Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Biblical Principles does Divergent Illustrate?

      Divergent is a book that focuses on subject of fear.  Tris chooses to go to the Dauntless faction and is faced with things over and over again that trigger fear in her.  Going through initiation teaches her that she can control and overcome her fears.  At the end of initiation, Tris hads to go through her own fear landscape and face all of her fears. Going in, she doesn't know for sure what all her fears are.  I think part of conquering fear is to identify what is at the root of that fear.  Tris discovers the true identity of all her fears and defeats them.
      This doesn't mean she's suddenly not afraid of them anymore.  Every time she encounters her fears, she must conquer them again. The Bible talks so much about being courageous and not having any fear. Deuteronomy 31:16 says: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  The Hebrew word for "courageous in this verse is "amets" and it means: "To be stout, strong, bold, alert".  That definition perfectly describes Dauntless.  In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul tells the people to "be men of courage; be strong." Over and over again, the Bible says to be courageous.
      The Dauntless are also known for standing firm for what they believe is right.  What ideas are deemed right by the Dauntless? They believe in justice.  They believe in ordinary acts of bravery.  They believe in standing up for those who can't defend themselves.  They believe fear should not have the power to influence decisions. 
      Many times in the Bible, God tells us as Christians to stand firm in what we believe.  In Mark 13:13, Jesus says: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."  2 Thessalonians 2:15 says: "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth, or by letter."  James 5:8 says: "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."  1 Corinthians 15:58 says: Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."  We are to stand firm, just like the Dauntless.

      The definition of Abnegation is: "To refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.)".  This is exactly what Jesus is saying to do in Luke 9:23. He says we must deny ourselves. Jesus was extremely selfless and humble.  Philippians 2:3-4 perfectly sums up the life of the Abnegation: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

*Spoiler warning. Don't continue reading if you haven't read the last book.*

At the very end of the last book, Tris gives up her life in place of her brother, Caleb.  This act of love and selflessness is considerably Christ-like, especially since Caleb betrays her and she still dies for him.  Everyone involved believes Caleb should be the one to give up his life, but Tris still loved him and took his place.  In the same way, Jesus gave up his life to save us from what we rightfully deserved.  Romans 5:8 says: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  We deserved to die, just like Caleb, but Jesus stepped in and took it for us, just like Tris. We betrayed him by sinning and yet he loves us so much that he bravely and selflessly died for us.
      At one point in the series, it's stated that those who transfer into Dauntless from other factions end up different from each other based on which faction they came from. Those who transfer from Abnegation tend to become revolutionary. Combining bravery with selflessness can be a radical thing.

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