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Old 05-27-2010, 04:36 PM   #1
Raiders112390
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Is Indy an atheist (in Raiders)?

His comment, ''if you believe in that sort of thing'' in reference to the Tanis story seems slightly condescending, like that the idea is silly, as well as his mockery of the Ark (when warned of it's power by Marcus), comparing to the ''Boogeyman"..I wonder if, prior to the events of the climax of Raiders, he was an Atheist? I mean I know it's nothing we can say definitively, but we can speculate nonetheless and it is an interesting plot point if he was--it makes him being chosen to discover the Ark and rescue it (not by the government, but perhaps by God) all the more interesting.

Or perhaps was he just doing what he had been instructed by Abner to do in the abandoned Lost Horizon story?--Act nonchalant when it comes to the supernatural so as not to be considered crazy
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:42 PM   #2
Raiders112390
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Is Indy an atheist (in Raiders)?

His comment, ''if you believe in that sort of thing'' in reference to the Tanis story seems slightly condescending, as well as his mockery of the Ark's power when warned by Marcus (laughingly comparing it to the ''Boogeyman'') make him seem sort of contemptuous of the supernatural.

I wonder if, prior to the events of Raiders, he was an Atheist? I mean I know it's nothing we can say definitively, but we can speculate.
Or was he just doing what he had been instructed by Abner to do in the abandoned Lost Horizon's story--Act nonchalant when it comes to the supernatural so as not to be considered crazy.
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:48 AM   #3
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Indy's a perpetual skeptic, an empiricist. He often needs to see something to believe in it. Regardless of how many strange or supernatural things he's witnessed, he's skeptical of the next. This is not only the scientist in him, but for plot development it's intended to heighten the sense of wonder in the audience when the supernatural is revealed.

I don't know whether that extends to any disbelief in God.
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:11 AM   #4
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Indy does not ever say if he believes in a god or not and he does not say what he thinks when he witnesses the supernatural, except to acknowledge that something happened and that it was not entirely delusional. But like any good (social) scientist he must be always impartial and unbiased and avoid absolute conclusions. His character is presented as quite amoral, instinctual and reactive. To sum up, we don't know what his religious beliefs are, but I would be disappointed if he had any.
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mickiana
To sum up, we don't know what his religious beliefs are, but I would be disappointed if he had any.

I like that thought, Mickiana. To have Indy as open minded, rather than totally closed down one path of absolute belief gives him a broad perspective on the weird world around him. There are many inexplicable occurrences in the movies (and also the TV series if you view Dracula as real and not a ghost story told by older Indy) - from the light trap in the Chachapoyan Temple to the inter-dimensional beings in KOTCS.

I like the fact that the supernatural is never completely explained as the work of any one God, but appears to be a force that objects and people can tap into to be used for both good or evil (such as Mola Ram's supernatural abilities).

With KOTCS we finally see a higher intelligence - the most substantial god-like substance of the series. I like to think that the Chachapoyan light trap was technology derived from these creatures.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:10 AM   #6
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To be fair, the forces behind the supernatural events Indy witnesses are never definitively revealed. Anybody who insist that the power of the Ark in Raiders is the power of God can only do so out of faith, not certainty.

As for Indy's dismissal of the supernatural, I tended to think, in the past, that his experience with the Ark was his first exposure to it, only made inconsistent by ToD being sequel. However, I am starting to rethink that view, with two possible directions.

First, I'm beginning to think that Indy prefers to be a non-believer on the surface, feeling that such power should not be wielded by man (or woman). Denying it openly to enemies and friends makes it less likely that they will learn to truth... it insulates his friends and deceives his enemies. He's seen enough to know that not everything is meant to be known.

