How Should Christians Respond to Noah the Movie?

by Trevin Wax

When I first heard that a movie based on the biblical story of Noah was being made, I figured it would be some low-budget film along the lines of the television travesties we’ve seen about the Great Flood. The trailer reveals that much more time and money has gone into this film than I would have expected.

Whenever Hollywood takes a biblical story as its basis for a movie, evangelicals tend to respond in one of two ways.

1. THE CRITICS

First, there is the group that is primarily concerned with biblical accuracy. Taking any sort of dramatic license is akin to tampering with the text, which can lead to the solidification of errors in the minds of the viewers.

This group gets on blogs or comment streams and points out all the flaws and errors in the director’s vision for the film.

  • If it’s The Nativity Story, they point out that we don’t know the wise men were kings, or that there were three of them.
  • If it’s The Prince of Egypt, they point out that it was Pharaoh’s daughter, not his wife, who discovered Moses in the river.
  • If it’s The Ten Commandments, they remind us there is no biblical record of an Egyptian princess saying “Moossseeeess, Mooosseeeess!” so many times.
  • If it’s the History Channel’s Bible series, they point out the Bible does not attribute ninja moves to the angels who helped Lot flee Sodom.
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You get the gist. This group wants biblical accuracy, and all movies are judged based on their ability to get the details right.

2. THE CELEBRATORS

Second, there is the group that is flattered to see Hollywood pay any attention to the Bible at all. No matter what Hollywood does with the sacred stories, it’s “getting the word out,” or “making the Bible seem cool.”

This group hosts preview screenings as a witnessing tool for the Lord (and a marketing tool for the moviemakers, of course). They find the good in any semblance of spirituality coming from Hollywood.

  • If it’s Bruce Almighty, they start a group discussion about how God may or may not be like Morgan Freeman.
  • If it’s The Passion of the Christ, they invite their lost friends and neighbors over for dinner and a bloodbath.
  • If it’s Spiderman 3, they do a sermon series on revenge and the spirituality of superhero movies.

No matter how bad the movie might be, it’s better than not engaging it at all. Make the best of a good Hollywood film!

What’s Right and Wrong in These Approaches?

I’ve deliberately caricatured the worst aspects of both these groups, but I don’t want us to miss the fact that there is something to be said for both reactions…

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How Should Christians Respond to Noah the Movie? – Trevin Wax

 

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