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Movie mind games

I HAVE enjoyed two DVDs recently that have made me think about the relationship between faith and belief in a higher power and the mind.

Both films originate from a very secular understanding of faith, which is one of the things I enjoyed about them. Both films ask if faith and the idea of the soul are purely constructs of the mind.

The first, The Invention of Lying, is set in a world where no one can tell a lie.

Life is matter-of-fact and relationships are formed on the basis of the best physical and intellectual match to move the human race forward. But one day when struggling screenwriter Mark Bellison tells a small lie at the bank he realises he has a unique ability.

When consoling his mother on her death bed to ease her terror of the void of death he makes up a story about what happens after you die. The hospital staff overhear and Mark becomes an unwilling prophet.

While some people may find this jarring insulting, I found it quirky, funny and interesting.

The plot is, on the surface, calling faith a lie, but Mark’s world is still better off believing in something more than the power of genetics.

The second film, Cold Souls, follows an actor struggling to cope with the weight of a Broadway role playing Uncle Vayna in the Chekov play of the same name.

He reads about a new procedure: the removal of the soul. After hesitation he goes through with the “soul extraction” only to find that his soul looks like a chickpea and he is unable to act without it.

So, as you do, he rents the soul of a Russian poet and performs the play to critical acclaim, only to have his personal life crumble around him. When he finally wants his own soul back, the company have misplaced it (“It must be in our New Jersey warehouse!”).

In this edition we look at the art of science and its relationship to faith. Christian scientists seem to believe that science is the exploration of creation.

So science is not at odds with faith, rather it is evolving our understanding of the scope of creation, including the human mind.