The X-Files, Season 3 Episode 11, Revelations
What Is The Faith In Film Series? It is a form of a Small Group with a focus on discussing spiritual truths that exist in the arts, not just film. We realize all truth comes from God and God’s truths are often spoken about in culture. Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths. The Bible states, “He never taught them anything without first telling them stories.” Mark 4:33, 34. Movies, books, television, and music are the most popular form of storytelling today; using these media we will look for ways to deepen our faith as well as finding ways to share spiritual truths with the unchurched.
Your Facilitator: Mike Furches has been using the arts to share culturally relevant truths with those in the church, and unchurched for over 15 years. Recognized as one of the leaders across the country in this area he is adequately prepared to present this in a small group or larger setting. Mike currently writes for one of the most visited review web sites in the world, Hollywood Jesus. He also facilitates and operates an online community of faith called The Virtual Pew.
What will we do? We will watch all kinds of movies, television shows, and listen to all kinds of music. The focus will be on popular arts within the non Christian sector. Some of these will be ‘R’ Rated and will include discussion while at times looking at adult themes. We will also post the discussions and various programs on line for review.
Who can come or visit the online presentation? Anyone and everyone that is age appropriate. This is a great opportunity to invite unchurched friends or those who are open to these types of themes. Small children should not attend for obvious reasons. Media that has more of an adult theme will be announced in advance.
How often will we meet? We will meet or post 2 – 3 times a month. A calendar of meeting times will be made available. You can also access information about the events through http://www.thevirtualpew.com/. You may also email regarding a schedule of events to firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular meetings in the Wichita KS area will be announced as will publication of meetings in other locals that are hosting these events.
The X-Files Season 3 Episode 11 – Revelations
Directorial, Script and Production Intent
There are some searches for spiritual truth in the arts that are easy, others that are difficult. One of the easy ones which we will start with is The X-Files. We will start with one that is easy to help illustrate and move on i to harder ones in the future.
When watching film, or listening to music, notice the names included in that program or song. Recognize that the producers, writers and others involved realize things like this and often times leave clues in the script to help illustrate certain points. Believe me, they don’t spend the millions they do on films or songs without some thought. One thing often used is name association.
A Couple of examples of name association include movies like The Green Mile. The lead character is named John Carpenter. Notice that Jesus Christ has the same initials JC thus the Messiah Character or Christ Figure association with the character John Carpenter. There are many other movies where this takes place, most notable is Superman with associations of Clark Kent, or Superman. Some of those associations include, Light of the World, Comes from Heaven, can perform supernatural feats, has a mother Martha, similar to Jesus’ Mary, a father John similar to Jesus’ Joseph, he is raised as a poor working man, and there are many more comparisons that can be made.
In This episode of the X-Files we see other associations like this if we look a little deeper than the entertainment only value which the episode has.
The X-Files is essentially an exploration and search for truth. Many have focused on UFO’s and Supernatural because of Fox Mulders’ fascination. They often forget about the search of Dana Scully regarding issues of faith. When the opening scenes of the X-Files states “The Truth is Out There,” they expect an exploration of evidence, leaving the conclusions to the viewer. The exploration is not just the search of Fox Mulder, but also the search of Dana Scully.
Use of light, animals and surroundings.
The use of light, animals and surroundings will have an impact on the message the writer/producer/director is trying to send. We can see this in most all productions and stories.
Light will often symbolize life, hope, and potential.
Animals, especially birds, will symbolize faith, hope, redemption and more. When doves are used, you will note specific reference to Judeo Christian values. Note in these situations, it is not always a positive note but one that the viewer or listener should take into consideration.
Images, in the background will have significant influence. Religious imagery, crosses, Jesus and so forth symbolize a great deal of imagery, specific to Christianity. They will often tell us something about the inner thoughts and/or concerns of the character who is presently being focused in that particular scene.
Notice use of light in this particular episode of X-Files Revelations. Often we see Fox Mulder in the shadows, in the dark, especially in scenes involving discussion of religious symbolism. On the other hand Dana Scully and Kevin Kryder are depicted in the light or with having images of light shine on them. This is also especially true of another character in the film, Owen. Michael Berryman a popular character actor featured in many horror films, such as The Devil’s Rejects, The Hills Have Eyes and so forth plays the part of Owen. He has stated that this particular part is one of his favorite roles of all time.
There are also certain camera angel views where we see things like the cross as a primary point of reference in a scene. Often the symbol of the cross can be from a crucifix, grave yard marker, or possibly in some situations from an old telephone pole on the side of a highway that resembles a cross.
