Russell Crowe stars alongside Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins in Paramount Pictures "Noah."

Russell Crowe stars alongside Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins in “Noah.” – Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Prominent evangelicals have unleashed a flood of criticism at “Noah,” the epic film releasing from Paramount Pictures on March 28 starring Russell Crowe. The naysayers claim that Christians shouldn’t see the movie because it differs in places from the biblical story in Genesis. Yesterday, for example, Rick Warren tweeted that he would not be going to see the film before deleting the message and adding another simply critiquing the movie’s coverage.

Which inaccuracies are these leaders most upset about? Most can’t say because they haven’t actually seen the film. All they know is that someone told them that there are deviations from the biblical account, and this is apparently grounds for a boycott.

Unlike some of the film’s fiercest critics, I’ve actually seen “Noah” and was able to sit down with the Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky for an intimate interview. I asked Aronofsky pointed theological questions; the amount of biblical and historical research his team conducted for this movie nearly knocked me off my chair.

Does this film follow every jot and tittle of the (surprisingly short) biblical story? No. But it is more accurate than portraits of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus hanging in many churches or the romanticized tales of Christ’s birth recounted by Christians around Christmas with details that have little or no textual support. And most relevant to this discussion, “Noah” is at least as accurate as other biblical films and television shows of late–productions, by the way, that many of these same leaders have lauded in various publications and from their pulpits.

Consider, for example, Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Evangelicals overlooked biblical divergences in this film, flocking to theaters in droves. They apparently had no qualms with “The Passion” following the fourteen stations of the cross, which are not mentioned in Scripture. Or the way the film portrays Mary Magdalene as the “woman caught in adultery” in John’s Gospel. Or the scene where Christ’s mother, Mary, offers to die with Jesus—a subtle reference to the idea that she may have been a co-redeemer.

Other recent biblical adaptations such as Dreamwork’s “Prince of Egypt” and New Line Cinema’s “The Nativity Story” stray from the scriptural stories as well. And what of the History Channel’s “The Bible” series, which evangelicals celebrated en masse? There were at least 10 deviations from Scripture in the first few episodes and another seven in the series finale. Some of these carried over into the “Son of God” film, which borrowed footage from the television series.

One person on social media told me they wouldn’t see “Noah” because, you know, “God will not be mocked.” I asked what this critic thought about “The Bible” series and the person replied, “I thought the script was accurate.”

I guess this person is right if replacing King Cyrus with King Darius is accurate. Or if accuracy includes giving the angels who rescued Lot’s family from Sodom ninja-style martial art skills. Or if deleting Herod from the decision to execute Jesus is accurate. I could go on.

Why the double standard?

The difference is that some of the other biblical productions were made for Christian audiences by Christian filmmakers as evangelistic tools. In some cases, the forces behind these movies kissed the rings of evangelical gatekeepers, convincing them to use church budgets to buy entire theaters on opening weekend and generate ticket sales with film-inspired Sunday School curriculum and sermon series.

Unlike these other films, “Noah” was never intended to be a heavy-handed evangelistic tool, but rather good art. And I’m sorry to say that few evangelicals today have an eye, ear, or stomach for such things. Not much has changed since the late Francis Schaeffer wrote in Art and the Bible, “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.”

In order to engage with “Noah,” Christians must recognize that artistic liberties are inevitable whenever a story is transferred from one medium to another. What Aronofsky has done is similar to Rembrandt inserting himself into “The Raising of the Cross.” The Bible obviously doesn’t mention Rembrandt lifting the cross with the executioners more than a millennium earlier, but the artist was making a deeper point. Christians traveling to Munich could boycott the Alte Pinakothek museum where the painting is on display, but they would miss an opportunity for theological reflection.

Like other artistic endeavors drawing on biblical themes, “Noah” requires that audiences actually think about symbols and forms.  Aronofsky adds elements to Noah’s story, for example, that reflect the grief God must have felt over having to destroy creation. The movie doesn’t get every detail right, but it captures the spirit of the scriptural narrative and the character of God displayed therein.

If approached as an artistic work, “Noah” will ignite audience’s imaginations and raise profound questions about sin, grace, mercy, and faith. So inconsistent Christian critics should stop raining on this film’s parade lest they become the ones who miss the boat.

524 Comments

  1. I whole heartedly agree wih the fickleness of the “evangelical block,” but hesitate to think that requires acceptance of ‘Noah.’

    Now, having said that, the boycott hypersensitivity attitude I still the spend way to go. There, indeed, does need to be an awareness – and an interaction with – the artistic elements and expressions of any adaptation. However, I will watch with skepticism when the star of the film said that Noah was not a benevolent man but cruel for letting all those people die. I suspect there will be more than a few deviations, not necessarily from the few facts recorded but from the overall theme and meaning.

    All Christians need to be more informed and discerning and thoughtful. Not necessarily for the purpose of negative criticism but for thoughtful discussion. No movie will accomplish evangelism for us… no movie should excite is now than the Word it seeks to portray… and no attention from Hollywood or pop culture should validate us. The “evangelical community” has issues, and they are much bigger than any movie.

    • I love the director’s attitude towards the criticism. Essentially he is saying the evangelicals are just annoyed that someone other than their own deigns to make a film about a Bible story. He is spot on with the quote:

      “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.”

      Unfortunately it is not just art where one sees this attitude. We see evangelicals treat science, politics and even commerce as merely means of proselytizing.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Bill,

      I didn’t see where anyone made a comment that Noah was cruel. And yet, where does scripture say he wasn’t? The Bible says Noah was righteous, yes. But it doesn’t say what that means exactly. One thing we know is that “righteous” in the Bible doesn’t mean flawless (See David, for example). Hebrews tells us that the willingness to believe God is what made the patriarchs righteous. So if you think that Noah was benevolent, that has no more of a Biblical root than another’s assertion that he may have been cruel.

      Aronofsky actually saw the disfunction of the family in the story’s postscript–the conflict between Ham and Noah, specifically–and reasoned that this must have been a dysfunctional family. He then imagined what this may have looked like. I think that seems like an appropriate use of artistic license.

      I assume that Noah was, like everyone God used in the entire Biblical canon: deeply flawed. God NEVER uses perfect people (except in the case of Jesus), but rather willing people.

      Jm

      • Daniel Job and Noah are compared as equally righteous in scripture JM, not Noah and David.

        Stop supporting Aronofsky and trying to push him and this film down our throat, as if we must accept this and other biblical movies to be a deep Christian. The director stated he purposefully didnt make the movie biblically accurate. Theres a hige difference in supporting people wanting to make a movie to inspire belief and a movie by a non-believer trying to make money and a film that hes wanted to since childhood.

        • I have noticed that so many religious conservatives use “cram/shove/force/ram down our throat” as a metaphor. It bothers me. Nobody is trying to force you to see the movie. But you want to STOP Jonathan Merritt from even voicing his opinion. He is trying to persuade you to have an open mind until you actually see the movie. Far as I know, your mind is not located down your throat. When you say somebody is trying to shove something down your throat, it sounds like coercing a certain sexual act. Why are you thinking like that? That’s just gross coming from a Christian.

          • Clearly he was not implying a sexual act… it’s a metaphor for being forced to do something, with no sexual undertones until you just made them.

      • I looked back at the brief clip of an interview with Russll Crowe. (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JkTJm32bODs&feature=share)

        Hike he does not use the word “cruel,” he does declare that Noah was “not even nice.” His reasoning? Because he watched the entire population die. That statement alone indicates that the main point of the text has been missed; Noah didn’t have a choice. And as a “preacher of righteousness” who is declared to be a righteous man, to characterize him as “not even nice” because he “allowed” something God ordained, something he had no control over, is to mischaracterize him.

        Having said that, I am completely for artistic license. The family dysfunction and sin in the following chapters is an interesting point to explore. Noah is clearly not a perfect man; as you pointed out, many of God’s servants were flawed. The point of my comment was not that artistic license is inappropriate, but that imaginative liberty does not legitimize inaccurate misrepresentation.

        But that goes to my second point. This film’s, or any film’s, inaccuracies does not demand a moratorium or boycott. Indeed, I enthusiastically concur with your denunciation of the evangelical community’s split personality on this issue. This is actually evidence of a much bigger issue.

        Christ’s Church should be discerning and knowledgeable and ready to interact with these things. I don’t begrudge this director or his crew because I do not expect them to get it right…. Neither do I expect Mel Gibson to get the passion right, or new age consumers to get the Son of god right. However, I am not going to excuse or embrace or commend the movie either, washing everything under the rug of artistic license. Those who belong to Christ should be prepared to discuss these issues. We must know Scripture and then identify those areas of artistic impression that are interesting interpretations and also hose ares that are grievous departations.

        • Bill,
          I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on the movie and the Christian culture surrounding it and other media. Well said. I appreciated your dialogue and explanations very much!!!! Better than I could have said it myself.

        • The only true place to find God, or evidence that God may exist, is in art. Art is created, and comes from one’s imagination. As William Blake stated, “The world of imagination is the world of eternity.” He also stated, “Imagination is evidence of the Divine.” For anyone who would judge another for using their imagination, they infact deny the existence of God. It is only through our imagination that we begin to see the possibilities of a God. Art must be celebrated, not judged. And all humans have a right to express, question, and comprehend God in their own mind.

          My how religion would be different if it demanded constant use of imagination and creativity instead of insistence on adhearance to a few men’s “authoritative definitions”.

          • Harlan said: “The only true place to find God, or evidence that God may exist, is in art.” How utterly ignorant. Look at so many of the religions of man that worship rocks, trees, elephants, all sorts of things their imagination can come up with. I am an artist, so I appreciate imagination, however the Bible says in Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” I know that to be true because of my own thoughts that so frequently drift to filth! There are 3 ways to know God (each are not equal) (1) Through nature we may know that God exist. Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (2) Through the Bible (which God inspired, the Greek is “Breathed”, much more than how we use the word inspiration.) … which is known as “Special Revelation” we may know about the nature of God and more about Him. 2 Peter 1:3-4 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (Also read all of Psalm 119. (3) Finally, through Jesus Christ we may know God personally. John 14:6-7 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (7) If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”

            Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

            Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: (24) But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

      • “The funny thing with people, they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure because he looked after the animals: ‘Awww, Noah. Noah and the animals.’ It’s like, are you kidding me?” [Crowe] says with a laugh. “This is the dude that stood by and watched the entire population of the planet perish.” Crowe continues, “He’s not benevolent. He’s not even nice.”*

        (*David Weiner, “Russell Crowe: People Will Be Surprised by ‘Noah,’” ET Online, http://www.etonline.com/movies/134773_Russell_Crowe_Talks_Noah/

      • Jonathan,

        From my knowledge of the script it appears that true to form, Aronofsky used the film as a platform to push radical environmentalism. Why is no one in the Christian media exploring that? It wasn’t environmental degradation that caused God to flood the earth. It was sin. Have we become so enamored with Hollywood that we are to call a complete rewrite of history mere “artistic license?” To read Phil Cooke, Jerry Johnson and now you on this topic makes me ponder many points – but not about Noah. I’m not sure how you got here but you sound like paid spokesmen for Paramount. Why? But then again, 15 years ago I thought that Christians were discerning enough to know that the occultism and witchcraft in Harry Potter novels and movies was biblically off limits too.

