So, the Moral of the Story Is...? [Kill Em With Kindness]

Kevin R Brown
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So, the Moral of the Story Is...? [Kill Em With Kindness]

I've watched this repeatedly. I still don't get it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrKnhOJ-R80

...This is clearly an attempt at taking a shot at how foolish and fallible us human beeniums are compared to the Almighty - but I don't understand the argument.

 

Theists, help me out here. This one is clearly meant for you. Why is Mr. Roberts the antagonist?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


LosingStreak06
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I wouldn't call him an

I wouldn't call him an antagonist, but he didn't exactly put up much of a struggle.

 

On the other hand, were it me I would have probably pushed the button before I was told what it did.


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     I think the person

     I think the person he killed is supposed to be Jesus. Quite often, children are taught in the theistic framework that each sin you commit drives the nail deeper into Christ's hand. Of course, I could be wrong because of the apparent lack of specific faith. For example, if the movie has a Christian agenda, then where is Mr. Roberts' faith in Christ equated into his salvation? Does accepting him as your savior on earth mean squat at your judgment? I think the film suggests that faith has little to do with anything. Rather, it is our actions and choices that determine the end result. Odd. I wonder if the director/writer of this film is Christian or some other religion?

So I guess the basic argument could be: 

    At your judgment you are given a choice. 

    Depending on that choice, you are judged.

    Choosing to kill someone sends you to be judged by the devil and you are subsequently sent to hell.

    Choosing to leave sends you to God and who knows what happens after that.  

 

 

Beyond this basic and readily apparent argument, I'm unable to think of what else they're trying to say with this film.

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Ahh Black Button I thought

Ahh, 'Black Button' I thought that was a great little film, it's not really all that deep, though. I'm surprised to see you guys wondering.

The moral of the story is that the 10 million is always worthless cause he's already dead, so the choice is between nothing and nothing, the "devil" never has any power at all, Roberts holds all the power. Ultimately it comes down to what Roberts is willing to do and what he is not willing to do, will he kill if it's made ridiculously easy for him to do so. That's why there is the little dialogue about accidents, people dying everyday and overpopulation, that part is not about the money, that part is about Roberts bringing out the rhetoric against his own good judgement. As people often do.

edit:

Also you asked - Why is Mr Roberts the antagonist.

I presume you mean to refer to his religious standing by that, yes? And that you're asking what about him infers (theologically) he should be in that position. The answer to that is - Nothing. Mr Roberts is nobody in particular, there's no subtle theistic clue as to his denomination in the film, in negative or positive terms, he's just anyone, he died and he faces a situation which judges his character.

If you want my opinion as someone culturally close to the filmmakers (I am theist and Australian) the message they are trying to get across is a personal concept of morality which is not a religious morality but a basic human morality.

The title object is the central theme of the film, it's just a button but it represents a crucial moral decision for Mr Roberts, so the point there is that humans can stand very distant from their moral responsibility, but does being far removed from the consequences make it OK to press the button?

I think heaven and hell are only employed in this story as colloquial extension props to emphasise the imperative of the central message. The central message, however, is the button, the distance a person can stand from the consequences, upon others, of their actions.

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Mr. Roberts isn't the

Mr. Roberts isn't the antagonist.  He is the failed hero.  How the hero faces his choice at the end of the journey defines whether you have witnessed a comedy or a tragedy.  When the hero fails the test that is a tragedy.  When the hero passes the test it's a comedy - whether you laugh or not.


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OccamsChainsaw wrote:Mr.

OccamsChainsaw wrote:

Mr. Roberts isn't the antagonist.  He is the failed hero.  How the hero faces his choice at the end of the journey defines whether you have witnessed a comedy or a tragedy.  When the hero fails the test that is a tragedy.  When the hero passes the test it's a comedy - whether you laugh or not.

I laughed. Mostly because the hero was kinda 2-D and I didn't like him anyway.

Then I wrote my own version:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/13846


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from DesiringGod.org

from DesiringGod.org blog

 

It's such a tragedy; That he would murder another human just to get what he wanted, only to find out in the end that what he got was pointless. That he was led like a goat to the slaughter, completely deceived. I'm afraid that's how many of us live our lives. We seek money - thinking that it will satisfy. But is that going to give you comfort when you're dying? We look at the latest gadget and think "If I just had that...". But what was once new is now old - only to be replaced by the next great thing that we must have - a never-ending one thing after another. We look to sex and masturbation. But once you ejaculate and reality comes back into view don't you feel like it was pointless - like your life is pointless? Like it was all fake and ultimately unsatisfying to your inner-most being? Yea, these things are great while they last, but they are ultimately unsatisfying. Paul once said "everyone who sins is a slave to sin". Don't you think that's true? We get addicted to these things because we look to them for our satisfaction. God knows this, that's why he wrote "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." Like this man, we are willing to forsake God and look to virtually anything other than God. But in the end, when our world rolls away like a scroll and the real reality barges in unwelcomed we will come to the horrible realization that, like this dragon, we have utterly wasted our lives.


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fischer1121 wrote:But is

fischer1121 wrote:

But is that going to give you comfort when you're dying? We look at the latest gadget and think "If I just had that...". But what was once new is now old - only to be replaced by the next great thing that we must have - a never-ending one thing after another.

