Is It a Wonderful Life?

Guest essay by Calvin Beisner

Chances are you’ve seen the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.

Bailey has spent decades helping the people of Bedford Falls through the small bank his father founded, struggling to prevent stingy and corrupt Henry Potter from taking over the town. In one scene, George excoriates Potter for thinking of the people of Bedford Falls as no better than animals. “My father didn’t think so,” George says. “People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”

When his uncle’s careless loss of $8,000 threatens the bank’s solvency on Christmas Eve, George concludes that his family and friends would all be better off if he’d never been born, so he tries to commit suicide. But Clarence, an unlikely guardian angel, appears and shows George what the world looks like without him.

Among other things, he learns that hundreds of American troops die when their transport ship sinks—because George wasn’t around to save his brother’s life in a minor accident, so his brother hasn’t lived to save those men.

“Strange, isn’t it?” Clarence says. “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

I for one look forward to seeing It’s a Wonderful Life over again every Christmas season. It’s heartwarming.

The Ashton Cooper film The Butterfly Effect tells a very different story.

In it, Evan Treborn travels back in time, over and over, trying to change things to prevent later troubles. Each time he finds he’s made the world even worse. But rather than learning the lesson George Bailey learned—that the world was better off with him—he finally concludes that the world would be better off without him. So he goes back in time to when he was in his mother’s womb—and there commits suicide. The movie ends with a montage depicting how his absence from life creates a better life for his family and friends.

The Butterfly Effect illustrates the view of people common among radical environmentalists: the world would be better off without us. It’s a Wonderful Life illustrates the Christian belief in the value of human beings and their tremendous potential, despite their fall into sin, to do good for others.

Dr. Yoest makes it clear why the Green movement, the population-control movement, and the pro-abortion movement march together. And she equips Christians with the understanding they need to counter that alliance with faith, hope, and love.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President of Americans United for Life, draws the contrast between It’s a Wonderful Life and The Butterfly Effect in her captivating lecture, “The Green Face of the Pro-Death Agenda,” part of the Cornwall Alliance’s Resisting the Green Dragon video curriculum.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D. is Founder and National Spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The original of this article was published December 5, 2014.

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation seeks to magnify the glory of God in creation, the wisdom of His truth in environmental stewardship, the kindness of His mercy in lifting the needy out of poverty, and the wonders of His grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. A coalition of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, policy experts, and committed laymen, the Cornwall Alliance is the world’s leading evangelical voice promoting environmental stewardship and economic development built on Biblical principles.

© 2014 Used by Permission

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