Dissecting Divergent

UntitledI have a strict rule of reading the book before watching the movie, so I was eager to read Divergent. Set in a dystopian society, Beatrice must find out who she is, not who everyone is trying to mold her into. Young adults take a test to find their aptitude and then choose one of five factions that fit them best. The story starts when Beatrice goes for her test and has to make a tough choice.

The Good

It’s a story you can’t put down. I found myself flying through the pages to find out what happened next!

Divergent teaches a lot of moral attributes. Beatrice and her friends value courage, honesty, intelligence, peace, anti-bullying, and sacrifice.

Beatrice is a strong female character. She finds strengthen within her to rise above challenges.

While there is a romance, it’s not all-consuming. While they are together a lot, they don’t cling to each other. She spends time with her friends without him.

The Bad

I rate Divergent at PG-13 due to steamy scenes. Also, there are a couple places where sex and/or nudity are mentioned. There are a few swear words.

Forgiveness is not presented as valuable. At one point, one of Beatrice’s friends does something really awful to her. Later when this friend begs for forgiveness, she refuses. Beatrice experiences anguish of never having the healing of forgiveness and often doubts her choice.

I was reminded of Corrie Ten Boom, who after surviving the concentration camps, faced one of the cruelest overseers of the camp she was in. He told her that he was now a Christian, had received God’s forgiveness and wanted her forgiveness. Watch here to see her struggle and decision. To sum it up, she says, “You never touch so, the ocean of God’s love, as that you forgive your enemies!”

 In Divergent, there is this priceless moment where the freedom of forgiveness could be shown in a powerful way, but unfortunately, violence and hate wins.

The lesson is that violence is the answer. The book shows that if someone hurts you, then it’s okay to hurt them back worse when given the opportunity. It’s the eye for an eye philosophy on steroids. This is an interesting point because if someone tried to hurt my daughter, I would fight to protect her. But I hesitate to praise this trait, especially the deliberate plotting for revenge.

And, while I believe there is a time to fight, I think about how God could have met violence with violence. However, God chose to bring peace by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us as a sacrifice for us to experience freedom from the chains of sin.

The Godly

Divergent made me think of how our church has split. If you are more charismatic, you worship over there. If you like hymns, you go there. Divergent makes the point that the factions need to include all virtues, not just one. Would the church be better if we stay together in one glorious mess where we could learn from each other?

Beatrice sees what is wrong in her society and takes action to stop it. She fights for the ones who can’t. She does what she can to right a wrong. I can’t help but wonder how this world would change if we would take only a bit of action to make the world around us better.

The Bottom Line

Should a Christian teen read Divergent? I will not let my daughter read it until she is over sixteen.

Will your teens turn into killing machines if they read it? Absolutely not.

Could you read it with your teen and have discussions about the Christian life and consequences of bad choices? Absolutely! If your kids are dying to read it, this would be a great approach, and it would give you a great platform to discuss relevant issues without preaching.

What are your opinions of Divergent?

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