        From the early test screenings Paramount knew that Hollywood’s Noah would be objectionable to much of the Christian audience, at least to those of us taking the unheard of tact of actually looking at the film through the lens of Scripture. Obviously, studio officials knew they needed help selling the film to the church-going public. And I’m sad to say they found willing accomplices inside the Church.

        I have been aware of the film for several weeks. Our panel on “Understanding the Times” Radio dissected it as much as possible for an hour during the March 1 broadcast. (We are on 650+ stations each weekend.) We who understand first, Darren Aronofsky’s Gnostic worldview and second, the fact that it appears from previous interviews that he in no way believes the Biblical account and perhaps not even the fact that God exists tried to make our listeners across the country aware that this key Old Testament character had been turned into a thug. To quote Russell Crowe, he was chosen “because he could get the job done.” What job? Helping God kill the human race of course. Its no small thing that Noah appears no better than a murderer in Aronofsky’s world.

        So, let’s recap. Aronofsky’s rewrite of history is in some respects 180 degrees from the truth and the underlying theme of his film is mankind needed to be stopped several thousand years ago because of environmental catastrophe and now mankind must again be stopped today. Why should we applaud? Hollywood will continue to make unbiblical films that desecrate biblical themes as long as we sanction them to do so by spending our money on tickets.

        Eric Barger
        Take A Stand! Ministries
        www.ericbarger.com

        • Jonathan Merritt

          Eric,

          I have a problem with your comment from the time you say, “From my knowledge.” What is that exactly? Third-hand information from the internet? How can you spend an hour on the radio dissecting a film that you haven’t seen?

          The film opens with text on the screen stating that “sin” caused the flood. Yes, there are some environmental undertones in places but these are consistent with what you’d expect from an ancient agrarian society.

          So I’m less concerned about what you think is an effort by Hollywood to desecrate the Bible and more concerned that you are weighing in on something with such certainty that you’ve never even seen. I think Proverbs 18:13 is an instructive piece of wisdom that applies here.

          • Jonathan-
            The difficulty lies in the fact that Paramount has allowed you and three other “Christian” folks to see it and argue on their behalf. Why have they not chosen to expand the circle of folks who they are showing it to? You have a point when folks make the argument against a film they have not seen, but it is hard to accept the corollary from the four people who have seen the film and argue against everyone else.

          • Jonathan,

            We have access to a copy of the script.

            As for the screen text… sin, yes, but against what or who? There is no reason to believe that Aronofsky believes in original sin (Genesis 3). As Dr. Cal Beisner of Cornwall Alliance told us on air, the film is literally built on environmental themes. Is it not? Is not the underlying theme of the film that because man “destroyed the earth” God then had to cleanse the earth and destroy them? If so, that is NOT what the Bible indicates but is surely an open door for a Gnostic such as Darren Aronofsky to run his agenda through.

            To indicate how entrenched Aronofsky’s hyper-environmentalism is, during the production of the film Emma Thompson became violently ill from drinking dirty water after Aronofsky banned plastic bottles on the set according to the UK Mail Online.

            I think II Peter 2:5 is an instructive piece of wisdom that applies here Jonathan. Can you honestly tell me that Aronofsky’s Noah matched the biblical Noah as described in Genesis 6:9? According to Russell Crowe’s interview on Entertainment Tonight, theater goers are going to be introduced to a version of Noah that they’ve not been acquainted with before. Sounds like a counterfeit to me.

            Jonathan, do you not see that when the unsaved world reads the word “earth” in Genesis 6:11 (“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence”) they immediately think “environmentalism”?

            Endorsing this film is saying that Hollywood’s perverse interpretation of one of the most important characters in the Bible is no big deal and that replacing God’s definition of sin (evil in the hearts of men) with Aronofsky’s definition of “sin” (i.e., man destroyed the earth) is acceptable as well.

            Where are the pastors who are truly protectors of their sheep? Bible believers should be repulsed. Instead you chide us for merely esteeming the Bible and insisting on nothing less from our leaders.

            For you to state that “Noah is at least as accurate as other biblical films and television shows of late–productions” is like comparing one error to another looking for validation. It would appear that in his mind the biblical account is up for grabs when it comes to film or TV.

            Also, comparing Darren Aronofsky’s “artistic liberties” to Rembrandt’s “The Raising of the Cross” is farfetched at best. It is surely disrespectful of Rembrandt.

            I am still puzzled as to exactly why apparently intelligent evangelicals such as you are attempting so vigorously to convince the Christian world to attend and then accept this film? For over 30 years I have tracked the entertainment world because of the ministry I am in and it’s rare that I see leaders such as yourself, Phil Cooke, and NRB President, Jerry Johnson risk credibility and try so hard to not only defend but to also promote something like this.

            To his credit, besides giving five positive reasons to see the film, Johnson also gives five very good reasons not to. My question is why did he have to try so hard to find five positive things and why would he want to make himself appear sophomoric explaining them? (See: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/february/noah-five-positive-facts-about-this-film.html)

            It is no secret that Paramount was very concerned early on that Christians would reject the film. I’d hate to think that you, Johnson, and others have been conscripted by Paramount as agents but knowing how the business works from the background it is at least a valid question. Perhaps you just had goose bumps when he sat down with “the Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky for an intimate interview”? I just hope they are not likeminded for your sake. It could be that your promotion of Hollywood’s Noah is just a reflection of the affects of postmodernism at work. From reading your responses to comments here this is a distinct possibility.

            I suggest that the confusion this movie will reap upon unaware Christians (who don’t read or know their Bibles) as well as upon the unsaved in society will foster more harm than good. I wonder how many will walk out of the theaters saying “wow, I didn’t know Noah was like that” and then never take time to actually read about Noah in Genesis.

            I am tired of the imposters Hollywood trots out impersonating biblical characters. I hope personally that Hollywood will cease making films cut from biblical themes. For decades they make a mess of it every time.

            Eric Barger
            Take A Stand! Ministries
            www.ericbarger.com

        • The funny thing is that sin is taken as something that must be irradicated from the human species, but it can’t because it is the condition of humanity at this point in our evolutionary journey. Human’s didn’t “fall”…they were created with the ability to choose, and because they were given a choice they are different. Yes, our choices are our single-most important definers. Every choice we make has an impact and will play out on the ever-evolving stage of existance. Does this make us bad, less, worse, “fallen”? No! It makes us human, and that is how God created us. We are human and the whole “fall of man from the grace of God” should be re-imagined.

          Instead of thinking in terms of “right vs. wrong”, choices should be made on the basis of “What is the most loving choice?” Does it really matter whether a director chooses to take creative license on an ancient story? I don’t think so. Does it matter that people are actually boycotting a movie because of his choice?…Well, against the question of “What’s the most loving choice?” I don’t see the actions of the Evangelicals standing up to the teachings of their Jesus…for them the boycott is self-serving, and in their definitions self-serving is a sin…

        • The moment you say, “from my knowledge of the script…” all credibility is gone. That may sound fine to the “choir” but to everyone else, it sounds fearful and unintelligent. In my limited understanding of Jesus it seems as if he challenges his followers to approach the world fearlessly. If your desire is to convince others to follow the example of Jesus, I would think you would have a desire to reflect that courage as well.

          Perhaps because of my limited knowledge I am making several leaps here…
          1. If according to the Genesis account of creation, god gave man his first job, which was to “rule” over all the animals and plants of the earth, there seems to be some sort of high value that god is placing on that job.
          2. If Jesus gave people the example that leadership was really about servant-hood and taking care of those in need, it appears that to “rule” the earth, is about being a steward/servant of creation. This would lead to the conclusion that taking care of all we have been given responsibility for is important because it was man’s first job.
          3. If those are accurate, then we can conclude that if man treats each other, the animals and the earth poorly then they are acting against god and that would then be considered sin.

          The other thing I am thinking, after just reading the account of the flood, is that if you wanted to be accurate to the English translation of that story, the movie would be pretty short. Where is artistic license allowed (according to the religious establishment) when making a movie like this? Is there a set of “artistic license rules” that have been created by “The Organization for Christian Religious Integrity?” I am relatively sure of two things – ONE, the religious establishment have set no rules and TWO, that organization doesn’t exist.

    • Gregory J Daffin

      Thanks Bill…I couldn’t have said it better. We Christians need to read and study the scriptures snd truly know and understand the story. No movie should alter how we believe the true Word of God. It amazes me how thise leaders get so flustered about a movie or book that may go off a bit, when these leaders should truly know the scripture better than thier congregation.

    • Some of us are not inconsistent. There are many kinds of “liberties” regarding biblical records. There are those that fill in “gaps” that run consistent with scrioture context, something often done by preachers and teachers.

      Then there are the unscriptural, inserted for no practical purpose (other than to cause confusion, divisions, and troubles.

      Then we are bombarded with reports and reviews. Interviews with a producer (or director?) Who supposedly says point-blanknthat this film is not Biblical.

      Then I think of the many children and immature in the faith who will see a fiklm that will present contradiction an to the biblical story and wonder just how wise that would be.

  2. Kelly patterson

    What about the story being completely fiction? That is what evangelicals are missing. Who cares where the director takes it because it is a fake story to begin with. I mean ppl really believe noah was 900 yrs old? Or that a god would kill everyone bc he was unhappy with himself. Like it says in genensis? Ppl are way past dumb when it comes to this whole god delusion.

    • Kelly.. I guess you believe when we die there is nothing afterwards. Why is it that medical science can keep every organ in your body functioning but the brain after death. I believe it’s because something leaves you when you pass away. You may call it your conscience. But where does it go? Maybe the whole God thing isn’t as dumb as people think. Just giving you something to think about, cause you sure don’t have that option after your heart stops.

      • Kelly patterson

        Who cares. Use some context here my man. I don t care where I go or don t go when I die. I m a mammal not some chosen being. Why is it that you deserve any greater attention to your resting place than your dog? Evolution shows us that when we die on molecular levels we do still survive. If you d pick up a science book you d realize that from life’s inception it has never died. Some form of life pass away but the life that makes up every still persists. Psss. This wasn t all designed for you. You arrogant

        • Kelly patterson

          ..Prick….and that s me being nice and happening to say it was designed despite any evidence of that actually occurring. Just for the sake of making that pount.

      • Because neurons are fundamentally different and once they are gone they are gone once oxygen is deprived for approximately 5 minutes and because people waiting for harvesting of organs have to be brain dead. If they had suffered loss of oxygen to the heart muscles, then that also would not be salvageable because the CELLS are dead. Not because something left it other than oxygen which allows for cell production and function. I am not saying I dont believe in a soul but please study a medical book so your opinion is an informed one.

      • Kelly patterson

        You are really choosing to focus on my texting skillzz. You ppl don t deserve for me to move to the laptop or desktop. You can t even read a history book and decipher it like countless others can yet you need me to be a perfect writer. With that mindset it s easy to see why this god delusion is occurring. Laughable. Cuz well written types are the only ppl that can bring you to the light? Again laughable.

    • Right, Kelly. Fiction from fiction, or, at the very least, allow that the original storyteller in Genesis might have taken artistic liberty in the telling the story of a great flood that could have happened.

      Seems to me no one ought to recommend seeing “Noah” or boycotting the film without actually – you know – watching the film first. And if your religious leader suggests boycotting, you can still make up your own mind.

