The all-American hero from Marvel was chosen because of his inner strength and compassion. But what does Captain America: The First Avenger really say?
We enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger and can recommend it for most audiences. While it is mostly clean and contains good messages, some of the scenes are not appropriate for young children. Just because it’s based on a comic book, doesn’t mean Captain America: The First Avenger is a children’s movie.
Read PluggedIn’s review of Captain America: The First Avenger to learn more about the family-friendliness of its content.
Steve Rogers is not the picture of the American hero at the beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger. He is scrawny and weak, but he has a hero’s heart—unwilling to give up against bullies. When asked if he wants to kill Nazis, he says “I want to stop the bully.” The Bible gives the same kind of distinction between what man sees (the outward appearance) and the heart.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Steve’s desire to stop bullies raises another important question: When is it right to go to war? Steve would say that it is to stop bullies; the Bible phrases it another way:
Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
[Proverbs 31:8-9, NASB]
Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
[Isaiah 1:17, NASB]
Strength and compassion
Steve’s strength at the beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger is his compassion and his heart. He might not be brawny, but his heart is strong. When Dr. Erskine selects Steve for his project, he urges him to “Stay who you are—a good man.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7, NASB]
Another good trait of a “hero” that Steve personifies is self-sacrifice. While others who look the part of the heroic soldier run from a thrown grenade, Steve wraps himself around it to protect those around him. He is willing to give his life for others. Schmidt claims that Steve has given up the power of the gods, but according to the Bible, Steve demonstrates the greatest form of love?
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [John 15:13, NASB]
Power of the gods
His [Odin’s] role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex. Odin is a principal member of the sir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is Thor. [Wikipedia]
One of the greatest temptations that man’s sin nature puts before him is the desire to be like a god. Satan tempted Eve with that at the Fall of Man. It’s interesting that the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the serpent that beguiled Eve are seen differently by the nemesis in Captain America: The First Avenger. He calls it the “Tree of the world, guardian of wisdom and fate.” However there is no attaining the true knowledge of God, and there is no harnessing of God’s power.
“Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—that you may do all these abominations?” [Jeremiah 7:8-10, NASB]
From David Arington:
First of all I want to commend you on producing such a great podcast, not enough Christians understand the effect media has on our worldview and therefore our lives. Thank you for stepping up to the responsibility of informing others of this powerful median and the messages it portrays.
I enjoyed Captain America a lot. I liked the fact that Captain America is not someone who is heroic because he feels obligated by his abilities like Spider-man, or because he wants to redeem himself like Iron Man, but he is patriotic and just wants to serve his country. In one respect you could say that this contradicts scripture because he is fighting out of the goodness of his heart (so to speak) and Jesus said in Mark 10:18 “No one is good except God alone” and in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt.” But God can put a passion in the heart of a man to serve his country, and as we see in the film Steve sees other men serving and says “how can I do any less?”
Anyway those are a couple of my thoughts on Captain America. Thanks again for all your hard work that goes into making these Podcasts, I look forward to listening to your opinions on this movie.
Your Avid Listener,
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