Why "Infinity War" is a Pro-Life Movie

I have always been a superhero geek.  During my youth and adult years, I have collected many comics from both Marvel and DC.  I follow superheroes, not just for the fantasy (I mean who doesn't want to run the speed of light or fly), but for the compelling characters and struggles these characters must triumph over.

Many of the successes on the big and small screen today had their origins in the pages of a monthly comic.  You think waiting a week is a long time to see what happens to your favorite hero next, try waiting a month.  Yet, if you are an avid comic book junkie like I was, you memorized which week your favorite comic hit the stands so you could be at the store on the arrival date.  Then, you would go out to your car and spend the next 20 minutes consuming the next chapter in the story colorfully splashed across a couple dozen pages.  A satisfying tale could sometimes take a year or two to flesh out.

Marvel has done an astonishingly good job in mimicking this same process in a movie format.  Each movie has introduced characters that have been designed for a larger story.  As their particular individual movies came to a close, each of the tales was seeded with tantalizing pieces of something larger.  Iron Man, the first of these movies, gave hints of the formation of the Avengers.  After each of the main characters to form the Avengers starred in their own standalone movie, the team was brought together to fight a threat too large for any of the individual members.  That initial threat, Loki, revealed a larger one hidden in the shadows pulling the strings of the events unfolding.

It has taken 20 movies and 10 years from the beginning of the Marvel cinematic universe, but this shadowy character has been forced from hiding to complete his task.  His name is Thanos and the first of two movies was "Infinity War".

Thanos has a mission that he believes is noble.  He sees the limited resources of the universe and concludes that the only way that life can survive and thrive is to correct this problem.  In his calculus, life can be saved by sacrificing half the population of the universe.  Not a favored sacrificial system, but a random dispassionate choosing of who lives and who dies.  So he takes up this mission recruiting a band of powerful followers that go to planet after planet destroying half of the population. 

Over the last 20 movies, powerful artifacts known as infinity stones have been revealed.  There are six of them in all.  With the collection of the six, in his possession, Thanos could simply snap his fingers to accomplish his goal without further bloodshed.  Half the population would simply cease to exist.

The most powerful dialogues of the film take place between Thanos & Gamora and Thanos & Dr. Strange, respectively.  (Spoilers ahead)

The first takes place on Thanos' ship after he has kidnapped Gamora, his adopted daughter.  During this scene, they discuss Gamora's adoption into Thanos' family.  This happened when Thanos and his army arrived on Gamora's homeworld.  As the chaos ensued, the people were huddled into two separate masses.  Gamora was tenderly abducted by Thanos as she was looking for her mother.  During their quiet discussion, Thanos' army kills all the mass of people on the left side of the dividing line and claims Gamora as her own.

Gamora recounts the tale to Thanos declaring to him that they were a family and that they were happy.  Thanos counters that her family was going to sleep hungry every night.  He points to the results of his dispassionate extermination.  After 20 years, the planet is thriving and there is more than enough food and resources to go around.  Gamora's homeworld, he declares, is now a paradise.  In the end, Gamora challenges his belief that his drastic solution is even needed, though he is convinced that it is.

The second conversation with Dr. Strange happens on the ravaged world Titan, Thanos' homeworld.  Thanos through his power gives a vision of what Titan used to be like.  But he proclaims that there were too many mouths to feed for too few resources.  Seeing this problem, he proposed his solution of dispassionate extermination for the survival of his people.  His people refused, calling him a madman in the process.

However, the destruction of his people would come to pass, further solidifying in his mind, his righteous solution to a problem that no one else could see.  As he speaks with Dr. Strange, he tells of his true goal in assembling the infinity stones.  By having such power, he could simply snap his fingers and all the people would merely cease to exist.  Thanos calls such an action mercy, because it is painless for those taken from existence.  When Dr. Strange asks what happens after he has finished his task, Thanos replies that he would rest and look over a grateful universe.  In other words, someday they would appreciate what he had done for them by giving them prosperity and continued existence at the expense of half of all life.

At the end of the movie, after much struggle, Thanos actually succeeds in snapping away half of all life in the universe.  It is a painful scene to watch, especially with characters that people have grown to love over the last 10+ years on the big screen turn to dust.  The emotional reaction solidifies to the viewer the true hideousness of Thanos' plan, even if it was for the "best of intentions".

Even Thanos isn't left untouched by the cost of the sacrifice.  In a scene with Gamora (whom he also sacrificed) when the snap took place, a young Gamora asks him "What did it cost?".  To which Thanos replied, "Everything."

The movie ends with Thanos having escaped and resting on an unknown world, smiling upon what he believes will be a grateful universe.

***

What struck me about this movie was the unintentional pro-life message this movie embraced.  I know that most of Hollywood is staunchly in the pro-choice camp.  However, this movie's overarching villain employed some of the most commonly used justifications for abortion in his decisions for mass genocide to show why those arguments are horrific and unjustified.

First, Thanos rests his drastic actions off of the assumption and fear that the lack of resources would result in an inferior lifestyle because of poverty and need, even to the point of causing death.  Isn't this the same argument given today by many abortion advocates who fear the lifestyle of the mother and child would suffer and therefore it would be better to have the abortion so the quality of life for the mother would be better?

Second, Thanos calls the snap, that ends the existence of half of life in the universe, "mercy".  No pain, just a numbing disintegration into nothingness.  Most abortion advocates do not wish to be inhumane to an unborn child.  They do not wish for a child to suffer.  As such, most do not wish to see second or third trimester abortions because of the pain it inflicts on a child in the womb and the viability of the child at that age outside the womb.  However, these same people, who wish for the humane treatment of children from the 20th week of pregnancy on, see no problem with the death of a child as long as they would not be able to feel pain.  

Finally, Thanos' plan for the universe cost him dearly.  In order for Thanos to accomplish his plan, he had to sacrifice his adopted daughter Gamora.  The price of perceived economic freedom and security would come at the cost of one he came to love so dearly.  Gamora, in her poverty, proclaimed that she was happy with her family.  Thanos in his abundance would always have regret.  In the same way, those who have partaken in this act of abortion often have regret over their decision because what they lost in their child was greater than the financial security and emotional peace they were promised.

"Endgame", the sequel to "Infinity War", seeks to undo the damage done by Thanos.  The Avengers hope to somehow reverse the deaths of so many affected by the snap.  And because it is a superhero movie, I know that many of us are hoping that they will succeed in their quest.  

Since 1973, over 60,000,000 abortions have taken place in the United States.  Unfortunately, there is no mystical snap that can bring any of those children back.  By the grace of God, they are held in the arms of Christ comforted knowing that someday every wrong will be made right, either through the forgiveness found at the foot of the cross or at the judgment seat of Christ.  

If we seek to undo the damage caused by abortion in our country and our world, it will have to begin by recognizing that the arguments used by Thanos to justify his murderous spree are also what makes him the villain of the story.  In order to be the hero, we will have to reject that message at all costs and affirm the value of life.  Even Hollywood, reluctantly, agrees.

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