“Dogma:” forgotten film for forgotten christians
Column like I see 'em
If you know me, you know I like movies. Movies are a lifeblood in my family. Not watching could be grounds for ostracism.
Of all the movies I've seen, one stands above all others in regards to its spiritual significance. That movie is “Dogma.” “Dogma” is a gem. I'm assuming you haven't seen it, mostly because hardly anyone has, especially in Adventist circles.
Many have not seen it for good reason. With all the foul language, violence and sexual references, it's not exactly the movie your mom would put on for Sabbath afternoon fun time.
It is, however, the movie that convinced young me to stay within the church.
Growing up an Adventist was about more than just learning all the expected things like the ten commandments or the special interpretations of Daniel’s visions. I was also learning other subtle things, unbeknownst to me or the people teaching me.
I would purposely avoid people who had tattoos or piercings. Seeing people smoke labeled them as “bad” in my mind and I wouldn't give them the time of day. A lot of these people were fantastic, warm hearted individuals. I could see them as that before I knew or saw their vices. Afterwards my attitudes towards them would shift.
Eventually I became aware and tired of all the judgement I was laying down. I saw other people within the church acting similarly and wanted to distance myself.
And that's when I saw “Dogma.” If you want to see it too, the entire movie is on YouTube, and has been for like, eight years, You can watch it there, and Union's Internet won't even block you.
“Dogma” stars a particularly vulgar character named Jay. Jay and his pal Silent Bob are much loved characters who reappear in several different movies directed by Kevin Smith. In most of these movies Jay is a talkative jerk, but for the most part he's funny.
In “Dogma,” Jay takes it a bit further than normal, and transitions from entertaining to annoying. He smokes, drinks, curses, and constantly requests sex from the female members of the cast. It's really hard to get through the movie without disliking Jay and feeling like he’s a bad person.
For all accounts, he’s a bad person.
At the end of the film, Jay meets God. In typical Jay fashion, he screams obscenities at the top of his lungs until God approaches him, gently shushes him, looks deeply into his eyes, and hugs him, accepting him completely.
It isn’t my place to say that Jay is a bad person; that's God's judgment.
This movie is full of so many quirks and threads that not only tie together a quality film, but tied me down to Christianity as well.
Some things will be said you'll agree with, and some things you won't, and that's okay. It's the fact that the film forces you to think about and confront long held and possibly never questioned beliefs that makes it such a treasure.
Adventism is no longer something I was born into, but instead something I chose for myself.
Is the film for everyone? No.
The cursing and violence are noticeably over the top, and if you’re in any way easily offended, you should steer far away. But if you can watch Superbad or John Wick without flinching, and want a film that could justify religion for you, I wholeheartedly recommend “Dogma.”
Editor's note: In 91.10, Kevin’s article title was incorrect. The correct article title was “Get ill soon.”
Kevin Niederman is a junior studying nursing.