  3. What I appreciate about this article is that it points out a huge hypocrisy in Christian movie-watching which almostl mindlessly accepts “The Bible” which was, as the writer noted, a very troubling loose interpretation with the stereotypical Renaissance brown-haired, blue-eyed Jesus and a myriad of changes. If you watch it to get biblical truth, you are in trouble. On the other hand, if someone who is not a Christian makes a movie about the Bible, heaven forfend they get one word wrong!

    I think that Noah could end up being a very good movie, but some of the reports of what is in it did trouble me, just as so many of these other Christian movies made by Christians often trouble me. When you are working with biblical material, you can choose to make changes, but the changes you choose to make matter so much more. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t verify, but I heard that there is a strong, accusatory environmentalist message that somehow man’s greatest sin is not taking care of the earth and that Noah wants to end the human race entirely at one point to avoid carrying on the destructive legacy. Beyond being a huge liberty taken with the storyline, that, to me, is just poor writing and silly. I’m tired of political messages being shoe-horned into otherwise interesting stories.

    I have no trouble with artistic license, but I agree that we should be thinking, responsive Christians, neither boycott-all-evil-secular-nonsense extremists nor accept-all-things-as-okay extremists. Think. Do your homework. Assess what is being presented. Come to your own conclusion.

    • Do NOT go see Noah the movie!!!! I walked out of it (one of the first I have ever walked out of). I went trying to give Hollywood the benefit of the doubt, knowing that they would need to add some artistic interpretation given the small storyline from Genesis. However, when Hollywood injected the idea that Noah couldn’t get answers from God and wanted to murder his granddaughter, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was disgusted by the portrayal of an axe wielding Noah who kills countless people. I was appalled by the fact that they made up a storyline that a bad guy secretly snuck on to the boat and conspired with Ham to kill Noah while on the boat. I was offended that they portrayed a prophet as a man not preaching repentance but as a man determined to end the human race including his own family. Besides the fact that there is a man with a boat and animals, this movie in no way follows the story found in Genesis. With only three chapters about Noah, it is surprising how many errors this movie has compared to its biblical telling (eg. age of noah, sons all took wives on to boat, length of ark stay, his interaction with his father and Methuselah, in Bible it said Noah walked with God etc).

      • Yes, I agree with you. Lets not sugar coat Hollywood’s blaspheme of the bible. Why not name this movie something else like Petter or whatever if it was going to be so inaccurate and mocking of the true biblical reference
        No vote for me and my family

        • There’s the story of a small boy who came home from Sunday School and was asked by his mother to recount what he had learned. So he began, “Well, Moses had to fight off the Egyptians and so he used a great army with tanks. missles and flame throwers. Then they built pontoon bridges so everyone could cross over the Red Sea to the other side!” His mother in sheer surprise, asked him if that was what they’d actually taught him, to which he replied, “Well, not exactly, but if told you the way they told it, you wouldn’t belive it!”

          I think this is the problem with this version of Noah. I think it would be easy for someone making a movie to miss the true wonder and drama of the actual story of Noah and feel the need to embelish it! I like action movies and exciting, entertaining movies, but I think they missed a real opportunity when they made this film. I don’t think anyone would have taken offense with it if there had been realistic dialague of what might have taken place in the time of Noah. I think one could imagine the things that transpired between Noah, and his sons, for example, or a possible dialogue with his wife regarding his decision to obey God’s instruction without taking umbrage with that concept. I think if the imagination of what it actually took for one man and his sons to build such a phenomenal ship was a part of it and the difficulties portrayed that could have arisen over the years within the family and with the people of the world who rejected the idea and likely made fun of Noah, were used, it could have been made very interesting and no one would have had a problem with it. The problem, as I see it, is that the movie was made to be a dramatic portrayal of the real Bible story but it was basically changed, with mainly only the flood, the ark, the animals and the name of the man Noah, being the things which adhere somewhat to the Biblical story. Even though Evan Almighty was kind of a silly take on a type of Noah’s ark, we all knew it was not meant to be a serious representation of the true story of Noah, so no one minded. People with Faith in God, do take reverencing the Lord seriously and if you are going to change Noah’s Ark to this extent, then if you make a movie about Moses, you might as well build pontoon bridges when God parts the Red Sea!

    • On another note. I also saw Son of God. Although it had some errors, clearly the theme was spot on. Also, I felt this spirit in that movie and left wanting to be more like Christ with a desire to be better to mankind around me.

  4. You raise some good points, enough that I will definitely reconsider seeing the film.
    BTW, have your seen and/or reviewed Reconciliation, written and directed a few years ago by Hollywood insider Chad Ahrendt? He didn’t release it through normal Hollywood channels, but it won several “best picture” awards in Christian film festivals.

  5. jonathan,
    excellent article. as a filmmaker who believes that the ‘art’ should always come first i talk about this all the time but have never said it so well. i am continuously perplexed by the average christian’s inability to think for themselves and to make rational, competent decisions based on facts.

    personally i can’t wait to see this film. it looks like it will be an incredibly well told story and extremely entertaining – things every movie should be. if there happens to be spiritual value on top of that, then we’ll consider it a great bonus, and we’ll trust God to work through that whenever and however He sees fit.

    thanks for your insight and thoughtfulness. i look forward to future work from you.

    • People, at least some people, are now forbidden from having a opinion all in the name of tolerance.

      Is slight differences in an unknowable hair and skin color really the same as deliberately changing a written story for political purposes.

      I guess it is always a good day to call a Christian a hypocrite. I guess that is what a peace maker does.

      • Why must you take this as “forbidding”? It’s just another opinion, which you are quick to ignore and “forbid” to consider.

        This piece isn’t about tolerance. No one is saying that everyone should tolerate the movie. The point being made is to at least give it a chance. The choice to not see a film because it MIGHT offend you isn’t an opinion, it’s a close-minded effort to avoid being offended.

        • Joseph Emmegtt

          Cove this is why people need to read movie reviews.As far as seeing it, I already know enough from the reviews that this movie is a mockery of the bible and would almost be considered a bad satire if it was not mocking god.So it doesn’t pass the give it a chance smell test for people who believe in god.The 44 million first week indicates that Christians were played as fools by Hollywood. The sad thing is many calling themselves Christians went just because they see the name Noah.They unwittingly fund people who hate god and will now no doubt keep doing this until they stop making money.

          • Your comment, and others like it, make me so sad. The story of Noah is not a charming children’s tale of a pretty boat and cute pairs of animals. It is about human wickedness so terrible and so destructive that Yahweh decides genocide is his only resort–the undoing of Creation. And were you that Noah, knowing you were honor-bound not to rescue any of those terrified people, could you carry on as if their deaths were of no matter to you? The idea that this film mocks God is beyond incomprehensible; God saturates every second of the film. Not in a blue-eyed way, not in the comic book way, but at a bone-deep, religious understanding way. And if you can’t understand that, then I have to wonder how you understand Christianity.

      • tony,

        Who is being forbidden from having an opinion? Who is forbidding opinions? I’m struggling to imagine how forbidding an opinion is even possible.

        Is it possible you are confusing “having a forbidden opinion” with “having an unpopular opinion”?

        Is it important to you that your opinions receive popular favor?

    • If you see the movie, you will quickly see that it was a movie that paints Noah in a weird light, and God as a distant being that doesn’t even care to talk to Noah or explain really what is going on. This leaves his family torn apart and Noah on a quest to kill his unborn daughter? Interesting to note that the word God isn’t even mentioned in the whole movie (Although it was originally in the script).

      • Did you actually see this film? At no time is Noah on a quest “to kill his unborn daughter.” He considers killing his daughter-in-law’s child, should it be born a girl, precisely because he has taken God absolutely literally and, therefore, believes that humanity must be destroyed b/c man has become so corrupt.

        The attacks on this film are puzzling, given that the account of Noah lasts four short chapters in Genesis — with lots and lots of details missing. A Director has given his idea of what some of those details that none of us know might have been. He took considerable liberty with the story; but it was never meant to be a literal interpretation of a sparse section from Genesis. If this was your expectation, your shock is understandable.

        I’m not sure why Aronofsky changed some of the things he did; but I found it to be an excellent film nevertheless, full of humanity — its good and its bad.

        I am encouraging my congregation to see it, as I think it can get us talking about the basic premise of the Noah story — either on film or in Scripture: at one point, humanity became so violent and had desecrated creation so much that God felt it necessary to start over. THAT’s a sobering thing to ponder!

        • Ma’am, you are sincerely deluded. “My congregation?” What, are you claiming to be a pastor? If so, you are in error in two very clear ways. If you are smart, you can figure out what they are. If not, ask. I will be glad to point them out an cite Scripture.

          You should note that the Word of God takes a dim view of using an hypocrisy to tell what purports to be the truth. But, I do not expect you to actually perceive that as you made the following comment:

          “He considers killing his daughter-in-law’s child, should it be born a girl, precisely because he has taken God absolutely literally…”

          I would remind you that the Scripture is to be taken literally in its entirety. It is either literal physical or literal spiritual. Of course, it helps immensely if you actually read a correct text. Perhaps you would be well served to read William Tyndale’s “Four Senses of the Scripture” in which he demonstrates that the Catholic’s four senses of interpreting the Scripture were totally bogus and an lie.

  6. GOD BLESSES INCEST

    So after drowning almost all of his creation and his children, God leaves Noah
    and his family to have lots of sex with each other to repopulate the world with a new bloodline (not really).

    After only 6,000 years, the population of the planet reaches 8 BILLION PEOPLE!

    THAT MEANS every woman SINCE NOAH HAD to get pregnant and have 17,000 children….EACH!

    Im sure those women (and even the men) wished they had been drowned with the others!

    • public static void main(String[] args) {
      long currentgen = 6;
      final int kidspergen = 3;
      int generations = 150;
      for(int x = 1; x 8000000000L){
      System.out.printf(“”+x);
      break;
      }
      }
      }

      The output from this when ran (Java) is 53, that is 53 is the number of generations required to break 8 bill in the hypothetical where every woman has 3 children, women are exactly 50% of the population, and generation changes happen in bulk every 40 years (assuming that parents wont often have kids past that, and can be removed from the population). This is clearly a flawed model for obvious reasons, but enough of one to say your math is off.

      • Wow, is thing slaughters code. I’ll try once more, replace *lessthan* with a less than sign and *greaterthan* with a greater than sign

        public static void main(String[] args) {
        long currentgen = 6;
        final int kidspergen = 3;
        int generations = 150;
        for(int x = 1; x *lessthan*=generations;x++){
        currentgen = (currentgen / 2) * kidspergen;
        if(currentgen *greaterthan* 8000000000L){
        System.out.printf(“”+x);
        break;
        }
        }
        }

      • @Fireball,

        Please show me how you came up with 3 babies per woman.
        I don’t see how it could be less than 240 generations since child bearing age is approximately 16-24 years old for most of human history.

        At the start are 4 women and 4 men.
        At the end of 5000* years (200 generations) the earth has 8 Billion People.
        How does this happen?

        My calculation takes into account that humans died at about 45 years old on average – though I am dramatically exaggerating because at least half of the children are believed to have died in childbirth in the ancient times. But let’s say for argument’s sake only 1/4 died.

        How many children must each woman produce? I calculated 17,000.

        Unless people lived 940 years, like Noah, did. In that case we have only gone 8 generations since Noah’s Ark. And, regardless, we can move the number to 5000 years (not 6000) since Noah had already lived to 450 before he started having sex again.

