Alien: Covenant views like an atheist version of a bad Christian movie.
Look, I was a fan of the original Alien, as one of the best sci-fi horror films of all time. Although I can no longer watch it because it’s gimmick of slow build suspense doesn’t work any more. It’s no longer scary, it’s just boring. One dinner scene remains emblazoned on film history, I won’t deny that. But the film no longer stands up for me.
Not so with Aliens. Aliens is the only one that still works in the series. It is the classic that surpasses the original. But of course, it isn’t Ridley Scott, it’s James Cameron, a superior storyteller. But I digress.
The Devolution of Atheist Storytelling
It seems as Scott gets older, his hatred of God burns brighter. Which is not a wise thing, considering how close he is in age to his own demise. And the worse his films seem to get as well. It’s almost as if Scott’s filmmaking is an argument for the existence of God. The more you apply atheism to your storytelling, the more irrational and the less satisfying your storytelling is for the human spirit.
Gladiator (2000) was quite simply a masterpiece of filmmaking. But it was pagan. Okay, a pagan masterpiece. An inversion of the gladiator movies of the past from their Judeo-Christian context into a celebration of pagan “transcendence.” Not because Scott (or his atheist screenwriter, David Franzoni) believes in such silly things, of course, but simply as a mythical embrace of anything other than Christianity. All the persecution of Christians in that era was quite literally cut out of the story.
Hannibal (2001) was a mocking subversion of the Christ story that transformed the cannibalistic serial killer into a Christ figure and the “real villain” was a caricature of a fundamentalist Christian. Satan as hero, worthy of the Scorsese award for antichrist filmmaking. And just a stupid movie.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005), was a humanistic reduction of all religion as morally equivalent and reduced to conquest. Wait. No. Actually, it was the denigration of Christianity to Islam, since the Crusades were depicted without their context of defense against imperialist jihad, and since the Muslims were portrayed as being more noble in their culture than the Christians. The story is about a Christian knight after all, who loses his faith in the face of multicultural experience of the other. (once again, any enemy of Christianity seems to be this director’s friend, even if that enemy hates him and wants to enslave the world) The problem is that this movie is an epic that lacks transcendence, even the pagan transcendence of Gladiator, and therefore becomes uninspiring and forgettable.
Prometheus (2012) (another pagan myth) was the mind-numbingly boring attempt to make the ancient aliens theory look aesthetically acceptable. But it’s still just the ridiculous atheist fairy tale that the gods of religion come from aliens. And they laugh at Christians claiming we believe in ridiculous made-up myths! Oh, and don’t forget, in this one, Jesus Christ was an alien. Gotta love that shot of the artwork of an alien in a crucifixion pose. Just give us some aliens vs. humans, damn you!
The Counsellor (2013) an uninspiring piece of nihilistic trash. When you argue that there is no meaning or purpose in reality, is it any wonder, your stories become meaningless and without purpose?
The abominable Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) displayed Scott’s apex of vile anger and contempt for the God of the Bible by reducing him to a tamper tantrum-throwing child, a figment of delusion—more a projection of Scott’s hypocritical atheist moralizing (since atheism claims there are no moral absolutes) than a nuanced understanding of complex deity and ancient sacred storytelling. They say your view of God is often a reflection of how you see your father. Well, I can only hope Scott will one day see beyond his own self-righteous hatred of daddy to find the grace that would actually give his hopeless life and absurd universe some meaning and purpose.
It Just Keeps Getting Worse
Now, Alien: Covenant carries on Scott’s legacy of Christophobic atheism. The first scene in the movie is a flashback to the newly created synthetic in Prometheus, David, in a discussion with his creator. The creator is depicted as a religious man who uses the language of Intelligent Design. “I refuse to believe life is all just about random chance and biological evolution, that all this design is just meaningless in the face of the question, ‘where do we come from?’…” Dialogue that pits the notion of evolution vs. intelligent design. And that’s what this movie is ultimately about. The attempt to incarnate the dialectic of those two systems of belief: Atheist evolution vs. Christian creation (okay, kudos for raising the issue at least).
The discussion between robot (synthetic) and human carries the analogy of man with his creator. There are references to art that the Christian creator has: a painting of the Nativity, Michelangelo’s sculpture, the David, Apparently intimating the truth that only Christianity can justify beauty and transcendence, while atheist evolution reduces to raw ruthless survival (aliens hunting humans). Unfortunately, the movie ultimately concludes that survival wins out over beauty.
And that’s what makes it so ugly.
Then the synthetic chooses to play Wagner’s pagan Entry of the Gods into Valhalla on the piano. A decidedly pagan anthem, and a foreshadow of his future choices.
But wait! That pagan anthem finds it way back into the dark ending of the movie with irony as it is played by the “bad” synthetic David in a moment of destructive victory over the humans. Call it subversion through cultural accommodation of religious sentiment.
I find it telling that atheism cannot tolerate its own soulless world of brutality. It always turns to some kind of religious impulse. Not Christianity of course. Anything but Christianity. So paganism seems to be the mythology that the atheist turns to in his storytelling. Paganism is the brutal ruthless earth religion that most aligns with their evolutionary worldview and ethic, “red in tooth and claw.” Hatred incarnate.
“Covenant” is a Religious Word
The movie is a sequel to Prometheus, where a new colony ship stumbles upon the planet where the previous story took place. As they explore the planet, they find the old David robot there and of course, a couple of them get infested with aliens and the hunt begins.
