Read Genesis 6-8
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15b, New Living Translation)
This past week the famous comedian, satirist, and political commentator Bill Maher sparked some controversy when he gave his opinion of the upcoming epic film Noah, starring Russell Crowe. Maher, who is a self-described agnostic, went on to critique the story of Noah in the Bible. “Hey God, you know there’s a problem when you star in a movie with Russell Crowe and you’re the one with the bigger anger problems. He also referred to the God found in the Noah story as a “psychotic, mass murderer” and a “baby killer”, referring to the fact that God flooded the world in order to kill every living thing.
On the flip side, Christians have also complained about the film for not being 100% true to the Biblical account. Pastor Rick Warren called it a waste of money because if one wants to know the story, one should read the Bible and not view a film that is adding stuff to the story that isn’t there. Other Christians, said that the film was too dark. Evidently, they don’t see the story of God killing every man, woman, child, animal, plant, and micro-organism as being “dark”).
Bill Maher does have a point that the story of Noah, the story of an angry and disheartened God who decides to kill every living thing, a part from every thing, is horrific. It is hard to justify that kind of a story. Surely, not all of creation deserved such a flood. Even if, as the Bible portrays, ALL grown adult people were wicked (that alone is hard enough to swallow), what about the innocent babies, the animals, the plants? Were they deserving of such a fate? Christians should not be flippant about Maher’s argument simply because of the way he presented it or because it challenges their understanding.
The objecting Christians do have a point too. This upcoming film, Noah, will not be 100% accurate in its portrayal of the Biblical account. No movie is ever 100% accurate in any portrayal of a book. Period. Movies add things, they take things away, and they go in different directions in order to add dramatic effect for the film. Films never translate the same way as books. And it is important for us to not replace reading the Bible with watching film versions of the stories. Christians who are concerned about this should be. We all should be!
With all of that said, I am encouraging people of all persuasions to go see the film. If you are a person of faith (within any religion), go see the film. If you are an agnostic, go see the film. If you are atheist, go see the film. First, I think it is important that we support movies that are based on something that transcends the shallow worldview of Hollywood. Second, the more films that are made about the stories in the Bible, the more it will spark an interest in the Bible itself. Believe it or not, many people today haven’t picked a Bible up in their lives and so many of these stories are unfamiliar. Such films can and will spark the interest.
Finally, and this is the most important of my points, it is good and healthy for people to engage each other over these stories. Whether you believe the Flood story literally, or metaphorically, or if you find it abhorrent and you don’t believe it at all, such films will spark conversation and discussion, just as Noah has. I may not agree with everything Bill Maher said, and I certainly don’t appreciate the way he said it, but I do appreciate that the discussion is being had. As people of faith, we should not fear engaging people in healthy and respectful dialog. So, go and see this movie if you can. Wrestle with it and engage others in conversation about it. If you are unable to, then simply read it in the Bible, wrestle with it and enter into the discussion that way! Either way, challenge yourself to engage the story, to engage yourself in relation to the story, and to engage others.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I take things in better when I’m allowed to talk, and respond, and engage and move around a bit.” – Daniel Radcliffe
Lord, stir in me a desire to study the Bible, to wrestle with it, and to be willing to engage others with it in ways relevant to them. Amen.