Study Guide

Forrest Gump Religion

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MRS. GUMP: If God wanted everybody to be the same, he'd have given us all braces on our legs.

Forrest's mom is convinced that her son is special and that God has a plan for him. Braces, low IQ? It's all just a sign that Forrest is special. Okay, maybe. Or, maybe treating Forrest like he's special ends up making him special—no God involved.

JENNY: Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far, far away from here.

As a little girl, Jenny begs God to turn her into a bird so she can fly away from home, probably because Jenny's father is a sicko who assaults her and her sisters. Our question: why doesn't Jenny think she can ask God to take her father away?

FORREST: Momma always said God is mysterious.

Forrest decides that God is mysterious after God answers Jenny's prayers by having the police come to take her away from her father so she can live in safety with her grandmother. To us, this seems like the state finally doing something right rather than any divine intervention, but who is to say God didn't send the police? We sure wouldn't.

JENNY: You remember that time we prayed, Forrest? We prayed for God to turn me into a bird so I could fly far away?

When Jenny brings up this memory, she's not thinking back fondly on her childhood. Instead, she seems to be suggesting that, if God won't turn her into a bird, she'll take matters into her own hands—through suicide. We doubt God would be able to send the police this time.

LT. DAN: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?

FORREST: I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.

Lt. Dan thinks it's a hoot—but not in a funny way—that Forrest doesn't know he's supposed to be looking for Jesus. After spending a lot of time in veterans' hospitals, he's had it up to here with people advising him to find Jesus when he just thinks it's a big lie to make him feel better about having no legs.

LT. DAN: That's all these cripples at the VA, that's all they ever talk about. Jesus this and Jesus that. Have I found Jesus?

Lt. Dan just can't with all of his veteran buddies in the hospital talking about how God has a plan for them. To him, it's all a cowardly smokescreen for refusing to face the horrible fact that the universe doesn't care about them.

LT. DAN: They even had a priest come and talk to me. He said God is listening, but I have to help myself.

Lt. Dan wanted just one thing from God: to let him die honorably on the battlefield. Any God who would help cripples (he thinks) isn't worth the breath it would take to pray to him.

LT. DAN: Now, if I accept Jesus into my heart, I'll get to walk beside him in the kingdom of heaven.

Ouch. Way to rub it in, guys. If there's one thing a newly wheelchair-bound man probably doesn't want to hear, it's anything about walking—heavenly or not.

LT. DAN: Where the hell's this God of yours?

FORREST: It's funny Lt. Dan said that 'cause right then God showed up.

And, boom. Right when Lt. Dan rejects God, God shows up … in the form of a massive hurricane that wipes out the region's shrimping industry, leaving a sea full of crustaceans for Lt. Dan and Forrest to rake in. How's that for responding to your call?

FORREST: He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.

Sometimes you've just got to let it out. Lt. Dan spends the hurricane raging at God from the top of a mast, and after that, whoosh, his anger is gone. Lt. Dan rejoins the human race and makes millions of dollars. Seems like a fair trade.

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