        *I changed it to 5000 because Noah must have been born very close to Adam & Eve since he lived almost 1000 years himself. Therefore he had even less time to fill up the earth with 8 Billion People using only 4 women and having sex with many, many, many grand-daughters.

        • Noah had 3 sons each with 3 wives, I’m not counting him as having any children after that, I remove him from the population.

          Well, 3 surviving kids, so call it 6 if you must. I don’t keep parents alive into the next generation at all. You could have less, as there’s plenty of generation space, but I don’t really want to deal with women having “2.5 surviving children” considering the model isn’t actually representative of actual populations, more then it is just a simplification for the “every woman would have to” statement. Under a natural situation where every woman had 3 surviving children, the growth should actually be faster, as the women should be able to mate earlier then the magic 40 years I have them mating now. Broken model is broken, but it’s still more accurate then the model that leads to 17000 children per women, and only takes me 20 minutes to figure out, instead of a few days.

          The population of 6 has 3 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 9 children.
          The population of 9 has 4 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 12 children.
          The population of 12 has 6 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 18 children.
          The population of 18 has 9 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 27 children.
          The population of 27 has 13 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 39 children.
          The population of 39 has 19 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 57 children.
          The population of 57 has 28 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 84 children.
          The population of 84 has 42 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 126 children.
          The population of 126 has 63 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 189 children.
          The population of 189 has 94 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 282 children.
          The population of 282 has 141 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 423 children.
          The population of 423 has 211 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 633 children.
          The population of 633 has 316 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 948 children.
          The population of 948 has 474 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 1422 children.
          The population of 1422 has 711 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 2133 children.
          The population of 2133 has 1066 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 3198 children.
          The population of 3198 has 1599 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 4797 children.
          The population of 4797 has 2398 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 7194 children.
          The population of 7194 has 3597 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 10791 children.
          The population of 10791 has 5395 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 16185 children.
          The population of 16185 has 8092 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 24276 children.
          The population of 24276 has 12138 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 36414 children.
          The population of 36414 has 18207 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 54621 children.
          The population of 54621 has 27310 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 81930 children.
          The population of 81930 has 40965 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 122895 children.
          The population of 122895 has 61447 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 184341 children.
          The population of 184341 has 92170 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 276510 children.
          The population of 276510 has 138255 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 414765 children.
          The population of 414765 has 207382 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 622146 children.
          The population of 622146 has 311073 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 933219 children.
          The population of 933219 has 466609 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 1399827 children.
          The population of 1399827 has 699913 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 2099739 children.
          The population of 2099739 has 1049869 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 3149607 children.
          The population of 3149607 has 1574803 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 4724409 children.
          The population of 4724409 has 2362204 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 7086612 children.
          The population of 7086612 has 3543306 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 10629918 children.
          The population of 10629918 has 5314959 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 15944877 children.
          The population of 15944877 has 7972438 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 23917314 children.
          The population of 23917314 has 11958657 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 35875971 children.
          The population of 35875971 has 17937985 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 53813955 children.
          The population of 53813955 has 26906977 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 80720931 children.
          The population of 80720931 has 40360465 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 121081395 children.
          The population of 121081395 has 60540697 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 181622091 children.
          The population of 181622091 has 90811045 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 272433135 children.
          The population of 272433135 has 136216567 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 408649701 children.
          The population of 408649701 has 204324850 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 612974550 children.
          The population of 612974550 has 306487275 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 919461825 children.
          The population of 919461825 has 459730912 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 1379192736 children.
          The population of 1379192736 has 689596368 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 2068789104 children.
          The population of 2068789104 has 1034394552 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 3103183656 children.
          The population of 3103183656 has 1551591828 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 4654775484 children.
          The population of 4654775484 has 2327387742 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 6982163226 children.
          The population of 6982163226 has 3491081613 women, each having 3 surviving children, there are now 10473244839 children.
          53 generations have passed.

          “x[n] =(floor[x[n-1]/2])*3, x[0]=6″ is a somewhat mathematical representation of the model, where 3 is the surviving children per generation, and 6 is the starting generation size, throw it into wolframalpha if you want, and toy with it a bit.

          • @FIREBALL,
            Wow – I appreciate that. Of course this still is completely implausible.

            I had done the math differently and factored in far few women because of death in childbirth, death of entire societies by plagues, etc. The number of girls who would grow up and manage to produce offspring would be far less than what you have shown.

            The DNA evidence alone confirms that Noah is complete fiction.

      • It seems you haven’t accounted for the vast number of deaths at birth, population loss in famine, plagues, wars. Infertility, choice, etc.
        Besides being genetically impossible, an 8 person bottleneck is incompatible with known history.

        • Fireball is not commenting on the possibility of such things. Just applying an electronic model to prior statements. Criticizing Atheist Max’s mathematical presumptions.

        • I said my model was flawed from the start for a reason, it isn’t meant to reflect reality, and clearly doesn’t. It is meant to show the statement that “every woman would have to have 17,000 children” was wrong.

          Really though, I’m not arguing pro-noah exactly, I couldn’t care less to argue that. I am arguing anti-bad-math. I saw math that looked wrong, calculated it myself based on the pretense that was given (“every woman would have to have x children”) using a simplified model so it would actually be quickly solvable and easily understood, instead of not at all solvable and needlessly complex, and attempted to show the argued result was off. In hindsight, I should’ve just ignored it.

          Population math would be a hard argument to make against the noah story (especially considering you could be quite creative in coming up with explanations for early growth), though I’d still be intrigued to see a well proposed argument. Genetics is a far more compelling argument, that for the most part makes itself.

          • @FIREBALL,

            “I am arguing anti-bad-math.”

            I concede your point completely. Thanks for straightening me out.
            And I appreciate your better method of analysis as well as your critique. Thanks!

          • I actually didn’t expect that. Thanks for listening, it’s rare on the net, even rarer when religion is involved.

            Side note: The crazy thing is, our current rate of growth is a lot faster then my model (my model was 3 births to 2 deaths constantly, currently we’re running over 2 births per 1 death, and have been for almost as long as we’ve been tracking population somewhat properly.) Noting how quickly that compounds, it’s rather crazy, and it’s why the world population doubled in the past 50 years.

    • Maybe my math is crazy flawed, but it seems to me that if each woman had 17,000 children and half of them were women, it would only take 3 generations to reach 3.6 TRILLION PEOPLE.

      I went with the simple check 3*17,000=51,000/2=25,500*17,000=433,500,000/2=216,750,000*17,000=3,684,750,000,000

      Even if you wipe out the entire preceding generations, that doesn’t even make a dent in the final figure.

        • @Aaroneous,
          “I’d delete…”

          But it is still and interesting question.

          On average:
          What was the lifespan in the ancient world (skipping the 350 year-old nonsense out of hand) ?
          How many children died in childbirth?
          How many died of other causes before adulthood?
          How many were infertile?
          And so on…

          And when would the counting begin?
          5000 years ago? or 5500 years ago?
          How close to Creation was Noah born? If the new generations don’t start until he is 400 years old, what are the implications for the final tally?

          I’m sure the average number of babies each woman would need to produce in order to arrive at 8 billion humans – would have to exceed anything remotely possible.

          • What I’m trying to say Atheist Max in my last post is with isolating that condition condition alone I try to make it apparent that not incest was not only unacceptable to Noah’s family as an explanation, but it could not even explain the exponential rate of reproduction which has been conveniently covered already in your conversations with Aaroneous and fireball

    • Hey Athiest Max. I would like you to sit down and reconsider your post. It’s distressing to know that, in the time must have been used to calculate such an output, you might sincerely believe that every woman since then must have had to produce 17,000 offspring. Please, determine
      the amount of years that Naamah would have to live beyond the (keyword) current average lifespan to produce so many people* from her womb. Secondly, Identify a woman in human history who has been recorded to do so.

      Note*: I stress that the only factor expressed here is the duration of Naamah’s innate ability to reproduce with her one one other complimentary reproductive partner Noah.(Afterall, we would have to recognize that the first 17,000 are only between Noah and his wife) That is 9 months/per child. It does Not including any of the many ofther factors such as condition of her health, stress and trauma, her own biological limits and already present children.

    • Hehe, Incest? You speak in ignorance of the Biblical records, How would they commit incest if they (Noah´s sons) had their wives on the Ark?

      Gen 6:18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

  7. Everybody has their own preferences when it comes to watching or producing movies, that is understandable and unavoidable.

    But for me, it’s pretty simple: If you call yourself making a Bible movie, then you make sure it follows the Bible, period, with no mess-ups, no clashes with the Bible, at any point.

    Cecil B. DeMille was able to do it right, (“The Ten Commandments”, which is still the gold standard for movie entertainment), so you can do it too.

    The Bible text tells the story perfectly. If you need “a work of art”, that Bible text is your ULTIMATE work of art. The artistic storytelling challenge for filmmakers, is to re-tell that story in an exciting way, with TOTAL fidelity and accuracy to the Biblical text. No hi-jinks.

    You put some hi-jinks in there, like with the “Noah” movie, it’s you (the filmmaker) who has missed the boat.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Nope. Cecil B. DeMille didn’t do it right if you mean he followed the Bible flawlessly. Many of the people in the film have 1950′s style haircuts. Where is this recorded in the Bible? The Hebrews are also working on the pyramids in the film. That is historically inaccurate. It is well known that many of the details used in the film were not taken from the Bible, but rather books including, Prince of Egypt, The Chronicle of Moses, and The Pillar of Fire and Israel in Bondage. Also, the dialogue between characters is not what is recorded in the text and nothing else. If it were only drawing from scripture, this movie would have lasted about 20 minutes.

      If you only want to engage Biblical art that presents only what is recorded in the text and nothing else, you will never engage Biblical art. Nothing like this has ever been produced in the form of film, television, or a portrait.

      • Oh, but of course. Even ole De Mille, though he got it right, still had a lot of holes which anybody could pick out.. Yes, the haircuts were 50′s style, and or that matter, I rather doubt that either Moses or Pharoah spoke English anyway.

        And all that drama involving Lilia, Baka, Dathan, and Joshua? Sure, it’s not recorded in the Pentateuch. Nor is Nefertiri’s attempted enticement on Moses a part of the Bible text. All fiction, Hollywood fiction.

        BUT…DeMille made sure all that drama, all that movie fiction, stayed within the lines. He made sure that it didn’t double-cross any of the Scriptural text. Moses acted like Moses, He stayed true to those “20 minutes” you mentioned, from beginning to end, his fiction and drama didn’t contradict them or deny them. And DeMille didn’t try to downplay the supernatural elements of the Moses story. He gave those events their full due (as much as you can with 50′s special effects).

        None of this what-the-hey stuff “I was chosen because I can get the job done” business like the Noah movie. De Mille made sure his entertainment and fictions at least stayed within reasonable Bible lines. THAT’s what I’m talking about. .

        • I feel like you’re speaking authoritatively enough to have already seen the film. How was it? I’m planning to see it sometime during opening weekend.

      • Funny you should make the comment Mr. Merritt.

        “If it were only drawing from scripture, this movie would have lasted about 20 minutes.
        ¶If you only want to engage Biblical art that presents only what is recorded in the text and nothing else, you will never engage Biblical art. Nothing like this has ever been produced in the form of film, television, or a portrait.”

        The LORD God only authorized one (1) method for relating to mankind the necessary truths for man to be reconciled to the Father. The written or spoken word. Not play-acting or so-called “art.”

