Most of these musings have been spawned from reading the Christ and Pop Culture blog. It’s good, they’re better writers than me, and they’re smarter than me. So read it.
I have no interest in any of the Christian movies that are coming out this year. Not Son of God, Heaven is For Real, God’s Not Dead, or Left Behind.
I am, however, interested in Noah.
I don’t want to see it, because I’m generally not a fan of Russell Crowe, and because I think it’s likely to be a major flop, but I am immensely interested in Noah, and the reason is simple.
Noah gives us a sincere look at how people who don’t believe the Bible view the Bible. Kind of like the prayer scene in Talladega Nights. You get people who don’t necessarily believe the Bible, or not in the sense that Christians do, expressing their views about things essential to Christianity.
Darren Aronofsky, the director of Noah, seemed to go out of his way to make sure he represented the story fairly. From everything I can tell, he didn’t, but he at least tried, and gives us some solid insight to some things. From a pastoral standpoint, it shows that people have and are interested in questions about the Bible and all that. So that’s a good sign.
So, to re-state my argument, I’m interested in Noah because it’s an honest look at how a person who isn’t a Christian views one of the most famous stories in the Bible.
I’ve been asking the question of myself, though – why am I so interested in Noah, but completely uninterested in all of the others? And “because they look dumb” isn’t a good answer.
My problem with all of these other movies is that they’re misrepresentations of Christianity by Christians.
Take Son of God for example. Second Commandment issues aside, the people who made the movie are professing Christians. But they get the story wrong! They leave out major details, they oversimplify things, and from all the reviews I’ve read, they turned the most interesting story in the world into a crappy movie.
Or God’s Not Dead, possibly the first movie to be based on a chain e-mail. Let’s be clear about something – 17 year old version of me would have LOVED God’s Not Dead. I mean, what wouldn’t I love about it? You have the evil atheist professor picking on the heroic Christian kid. Cameos from major Christian celebrities. But something changed between 17 year old me and 29 year old me. I actually met an atheist. Several of them. And you know what? They’re decent people. More decent than me in most cases. I disagree with them, sure, but they weren’t and aren’t jerks. In fact, I had an in-your-face atheist English professor at Ole Miss who was such a jerk out to disprove everything the Christian students believed that he wrote a seminary recommendation for one of my friends. I realize that’s not everybody’s experience, and I realize there are militant atheists out there, but there are a ton of Christians that are the same way. CAPC actually has a piece on this that sums up my thoughts perfectly.
And this isn’t even to mention the serious theological flaws in Heaven is For Real (read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16) and Left Behind (really, just read the whole Bible).
I don’t buy into this whole idea of “well, Jesus is on the big screen, so it has to be a good thing.” If the Jesus that’s being portrayed isn’t the Jesus of Scripture, if the characters in these movies are nothing but stupid caricatures that really aren’t based in reality, or if these movies cast doubt on the sufficiency of Scripture (because, let’s be honest, that’s all Heaven is For Real does), then they aren’t worth it.
I’ll probably watch Noah at some point down the road. The others? Nope.