Wreck-It Ralph, a child’s movie teaching the mature theme of empathy, has everything to do with Oedipus Rex. The Theban tragedy explores human’s lot in life. Are helpless pawns of cruel fate?
A minor theme however can be find in how the the townspeople have compassion on their hapless king. Oedipus unwittingly murders his father and unwittingly marries his mother. I say “unwittingly,” but in reality Oedipus did everything he possibly could to UNFULFILL the ill-boded oracle.
He left (what he thought was) his hometown and his parents. He went far away from Corinth to Thebes. On the road, he was attacked, and defending himself, he killed a man. He arrived at Thebes and delivered the town from the evil Sphynx. In gratitude, the city makes him king, and he marries the queen, recently widowed under mystery. It progressively is revealed that Corinth was NOT Oedipus’ hometown and his “parents” there were adoptive. His real parents were in Thebes.
Oedipus gouges out his eyes and exiles himself. He is horrified by his heinous sin. The populace is more forgiving. They feel empathy.
Wreck-It Ralph is a video game bad guy. At his game’s 30th anniversary party, he’s not invited (because he’s the bad guy). In a quest for acceptance, he decides to get a medal and invades “Hero’s Duty” by cruising through the power cables. Things don’t go smoothly because a Cybug blasts off with him and the fly into girl race-car game “Sugar Rush.”
In this candyland, a snotty girl calls him a hobo and waltzes off with his medal. Despite this, he defends her from the witchy “most popular girls in school” other racers. He has compassion on her. She becomes his first friend.
Eventually, Fix-It Felix — the good guy counterpart to Ralph — learns to feel Ralph’s pain. He acquires this highest of human virtues: empathy.
Christianity is empathy. God felt humanity’s pain (the fall and death from sin) and alleviated this pain (He sent Jesus to take the hit for us). If we receive Jesus, we can enjoy right relationship with God.
Note: Oedipus and Wreck-It Ralph seems to me to be the perfect comparison and contrast.
Keep it simple
Sometimes we want to make the gospel complicated because we have worked so hard. We don’t want it to be easy for newcomers. We have fasted. We have fought the flesh. We have prayed all night. I did it, so you must do it.
But Paul (who did more than any of us) exhorts us to keep it simple. The gospel is simple: Believe in Jesus and be saved. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ. — 2 Cor. 11:3 KJV (caps mine).
Romans 10:9 similarly makes it simple: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (NIV).
It was the Pharisees and Jewish leaders who added rule upon rule, making it harder to get into Heaven. Considering they ultimately rejected Christ, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be like them. Some of us are going to be very surprised to see lots of people in Heaven, people we thought wouldn’t make it because they didn’t follow all our rules.
Simplicity is beautiful. Let’s not deprive the gospel of its beauty.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged 2 Cor. 11:3, commentary, Faith, gospel, inspiration, Jesus, love, motivation, Romans 10:9, salvation, thoughts