Monday, August 27, 2018

Did I watch the right movie?

"The Road to Armageddon" is a documentary featuring a series of interviews with religious and spiritual figures, the most important being Marilynn Hughes, an eclectic Catholic mystic with a Buddhist slant. For instance, she believes in reincarnation. Another prominent interviewee is Howard Storm, a pastor in the United Church of Christ and author of "My Descent into Death", detailing the author's life-changing near death experience. Also featured: pro-Hindu Jesuit scholar Francis Clooney, Vajrayana Buddhist Robert Thurman, paranormal investigator and "lay demonologist" John Zaffis, and Imam Salahuddin Muhammad, a moderate African-American Muslim and opponent of Louis Farrakhan.

While this cast underscores the ecumenical character of the documentary, I felt that Hughes and the others somehow lost the red thread midway. The first part of "The Road to Armageddon" is pretty extreme, and claims that demons are literal and very powerful beings. Hughes claims that Jesus Christ showed her the Lord Demon, the most powerful demon today, representing "self-intelligence" (the idea that we know better than God). Then, there is a demon named Gold Eyes, representing narcissism, and a snake-demon representing rage. There are also incubi and succubi.

Later, the interviewees revert to preach a rather conventional religious message about the importance of love and morality. Prayer and meditation are recommended as ways of purification, the point of the process being to live morally upright lives. "Armageddon" or the apocalypse is mentioned only at the end, and is interpreted in purely allegorical terms as the individual soul's judgment of itself after death. I almost got the impression that the extreme title of the DVD is a trick to sell more copies!

I'm not sure how to rate "The Road to Armageddon", but it seems three stars is enough. I still wonder whether I've been watching the right production...

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