of Christianity. Helping our kids recognize when they are being sold lies and instead turning them to Christ, we can ensure that we are being the spiritual leaders our young minds need.