In this particular episode of The X-Files there is the name association mentioned above:
Kevin(5) Kryder(6) – Jesus(5) Christ(6) – Simon(5) Gates(5) – Devil(5) Satan(5)
While many may think this is coincidence they can do several name checks and see the difficulty of this just being random. It is obvious that the producers intend to present the associations with the characters mentioned above
Other Associations Regarding Kevin Kryder
Kevin Kryder is a young boy who takes on the marks of Jesus during the crucifixion. It should be noted that while this was a Christmas Episode for the X-Files, that not only did it present a Christ figure as a small boy, but it also focused on the crucifixion marks of Christ. The following are but a few of the associations the producers make regarding Kevin.
Kevin Kryder – Chosen by God
Kevin Kryder – Gift of Numbers (is gifted)
Kevin Kryder – Can transport as a spirit
Kevin Kryder – A Small Boy, who came as a child
Kevin Kryder – A young boy who will be responsible for the salvation of the earth when he is older
Kevin Kryder – Able to see into the future regarding events in the life of those around him
Spiritual Truths and Images in X-Files Revelations
Prior to even looking at the opening credits, one must realize, this is a “Christmas” Episode. There was an obvious greater focus on faith issues, and this episode specific to Christian concepts.
When having guests or friends over you can find ways to share your faith by using a film like this. You can look at the Christmas season as being a prime time to discuss spiritual issues. You may want to take advantage of Tivo, DVR, VHS or something of that nature top record various programs where you know themes like this are going to be present. Spiritual themes are often common during the Christmas Season, but they are not exclusive to only the Christmas season. One of my favorite programs, The Sopranos is often filled with spiritual themes, despite what many may think, it may be possible to strike up a spiritual conversation from a program like the Sopranos or The X-Files than most any religious programming we can think of.
In Opening Credits and Introduction of The X-Files we have to ask ourselves what is the comment on every episode of The X-Files, except one? “The Truth is Out There.” At this point we can ask, “How does one discover truth?”
Note that in this particular episode the very opening scene is entirely on the cross as it scans to Reverend Patrick Findley. It is as the camera scans to Reverend Findley that we hear one of the most important sentences in any particular program, the first sentence. Reverend Findley states: “God tests our faith so that we may not take it for granted.” We know from this point on, this episode is going to be about issues of faith. A great question one can ask of others, or themselves at this point is, “How do we take faith for granted?” And we can ask, “How does God test our faith?”
As in many episodes of The X-Files the conflict between Science and Faith, and the cynicism involved is up front and center. We will see that conflict throughout this episode in many ways, in ways that we can even look at our own lives and begin to ask ourselves spiritual questions that can cause us to reflect. Some of those types of questions we can ask follow:
When looking at miracles do we look at them or just accept them? In other words do we even accept the existence of miracles? If so, What is perceived as a miracle? We can also ask ourselves is there evidence of a fake miracles like we see demonstrated in this episode? How do others who aren’t Christians, or searching for spiritual truth react to those fakes? How do we as people of faith or followers of Jesus respond to those who are fakes? Then for the skeptics, they have to ask, is there evidence of real miracles? Then they must ask themselves a series of questions that would cause them to reflect on their own unique perspective.
One of the primary religious focus points for this episode is the rare phenomena called Stigmata. Stigmata is a real anomalies or occurrence. It is unexplainable, but they do occur with people of deep religious faith, specific to Christianity. Stigmata are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. The term originates from the line at the end of Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians where he says, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus", with "marks" in the Latin Vulgate are rendered as "stigmata". An individual bearing stigmata is referred to as a stigmatic.
When looking at Stigmata, one needs to realize that there is a great deal of debate regarding the actual event of stigmata. There seems to be as much evidence supporting it as there is referring to the hoaxes that have also been proven. There are several well known individuals who have been reported to have experienced Stigmata, some such as St. Francis of Assisi.
In this episode of the X-Files there is a scene when Fox and Dana are going to Mr. Kryder regarding Kevin, that Mr. Kryder, Kevin’s dad tells Skully and Maulder, “He is bleeding.” They ask, how did you know?” He responds, “Because the faithful know.” This opens up a unique perspective on the issue of faith. There are also many comparisons and points of spiritual conversation that can come about as a result of this particular scene.
Mr. Kryder at one point states, that he is merely a messenger for his son. There was another famous messenger who had many of the same characteristics as Mr. Kryder. He was also presented as being crazy by many just as Mr. Kryder is perceived here. That association was John the Baptist. We can ask ourselves and others questions from the example displayed by Mr. Kryder. Some of those follow:
How is Mr. Kryder treated for his faith?
How relevant is that today for Christians who display faith?
Mr Kryder also states, “The forces of darkness have been watching him; they want to claim all souls.”