Secondly, and perhaps related to the above, I notice that there are numerous characters in Raiders that seem to accept supernatural powers as an element of the field they are in, while rarely (if ever) speaking of it directly. Belloq clearly believes, Indy is less than surprised most time, the G-Men acknowledge a tiny bit of it when they "understand Hitler interest," and practically shrug off Indy and Brody talking of "unspeakable power" at the end of the movie. In the other films, Indy denies the supernatural as well, yet accepts it along with other characters. Henry Sr. with the Grail, for example. So, maybe it's a case of showing one face publicly, another privately. Or maybe a certain amount of the supernatural is expected, but Indy assumes nothing not in evidence.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chewbacca Jones
To be fair, the forces behind the supernatural events Indy witnesses are never definitively revealed. Anybody who insist that the power of the Ark in Raiders is the power of God can only do so out of faith, not certainty.

Yes, the characters explain things in terms that are comfortable to them.

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Originally Posted by Chewbacca Jones
As for Indy's dismissal of the supernatural, I tended to think, in the past, that his experience with the Ark was his first exposure to it, only made inconsistent by ToD being sequel. However, I am starting to rethink that view, with two possible directions.

First, I'm beginning to think that Indy prefers to be a non-believer on the surface, feeling that such power should not be wielded by man (or woman). Denying it openly to enemies and friends makes it less likely that they will learn to truth... it insulates his friends and deceives his enemies. He's seen enough to know that not everything is meant to be known.

Secondly, and perhaps related to the above, I notice that there are numerous characters in Raiders that seem to accept supernatural powers as an element of the field they are in, while rarely (if ever) speaking of it directly. Belloq clearly believes, Indy is less than surprised most time, the G-Men acknowledge a tiny bit of it when they "understand Hitler interest," and practically shrug off Indy and Brody talking of "unspeakable power" at the end of the movie. In the other films, Indy denies the supernatural as well, yet accepts it along with other characters. Henry Sr. with the Grail, for example. So, maybe it's a case of showing one face publicly, another privately. Or maybe a certain amount of the supernatural is expected, but Indy assumes nothing not in evidence.

Those are possibilities.

I tend to think that Indy is just naturally skeptical about each new event. This would be from his intensive training in the fields of history and archaeology - never to take things at face value.

In archaeology there is always the possibility of fake artifacts, and Indy would be wary of ruining his professional reputation by giving his authentication to an object that later turned out to be fake. He would similarly be on the guard against hoxes.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
I tend to think that Indy is just naturally skeptical about each new event. This would be from his intensive training in the fields of history and archaeology - never to take things at face value.

In archaeology there is always the possibility of fake artifacts, and Indy would be wary of ruining his professional reputation by giving his authentication to an object that later turned out to be fake. He would similarly be on the guard against hoxes.

Agreed. Just taking Raiders by itself, I'd say he's just simply avoiding commitment to an account that isn't fact.

Not an atheist but not an literal interpreter of the Bible either. With his life experiences as a whole he should, in theory, be beyond faith in just the Judeo-Christian god. A god, gods or a force(s) beyond comprehension but not one view.

"Oh, I believe, sister. That's why I'm down here."
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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I'd say yes, he is an atheist in Raiders. But he respects other cultures, such as his knowledge of Hindu beliefs and other practices the year before in ToD, it even mentions it in the Lost Diary. He talks about going to his doctor to talk to him about heart removal the way he saw Mola Ram do it. We saw Indy encounter the supernatural in Masks of Evil (Transylvania), and he took it with disbelief and shock. It seemed as if he couldn;'t believe the stories he'd heard about vampires and now he'd seen all this stuff in the castle and it was all true.

As for Raiders, if anything, it was the Imam who warned him not to look directly into the Ark. But I'd say that later experiences, such as the power of the Grail made him have some faith
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:04 PM   #10
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All good points by everyone. Re Montana, I also like to think that the light trap is a derivative of alien technology (for the sake of background story only).

I doubt that anything might have given rise to any type of faith, so, Exulted Unicron, I disagree that the Grail experience would have affected Indy in this way. We want to believe, especially in the face of inexplicable things, but Indy would have fought against that urge and remained the skeptical scientist who must remain impartial and avoid an emotionally based assumption even of things he has seen with his own eyes.