I dunno.  I really think that when we are dying...you know, if we get the whole 'deathbed scene'...all we have is us.  We can say our dying words if anyone is listening, but really we just lie there and think about all the good folks, good times, good beer, good food, good travels, and such...maybe with the help of morphine.  I mean, that's what I'm thinking it will be.  Then it will be over.  That's all.


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fischer1121 wrote:We get

fischer1121 wrote:

We get addicted to these things because we look to them for our satisfaction.

 

god (whatever that is) and the bible is your addiction. The difference is your obsession is with an imaginary "being" if it can be called that.

You live in an imaginary world. Your addiction is an attempt to escape reality. You cannot accept that your existence will permantly end.

 

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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What a load of rubbish. 

What a load of rubbish.  The guy tries to help out his family, instead of saving himself and he gets punished.  And since God is the sole arbiter of life and death - he has dominion over it (as many Xians CONSTANTLY point out to me when they bring up Moses killing women and children at Gods command) then it doesn't matter if he pushes the button.

 

It is simply another scare tactic by theists since they have no logic or reason to support their hideous agenda: fear mongering and scaring people into agreeing with them so they can feel good about taking your money at the pew.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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The moral of the story is

The moral of the story is what all morality really boils down to, "Might makes right".

 

In this story God a complete asshat. A torturer and deceiver. Yet the powerless man that faces a moral dilemma to help his family is portrayed as evil. God can get a way with whatever torture he wants and still have people "love" him because he is all powerful. Theists are really just Divine ass kissers.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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What if Mr. Roberts had

What if Mr. Roberts had wanted the $10 million to donate to a charity?

 

Surely that would have saved more lives than just the one he took to get the money.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson


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Frore wrote:What if Mr.

Frore wrote:

What if Mr. Roberts had wanted the $10 million to donate to a charity?

 

Surely that would have saved more lives than just the one he took to get the money.

The greater good argument huh. So do you want to be the one that he kills?

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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According to the bible, the

According to the bible, the devil never killed anyone. Now god, on the other hand, is like a demented Rambo.

I'll take my chances with the devil if I were a theist.

 

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


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What if ??

Frore wrote:

What if Mr. Roberts had wanted the $10 million to donate to a charity?

 

Surely that would have saved more lives than just the one he took to get the money.

 

 

                 What if ??


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I think this was a good

I think this was a good film. The religious concepts in it are bunk, but it is genuinely well made. The main character was 2D, but for this kind of production you can't expect any better. If this was meant as theist propaganda then it has failed since the situation is so unfair for the man. If God damns us for doing all we can for our families (I'm not afraid so say it, I'd kill for mine) then we need not hear any more about such a monster. But if we don't look at this as theist propaganda then I think it is pretty good.

 

Quote:

I think the person he killed is supposed to be Jesus.

 

I doubt it. The man in the suit (the devil? my money is on the devil) says that the person that he killed will be sent in next.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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moral choices

I think this film raises an interesting problem, even if it itends to or not. The problem of what moral system can or should a person choose between or appeal to, especially in times when those systems are in conflict with each other. I have not seen much from the atheist on this point. I usually see something along the lines that we will just figure ethics out and it is not really a serious problem. This film and message board on the film tease out the problem quite well. Different people appeal to different codes and principles of morality. Where one person may that it is always wrong to take the life of another, another person may argue equally well that benefitting a getter number of people or the greater good is always right. While a third may argue there is so such thing as right or wrong, but what you have the power to do. These are common ethical categories. The problem is that these ethical traditions come into conflict all the time and people make ethical choices everyday on them. There is no way to say what the right thing is in Mr. Roberts' particular situation. So the moral of the story may be that we need to still work out what morality even is and demands. We have to recognize that we live in a hodgepodge of moral traditions. The atheist and the theist can not easily answer the question of what is right or good. The film tries to come down on a side, by clearly punishing Mr. Roberts, but it is not clear that punish is justified, or award for that matter if he had chosen the key. But the idea that moral action is up to us, which comes off really well in this film, is an important and salient point. But another point is also clear, we do need a system of ethics that is consistently applies, without it the atheist and the theist whole project is worthless for human beings.


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Frore wrote:What if Mr.

Frore wrote:

What if Mr. Roberts had wanted the $10 million to donate to a charity?

Surely that would have saved more lives than just the one he took to get the money.

If you're going to get all "big picture" like that, it really doesn't matter who he kills. There are quite a number of people in the world. Death on a large scale seems to happen somewhere in the world every few years without fail, so it's not like you'd be rocking the boat.

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The ham-fisted tone of the

The ham-fisted tone of the dilemma, hackneyed premise, and uninspired acting stood out to me more than who was the antagonist. Even if there were subtle moral questions at stake, posing them would have been well beyond the reach of the writers, director and actors.

Moving beyond this film--which is essential to my continued tranquility--we can find much more realistic manifestations of the dilemma. Consider street racing, as I often have. There have been many deaths and injuries as a result of normal driving conditions, but it's a forgone conclusion that the likelihood of an accident will increase as reaction time is strained and driving rules disregarded on roads full of unsuspecting people. It's then arguable, that when one street races they accept the ballooning probability of their causing the death of another person. Whether any such thing actually occurs is incidental to the choice to accept the risk imposed on others.