Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Do You Noah the Story?

NOAH, the movie
Given that we seem to be undergoing one of the larger movie advertising campaigns in recent memory, a logical question that a Christian might pose is: does this movie provide an evangelism tool (as some claim) or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?

One thing is obvious.  This film was made to appeal to both Christians and to the perennial fans of typical blockbuster special effects type movies.  As a marketing ploy it is probably a sure fire winner.  The "blockbuster" appeal will bring in most of the regular movie goers, and the Christian theme stands a good chance of drawing in many who tend to stay away from most movie fare due to their disgust with the typical sexual content.


 photo Russell-Crowe-in-Noah-2014-Movie-Image-650x456_zps9015d575.jpg


So how does the movie measure up for the Christian?  Well, admittedly I have not seen the movie (at this writing it has not opened yet), but that did not stop me from doing a little research.  A number of people have seen early screenings of the film, still subject to further cuts. Some "less than flattering" reaction led to the following disclaimer aimed at smoothing things over (or muddying the waters, depending on your point of view):

"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

It seems that Darren Aronofsky, the director, is a self described atheist who was willing to employ a number of words not commonly used in polite conversation to proclaim his lack of sensitivity about negative audience reaction.  A couple thoughts come to mind.    A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.  Luke 6:45  And I don't just mean Aronofsky's comment.  I believe this verse may apply equally to the whole movie.

So, you may be wondering what I found when researching the movie.  Well, here are some miscellaneous quotes:

Joseph Brean in the National Post said this: "Noah has been re-imagined in a new movie as a virtuous eco-warrior in an age of global calamity, so appalled by humanity’s sins that he accepts, even encourages, their deliberate extinction by a vengeful god."  and  "The sins for which humanity is punished in the film include wanton disregard for the sustainability of their farming and mining, which ravages the Earth. Noah, in the movie, broods over this, comes to think humans deserve it, and even threatens to kill his own grandchild."

Billy Hallowell said this on The Blaze: "...For instance, at one point Noah is preaching to his family and telling the story of creation – one that is presented through an evolutionary lens..."  and  "Noah's character is conflicted about whether or not human beings should survive,” he added. “I think he borders on looking crazy and it’s hard to match that to the Genesis text..."

From Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis:  "In the movie, it seems Noah is a far cry from the Noah of the Bible. He’s angry, even crazy . . . . It makes a mockery of Noah’s righteous nature and is actually anti-biblical. . . . [In the Hollywood version] he’s a delusional, conflicted man, more concerned about the environment, animals, and even killing his own grandchild than he is with his family and his relationship with God."  and here  "Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable." and  "It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today."

(If you are not familiar with the Biblical term "kinds" as it applies to the animal kingdom, I would suggest that despite the indisputable fact that there is such a thing as a birddog, most of us would have no problem distinguishing between a bird and a dog as different "kinds" of animals.)

Now, armed with mostly negative  feedback from people who have seen early screenings of the Noah movie (or have spoken with those who have), in what areas do I think the film got it right?  Well, there really is a God.  There really is a man named Noah who built an ark (I believe I will get to meet him in heaven one day).  There really was a flood caused by God.  Noah, his family, and animals were saved from the flood by entering the ark.  Other than those points, there very well may be little or nothing recognizable from the Bible in this movie.  It seems to be the 180 degree opposite of the old tag line "the story you are about to see is true; the names were changed to protect the innocent."   The Noah movie tag line should be, "the story you are about to see is false; the names were kept to protect the guilty."

But back to the original question; does this movie provide an evangelism tool or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?  Isn't the answer obvious?  As an evangelism tool the Noah movie is about as useful as "The Last Temptation of Christ (another movie I have never seen) which reviews reveal to be equally anti Christian fiction.

So what about this so called disclaimer that runs with the commercials?  "... we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith ..."   Really?  They wrote that with a straight face?  If so, then surely they will have no problem with everyone who goes to see the movie, but finds that claim to be false, demanding their money back.  Ah, but my guess is that Hollywood is counting on the biblical illiteracy of the American people at large to be such that soon most of what they think they know about Noah will have come from this movie ...and that is a larger condemnation of our country than it is of this film.

As a matter of fact, I admit that when I read of this complete twisting of Biblical truth to line the pockets of Hollywood, my first thought was, "why doesn't God just strike them dead?"  Of course upon further contemplation, I remembered that this movie is just one of the symptoms of a much larger national drift away from Christianity.  Certainly the perpetrators of this movie would love to speed that along in any way possible.  That may be reason enough not to help finance their efforts but rather pray for their repentance.

3 comments:

St. Lee said...

If you read this post and want a more informed "take" on what this movie is all about, then I encourage you to check out this blog post:

http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil

It really explains many of the things in the movie that left a number of Christian reviewers scratching their heads and wondering where some of the content came from since it clearly did not come from the Bible.

Turns out that most of the movie was a slimy mixture of Kabbalah and Gnostic heresies. Too clever by half! Of course representing it as what it really is would not sell as many tickets, so...

I think there is a word for that type of behavior.

david ervin said...

All the information anyone should need is that it was produced by hollywood, the home of American revolutionary drama, and was billed as a Bible story.

The movie will only sadden the Christians that watch it. Sadden them that they could have better spent their time and money.

The use of revolutionary drama is to take known stories and traditional myths and turn them to the needs of the revolution so that when the stories and myths are mentioned the revolutionary points are brought to mind, not the original meanings.

There was once, and in some quarters still is, a belief that Christmas was placed on or near the date of the winter solstice to steal the season from the pagans. This wasn't the case but if it had been would have been an example of what I mean. In fact, the false belief that the early Christians would so trivially place one of their most important celebrations for such a cynical reason is another example of revolutionary re-branding.

Anything produced by hollywood is, anti-theologically, NOT useful for instruction.

St. Lee said...

Thanks for your comments,David. My natural distrust of Hollywood in general is what led me to research the Noah movie without seeing it and making a "pre-emptive" strike.