... “Avatar” is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.Indeed, in that one scene the night before the final battle when Jake comes to the Tree of Souls alone under the cover of darkness, he prays to Eywa, the mother goddess who subsists beneath all life forms and their healing energy. There is something reminiscent of a Fundamentalist evangelistic film at this point, where the agnostic protagonist hesitantly approaches the precincts of divinity, saying something like "I don't know if you're there or not, but if you can hear me ..." A Fundamentalist Christian trope, which would be sneeringly laughed out of Hollywood, thus becomes a token of high reverence when Jake prays to the life force of ... a tree. The perversity ... The perversity ...
... Indeed, it represents a form of religion that even atheists can support. Richard Dawkins has called pantheism “a sexed-up atheism.” (He means that as a compliment.)
... the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short.
[Hat tip to E.E.]