        For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. ( I Corinthians 1:17-19)

        And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (I Corinthians 2:4-5)

        And then be an utter hypocrite and blow right past what Scripture ordains as the proper way to present the truth.

    • In other words you want a film about a Biblical story to merely confirm your faith rather than be art. As long as you can use it in place of a Sunday School teacher, it has value. Never mind any kind of serious exploration of themes or artistic merit.

      Nobody with the intention of being entertained wants to see a filmed book report.

      The objections of deviating from the text are complete hogwash. Darren Aronofsky properly called the non-viewing self-styled film critics out on their own nonsense. Its pure tribalism. People who want to see the Bible as filmed by fellow Evangelicals, as a tract. Never mind that EVERY filmed version of a Bible story takes tons of licenses with the story for effect.

      Cecil B. DeMille used to play Bible thumpers as complete rubes. He knew he could pack as much depravity, torture, and nastiness in a film as censors would allow, provided you called it a Biblical epic, and it ended with the bland “righteous” characters either triumphing or dying in a spectacular fashion. He was an exploitation filmmaker with a big budget.

      The appeal of his films was not fidelity to the Bible. It was that hypocrites could be satisfied with seeing nastiness on screen and still look respectable. Much like the appeal of The Passion of the Christ. “Hostel” for the church basement set.

      • Oh, I never said DeMille was a saint on this stuff. It’s just that his last major work, “The Ten Commandments”, turned out to be a masterpiece all around, and not least because it allowed what Mr. Merritt calls the “20 minutes of Scripture” to come to life and speak for themselves as authentic and literally true, to audiences across the nation and across the world.

        You might be inclined to dismiss such a movie as a “tract.” But there’s the rub: Tracts CAN become art, if they are squarely based on the Bible and the Gospel. Tracts CAN color your world, brighten it up with the color of hope and faith and inspiration, if written with creativity and imagination and fidelity to the biblical text..

        • Oh no the Ten Commandments is not a tract at all. The Biblical accuracy part of the film is complete hogwash. Owing much to traditions and commentaries that accrued over the centuries.

          The film is a classic because Charlton Heston and Yul Brunner are superb actors. They know how to deliver ridiculous sounding dialogue with utmost conviction and gravitas.

          The rest of the cast was either camping it up like Anne Baxter. Most were just plain bland (like John Derek). Most importantly what the hell were Edward G Robinson and Vincent Price doing in a Biblical film? Its a well made film that cemented Heston’s reputation as “Mr Epic”.

          But to be honest, when I had to explain Exodus to my wife, who is a Buddhist (she was attending her first Seder), Prince of Egypt worked far better than The Ten Commandments.

          • And The Prince of Egypt’s disclaimer is IDENTICAL to Noah’s disclaimer. It just says “The biblical story of MOSES can be found in the book of EXODUS.”

          • Not the point at all. Prince of Egypt works better with an audience new to the story than the Ten Commandments, which largely plays well for an audience which is already familiar with Exodus and plays with audience expectations with surprising campiness.

    • Doc,

      Have you seen Ben-Hur? If not, I certainly recommend it. It is not a Bible story, but it does take place during the time of Christ from the viewpoint of a Jewish Prince in who has many encounters with Jesus on earth. It’s a historical fiction that uses the Biblical account of Christ along with historical facts about Jews in Rome to create the fictional Judea Ben-Hur’s life. The film takes many artistic liberties and puts Jesus in places that he may or not have been (since we don’t know what he was doing each minute of each day), but as a work of art, it had a profound impact of my faith. It is a beautiful and thought provoking film, but by your standards I’m afraid there may be too many “hijinks,” and therefore should not have been made.

      I understand where you are coming from, but even the Bible itself is a human (though Divinely inspired) account that cannot possibly cover every detail of each story and character. Who’s to say that God is not still working by inspiring this film which will reach far into the secular mainstream and possibly change many lives?

      • Love Ben Hur. I always joke that my office is one step away from the slave galley scenes from that movie.

        The movie is not based on any Biblical source, its based on a novel by former Civil War General Lew Wallace. Accuracy to the gospels was never an element to it. Its a fictional work where Jesus has a cameo part.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      This was actually spoken to The New Yorker. And as someone who has seen this movie, I’d say that “Noah” is the “least biblical biblical movie” in the same way that The Message is the “least biblical biblical translation.” Make sense?

      • Joseph Emmett

        I agree with you on one point.Christians are hypocitcal when they see movies like son of god.I as rule will not go to see any of them because they always are biblically inaccurate.Thats why movie reviews that tell the details about the plot and charcters are good.This movie is so over the top with god and Noah that its a mockery and anyone who claims to love God should not see it.Its almost as bad as Last Tempation of Christ.I didn’t like Gibsons movie either because of the violence and graphic depiction and the inaccuracies.I won’t see any movies made by TBN either because of the lack of concern for handling the word of god.The bible is specific that not one jot or tiitle should be changed.Movies stopped being art for the most part a long time ago.Its all about box office and agendas.Box office attendance has been down for several reasons, cost and quality being the main two reasons.

  8. Matt Chandler

    Jonathan. Your review of Noah was very one sided. You assume that anyone not wanting to go see the Noah movie because of inaccuracies is also a hypocrite because they saw no problem with movies such as the Passion and others. I disagree. I believe that the flood of Noah actually happened. I also believe that the arc was real and constructed so that it could hold all of the “kinds” of animals during that time period. From just the trailer you can see that this movie makes a mockery of the Bible’s account of Noah flood. First of all it shows the arc crammed packed full of many types of the same kinds of animals leaving no room to possibly live for a full year. Noah is a bad guy that was chosen because he “can get the job done”. He is seen as heartless and ruthless and uncaring of the people around him. While there are other examples of inaccuracies, (landing on the beach and not the mount, the people on the arc should have at least numbered 8) the one that makes the story so unbelievable is the massive number of animals that are stuffed on the arc in the movie. This is what makes the story to unbelievers a true laughing matter. I wouldn’t believe that either. It is impossible. Since the Bible mentions no miracles by God to get Noah and the animals through that year at sea, Noah would have had to have been more prepared. Waste removal would be a major issue. The flood was a real event and could have logically happened. The real story would have been better and much more exciting than this poor Hollywood adaption. I honestly think it is mocking the Bible. I do have a problem with that. That is why I won’t go see it. If the makers of the movie had got facts wrong but had good intent and did not try to openly mock the Bible then I would definitely see it. Thank you.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Your use of the word “mock” is highly subjective. I don’t think there is anything in this film that even approaches the definition of that word. You say that Noah is “a bad guy” in the film? And you know this how? From watching the trailer? The character of Noah is more complex in this film. But let’s say for a moment that he was presented as ruthless or uncaring. Can you show me where the Biblical text says he was a caring man or not rough around the edges? You can’t actually. Genesis only describes Noah as “righteous” but it doesn’t say in what way he was righteous. The closest explanation of this appears in Hebrews 11 where we find,

      “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”

      Like the other heroes of the faith, Noah was a deeply flawed individual and was chosen because he was WILLING. This willingness to do what God was counted to him as righteousness.

      Sounds like a guy who was chosen, at least in part, because he was willing and able to “get the job done”…

      • Mr. Merritt,

        Thank you for your article, although I do disagree with much of it, I appreciate you discussing it civilly. Truthfully, I am specifically surprised at many of your rebuttals that include (I’m paraphrasing): “can you show me where scripture does (or doesn’t) say this?”, when referring to things such as Noah being “nice” or not. To me this is very illogical. Just because information is omitted in any document, doesn’t mean it now has validity towards speculation as being true.

        People falsely use similar logic and context towards things God doesn’t immediately speak against (overall he does) in the Word, such as the multiple wives of many righteous men in the Old Testament. I’m not saying this is an apples for apples comparison to your usage of “if it’s not in there, then it could be”. But if you believe scripture is inerrant and complete, there is not only no need to deem certain assumptions as possible fact (that Noah may have been uncaring and ruthless simply because the Bible didn’t say he wasn’t) but the Bible also makes it clear not to add or take away from scripture. To me, making assumptions, even about the character of biblical men or women, is a slippery slope towards “adding or taking” that scripture refers to.

        Overall, I hope we can agree that this movie is not a biblically accurate movie, made by Christ-following men and women. The star of the movie (Crowe) has comments that are well documented towards false interpretation of scripture. And false interpretations lead to false motives (is the purpose of the movie to glorify God?). I feel comfortable saying the same about Arinovsky and his comments. So ultimately, I don’t see anything wrong with either seeing the movie, or not. But as Christians, we should have discernment and use it as an example, with love, to point out the true context and message of hope in God’s word.

        • Your entire comment is sound and full of humility. I especially like how you said “Just because information is omitted in any document, doesn’t mean it now has validity towards speculation as being true.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for gracefully expressing our defense of the Gospel.

      • Mr. Merritt, I read Matt’s comment. If he can tell from the trailer that it makes light of, or skews the Scriptural account of Noah and the Flood, then your statement “Your use of the word “mock” is highly subjective.” is made because you are, for whatever reason, invested in this movie. Despite you protestations, it is evident from everything you have written about this film.

        Since you like to impugn others who you believe have not seen the movie, or were, in your judgment, not discerning enough, I will let you know that I have not, and will not see this movie or any other for previously stated reasons. However, that fact it totally irrelevant to the point I raise here. In fact, it is irrelevant to any point I make in this comment.

        This that you cite:
        ““By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.””

        That you deem Scripture, is not. It’s source is a corrupted gnostic text taht purports to be Scripture, and you have not the discernment to know the difference.

        And this statement:
        “Like the other heroes of the faith, Noah was a deeply flawed individual and was chosen because he was WILLING. This willingness to do what God was counted to him as righteousness.”

        reveals that you understand very little as to why the LORD God used Noah.

        I have to ask you: Was Noah saved by the same grace that is bestowed on Believers today? I wonder at your answer as in the Southern Baptist ranks, and of the graduates of Southern Baptist Cemeteries, there exists a very wide variance in dispensational theology.

        You cannot discern right Scripture, I wonder if you can discern the right salvation?

        I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

    • “This is what makes the story to unbelievers a true laughing matter. ”
      Not exactly. What you describe as silly is actually the best attempt of making the Noah story less silly and more superficially plausible at least to moderately educated and not too inquisitive minds. The literal take on the story that you profess to believe is the mega-whopper. We won’t discuss this here, but if you have the courage to look for actual scientific and historical treatments of the story, instead of narrowing your scope to information coming from professional liars like AiG or the Hovinds, you would have to change your mind or settle with being a self-deceiving ignoramus.

      • @FELIX,

        The story of Noah isn’t just funny. It is FALL OUT OF YOUR CHAIR funny.

        What shall we call the sequel? “Noah, Incest is Best?”

        INCEST is apparently not a sin, then? The sex scenes no matter how tasteful, will feature the most disgusting pairings you can imagine.

        Way to fix the world and stop SIN …..God! :-)

  9. Thanks, Jonathan. Clear and to the point: the issue is not content of films but marketing. The list is staggering of how often this happens.

    I wonder if the real blame should go to Paramount, as my reading of the news story suggests they were courting the evangelical audience and trying to tap that demographic, but failed to understand just what that crowd was all about.

