Mooby the Golden Calf

I enjoy the movie Dogma. Yes, I am aware it is fairly sacrilegious, but I also think it is pretty hilarious and has a lot of interesting things to say. I think if a Christian had made the movie it could have been used to present the Gospel in an extremely interesting way, unfortunately it would be fairly difficult for a Christian to make this movie.

Mooby the Golden Calf is a device used in numerous Kevin Smith films that is meant to portray the notion of the graven idol (as often seen in the Old Testament). Here is the scene (well parts of it) in Dogma when Bartleby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) confront the board of directors:

Bartleby: “You and your board are idolaters.”

Loki: Sneezes but no one says bless you

Bartleby: “You are responsible for raising an icon which draws worship from the Lord, you have broken the 1st commandment… your continued existence is a mockery of morality.”

Bartleby: Exposes the sins of each of the board members

Loki: “There isn’t a decent human amongst you. Not one. Do you know what makes a human being decent? Fear. And there in lies the problem, none of you has anything left to fear any more. You rest in seats of inscrutable power hiding behind your false idols, far from judgment, lives shrouded in secrecy even from one another, but not from God…”

Loki: “I don’t believe in voodoo… I do believe in this…” Loki then kills them all (except the secretary, eventhough she didn’t says “bless you” when he sneezed).
Ben: “‘I do believe in this.’ What does that even mean?”

I found this scene interesting because, as angels of divine judgment, Loki and Bartleby could find fault with each member of the board. While the issue wasn’t pushed in the film, it is pretty obvious to me that we are all sinners (while probably not necessarily in the ways that the board members were), and all deserve God’s judgment… or mercy and grace.

This next scene comes later in the film when Bartleby and Loki are trying to get back to heaven by any means necessary. Their comments pertain to all of humanity, not just the friendly folks at Mooby (please pardon the language if you are offended):

Bartleby: “These humans have besmirched everything he [God] has bestowed upon them. They were given paradise and they threw it away, they were given this planet and they destroyed it, they were favored best among all his endeavors and some of them don’t even believe he exists, and in spite of it all, he has shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn… we have paid our debt, don’t you think it is time? Don’t you think it is time to go home?… just kill them so they can get what they want.”

Loki: “My God, I’ve heard a rant like this… you sound like Lucifer. You aren’t talking about going home, you are talking about war on God. I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on the throne.”

Bartleby: I am going home, … no one, … not even the almighty himself is gonna make that otherwise.

I think that is a very astute observation about humanity. I also especially liked Loki’s comment that “I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on the throne.”

Finally, I wanted to point to a moment from one of the final scenes. This takes place at the Catholic church where Bartleby and Loki are trying to enter. There the priest (George Carlin, heh) is talking about his “house of God” and Bartleby responds:

God’s house? God doesn’t live here any more. He’s grown weary of your superficial faith. He’s turned a deaf ear to your lip service prayers. He has abandoned you, his favorites, to the will of judgment. Hypocrites, charlatans. Prepare to taste God’s wrath… Ladies and gentleman, you have been judged as guilty of violations against our almighty God. And this very day I assure you, you will all pay for your trespasses in blood.

Harsh, but not entirely inaccurate, critique of the church. While most (but by no means all) of the specific comments in the film are directed at the Catholic church, I think they can also be easily applied to the church at large.

Superficial faith, lip service prayers, hypocrites, charlatans. Is this what defines the church? Your faith? I certainly hope not. What’s the point if it is?

Fortunately, the movie is wrong in many ways. God has not abandoned us, He has not merely left us to the will of judgment. He has sent His son to take the brunt of that judgment. By His grace and mercy we don’t have to pay for our trespasses in blood. It has already been spilt for us.

  1. Ashley
    November 23rd, 2007 at 23:41 | #1

    so then, what’s the point of our lives if we can do whatever we want?
    why do we care about god and all if “his son” gonna take the brunt and that we won’t have to pay anything!!

    wouldn’t be more reasonable if we all gonna stand before god in judgment day and there would be something like a scale that measures what we did of good and bad in this life?

    just think about it! :)

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