Discussing
Is there a Christian interpretation of ‘Inception?

Josh Larsen

Jonnyflash
August 2, 2010

Minor, vague spoilers may follow...<br><br>If I wanted to view it through a Christian lens, then I think the most interesting perspective is that in the Christian metaphysical view there IS another, "greater" or "more real," reality awaiting beyond death. <br><br>Taking the point of view that life itself is a kind of dream and we will eventually wake up is not a particularly unique or novel way of relating to the afterlife, but it is one that is rarely explored in any serious sense. In particular, it raises the important question of the significance of our actions in our mortal lives. The movie itself touches upon this dilemma, that if we truly believe that there is a greater reality awaiting us, what is there to hold us to this earth?

Printenv
August 2, 2010

I must ask this as someone who loves music and movies, is it necessary to try and derive some sort of Christian interpretation out of all art? Why can't you (we) like movies for the story without trying to place Christian presuppositions within the work?

Paul Turner
August 2, 2010

I think there are movies that need no Christian interpretations i.e The Hangover. But in weightier moral matters such as forgiveness, if our world view is Christian how can we not go there? The movies, if they are good, challenge our deepest beliefs. If our deepest belief is Christ, then a biblical or Christian worldview is inevitable.

Rickd
August 2, 2010

We are made in the image of God. Our impulse to create, to tell stories, is a God-given drive. It’s the family business. We live in a fallen world and any movie about human subjects is in some way an examination of God’s marred image. Everything about our existence is related to theology. So why shouldn’t we, just for thinking sake (this is ThinkChristian) analyze this from a Judeo-Christian perspective? I can’t wait to see the film, sounds great. Did anyone read the interview with Ray Bradbury the science fiction writer, about his religious views today on CNN? Fascinating...and an illustration of this point.

Maureen
August 3, 2010

I totally agree with you about Cobb &amp; and top. I found parallels between Christianity and the totems and symbols in the movie, especially the object that reconciled Fischer to his father. I write a blog about movies and faith where I posted more on this. You can copy and paste the url. I'm not sure how to post it as a link here:<br><a href="http://sinema7.net/2010/07/totems-symbols-and-reconciliation-in-inception/#more-532" rel="nofollow">http://sinema7.net/2010/07/tot...</a><br>

luke2136
August 3, 2010

Once again I resolve to reject the latest blockbuster offering, no matter how good the reviews are. (And this time the decision is a no-brainer, since Christopher Nolan also directed The Dark Knight.) Still, that doesn't stop me from reading ThinkChristian. Maybe I'm just stupid.<br><br>One thing I've noticed in reviews for Inception is the widespread captivation with the spinning top. Made me think of Satan's "spinning top" in an old Keith Green song:<br><br>Oh, my job keeps getting easier<br>As day slips into day<br>The magazines, the newspapers<br>Print every word I say<br>This world is just my spinning top<br>It's all like child's play<br>You know, I dream that it would never stop<br>But I know it's not that way<br>Still my work goes on and on<br>Always stronger than before<br>I'm gonna make it dark before the dawn<br>Since no one believes in me anymore!<br><br>

Josh Larsen
August 3, 2010

I certainly think Christians can be guilty of over-interpretation when it comes to art (say, trying to find a Christ figure in every narrative). I try to avoid that when writing here. In general, though, I agree with Paul and would even take his thought further: If you are a Christian, than how you view everything in the world - deep-think movies and crude comedies alike - will be filtered through your faith.

David Fowlie
August 3, 2010

I think it's possible to find anything you want out of a film and I am well aware that there are Christians who seem to always find an "angle" out of ANY film they see. Really, I've had to listen to my fellow brothers or sisters-in-Christ go on and on about some spirituality they've gleaned out of the most bizarre films. It is often a jarring and left field angle which can be quite annoying. My question is: Why? We can learn more about others and life (whether we agree with what is on the screen or not) if we open our minds. So, why do some always try to find a Christian angle? <br><br>With that being said, Christians should absolutely not have a common interpretation of a film (but it's not a sin if they do). It's a film that is open to interpretation, therefore, it's subjective (like most art) and will be experienced differently by each individual. As to whether or not your perspective, is a Christian interpretation....it doesn't have to be (since there are elements of forgiveness and resolution in many religions and/or philosophies), but it could be and that's just fine. Still, your interpretation is open to interpretation.