    Love the quote from Schaeffer who would be rolling in his grave about the state of evangelical cultural illiteracy today. All those books where he tried to convince the theologically conservative to engage culture and understand art, and it seems few were listening.

    Thanks again for the clarity.

    Brent Plate

  10. Is it true that the (main) reason given in the movie for God causing the flood had some type of connection to over population and/or environmental issues. If so, I have a real problem. See this:

    “I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. said Aronofsky, 2008

    I don’t mind minor changes and interpretations, but to give a current PC reason instead of the stated reason of wickedness is huge.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      There are some environmental sensitivities that I think are consistent with the respect I ancient agrarian society would have for the creation. But no the movie doesn’t say that God flooded the earth because of over-population. It actually says–in big, bold letters typed across the screen–that God flooded the earth because of “sin.”

      • You say, “There are some environmental sensitivities that I think are consistent with the respect I ancient agrarian society would have for the creation.” Thought so.

        But the big bold letters say – SIN. So, I ask, is this sin the result of a lack of environmental sensitivities in the people of that day? In the mind of Aronofsky, and the current PC mind of Hollywood, probably.

        I am sorry for this accusation, but I bet the movie has a little more of this than what you are representing. And I also bet that there is very little in the actual movie to adequately convey God’s hatred of sin (sexual lust, violence, idolatry, selfishness, etc.), basically the very foundation of Hollywood.

        I don’t expect the film to be perfect. It can’t be. But I am tired of the world using our stories to convey their perspective in their language. How can we expect ungodly people to accurately convey godly principals?

        • Rex, you said, “I am tired of the world using our stories to convey their perspective in their language. How can we expect ungodly people to accurately convey godly principals?” Well, Christians have been doing just that for thousands of years. For example, the Bible passages were used to justify slavery. If all Christians “accurately convey goldly principals”, you wouldn’t have over 40,000 different Christian denominations today fighting over who’s interpretation of the Bible is right.

    • The idea that the flood was CAUSED by environmental disaster isn’t what the statement implies. He’s saying that the flood’s depiction shows the RESULT of environmental degradation.

  11. I just want to know where boycotting and slandering of someone’s work shows love and acceptance? I think Jesus would be the first to go see this movie and talk to and love on the people at the theatre. Just a simple thought from a simple man.

      • Right…so Christians should just flock to the theaters and beg them to take their money for a movie they just don’t agree with. That’s a great example of acceptance!

        So what if it is printed in big bold letters on the screen, “God destroyed the Earth because of sin.” The quote of the director is accurate, so that shows me his true intentions. This way he has an”out”…if anyone points out the inaccuracy of the reason for the flood in the story, he can respond with,”Oh no, I put it in there …see?”

        If someone isn’t going to see this film based on their beliefs, as long as they are not infringing on your right to do so, who are you to criticize?

        Personally, I will not give my money to an actor that claims to be anti-gun, but makes their millions from glorifying gun violence. It’s the same principle.

        So, go see it, don’t go see it, who cares. Just be thankful you have the right to choose.

    • YES to this comment.
      Haven’t seen the movie yet, but plan to. As artists, is it not our purpose to point people to God, and His Word? If this film is well done enough to pique interest in the story, how can that be a bad thing?

  12. The evangelical retreat on this movie does nothing more than serve as an example of the way in which the American church is becoming more and more polarized. If you go see this movie, you will be “one of those people who do not know how to read the Bible” in the eyes of many fundamental evangelicals. What about instead of using this movie as a way to further the polarization and fragmentation of the American church, use the movie as a way of appealing to an audience that may not have considered ever reading the biblical story. This movie could be a way to start a conversation instead of further division.

  13. Adam Anderson

    As an Evangelical pastor, I try to measure things by their intent, especially when it comes to issues of Faith and Truth. For instance, I am not offended that the White House would invite a Muslim to pray, since the White House is not my Christian church and the President is not my Christian pastor. They don’t intend to be. That my state has legalized same-sex marriages is not problematic to me, since the intent is a legal and civil issue, not an attempt to redefine Christian morality. So, I will very likely watch this movie for what it is — a part of a fun evening out with friends.

    Frankly, I’m more at odds with the movie rendition of The Hobbit.

  14. Genesis 2:15
    And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

    King James Bible, Cambridge Edition
    ———————-
    Unless I am misreading 2:15, it looks like an explicit instruction to care for the LORD’s creation?

  15. “Churchianty” would be far better if there weren’t so many “Christians” trying to protect God’s reputation with their gnawing insistence on purity and perfection in all things. I have seen none of these critics (above and elsewhere) complain about the scene on “Son of God” where the wisemen show up in Bethlehem to see baby Jesus. Scripture makes NO mention of them being there. But it looks great on in cinematic candle light, on Christmas cards, in church pageants, and it feels good. As Christian screenwriter Brian Godawa (“…to end all wars”) so aptly puts it, “Sometimes the standard of literalness is not even biblical itself. They (Christian purists) go overboard.” Indeed they do, and going overboard with Noah’s ark is death.

    In anticipation of seeing “NOAH” I recently re-read the Old Testament to brush up on Noah and the Genesis account is a virtual detail-free zone. It gives the broad strokes of the story. Other than the ark’s rough dimensions ( just three: height, width, length), God specs the wood type and a profuse “pitch” application (“within and without”.) There are broad, general animal and human guest list requirements and it indicates more than a full year on board. BUT we are not even told Noah’s wife’s name. So …not much detail for scripture sticklers to point their magnifying glasses at. I suspect God told Moses, “It’s WHAT they do and WHY that is key to this story. Let’s not bore readers with details like snake count, how many pallets of bird seed, and waste disposal instructions.” Maybe God believed his followers would trust the OBJECTIVE of the story and not get caught up in objecting to how the story is retold.

    Also :: I am embarrassed for those (church leaders) who played any role in getting the studio (Paramount) to write the wimpy, insecure, and apologetic warning (“it is based on scripture …but artistic license” …blah, blah, blah) and add it to the NOAH trailers and radio spots. It does not make the church look powerful, influential, or smart. It is sad and petulant. It assumes there is something amiss with the film.

    Every “Jesus movie” in my life time has been “greeted”—BEFORE it’s release—by a chorus, a mob, a press conference full of self-appointed Bible guardians prepared to put their ignorance on display. See NOAH or don’t see it. But DO NOT make any pronouncements on it’s accuracy to scripture or efficacy to encourage movie goers to look into God’s word. People outside of faith will see NOAH. I hope enough believers will too so we can answer the questions of the honest seeker. My faith is not threatened by any Hollywood film makers who choses to bring great stories of scripture to life. As the God says (Isaiah 55:11) “my word …shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.” When Aaronofsky’s Ark sails later this month, I’m on board.

  16. I don’t care who a movie is produced by or for what audience if they are going to change vital content and context from Gods word then they might as well be mocking God. We should all be careful where we read our reviews… Most important thing today is to know our Bible. The problem is with big productions like this is that they are seen by many people who DON’T KNOW THE BIBLE so films like this and the rest of the ones mentioned are continually allowed to undermine and water down the validity and strength. “A house divided will fall” and that is what is happening to Christianity today! Forget these movies if I walk into 20 different Christian churches today I’ll hear at least half of them miss the mark by a looooong shot so really am I going to be surprised if a Hollywood producer does?? Lol
    Kind of a joke really.

    • McNair Wilson

      Anthony, I just don’t know how you (and so many others) can be so exercised over a film you have not seen. Until the the final version of “NOAH” hits the big screen it is just speculation. Using quotes from the the director in 2008—before the film began production—means nothing. I’m an author and a playwright and have f-f-f-f-frequently had interviewers quote me from a time when I was still in the process of creating a work that has since changed. As Mr. Merritt points out in his excellent article, above, he HAS seen “NOAH” and most of the criticism he hears and reads is NOT IN THE FILM. How much of the “vital content and context” (as you put it) has to be accurate (whatever that is) for a Bible-based film to be accepted by you and others who seem to be looking for flawless rendering of scripture?

  17. Jonathon, thank you for stating what many of us think with such clarity and well chosen words. I go to see a movie to get lost in a story that makes me contemplate life in varying degrees of depth. I appreciated this review.

  18. I find evangelicals don’t understand poetry/ prose.
    They want black / white presentations.
    I agree when you said, “Not much has changed since the late Francis Schaeffer wrote in Art and the Bible, “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.” –

    So true, we can be such negative lot of people, I appreciate your positive light on art and story.

  19. I don’t mind if an artistic work adds in EXTRA-biblical dialog or scenes, as long as they are true to the concepts in the biblical passage.
    It does bother me if an artistic work adds in ANTI-biblical dialog or scenes, that is contradictory to what is in the Bible.

    The real question is whether Noah is Extra-biblical or Anti-biblical. I haven’t seen it so I don’t know.

    • @Ann J,

      At least we know the sequel will be full of INCEST! The sex scenes, no matter how tasteful, will feature the most disgusting pairings you can imagine.

      Way to fix the world and stop SIN …..God! :-)

  20. Chris Jarrell

    Can Christ Himself still be glorified through works of art even if it is not our preference? Does a Sovereign God who has created ALL THINGS need our defense? Is Jesus simply a bigger and better version of us? Among a hundred scattered seeds can one little seed produce life? Can a form of artistic imagination and mystery spark an interest in seeking God’s Truth? What Standard do we hold everything against? Now doesn’t everything fall so far short, not even close to that Standard, me, you, a director, a actor, a pastor, a historian?

    I for one LOVE to study and meditate on the Word of God, which I believe to be true and I believe all of Scriptures is about Jesus Christ and not about us!

    I also believe we fall into deep error of prooftexting and making the Word of God to fit our preferences and what we want it to mean because we looked a particular word up in the concordance.

    NO PERSON CAN DO JUSTICE TO GOD’S WORD THAN WHAT ONLY GOD HAS DESIGNED IT TO DO. Ultimately, No created thing could ever be for us what the Creator Himself, Jesus Christ alone can be.

    Colossians 1

    The Preeminence of Christ

    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created,(ALL THINGS WERE CREATED) in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (ALL THINGS WERE CREATED THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM) 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

    I will see this movie that to build my faith or diminish my faith. My FAITH is in the finished work of Christ. I will see this movie out of imagination and curiosity. I will continue to read God’s Word.

  21. Those Christians who love to share the goodness of God’s Word will use this movie as a spring board to launch into multiple conversations with non believers. There will be a multitude of people that will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ not because of the movie itself but because of the Devine appointments that will be created.

  22. Hollywood makes movies in order to make a profit. Theological, biblical, and historical accuracy are not important. Movies make money by being entertaining and provocative. One can enjoy the movie without endangering his mortal soul, dishonoring Scripture, or mocking God.

  23. david coleman

    Does it really matter? Since none of these critics were actually there how do they know its not accurate? The bible has been interpreted in many different ways by every religion on the planet so I would say there are probably many inaccuracies. Bottom line is its just a movie…..its for entertainment. Get over it. If you don’t want to see it then don’t.

  24. Garson Abuita

    Nothing illustrates Christian privilege in the US more than the reaction to this movie. We hear all the time from the Christian community how people of faith are marginalized and faith should be a bigger part of public life. Yet when a Jewish filmmaker makes a mainstream movie adhering to the Jewish view of the Noah story — a kind-of righteous drunk with a no-good son — he gets mercilessly attacked. The film was not tailor-made for a Christian audience the way TPOTC and “The Bible” were. I’m sorry you were presented with a modern take on the Jewish view of a story _from_the_Torah_.

