To the surprise of many reviewers this movie has become a hit. Time magazine says: "...nothing quite accounts for this silly movie’s surprise success. The idea of having but one life to lead has always been a bummer, but never more than it is for today’s health-conscious audience. Movies like this one (and Ghost) suggest that working and eating right are not in vain. If they can’t assure immortality, they may at least keep you fit for the second go-around.”
I am certainly not one who believes in reincarnation (but as a character in the movie reminds the audience, this places me in the minority of the population of our planet). However, the success of the movie underscores what Leslie Newbigin calls "the myth of the secular society." This refers to the idea that the modern world will outgrow its need to view life in metaphysical and religious terms. The success of such movies as this is at least part of the evidence that the secularization of our society is a myth.
Rodney Stark, Professor of Sociology at Washington University, has written, "[The evidence] leads to the conclusion that secularization will not usher in a post-religious era. Instead, it will repeatedly lead to a resupply of vigorous otherworldly religious organizations by prompting revival."
This seemingly continual need for the transcendent indicates a ready audience for the Christian gospel.
©C. David Hess