The Fault in Our Stars first popped up on my radar about a year ago. Christian parents had gotten wind of the novel’s subject matter, and were debating whether or not it was appropriate for teenagers. Like most arguments, this one had two diverging opinions. Some felt John Green’s novel encouraged premarital sex and slapped around people of faith, while others believed it was a powerful, honest portrayal of the young accepting their own mortality. To this day, The Fault in Our Stars remains in the stack of “Next Read” books I keep by my sofa (just below The Brothers Karamazov), but the release of a movie adaption has reignited the debate amongst Christians.
So, doesThe Fault in Our Stars make fun of Christianity? According to Drew Zhan, the answer is “yes”, and that’s exactly why Christians should go see it. In a recent article for WND, Zahn argues that what makes the film so inspiring is that it rejects the idea of faith without pain. He writes,
“’The Fault in Our Stars’ demolishes the state of modern Christianity – not Christ, mind you, but Christianity, because the Christianity these kids knew could not bring Christ to the pain. This is why this film is such a glorious and instructive wake-up call to Christians. We live in a world that is broken. Jesus may win in the end, but for now the world hurts. And unless we carry Christ into the pain, unless we meet agony with love and doubts with authenticity, the world in hurt will sniff out the phoniness of our faith.”
Zhan continues by stating,
“’The Fault in Our Stars’ just does not allow fake emotions, trite answers or false hope. And for far too long, in far too many churches, that’s what Christianity has been offering the culture.”
Some Christians will no doubt disagree with Zhan’s assessment of the film. One objection that’s already being raised is the film’s portrayal of the Christian leader of a cancer support group. However, as Christa Banister explains In her own review, the point of the character is not to be cruel, but to teach the audience a valuable lesson.
“Led by the cheesiest of leaders with a gazillion Christian clichés at his disposal (it's more funny than biting, trust me), Hazel doesn't find much solace there. Well, until someone, namely Augustus Waters (Elgort) totally takes her by surprise. The rare guy who can actually keep up with her quip for quip, they form an unlikely friendship that Hazel insists won't become anything more.”
The message The Fault in Our Stars hopes to send is that authentic relationships will always carry more weight than Bible verses and good intentions. Many Christian parents will still have concerns about the story’s content and worldview, and that’s alright; personal discernment is a good thing to have. For those that choose to take the leap though, The Fault in Our Stars offers a rare perspective on life, love, and the meaning of faith.
What about you? What are your thoughts on the movie? For more on the films subject matter, check out this review by Shawn McEvoy and Steve McGarvey.
*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com