    • You know, this is a good point. The trouble is, we don’t know exactly what percentage of Christians are truly attacking the film. I’m a Christian, and most people I know are looking forward to seeing the film (as well as myself). Many times the media spins perception to portray a few people that supposedly represent the majority.

  25. What most interests me about these comments is the fact that nobody seems to have realized that the Noah in the original tradition (i.e., Jewish) was quite different than the Christian version. We don’t consider Noah to have necessarily been a very righteous man, only that he was righteous in comparison to the rest of society. I haven’t read the Christian version, but it’s probably a safe bet that the translation of the story is also a little different. I would strongly recommend that those who are protesting the inaccuracies go to a Jewish bookstore and pick up a copy of the Torah– or even a Chumash, which is the entire Jewish Bible. Bet you’d be pretty surprised at the differences between your version and a translation by people who are fluent in ancient Hebrew.

  26. People are fickle…completely fickle. But there is definitely something to be said for not wanting to see a movie and therefore line the pockets, of Hollywood. I agree that simply not going to these movies for inaccuracies is silly and probably inconsistent if one goes to other biblical themed movies. However, I suspect there is more to it then that – and more to it than 140 character tweet can really explain.

    That said, the Noah story is real, it did happen, and one day God will come back. I’m just grateful I don’t have to wait until then to know Him and his goodness…………and I probably will go see the movie.

  27. The account of Noah’s ark and the Great Flood can pretty much be proven through the oral tradition of disconnected people groups all over the earth having that same piece of history in common. To the Hindus, Noah is referred to as Manu; to the Chinese Noah is Fah-he; to the Hawaiians, Noah is Nu-u; to the Mexican Indians, Noah is Tezpi; and to the Algonquins, Noah is called Manabozho. 

    Is Noah’s Flood Plagiarized from Other Sources? Realize that parallels between the accounts of different cultures of a great flood can be proofs and evidence for the existence of the flood that’s talked about in the Bible—not necessarily proofs against it. Almost all flood traditions, according to Author Joel McDurmon, align with the flood account in the Bible, which has beautifully and affirmingly passed down through the generations of very different cultures all over the world. 

    • More plausible and supported by evidence is the notion that riverine cultures all fear floods in general. Floods are is the most devastating (and regularly seen) form of natural disaster they were familiar with. Early agricultural development and civilization began in river valleys. Places usually likely to flood. So what better way to tell a story of one’s entire world being wiped out than to use a flood.

      Flooding was to ancient peoples what zombies are to today’s culture or nuclear war was for Baby Boomers. A framework for apocalyptic stories. A way to wipe the slate clean and to impress upon people the awesome power of a world one cannot control. There is a cultural need for end of the world stories. It allows one to criticize our current world and to excite people with the possibility of starting all over again.

      The idea that all these stories point to one real world shattering flood is utter nonsense. One not supported by a shred of evidence either physically or culturally. There is a huge level of variation with flood stories from various cultures that would not be consistent with a singular event. Joel McDurmon is one of many people who engage in confirmation bias when discussing events in the Bible. Rather than employ common sense, evidence or logic, they make sweeping (and frequently incorrect) assertions. More likely than not Mr. McDurmon ignored or edited elements of other cultures which did not match the Biblical one. Intellectual and methodological honesty do not go well with Biblical inerrancy.

  28. I am an Evangelical Christian and I work in a Christian film production organization….and I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of picture a big Hollywood budget can paint that will spark my imagination and help me envision what God did! We all fall so short of re-telling the great story of the Bible. But as with all art, I hope that it will spur us on to engage with God, His Word and each other and make us think more deeply about important things! Thanks for your perspective!

  29. Kelly P~ you, unfortunately, are coming across as as narrow minded as some religious folk out there. If you’d like the freedom to think you’re “just a mammal” and not “chosen”, than others have the right to believe in God and believe there IS something bigger than ourselves. Something beyond death for us. I’d like to pray for you because there is too much beauty- in science, in nature, in our emotions, in all aspects of this world that point to more than just a Big Bang happenstance existence. Anyone who thinks they aren’t “chosen” doesn’t see their own importance. Not a selfish importance but an importance to love, to share, to walk with one another on this earth and make a difference. To know The Creator and *know* He loves us all enough to even bother to knit each of us in our mothers wombs!
    This is a really good article. And a as an artist I can see how narrow minded *Ive* been.
    I’ve decided to go see it and then discuss :-)

    • Would you please pray for me too?
      And smoke a goat for your Lord while you are at it.
      The Lord loves the smell of burning goat (Exodus 29:18)

      Oh, and don’t worry about your religion being under threat. The Constitution guarantees your rights in something called THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE.

      The only danger to THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE and, thus, your right to religious freedom is a little thing called the Christian Lobby.
      You should fear them more than you fear the Devil himself.

      Because if we lose Church/State separation I guarantee you won’t like the Mormon God they’ll tell you to bow to every day before you smoke your goat for breakfast.

  30. Scott Daniels

    I agree with Jonathan Merritt’s defense of Noah. I plan to enthusiastically view the movie (and reread the Genesis text).

    Unfortunately, my reading of Merritt’s column also comes at a time when I’m reading John Stuart Mill’s classic essay On Liberty (1859). First, there is Merritt’s argument from the social role of art and the artist. The autonomy of art means that we should not expect artistic expression to reduce to any purpose other than artistic expression itself. If we have an expectation that all art must always serve a moral purpose (moralism), we will be quickly be reminded that sometimes it is to prick us from our spiritual and moral doldrums (that is the doctrine of autonomism). Next, there is the uncanny familiarity with Mill’s utilitarian arguments for the freedom of discussion and thought in the second chapter. Merritt’s warning, “Like other artistic endeavors drawing on biblical themes, “Noah” requires that audiences actually think about symbols and forms.” sounds like Mill’s warning that knowledge without the conviction brought about only through vigorous contestation, results in holding a belief in the manner of prejudice. Mill can say this because for him all knowledge is fallible. Thus it must be constantly challenged. Fair enough.

    Although confess my ignorance of what Merritt means by the loss of symbols and forms with this context of Noah, it would be nice occasionally if we could have both symbols and forms at the same time as having rigorous textual support — which, Merritt, who has seen the movie, concedes is missing.

  31. Jonathan,

    I think your article completely misses the point of why christians are warning other christians this movie is dangerous. God said “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” (Rev. 22: 18-19) Do you think it is okay with God to change what he said for “artistic license?” What is further saddening to me about your article is that you are persecuting your brothers and sisters who are trying to warn others against promoting something that opposes Christ. You are persecuting Christ.

    • Most of the arguments are rather philistine in nature. People having issue with a dramatic work because it does not appeal to their confirmation bias on the subject. Whining that the world won’t allow them to be the arbiter of what people will see on film. Poor babies hopped up on Christian privilege.

      Lets face it, nobody is going to bother giving them a Hollywood Blockbuster level budget to all those people producing “Christian films”. Why? Because they don’t produce anything of value for people who are not already predisposed to their narrow form of religious belief. Not a winning recipe for mass entertainment.

      • I couldn’t get all the way through “Passion of the Christ” which was the most offensive film garbage in years – a pornographic horror of unrelenting blood and violence.

        But it made huge money and probably a lot of Atheists as well.

        • Passion of the Christ had the best marketing of a torture porn film EVER! It grossed more than the first 5 “Saw” films combined!

          Mel Gibson may be a royal SOB* but the promotion of “Passion” was pure genius.

          *I liked a heck of a lot of his earlier work, so he has a lifetime pass from me.

        • Well, sorry there wasn’t a more dainty and delicate way of accurately portraying a Roman execution for treason–which was unrelentingly bloody and violent precisely because it was designed to be so. It was political terrorism.

          Were you just as “offended” by Saving Private Ryan and The Hanoi Hilton? I was, not at all by the movies but by the bitter reality of human brutality that they portrayed.

          • @SHAWNIE,

            “Saving Private Ryan” and “Hanoi Hilton” are lessons against violence of men by men.

            BUT…
            “Passion of the Christ” is a celebration of violence inflicted by God against God! A sickening pointlessness snuff film.
            God became man, had himself crucified (purportedly He is the Author of this tale) in the most brutal manner conceivable to bleed and suffer as a sacrifice to Himself to “save” people….get this… from HIS OWN ETERNAL PUNISHMENT! Completely delusional.

            What changed in the world thanks to this ‘crucifixion’? What changed from 1BC to 40AD? Nothing.
            We still have all the same problems and this story helps nobody.

          • It wasn’t a celebration any more than the other two were. It was a relatively accurate portrayal of an actual historical event — one with which the subjects of the Roman Empire witnessed quite frequently.

            Of course we still have human problems but as for what changed in the world thanks to all this…a little trip in a time machine back to the pre-christian world and its “morality” would clear up a great deal for you in short order. But since that’s not possible, the mere fact that we’re hanging out here discussing the “offensiveness” of various portrayals of human violence is a good example of what that crucifixion helped change. The ancients would have found this incomprehensible.

    • Hilary,
      You do of course realize that your own bible has had “words taking away from this scroll of prophesy”? You see the original version of the Bible is the Catholic Bible, which was ordered assembled by Emperor Constantine in 325 AD, has several more Books than all the differing versions of the Protestant Bibles. So you lose your argument there.
      2nd; Asking Christians not to prejudge something that they have not seen for themselves, based on the rumors from others who have not seen the film, IS NOT persecuting Christians or Christ. Christians are not being persecuted in this country. Unless you are being jailed for simply being a Christian, or tortured and murdered for simply being a Christian, you are not being persecuted. Calling certain Christians out on their stubbornness, judgmental behaviors, and hypocrisy is not persecution.
      Finally, even Jesus said to test everything before reserving judgement. Anybody who has actually read the entire Bible would know that.

  32. I believe that our camp’s (that would be Christians) opposition to the film come from a misplaced belief. As believers, we want the world to like us. We want the world to care about what we care about, one pillar of which is the sacredness of scripture. Especially here in the US, we expect the world (non-believers who don’t share our values) to admire and respect the things we admire and respect.

    Our churches are modern, our messages are culturally relevant, and we expend a huge amount of energy, time and resources trying to attract those who are opposed to Christ without bringing them to an eventual confrontation between Christ and sin.

    Hollywood is after dollars, not piety. They have figured out that Christian themes woven into a film draws more viewers. Right or wrong as that is, and whether or not we want to admit it, the culture of Hollywood and the worldview which they support don’t run parallel paths to Jesus teaching that we deny ourselves, pick up a cross and follow him.

    While the misdirected furor over this film is directed at Hollywood, in my opinion, believers should look in the mirror first. Why do we expect non-believers to honor what we honor. Are we so insecure in our relationship with our God that we still want the world’s approval?

  33. Just like Harry potter fans were upset the movies weren’t like the books…I’m not surprised to hear the evangelical Christians are complaining too. People don’t like their delusions to be challenged. The reality is that this story never happened so talking about people who don’t want to see a movie about a fictitious story doesn’t reay have much weight to it…

  34. If I see the movie, it will be for entertainment purposes only. I watched part of “The Bible” series when it came out and recognized the discrepancies in the film’s account. I expect it when watching TV or movies. The thing that saddened me, were the many people who hailed it as truth. Read the Bible people. Know what it says. It holds the true story. To me, everything else is just for fun. If you take away a good feeling from it, that’s good too.

