Avatar, The Last Airbender: A Critique

By Marcia Montenegro
First written March-July, 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Brief Summary: Both the Avatar website and the Avatar episodes support belief in reincarnation, the use of occult magick, paranormal mastery over the elements, contact with the spirit world (spiritism), and the worship of spirits/gods.

Part Two: The Last Airbender, Book 2: Earth, Vol. 1

This video contains five episodes about Aang, the child Avatar , and his adventures in learning how to become an earthbender.

First Episode: "The Avatar State"

In "The Avatar State," the first episode, Aang's friend Katara, a waterbender, is given an "amulet" of water and told "This amulet contains water from the spirit, Oasis." Amulets are used in the occult as objects imbued with magickal protective power. Also, this statement shows belief in protective powers from spirits. Aang is given scrolls to help him master waterbending.

The episode points out that Aang can only use his avatar powers when he is in "the avatar state." This is a special state of being that causes his eyes to glow, and causes the arrow tattoo on his forehead to glow. In this state, his powers are formidable. He is told later by Roku, the spirit teacher from the spirit world, whom he visits while out-of-body, that the avatar state is one in which all Aang's powers from previous lives are being focused in his body. Roku also tells Aang that if he is killed in the avatar state, "the reincarnation cycles will be broken and the Avatar will cease to exist." When Roku tells him this, images of Aang's past lives as previous Avatars are shown.

Aang is also told he needs "practice, study, and discipline" to learn the element bending powers. This sounds like good advice, but this is how all occult magick is learned. It is not done willy-nilly. Discipline, study and control are usually presented as being of utmost importance in many occult practices, especially in magick.

2nd Episode: "Return to Omashu"

In the episode, "Return to Omashu," one character talks about her "aura." Belief in an aura is an integral part of occult and New Age views that a subtle energy surrounds the body and indicates by color the spiritual and emotional state of the person. Auras are seen through clairvoyance, a psychic ability to see the non-material realm. It is thought that people either have innate psychic abilities to see auras, or can develop psychic powers to see them.

3rd Episode: "The Swamp"

In "The Swamp," one character who is presented as a wise man tells Aang and his friends that "everything is connected" and implies a pantheistic connection with the earth. When Aang applies this, he seems to use what can only be described as a psychic power to "connect with" the swamp and find his lost animal companions.

Also in this episode, Aang and his friends see people from their past in the swamp. They are told that "time is an illusion." The idea that time is an illusion is very popular in the occult, which usually views time as cyclical, not linear. To see a dead person, therefore, is akin to seeing the person alive since death is never final or sometimes not accepted as real. In fact, most mediums (those who claim to communicate with the dead) assert that the dead are more alive than those who are living on earth.

4th Episode: "Avatar Day"

This episode meshes Aang's present life with his previous one as the Avatar Kyoshi, a woman. In the story, a city accuses Aang of having killed their king when Aang was incarnated as Kyoshi, and puts him on trial. In order to gather evidence to help Aang, his friends travel to Kyoshi's temple where they are told that her relics "are still connected to her spirit."

During the trial, Aang dresses up as Kyoshi, trying to look like her. As he does this, the dead Kyoshi appears (or Aang is transformed into her – it's not clear which), and explains that she did kill the king because he was a cruel and dangerous tyrant.

Part Three: Conclusions

The language and concepts in the Avatar series derive from both occult and Eastern beliefs incompatible with and antithetical to a Christian worldview based on God's word. The world of "Avatar" endorses and holds up as good the practices of magick and spirit contact, and belief in reincarnation, avatars, gurus, and auras, as well as implying a worship of spirits or false gods.

Aside from the violence and aggression seen in the episodes, there should be deep concern over the occultism and the spiritual views presented in this series. This kind of entertainment can desensitize children to occult terms and concepts, and may present the occult as appealing. The minds of children are impressionable and they are totally unable to evaluate the content of entertainment such as "Avatar." What the mind is exposed to is important.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12.2

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Phil 4.8

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