“I have since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth ... that they are not ashamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action for which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.”
The above quote is from the famous work, Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. It comes early on in the story just after Crusoe is a part of a shipwreck which very nearly results in the deaths of the entire crew. The captain warns him that the most appropriate thing for Crusoe to do is go home. God has given him a sign, he is told by the captain, and that any future life at sea will result in danger and calamity. At this our protagonist reflects with the above words. Thus, repentance becomes a theme, if not the primary theme, of the story. We hear of repentance again and again. This is because Crusoe has the great need to repent again and again as he ignores the captain's warning and is, consequently, abducted by pirates, on the run and finally shipwrecked on what at first appears to be a deserted island. Finally, he discovers a Bible and transforms from a nominal Christian into a relentlessly committed one. Upon rescuing his man Friday, a cannibal who is about to be cannibalized by an opposing tribe, he begins his first evangelistic work by leading the "savage" to faith in Christ. Beautiful! However, Hollywood got hold of the story and swiftly steered it into the rocks.
Upon finishing the book I thought it would be fun to check out the 1997 film adaptation starring Pierce Brosnan. Liberties must be taken, but this was just too much. In an attempt to inject romance, sexual references and at least one nude scene, the story is altered so that Crusoe embarks on his journey to flee his murder of another man which resulted from a love triangle. In the book, he was merely seeking adventure. This type of change, however, is to be expected from show business. The greatest offense has to do with the Christian message. Once Friday is rescued by Crusoe they have a theological debate after which they decide that religion is one of the great vices of humanity, and Crusoe accepts Friday's culture. What? This turns the original story on its heels.
Christian faith is on every page of the book. Repentance is at its heart. God's providence in the worst of situations leads the primary character to muse,
“How mercifully can our Creator treat His creatures, even in those conditions in which they seemed to be overwhelmed in destruction! How can He sweeten the bitterest providences, and give us cause to praise Him for dungeons and prisons! What a table was here spread for me in a wilderness where I saw nothing at first but to perish for hunger!”
This transformation of Friday and Crusoe has led me to a renewed commitment to guard my daughters from the corruption of the thinking and philosophy that results from living in a culture which attempts to revise history and distort the true, the good and the beautiful. I do not want my daughters to be manipulated in reality the way the character of Friday has been in fiction. I hope that you will join me in that endeavor as it relates to those you may influence.