In this story, the new captain of the ship is a Christian caricature who complains that his bosses don’t trust him because of his faith, (they call him an “extremist”) when really, we see he’s just a weak person who doesn’t deserve to be a leader. And the weak don’t survive. Ahem. See where this is going?
The writing in this movie shows a shallow lack of understanding the Christian worldview as about the only substantial things that the “Christian” caricature says are out of context religious slogans. In one case, the captain tells the heroine, “O ye of little faith,” in reference to trust that has nothing to do with God, but his choice of landing on the planet. He tells someone who says he was lucky, “I don’t believe in luck.” Later, when the “Christian” caricature captain starts to crumble in the face of the cat and mouse game of the aliens, the heroine helps him to chipper up by saying, “We need your faith.” WTF? Boy, it really is true that Hollywood is out of touch with religion.
But religion is nothing to Ridley Scott (and apparently the writer). It is meaningless twaddle in a universe without meaning. So of course he cannot depict a Christian character with any nuance, sympathy or depth. He simply doesn’t understand transcendence.
You know, if a gay character would be portrayed negatively in a movie (not that one EVER would be), then that movie would get called homophobic. If a Muslim character is ever portrayed in a negative light, we hear cries of “Islamophobia”! But by golly, negative Christian characters are just dandy clichés for Hollywood! Par for the course. Totally tolerant! Culturally sensitive!
No. By those standards, it’s bigotry. It’s Christophobia.
An Atheist Sequel to God’s Not Dead?
We see that the robot David, had survived on this planet and was engaging in genetic experimentation with the aliens, creating different hybrids that adapt to new situations. It becomes an irony that what they thought had evolved into the perfect creature of the original movie, Alien, was actually “created” through intelligent design of a robot without concern for human survival. So, you see, when the Christian caricature, I mean captain, gets taken over by an alien, it simply illustrates the superiority of evolutionary reality of brute survival over the Christian worldview of meaning and higher purpose.
But it’s more than that. There is a reason why the story has the Christian as the first human host to create the alien as we now know it. The Christian caricature, about to be ripped open by an alien incubus inside him, asks the robot, “What do you believe in, David?” The robot says with a wry smile, “Creation,” in mockery of the Christian worldview of the robot’s creator and the Christian captain. This origin of the monster we all came to know in the Alien series originated with irony out of the dead body of the Christian. The robot used the philosophy of his creator, the scientist who believed in intelligent design, to intelligently design the perfect survival machine.
The point of this is to show us that the origin of the alien we see in the original Alien movie (that occurs some time after this movie in the fictional chronology) actually came from genetic engineering, harnessing the adaptability of evolution. On one level, this is an interesting theme dealing with how our pursuit of using technology and AI to create perfection becomes the noose around our own necks. Pretty cool.
On another level, it seems to be a metaphor for intelligent design as malevolent.
In the synthetic robot’s laboratory of alien specimens, we see one of them pinned up in a crucifixion pose. I kid you not. It’s like Scott actually thinks that an alien in a crucifixion pose brings some deep meaning or irony to his movie.
The human exploration team actually brings a synthetic named Walter, that is actually a redesigned version of the older David, that is less AI and more robotic. Walter is a kind of “good” synthetic replica of David so we see the two interact with irony. The “bad” synthetic David becomes a kind of Satan figure as he quotes Milton, in offering the “good’ synthetic Walter to “reign in hell instead of serve (humans) in heaven.” Although, actually, David isn’t really bad, he’s just got a program that has one flaw in the code, which then logically leads to his genocidal plans in the name of investigative science without restraint, all in the pursuit of creating the perfect organism.
But there is a problem here with the logic of the story. You see, “bad” synthetic David has some kind of flaw in his system, so “good” synthetic Walter says his conclusion is wrong. But what is the flaw? The flaw is assumed to be some kind of lack of moral value of humans that Walter does have (Walter discovers it when he sees David falsely attribute a quote to the poet Byron that was actually written by Shelley). But in an atheist universe, human survival is NOT any more important than any other creature. So if David creates a superior life form that kills humans, that is not a flaw at all. It is only a flaw if you assume the survival of humanity as being more important than others, a question of moral value, not logic.
In one sense, this could be seen as an argument of the destructive capacity of science without moral restraint. But that would only be within a transcendent Christian worldview. From the atheist worldview of the director, humanity has no special dignity that warrants special treatment. David’s intelligent design of destruction against humans is entirely acceptable because there are no such things as morals and human exceptionalism. There is no “danger” of AI wiping out humanity, if in fact AI creates a superior life form that adapts to survival better than humans. Of course, atheists like Scott won’t want to face that reality, so they continue to argue for human survival as if it matters in the least. In effect we have an unwitting argument for the utter self-destructive end of atheism applied to AI and evolution. Cruel logic.
Okay, I changed my mind, Alien: Covenant is a Christophobic atheist mockery of intelligent design that unwittingly deconstructs into self-destruction if you look closer.
Ridley Scott is right about one thing: the conversation that religion and faith brings to our post-scientific world is a worthy one that can bring transcendence to a story. But what the poor fool doesn’t understand is that if you seek to destroy the very thing that gives meaning, purpose, and yes, beauty, then you’ve destroyed your own story and sown the seeds of your own demise.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.