[Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen the film, then you might want to hold off on reading this article until you’ve seen it. If you don’t care if you have the film’s plot and its plot’s resolution laid out for you in advance, then dive right in!]
A couple of weeks ago my wife and i watched the film Shutter Island, starring Leonardo di Caprio. The film was absolutely creepy, but i did manage to milk it for its apologetic value. You see, the main character (played by di Caprio) is a man who, because of the guilt and shame he bears for killing his wife (who drowned their three children) and burning her and his children, constructs a false reality where he is not a murderer but a hero seeking to find the real murderer who killed his kids and wife.
The whole of his life is an attempt to place the blame for his sin on others, via the construction of an elaborate conspiracy theory. Di Caprio’s character, therefore, is a great example of what the unbeliever does in order to avoid standing naked, stripped of all pretenses of any moral merit he thinks he has before God. Di Caprio’s character is continually suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. His conscience cannot honestly bear the weight of knowing that he is a moral monster, and so he makes himself the hero of an imaginary narrative that flies in the face of all that he knows is true about himself.
What is ironic is that the unbelieving world can rightly recognize this type of behavior for what it truly is: Irrational, insane behavior. And yet, they persist in their unbelief, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, shifting the guilt of their sin on to others, and making themselves the morally upright protagonists of their shabbily constructed narratives.