Thursday, January 12, 2006
A Very Grizzly Religion
Last night I watched the documentary Grizzly Man. This film was made using video footage of grizzly bears in Alaska, as filmed by Timothy Treadwell, who was eaten by said bears in 2003.
You may remember the news stories. Treadwell lived among the bears for 13 consecutive summers--loving them, naming them, approaching them, speaking to them, and frequently declaring his willingness to die for them. He indeed died for them, or at least for one of them, as did his girlfriend (who it turns out was not so keen on the idea in the first place).
What was he thinking?
Fortunately, he left the video footage. On film, Timothy spoke much about his beliefs. At one point, he said he believes God would be very pleased with him for living among the bears unarmed, for desiring only their welfare. Another time, he cursed God. After praying for but not receiving rain, he cursed Jesus, Allah, and any other god that will listen (he called the unknown god the "Hindu Floaty Thing"). He let profanity fly upward. Then, when rain came, he rejoiced in the "miracle" and felt his prayer was heard.
It should not surprise us, based on the Bible's description of humanity, that someone would approach God with alternating fits of self righteousness and hostility. The film leads us ponder this reality.
The film is also intriguing because Treadwell clearly wanted to escape from the "civilized" society he despised, in order to forge his own space in the wild. In doing so, however, he brought his bitterness, his blasphemy, and his own inner demons into the bears' domain.
I wonder what they thought about that.
Posted by Ken at 9:36 PM