|Dan and Rachel Skillman|
I'm absolutely NOT spoiling the new Star Wars movie. But I'll be doing some heavy damage to your viewing pleasure of the first six if you haven't seen them yet.
If I were to watch the movie "Star Wars: A New Hope," without having seen the other films in the series, it would be understandable if I thought of Darth Vader simply as a villain, the main antagonist to Luke Skywalker, the protagonist. But, watching "The Empire Strikes Back" makes it clear that there's something greater going on. Vader, it turns out, is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker. Luke still remains the protagonist, but Vader is something more than a simple villain.
"Return of the Jedi" completely shifts the paradigm. Although Luke is still the most prominent character in this film, it becomes clear that the original Star Wars saga (IV-VI) as a whole is the story not of Luke but of Anakin/Vader. The prequels (I-III) drive this point home ad nauseam, focusing entirely on Anakin and how he became Darth Vader. Watching the entire series I-VI, it is clear that this is the story of the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Luke, it turns out, is a role player.
Now imagine someone, having seen the entire series, going back and watching "A New Hope" and steadfastly refusing to see all of the new meaning available to them, from subtle nuances to massive shifts in perception. Imagine them even insisting that Vader is not Luke's father, and that the black masked villain is little more than the foil to Luke's hero.
I think that this is the way so very many people read the Bible. Having read to the end, and having discovered that God is exactly like Jesus forgiving His enemies at the cross, they then return to earlier sections steadfastly refusing to see them in the new light. They go as far as to continue to hold to the notion that God condoned and commanded slavery, rape, warfare, genocide and the eternal conscious torment of not only enemies, but of those who through no apparent fault of their own simply did not believe the right theological formulas.
For those reading about what God is like in the Bible, here's a spoiler: It turns out God is like Jesus. Exactly like Jesus. Now read the rest accordingly.