Is Decency Human Nature?


bullock.JPGDirector John Lee Hancock has a way with inspirational, people-driven sports movies. The Rookie. The Blind Side. Great stuff. I had a chance to chat with him recently, and we discussed those hits, Hollywood’s view of sports flicks, Sandra Bullock’s Oscar and more. If you’d like to hear that interview, it will be on the March 25 episode of the Official Plugged In Podcast. But for now I thought I’d share an exchange that didn’t make it onto the show.

At one point I alluded to the fact that both The Rookie and The Blind Side are about real people—Jim Morris and the Tuohy family—who also are Christians. So I asked Hancock, “As you studied them in order to tell their stories, did anything strike you in terms of how their faith motivated them or shaped who they are?”

He replied:

In both cases these are really, really great people, first and foremost. I think their faith kind of fortifies them to be the very best version of the person that they already are. It's not as though, if Leigh Anne Tuohy had been raised an atheist, she would have any less charitableness in her. It's in her nature. I think the fact that she's a Christian fortifies her and gives her the strength to do the things she would already do.

An interesting perspective. I’ve never met Leigh Anne Tuohy, but I suspect that, as a Christian, she might be inclined to redirect a little more of that high praise to God.

I realize Hancock’s comments were simply an attempt to honor the noble character of the people he’s worked with. I applaud that. Yet at the same time, his words echo a cultural assumption that faith in God is like a multivitamin—helpful if you need it, but unnecessary if you’re already living a “healthy” lifestyle.

It’s true that there are very kind, generous people in the world who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, suggesting that faith simply gives us a little extra momentum to do what human nature would lead us to do anyway doesn’t acknowledge our fallen nature. Nor does it account for God’s unique ability to transform us inside and out, which includes not only our behavior but also our motives.

It’s an issue worth pondering. What do you think?

Who wrote this?

Senior Editor for PLUGGEDIN.COM. In addition to hosting the weekly "Official Plugged In Podcast," Bob also writes reviews, articles and Movie Nights discussion guides, and manages areas of this website. He has served at Focus on the Family for more than 20 years. Since 1995, Bob has penned "High Voltage," a monthly column that answers children's entertainment questions in Clubhouse magazine. He has co-authored several books, including Chart Watch, Movie Nights, Movie Nights for Teens and, most recently, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Bob is also co-host of "The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast."

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Coram_Deo:

I agree with LC268.  Good works are the fruit of righteousness that comes through the Lord Jesus.

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." -Titus 2:14

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  LC268:

This article reminds me of the verse that says that "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." God created us in His image and instilled in us attributes of love, compassion, forgiveness, etc. BUT, our sin nature is constantly interfering with our desires to do good. It is only through knowing who God is and by His Spirit working in us that we can experience a transformation in our lives. This also brings up another question of why you are doing good works. For yourself? The other person? World peace? I'm not saying that people who don't believe in God need a 12 page explanation before they perform an act of kindness, but they should definately ask themselves this question. As a Christian, I know that doing good is an act of obedience to God, and a way of showing my love for Him.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Brian1131:

The Rookie was a decent movie but a little slow. The main demographic for The Blind Side turned out to be senior citizen women. Hancock's The Alamo was a excellent war film but didnt do great at the box office.