How accurate is this statement? Are there those who want to claim all souls?
What are the forces of darkness?
There is also a detailed scene where Mr. Kryder talks about the battle of Armageddon. Armageddon is known by some as the ultimate, “war between good and evil.” We can ask here, what is good? What is evil? If this battle is a real battle, what ways can it occur? Who will be effected by that battle? Is it possible that the battle will or can occur in ways different than what many Christians have perceived?
On this particular scene there is a deleted scene of Mr. Kryder speaking in tongues. Tongues have two present forms as known by Christians, they are in most simple terms, the language of angels, or unknown languages. The later would be illustrated as if were to all of a sudden start speaking in Russian when I in reality don’t know Russian. Here it is as if God’s Spirit suddenly gave me the ability to speak Russian. In this case there would be one around who would be able to interpret Russian for those around who didn’t know Russian. This person is often called an interpreter of tongues.
While many don’t believe in or understand tongues, it is generally a wide held belief that tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit. There is a great deal of debate as to types, who has the gift, so forth. All of that aside in this particular episode, in the deleted scene we see that Scully can give an interpretation of the tongues that Mr. Kryder speaks. We also see Mulders’ inability to understand the language Mr. Kryder spoke.
Shortly thereafter we see the introduction of Owen. A former gardener who had a relationship with the family. In the first scene of Owen we see him as a beast, possibly even evil because there is not much understanding of him at the initial point. We could ask ourselves or others, is it possible to see good things as evil? Or even, see evil things as good? Many times one will see good as evil, or evil as good, why does this occur?
In one of the early scenes we see Owen carving an ark and its animals. The first animal we see Owen with is a dove. What does the dove represent, in relation to faith issues? Early on one will ask themselves, what is Owen, human or something else? It doesn’t take any imagination to realize that Owen is an angel. In one scene he even refers to himself as Kevin’s Guardian Angel. What are your thoughts about angels? Do they exist? Is there such a thing as Guardian Angels? What are they, what is their role and purpose?
Later on we see Owen in an attic with Fox and Dana, here we see and hear Owen’s comment on the crucifix Scully is wearing. He challenges her with the fact that at one time she had to have a belief in God. All through the series, all seasons of The X-Files the crucifix is a central part of Scully’s outfit and has a reoccurring theme regarding her faith and her search for faith. In this particular episode Owen directly challenges Dana with her belief and practice of what the crucifix represents.
Owen tells Dana and Fox that he is called to help Kevin. He is asked who has called him to help and he responds, God! From this point, this scene there are additional questions we can ask:
Does God give specific purpose to those who follow him?
Are there things God has called you to do?
How do we know God’s call?
How do we respond to the call of God?
There is a wonderful dialog, as mentioned earlier in the scene between several of the characters here, specifically Owen, Fox, and Dana. One of the points of conversation has to do with belief, faith. We are asked the question by Fox, is believing enough? (miracles, God, etc…) Owen gives a startling answer about this question. He states, “Even the killer believes.” This is almost directly out of the Bible when looking at the fact that even the Devil believes in the works and miracles of Jesus, but belief, in and of itself is not enough.
It becomes clear that Owen is not afraid of death. We see this in a self serving sacrifice and an effort that he truly desires to be in Heaven. He has no desire to go to Heaven though until he has accomplished his purpose in life. We do, unfortunately though see Owen give himself up to save Kevin. In the scene where we see him dead, we see a peace on his face, even a smile as if he had something to look forward to as a result of death. We also see that Owen is indeed a heavenly creature as his body does not decompose; he maintains the same body temperature even some hours after death and while in the morgue. This illustrates that Owen is different, that he is indeed an angel. Although Owen is an angel, we can ask ourselves the question of what happens at death? How do we respond? What happens to the soul? Do we have hope? Do we have fear?
Simon Gates is the killer who has been seeking to bring about the death of the one true messiah figure. Remember that Simon Gates has the same letters as Devil and Satan. There are many ways Gates resembles the Devil. He also uses the name of one of the Devils known disciples and followers when he has rented a car. He is able to deal with heat and fire. He is also able to indwell another’s body. He is known to destroy that which is good and has the intent to bring about Armageddon. The Bible also tells people about the point that Hell is a place where there is gnawing and gnashing of teeth. Notice the ultimate destruction that befalls Gates, he goes through a place where there is gnawing and gnashing of teeth.
