First off, there’s the treatment of religious deities that starts with their mythological backstory… which in their reality is fact, not mythology. T’Challa not only can step into the ancestral place, but even has a choice whether to stay. His ritual of entering the other side- burying himself under sand after drinking a certain herb, resembles ancient pagan practices where people perform various routines to meet a deity face-to-face. Amongst all the world religions that have false gods whom require works to earn blessing from, Christianity rather teaches about unconditional love that starts with Jesus taking our place on the cross. God’s final sacrifice proves that we have no need to follow rituals such as animal slaughter to earn our way into Heaven, it’s our hearts, not our actions, that the Lord is most concerned about. (1 Corinthians 10:31, James 2:14-26)
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Not only does Black Panther honor old pagan values, but modern American values as well, particularly gender equality. It’s not a bad thing to value at all, as God indeed created men and women equally, and wants us to strive for that equality. (Genesis 1:27, 1 Peter 3:1-7) The problem is when fighting for that equality becomes an idol, which leads to all sorts of sin that skews the individual. Seriously, none of the female characters in this movie are flawed in any way; they’re all gorgeous, morally perfect, and two-dimensional in personality. Meanwhile, the male characters are depicted as in need of women to be considered human. Doesn’t sound like gender equality to me! (2 Timothy 3:16)
Now, about the issue of portraying Blackness, it here means the Black characters bully the White characters for the sake of cheap jokes. Once Everett Ross enters Wakanda, Shuri smiles, “Great! Another broken White boy for us to fix!” She later calls him a “Colonizer” for no reason besides a little comic relief against this continually berated loser of a character. It’s a very unhealthy mindset that all the Black characters, even the villain of the film, Killmonger, are open to being redeemed while the White characters, such as the other villain, Ulysses, don’t get a chance to change.
Although it still treats the racial threat a little seriously, as Ulysses calling Wakandans savages is the one racial comment not played for laughs. It’s no joking matter: the way White people treated Black people throughout history must never be tolerated; we as God’s children must always be loving and accepting to all cultures and walks of life until Jesus returns again. (Proverbs 12:10) It’s just that this film’s approach to doing so by treating Black people as more saintly than White people is inaccurate.
Even the supposed “evil” of Killmonger isn’t sincerely so, as his first act as king is to explain the real Black Panthers of the world to Wakanda immediately after destroying the heart-shaped herbs. Killmonger wants to reveal Blackness to the world, because two billion other Black people could benefit from them. It sounds like what he’s doing can only do good for everyone, yet he being a murderer only gets called a poor ruler. It’s the notion that your sin defines who you are, depending on which sins are worse than other sins, when in truth, all sins are equally horrible, whether it’s pride or homicide, which means only God redefines light on proper leadership. (Genesis 1:2-3) Case in point, Moses and Paul the Apostle were both killers until they saw Christ in a way that blinded their vision, they thus became some of the most famous rulers in history. David also intentionally caused a man’s death after an affair with Bathsheba, yet still repented of it, and God continues to call David, “a man after mine own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
It’s not what you do that defines who you are, it’s your heart after failing others that defines who you are. It’s not fighting for the temporary issues of this world that gives a reason to live. While movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo are undeniably worthy causes to reach the equality God calls us to, it shouldn’t be our god. Black Panther likewise has that unhealthy Western mindset that has no intention of aiding any important causes. That’s why it’s best not to get so worked up in those fights that it leads to nothing but hatred from both ends. Instead, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Have a great week, and happy watching, God bless!