Sandra
August 6, 2010

A fellow Keith Green fan! How awesome is that! I attended Last Days Ministries' Intensive Christian School back in the day. Wonderful experience.<br><br>I appreciate your thoughts--and your resolve--on this, Luke. But I like to know what's going on culturally. I have seen this movie, and I went into it thinking it was going to be a great "worldview" movie, and it didn't disappoint. That's sort of how I classify movies: great from a worldview stance, or just crap and a waste of time. Inception was great from a worldview stance.

Steven
August 6, 2010

My interpretation of the end of this movie is, focus on what matters. For Cobb, he didn't even look back to see if the spinning top fell. He only wanted to see the faces of his beautiful children and move on to life with them. For us, we should focus on reality...impacting the lives of those whom God has blessed us with, and focusing on their well being.

Sistersharonblcl
August 8, 2010

WELL THIS IS MY OWN OPINION I FEEL LIKE THIS SOME TIME LIVING IN REAL LIFE TO ME PEOPLE TRY TO STILL YOUR THOUGHT AND DREAMS ALMOST EVERY DAY THAT WHY I THINK IT IS TRULY IMPERTIVE TO KEEP SOME OF YOUR THOUGHT AND DREAM TO YOUR SELF BECAUSE IN THIS ERROR WE ARE LIVING IN HAVE A LOT OF COPY CATS AND IF THAT IS NOT BAD ENOUGH THE ENEMY MAKES HIS WAY INTO OUR LIFE... IN OUR DREAMS WHEN WE ARE ASLEEP... AN WHEN WE ARE WOKE HE TRIED TO ATTACK US IN OUR DAILY LIFE...AS HE COME TO KILL STEAL AND DESTROYED WHO EVER HE CAN...SO I FEEL THAT WE TRULY JUST ABOUT DEAL WITH THIS IN OUR EVRY DAY LIVES AND WE AS PEOPLE TRY TO FIGHT TO KEEP THE CURUPTED THING OUT OF OUT DAILY LIVES.

Paulvanderklay
August 9, 2010

I don't know about a common Christian interpretation. I loved the film and plan to see it again, probably on DVD where I can pause and discuss with others. <br><br>The ending was of course a tease. I can get frustrated with films and stories that end with basically saying "it was all a dream". CS Lewis does it with "The Great Divorce" which I thought was really cheap even though I love a lot about the book. Would the Narnia series be better if it ended with a kid named Clives who lived next door to Lucy and Edmund having dreamed the whole thing? Of course in this movie because it is about dreams I think it work better, maybe. <br><br>There was so much in this movie it's hard to narrow it down to "forgiveness" or "control". I had a lot of thoughts during the film about the nature of perception and reality and their interplay. <br><br>Movies can of course be missed, but it is a legitimate art form and this was one of the best ones I've seen in a long time IMHO. pvk

Trevelyan
August 31, 2011

Stumbled on this post while searching for something in Google. And if you haven't noticed these points yet, consider the following:<br><br>Inception opens with a shot of the false children building castles on the beach. This is a visual allusion to Matthew 7.24. As a world which is literally built on top and out of sand, limbo represents the mortal world. The script encourages this reading with lines like "you can spend a lifetime there...", "you have to die to wake-up", etc.<br><br>This reading makes both the opening and closing sequences highly symbolic. In the first Cobb is a thief who puts his faith in Mal and suffers a biblical fall and betrayal as a result. His second temptation marks the dramatic climax of the film, and it is interesting to note that Mal does not try to convince him she is real so much as seduce him with the unreality of the world in general ("you don't believe in anything anymore... so choose to be here.") Cobb's rejection of this marks his assertion of faith. He then sacrifices his own life to rescue Saito, an action which triggers Fischer's thematically suggestive father-son reconciliation, and Cobb's appearance as prophet in his final scene with Saito.<br><br>There is much more if you watch the film closely, but the most compelling evidence is the final scene. Following Cobb's symbolic death we are presented with barely-disguised Christian imagery: his judgment and the forgiveness of sins at immigration, and the reunion of the family and return to the heavenly garden. Michael Caine's role as father/creator should be obvious by now. The children represent faith in a more subtle fashion -- both James and Philip were biblical apostles. And then we have the last line of the film, which returns us to Matthew 7.24 as James informs his father they are building a castle "on the cliff".<br><br>The spinning top is a distraction, but a very clever one. As a symbol of faithlessness throughout the film, its only significance in the final scene is that Cobb ignores it.<br>

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
August 31, 2011

I appreciate your careful reading trevelyan. I'll have to keep this in mind the next time I sit down to take another look at Inception.

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