“Forrest Gump” Provokes Religious Questions

It isn’t everyday that you watch a classic movie and think, gee, this is really filled with theological themes. But “Forrest Gump,” released in 1994 and directed by Robert Zemeckis, is one of those classic movies that provokes deep questions. Deep questions such as: “Does God exist?” and “If God exists and he’s the good guy, why do such terrible things happen?”

Forrest, a man with a low IQ, lives a life of such beauty and yet such trial. He spends his childhood with his best friend Jenny whom he later on in life develops a crush on. Forrest learns that even though he has a disability and low IQ, he has inner beauty to be shared with the world. And when Forrest goes through his life, he finds his love Jenny to be struggling. And this is where we begin to see the questioning of God, and God’s image of being the marvelous hero or crummy deity.

Scene One: Jenny Asking God to Be a Bird

This scene depicts the type of father that Jenny has: abusive. When Jenny runs into the field with Forrest to escape her father, she asks Forrest to kneal down with her and pray. “Dear God, make me a bird,” Jenny says, “So I can fly far. Far far away from here.” And although God didn’t make Jenny into a bird, not long later, Jenny was picked up by the police and custody of her is given to her grandma. Was God listening? Or was it luck? In this movie and scene, it really provokes you to think whether God is real. Jenny seems to be certain that God exists and is a good guy, because he moved her away from her abusive father and into the home of her grandmother.

 

Scene Two: Bubba Going Home

This sad scene shows Bubba, Gump’s army friend, get shot in the heart. In this scene, Bubba says, “Forrest, why me?” With the low IQ that Gump he doesn’t understand the depth of that question and answers, “You got shot.” What Bubba was really asking was why would God allow this to happen to him? If God is so good, why would Bubba be shot and shortly after die? This theme of God being good or evil appearing quite significantly in this scene.

 

Scene Three: Lt. Dan vs God

This scene shows Lt. Dan asking Forrest where God is. And shortly after, a big storm comes (which signifies God’s there). Lt. Dan during this scene is cursing at God and telling him that it isn’t a bad storm (since he was on a shrimp boat and the storm hit). This scene clearly shows Lt. Dan’s anger with not dying and is telling God to come and get him. This brings back up the theme of if God does exist, is he the bad guy. Lt. Dan in this instance seems to have a tiff with God and sees him as evil for keeping him alive.

 

Is God Good – Or Even Real?

It is truly a wonder. Is God our savior or our personal enemy? I find God to be the good guy. I find him to put us in no situation we can’t overcome. Like with Jenny, God helped her escape such a scary home life with her father. He put her into the caring arms of her grandmother. This also applies to Bubba. Yes, you could look at Bubba’s life being taken as God not helping him – abandoning him. But God saved Bubba from pain that he didn’t need to endure. He saved him from the physical pain he felt from the gunshot and possible negative aftermath that comes with something such as that. Lastly, we can look at Lt. Dan. Did God really care for him? Lt. Dan doesn’t seem to think so. He got his legs blown off in the war and struggled with God ever since then, because he wanted to die a hero – not a cripple. But it was God who gave him a second chance to continue on with his life and make even more of himself. Although this wasn’t what Lt. Dan necessarily did, God presented him the opportunity to make more of himself. These three reasons, along with many more, reinforce that God is our hero and he is real.

For a complete viewing of Forrest Gump, you can view it on:

  1. A Netflix or DIRECTV NOW account (with subscription)
  2. Rent or Buy from: Amazon, ITunes, Fandago NOW, or YouTube

 

 

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