Life of Pi – A Story to Make You Believe in God?

Few times have I ever went to the cinema not knowing what was showing or what I wanted to see. All I knew was that I was fed-up of studying and needed a bit of a distraction. When daddy invited me to the movies with him and my little sister I lunged at the opportunity. There was one thing I did know, the movie I did not want to see: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2. But we’ll leave bashing the Twilight Saga for another day.

I remember seeing a trailer for the movie ‘Life of Pi’ and thinking to myself . . . Well actually, I didn’t think anything of it. It looked like a movie I would never see. It didn’t call to me and I would not have thought about it if my older younger brother (if that makes any sense) expressed his enthusiasm to see it. I wondered why would anybody want to see it for a brief moment before dismissing it altogether.

So the opportunity to see it came and luckily I didn’t have much to say to talk Alayna out of wanting to see the final episode of the Twilight borefest. ‘Life of Pi’ was our only option and so be it.

Sitting in the movie theatre, I still didn’t know what to expect from the film as the opening scenes played across the screen. I was imagining being bored to death because it seemed to me to be a zoo documentary or something but instead it turned out to be a thought provoking story of a boy named after a French swimming pool getting stranded in the Pacific Ocean after the ship that he, his parents and his brother were on on their way to Canada sank. That’s not all. There were, of course, animals that survived the shipwreck; a zebra, a spotted hyena, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Image

Now, to be honest the only things that kept me focused on the movie was a) the fierceness of tiger and me thinking how many times I would have already died if it were me and b) the amazing cinematography; I haven’t even seen anything quite like it, ever, in a movie.

On top of that, faith was the underlying issue of the plot. Before he began telling his story, Piscine; the boy who spent 227 days at sea with a tiger, was talking to this man who wanted a story to write. He was put on to Piscine by some other person and here he was to hear this story that ‘would make him believe in God’.

All well and good.

At the end of the film, however, I was confused.

What exactly was it that was supposed to make me believe in God? (Not that I don’t already.)

Towards the end of the film, after washing up on Mexican shores, Piscine was taken to the hospital where he was visited by Japanese officials to hear of why the shipwreck had occurred and ultimately how he had managed to survive. Piscine related to them the story of him and Richard Parker’s tumultuous journey across the Pacific and of course the officials didn’t believe it because a) it had nothing to do with how the ship wrecked and b) who survives 227 days at sea in a dingy with a ferocious tiger? o.O

At that point, Piscine decides to tell them a story of human brutality in which he uses the animals I mentioned earlier as people who survived the wreck with him. The orangutan became his mother, the zebra was a sailor with a broken foot, the spotted hyena  was a heartless cook who killed the zebra (the sailor) and the orangutan (Piscine’s mother) in order to use their flesh as bait and the tiger was Piscine (who killed the spotted hyena/cook respectively).

Upon asking the writer which of the two stories he prefers, with the writer choosing the one about the animals, Piscine made a statement that confused me: “And so it goes with God.” What was that to mean?

Well, which story would you rather believe?

The one in which a boy manages to co-exist on a dingy with a tiger and against all odds, survive the brutality of having no food, no water, no shelter in the Pacific for 227 days?

Or the one in which human brutality features heavily?Image

That is the case with mankind isn’t it?

We’d rather believe that there was something out there, some higher being that created us in his own image and likeness and loved us dearly. So dearly that he gave he sacrificed his only son to die for our sins. And that he had an enemy, the reason to blame for our desire to do wicked things.

The thing is, for most of us, (like me) not believing in His existence is cripplingly terrifying I feel. To think that there is nothing after this is astoundingly painful. I was created as a result of evolution and there would be no paradise earth, no place to meet the ones that I love so much who’ve already said goodbye to this cruel world in a more serene life?

To think that all that is a lie and that all of this is just a coincidence is too hard of a pill for most to swallow. So blindly, we follow religion.

The interesting thing to note in all of this is that just like God, neither of those stories had anything to do with the shipwreck, yet still the investigators felt the need to gravitate to the story of Piscine and the animals because it was the easier pill to swallow.

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Might turn out that we’re just adrift in the universe.