One of the things evident in this particular episode is the signs that are used to communicate truths and direction, specifically to Dana Scully. One of the reoccurring themes is the concept of , “coming full circle.” Not only is there a direct symbol used on how to find Kevin once he is kidnapped, there is a reoccurring theme for Scully in her own search for her issues related to faith. When watching the episode it is important to watch how the full circle sign come about. It is also good if watching the DVD to watch the deleted scene for this particular episode. Is it possible that God intended her to be the only one that was to hear this sign, in other words the events were specific for her, from a personal God, who personally cares for Dana Scully. If watching the episode and discussing it with others it is important to look at how Scully interprets this particular sign. This raises up other appropriate questions that we can relate to if we are on a spiritual search for truth. Some of those questions could include:
How does God speak to people?
If God is speaking to you, does that mean that others will see it or recognize it?
Did Fox Mulder believe and see the same things that Scully did?
How do we respond to those who don’t see or view the same things we do?
As mentioned earlier, a reoccurring theme for this particular episode is, “What is faith?” How does Scully demonstrate faith? There are numerous other characters in the episode though that also demonstrate faith, how do they show that they are willing to act on their faith? One can also ask about Fox Maulder in the episode and ask themselves of the things he places his faith in. Why is he so inclined to place faith in some things, but not others? We can also ask ourselves if we are people that act on faith, or we have to have some “obvious” sign. While many followers of Jesus state they are people of faith, the truth is, that most of us are more like Fox Maulder than we are Dana Scully. We must realize and look at the fact that we may have more evidence that we are not people of faith, than we have that we are people of faith.
There is a scene in the program that I call Scully’s Sermon. Look at the dialog from the script.
SCULLY: Yesterday, I saw Kevin's hands. They were bleeding from identical wounds on the top as on the bottom ... just like in the crucifixion.
MULDER: Scully ...
SCULLY: There have been other signs. I haven't said anything until now, because I haven't been sure ... and I'm still not sure.
MULDER: Sure of what exactly?
SCULLY: How Kevin was able to be in two places at once ... just like St. Ignatius was able to do in the Bible.
MULDER: That was in the Bible. It's a parable, it's a metaphor for the truth, not the truth itself. Why didn't Kevin conveniently bi-locate when Owen Jarvis abducted him from the shelter.
SCULLY: How is it that you're able to go out on a limb whenever you see a light in the sky, but you're unwilling to accept the possibility of a miracle? Even when it's right in front of you.
MULDER: I wait for a miracle every day. But what I've seen here has only tested my patience, not my faith.
SCULLY: Well, what about what I've seen?
Just as in Jesus parables, there a sort of closing thought on this concept in the closing scene of the movie. The scene involves a conversation between Dana Scully and a priest while at a confession booth.
A CONFESSION BOOTH
SCULLY: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been six years since my last confession, and since then I've drifted away from the church. I'm not sure why exactly.
PRIEST: Have you come to confess?
SCULLY: No, um, there's a man that I work with - a friend - and usually I'm able to discuss these things with him ... but not this. Father, do you believe in miracles?
PRIEST: Of course, I see them every day ... the rising sun, the birth of a child ...
SCULLY: No, I'm talking about events that defy explanation. Things that ... I believe helped me to save a young boy's life. But now I wonder if I saw them at all. If I didn't just imagine them.
PRIEST: Why do you doubt yourself?
SCULLY: Because my partner didn't see them. He didn't ... he didn't believe them. And usually he ... he believes without question.
PRIEST: Maybe they weren't meant for him to see. Maybe they were only meant for you.
SCULLY: Is that possible?
PRIEST: With the Lord, anything is possible. Perhaps you saw these things because you needed to.
SCULLY: To find my way back?
PRIEST: Sometimes we must come full circle to find the truth. (Scully looks up at the priest) Why does that surprise you?
SCULLY: Mostly, it just makes me afraid.
SCULLY: Afraid that God is speaking ... but that no one's listening.
That last line by Scully is the closing comment of the episode. Just as an opening comment is one that challenges us to look at the theme of the episode, the closing or last comment is often one that wants us to think about the underlying theme that was just presented. That last line is a powerful line that we can ask ourselves, what if no one is listening. Does that mean that neither are we listening?
If in the Wichita area, you are welcome to attend the Faith In Film Series as mentioned above. If not able to attend, you are welcome to host an event at your location. Please note that the information here is not as the presentations actually take place. As a facilitator, the home work is done, the presentation prepared, but it is encouraged that much of the points, such as referenced here, come about through the discussion within the group settings. If wanting to see this particular episode, you are encouraged to get at your video store or possibly even a NetFlix que. You can also visit The Virtual Pew Store at http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and type in The X-Files Season 3 in the search engine and order from there. Please note that for the first 3 meetings, we will be looking at fairly easy Spiritual Themes to identify, after that we will look more at movies, and possibly more difficult themes to identify.
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March 31 – The X-Files Season 3 Episode 11 - Revelations
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