And lo, the angel of the Lord did reveal himself to the Catholic-who-works-in-an-Abortion-Clinic and did charge her with a Holy Crusade. “Go forth,” he did proclaim, “And stop the Angels Banishéd from achieving the Unmaking of the World.” O!, her skepticism aboundeth, but she did sally forth upon her Divine Quest anyway. Oh, and, since this is a Kevin Smith film, Jay and Silent Bob show up.
Before I write a review here at Film Atheist, I try and check out what the theists have to say about the film. While this is usually tedious and annoying, there is the occasional unintended hilarity that makes it worth while. Take, for example, the following excerpt from Steven D. Greydanus’s (in Decent Films Guide) look at the theological failings of Dogma, specifically its reference to God being female:
“…there are good theological reasons for using male pronouns and titles for God. For example, the Bible speaks of the Church as the ‘Bride’ of Christ, and Christ himself is the ‘Bridegroom.’ The reality behind this symbolism is that God enters us and fills us with his life, and we become spiritually fruitful.”
Ummm… so, the Catholic God is male because He inserts His spiritual, and presumably sizable, God-schlong into us and fills us with His Holy Ejaculate? Wow. I believe I have just transcended to whole new celestial planes of “Ew!”
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes: Dogma.
Dogma is, first and foremost, a “Kevin Smith film.” For those not familiar with the works of producer/director/writer/actor Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), a “Kevin Smith film” includes:
- Funny, expletive heavy dialog
- The state of New Jersey
- Many gratuitous references to geek culture
- Many references to drugs and sex
- The characters Jay and Silent Bob
Now, I enjoy “Kevin Smith films.” I am, after all, the target demographic: late 20s-early 30s, male, geek. That said, I’m not going to claim that they are great cinema. They aren’t. They are, however, amusing, and often that is enough.
Judging from Dogma, it’s possible that Kevin Smith has some issues with modern Catholicism. Now, I’m not sure what tipped me off. It could be that the plot involves a loophole in Catholic dogma that could destroy the world. Maybe it was the fact that the woman who is going to save the world works at an abortion clinic. I’m betting, though, it’s the 80 bazillion times one character or another launches into a description of his or her beefs with the Catholic Church. Yeah, subtly is something that Dogma gave wedgies to in High School, and it’s a better film for it.
But, why does an amusing and blatant critique of modern Catholicism get an Atheist Rating of only 2? Dogma wasn’t easy to rate. It says so much that is good, points out so much that is bad, and does it all with an excellent sense of the ridiculous. In the end, though, Dogma‘s problems with traditional Catholicism aren’t those of an atheist. They are those of a liberal Christian. For as much as it encourages people to think and play nicely with one another, it still promotes faith and the belief in a supernatural creator-being. And so, the Atheism Rating being an Atheism Rating, it gets a 2.