I'm not even sure if 'atheist' is a good word to describe Indy. He's not saying yes or no to the existence of any higher realms. As a scientist he acknowledges others' beliefs, but we do not see inside Indy himself. He does not express his own beliefs, whatever they might be.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mickiana
All good points by everyone. Re Montana, I also like to think that the light trap is a derivative of alien technology (for the sake of background story only).

I like to think the light is merely a marker/warning and the real trigger is a pressure plate of some kind. The delay could be caused by age/weight of Forrestal, or Indy/Sapito may have shifted their weight as Indy reached out.

As to Indy's Faith, people seem to have struck on my belief

Quote:
Montana Smith: Indy's a perpetual skeptic
Quote:
Lao_Che: "Oh, I believe, sister. That's why I'm down here."

I'd say he simply doesn't buy into a lot of superstitious hocus pocus.

Regarding the "power of the ark," it's not the ark itself that is powerful...and that's the reason/misunderstanding that dooms the non believers. The Ark is a conduit, God has the power and as such it's not some indiscriminate weapon.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:04 PM   #12
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I'm a non believer and I don't feel doomed. I don't believe in a (Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Hindu) god. If you don't believe in God, or a god, what is left? Those two quotes from Montana and Indy are contradictory, but that's a script problem, or at least the one from Indy is so opened ended that we'd have to guess what exactly it might mean. If I'm correct, it's a response to Spalko's statement that belief is a gift that Indy is yet to receive. I think all he is saying is that he believes, yes, they are aliens (whatever that is) and that he and the others might be in danger, but that is more to do with factual observation rather than any faith issue. As for the ark's behaviour, why couldn't that be put down to alien technology? Even the ghosts and spirits could be seen like that, perhaps advanced holograms that precede the lightning display.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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He DID get married in a CHURCH, right?

...cut the same Bible, now held in the hands of a SERIOUS MINISTER, standing at the front of an impressive church. Indy, dressed in a suit and bow tie, stands before him, and Marion’s next to him, looking radiant in a simple white suit. Mutt’s just beside Indy, in a sharp suit and tie.

MINISTER Henry Jones, Jr. and Marion Ravenwood, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Holy Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the joining of your hands and the giving of these rings, I now declare you to be Husband and Wife. Whom God hath joined together, let no one put asunder.

Yeah, yeah, I know...RAIDERS.

Last edited by Rocket Surgeon : 05-28-2010 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:44 AM   #14
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Well, even if he got married in a church, it doesn't mean he isn't an atheist, or non-christian. Plenty of people of differing faiths (or lack thereof) marry under the more religious partners traditions.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:59 AM   #15
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Well, even if he got married in a church, it doesn't mean he isn't an atheist, or non-christian. Plenty of people of differing faiths (or lack thereof) marry under the more religious partners traditions.
Now you're strechin it Chewie!

Let's see, his father is a grail scholar, slaps him for taking the Lord's name in vain, so it's obvious he has a Christian upbringing.

Even Mother Theresa questioned her faith...

He got married in a church...the cards are stacked against you, you walking carpet!
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
He DID get married in a CHURCH, right?

...cut the same Bible, now held in the hands of a SERIOUS MINISTER, standing at the front of an impressive church. Indy, dressed in a suit and bow tie, stands before him, and Marionís next to him, looking radiant in a simple white suit. Muttís just beside Indy, in a sharp suit and tie.

MINISTER Henry Jones, Jr. and Marion Ravenwood, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Holy Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the joining of your hands and the giving of these rings, I now declare you to be Husband and Wife. Whom God hath joined together, let no one put asunder.

Yeah, yeah, I know...RAIDERS.

As much as I'd like to call Indy an atheist, I don't think there's enough evidence in any of the films to define him as such in Raiders.

Indy has witnessed the power supposedly derived from different beliefs - the Old Testament Hebrew God in the form of the Ark; the New Testament Christian God in the form of the Grail Cup; the voodoo-like powers of Mola Ram attributed to Kali; the inter-dimensional beings.

So it's pretty certain that Indy believes in something, whether or not that's a single God is unknown. I know there are plenty of people who only go into a church just to get married, as it's become a cultural thing rather just a purely religious ceremony.

At the time of Indy's marriage, he, Marion, Mutt and Oxley are all likely to be in a state of doubt as to where things stand with regard to God.

The furthest I would go would be to say that in Raiders Indy was professionally skeptical, yet open-minded to any possibility.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:36 AM   #17
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Superstitious hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:33 AM   #18
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Superstitious hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo.
So you're saying Indy DOESN'T believe in some omnipotent invisible (hand) man?
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:58 PM   #19
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I like to think of Indy as an atheist but that is only because I am one. I think you cant be all right in the head to believe in heaven and hell.
For me believeing in god is just as funny as believeing in lepricons and fairies
and I dont like to think of my hero as a crazy man.
I think Doc Jones is a man who has witness some crazy things but does not use mythical creachers like god to explain them
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:56 AM   #20
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I like to think of Indy as an atheist but that is only because I am one. I think you cant be all right in the head to believe in heaven and hell.
For me believeing in god is just as funny as believeing in lepricons and fairies
and I dont like to think of my hero as a crazy man.
I think Doc Jones is a man who has witness some crazy things but does not use mythical creachers like god to explain them

As an atheist I would also like to say that Indy as one, yet in Raiders there is no evidence to support it. Having inter-dimensionals as more believable deity-like beings in KOTCS helps me to accept the God-attributed Macguffins of the preceding films.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:44 AM   #21
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It's pretty obvious Indy believes in the Christian God. Does anyone remember when he had to have FAITH to cross in Last Crusade? How about when he gets married in the church? How about how his father was obsessed with the grail and slapped him for taking the Lord's name in vein? How about how in Raiders he basically said he went to sunday school?
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:37 AM   #22
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How about how in Raiders he basically said he went to sunday school?

Another good one...

Though this conversation is like saying Marion is anti-abortion...

Last edited by Rocket Surgeon : 05-30-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:54 PM   #23
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Another good one...

Though this conversation is like saying Marion is anti-abortion...

Agreed. It's all supposition as to what's going on inside a character's head. Only George can give us a definitive answer.
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:14 PM   #24
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Now you're strechin it Chewie!

Let's see, his father is a grail scholar, slaps him for taking the Lord's name in vain, so it's obvious he has a Christian upbringing.

Even Mother Theresa questioned her faith...

He got married in a church...the cards are stacked against you, you walking carpet!

Who's scruffy lookin'? Wait. Wrong script.

Seriously, though. I've seen it happen in real life. In fact, I was raised Christian, even went to Sunday school for a while (as Short Round brought it up), but I have a decidedly non-Christian fiance. I have offered to get married by her traditions, but she's not sold on going in either direction. Frankly, we may avoid BOTH!

I would say, without a doubt, that Indy's parents are NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY atheist, and would like to THINK their son is a man of God. But, as I have seen often, being raised strongly Christian can result in not being Christian upon reaching adulthood.

And I'll have you know, RS, the only thing I'm stretching is my NECK, which is stiff from spending too much time at my computer.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:36 PM   #25
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I know the original question was about Raiders but people have been talking about all the films. In KOTCS toward the end when he is talking to Mutt he says "somewhere your grandpa is smiling" refering of course to his late fater Henry Jones Sr. This shows that at least at that stage of his life he believed in some kind of afterlife.

If anything it seems Indy's "faith" in something has increased over time, in Last Crusade he does the "leap of faith" and later witnesses his father being miraculously healed.

I imagine overall througout his life he was always somewhere inbetween and neither atheist nor a religious zealot obviously. He might not be a regular churchgoer but I think if someone asked him what he was, especially in the KOTCS era he would say Christian even if just a nominal one. At the very least he doesnt wear his faith on his sleave.
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