  35. I am not a huge movie goer myself and as a Christian I don’t think that Christians should only go see Christian movies because I think stories and art have a role to play in our society.

    As it relates to to movies like Noah, Son of God, The Passion, The Ten Commandments, I think every movie based on a Biblical character or event will take some creative license simply to make it into a full length movie and explore some the characters at different depths and angles. Not every conversation Noah, Moses, or Jesus had is recorded in Scripture. I don’t have a problem with writers speculating on what conversations between Jesus and His disciples may have been like even though they weren’t in Scripture. The issue there would be to ensure that those conversations are reflective of their character as revealed in Scripture if they are a major character, e.g. Peter could easily be seen to be ill tempered and therefore I can picture him in more than a few arguments, perhaps even scuffles even though it’s not in the Bible.

    I think some critics of this movie are confusing “extra biblical” with “unbiblical”. Going into a movie like Noah, you have to expect the extra biblical for sure. But again you hope that the characters are rounded out by using the biblical text as the reference point for what they may have truly been like. To portray Noah as a rough guy would seem to fair and accurate to what the world would probably have been like. Does this movie cross the line and turn him into a murderer who allowed the entire earth’s population to perish save 8? Even if that is the case, this could be a movie that allows knowledgeable Christians to present the true story of Scripture to those who might question. What a great way to show the grace of God than to acknowledge the sinfulness and fallibility of Noah! That God does not save us based on how good we are.

    Well written article and thought provoking. This may be a movie that is a commercial for climate change as is feared by some of my evangelical brothers and sisters but understand the world we live in and respond accordingly for the glory of Christ. I am more open to seeing the film now because I think it could become a point of common ground for a discussion between someone who is far from Christ.

  36. This note ought to stir my good friends, who know you can’t spell “fundamentalist” without “fun!” And “mental.”

    Mr. Merritt, thank you. Your article is a good media analysis, reflecting spiritual understanding of intolerance invoked by fundamentalists who claim a deeper knowledge of God while calling themselves “fundamental,” after all. The Bible as a human version of God’s word has its own contradictions and latitude for interpretations, artistic and theistic. Maybe “Evan Almighty” was more palatable for some “Noah” critics.

    I look forward to the movie as an opportunity to lift Faith-based spirituality to some meaningful level of cultural discussion and intelligent questions; God can handle challenges, and as followers we should do the same. For me questioning is essential, even welcome, and non-threatening. Jesus insisted people question their theology.

    Questioning of theology does not reflect doubt; questions bring clarity and understanding, the opposite of doubt.

    Kind of fundamental, really.

    Interesting, too, that some Christian leaders are criticizing a movie based in a story that is a standard of the Old Testament; where’s the Jewish outcry?

    Too many Christian stars make fortunes pretending to know the mind of God, as “God thinks this…” and “God wants that … for you.” The Book is clear that while we surely should understand the will of God, we don’t know the mind of God, and for Christians Jesus says the God knows our minds. He also says, “God is Love.” Not “like” love or the source of love. Love itself.

    I wonder if new critics of “Noah” and that message see themselves in any way akin to the critics of original Noah and that message?

    Just an indulgent thought by a non-preaching, sinning, media type.

    “No animals were harmed in the writing of this message.”

    • When was Charlton Heston Noah?
      John Huston was Noah
      Donald Duck was Noah
      even Tony Danza was Noah in a TV movie.

      But Charlton Heston, I don’t think so. I could be wrong.The guy had credits in the triple digits on IMDB. There might be a Noah in there.

  37. But I don’t get it…God ordained…demanded that all should die for the wickedness that had consumed humanity. Hitler demanded that all Jews die…that was wicked. It’s okay that God demands and takes life…that is not wicked? That is nobel and just??? Why is it when God destroys things it is okay, but if humans do so, it is evil? Killing is killing…doesn’t matter if it is from an unexplainable force or a nut case. At leaste with a nut case, it might not be considered premeditated. In this story God’s wrath is premeditated. Wouldn’t that call for Him to be locked away, or perhaps the death senstence? Isn’t He the one who commanded “Thou shalt not murder…???” If it is Him, though…it is okay…which makes it okay for anyone who follows Him to pass the same judement and take the same attitude toward the “undeserving, wicked, and unconverted”. Umm…how many wars have been fought in the name of God???

    And still humanity survived, repopulated, and has done sooooo much more wickedness in sooooooo many worse ways than was possible in ancient civilizations (unless perhaps those civilizations were more advanced??? But, that would go against the Biblical foundations, as well.)

    It just drives me crazy that people believe this story to be true and not, like told in many other cultures, ancient humans trying to explain natural disasters through the lense of ancient and outdated systems of belief. It is simply their way of trying to comprehend unexplainable natural disasters.

  38. How about everyone stop doing all of this Internet “research”on the film and just wait until it comes out to critique it.

    Jonathan wrote an article, it’s his job. And this is his opinion. Instead of wasting your time arguing on here, where no one is going to change their mind, go tell someone about Jesus.

  39. Way to shoot ourselves in the foot grousing about “inaccuracies.” EVERY film about Noah contains inaccuracies. The whole account covers 4 chapters of the Genesis and is scant on detail to fill even a half hour of drama.

    Listen, there is ONE REASON and ONE REASON ONLY that this film was even made: CHRISTIANS. Hollywood has finally awakened to a degree that whackos like us actually can make them money if they make movies we want to see. Wanna show them that they were right to ignore our ignorant, petulant, insular selves for the last 40 years? Boycott this film. That’ll show ‘em. Then they can shrug their shoulders, shake their heads, and return to making more movies for themselves, more AMERICAN BEAUTYs, BROKEBACK MOUNTAINs, WOLF OF WALL STREETs, RED STATEs, EASY As, and SAVEDs. Heaven save us from ourselves.

    • “Heaven save us from ourselves”

      If heaven has no interest in saving the 17 million children who will die of starvation this year, I’m sure it will have less interest in our choice of movies.

  40. Jonathan,

    I was directed to your blogpost via my sister who found your link via Facebook. My family and I were quite entertained by your argument and viewpoint. We thank you for stimulating conversation that we have now enjoyed over our breakfast.

    I am not one to beat around the bush so I will tell you outright that we completely disagree with your article and approach for several reasons. However, the world would not be an interesting place and we would not be stretched if we were all the same, right? :-)

    As a follower of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, I felt it my duty to send you a message. I tried to find a way to do this privately; but I could not find that option. It is disturbing to me to see how quickly those of us who claim to be believers attack each other. Christians have become like a cancer to the body of Christ and we wonder why the world scoffs at us.

    Since you claim to know Christ, I want to speak as a sister to a brother. In your effort to point out whatever hypocrisy (the purpose of your post wasn’t really that conclusive or clear), you attacked brothers and sisters in Christ. Our sole purpose as believers is to glorify God and advance HIS kingdom. In berating our brothers, we are a house divided and only stroke our egos. When a brother is in sin or in error, there is a biblical way to address him and that not for the world to see. We live in a live-out-loud era and discretion is no longer in our vocabulary.

    Rather than being quick to interview a secular producer and defending him, we should be like our Berean brothers in Acts 17 who weighed everything they heard against the Word of God. We are to be jealous over and rightly divide the gospel. The account of Noah in the scriptures is part of the gospel and speaks to Christ’s redemption plan.

    Never tolerate people who take the Messiah out of the scriptures.

    GK Chesterton, who I am sure you are very familiar with, had a great quote: tolerance is the virtue of the man without conviction. – We, as believers, find ourselves striving more towards man’s approval and that often comes at the expense of God’s approval.

    Noah, The Nativity Story, Matthew, The Bible program on History channel, etc are not what we should debate. The debate is: does this glorify God and clearly portray Jesus as His inerrant Word does? And before we ask this, we must ask ourselves if we really believe that ALL scripture is God-breathed and fully applicable.

    The beauty as believers is that we can always run to the unchanging Word of God: the Bible. It does not change according to cultures or man’s self-righteous opinion. The Israelites were still required to follow it under every governing authority and exile they faced.

    So it stands today.

    • @CAELYN,

      You said, “Never tolerate people who take the Messiah out of the scriptures.”

      You sound quite ready for to drink the holy koolaide:

      “bring those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      Before you declare that this is ‘taken out of context’ consider the effect this Parable of the 12 Minas has had on people over the centuries, the death and destruction waged in its name and the supreme lack of wisdom on the part of Jesus to insert such sinister nonsense into his legacy.

      I know nothing I say will help you snap out of it, love of Jesus had me for 44 years. But maybe someone else is reading this and a ripple may start ….somewhere :-(

  41. I can’t wait to see it and I do consider myself an Evangelical. I’m looking forward to a good biblical movie (dialogue, direction, cast, acting, etc) for a change. Trying to find quality Christian entertainment is so difficult. The movies that are out there are just God awful bad. I’m more concerned that Christians produce such low quality media that makes our faith a laughing stock than the fact that there might be a few minor differences between the bible and the movie.

  42. Interesting article. However, I’m against anyone saying Christians must support a “Bible” movie cause, you know, “Bible.” We must have discernment. We are allowed and even commanded to have it. From what I have read from script reviewers, actors, and directors, my discernment is telling me to stay away from this movie. Sometimes “missing the boat” means not going down with the Titanic. (zing!) I will wait to see what the post-release scuttlebutt is.

    • For the record, I had problems with The Passion and The Bible series as well (their success was in their novelty and in the goals of the producers – namely it’s about much more than money). How hard is it to hit all the narrative points, though? Not very.

  43. How about everyone actually reading the account of Noah in the Bible before they even go to the movie so we can be better prepared with any discussion that ensues?

  44. The story of Noah & the ark is a myth. Christians who refuse to recognise that the Torah contains saga and mythology do a disservice to the faith. Secular science has long ago disproved the idea of a world-wide flood wherein water magically appears & disappears. It that makes no biogeographic or population dynamic sense – whatsoever. The Roman Catholic Church, most Eastern Orthodox, Reformed Judaism and most Conservative Jews know & teach that it is a myth.

  45. Silly people it is not this is good and that is bad. God anointed the movies mentioned such as the Passion of Christ. They were made with a willing and humble spirit to reach humanity. This movie was made of the will of man to make money. God said I will not be mocked by mans failed attempt to replicate his powerful history of redemption for personal gain. It will fail and be another weak attempt for the lost and unrighteous to try and replicate Gods powerful work that cries out to save humanity.

  46. it’s just a movie!!!! about an inundation that happened in Iraq, which the jews happened to retell; they changed things in their retelling, dude in the flood saved his family in a round Iraqi-style boat; not an oblong ark!….the movie is just another retelling…ya’ll are thinking way too hard…it’s just a movie

  47. I for one am fed up with the condemnation based on hearsay and speculation. I went to go see the movie so I could be have an informed opinion and be able to base my critique on facts. Too many leaders in the Christian community today look like intolerant jerks due to the fact that they are not willing to do their research. No wonder people are getting tired of Christians and their opinions. Do I feel that Paramount or Aronofsky are going to launch into a series of sequels because this film did so well due to Christians going to see a movie so they can have an argument based on their experiences with the film? Most likely not. But I think it would go a long way for Christians and how we are viewed to judge the work based on what they have personally seen rather than what someone’s cousin’s next-door neighbor’s brother told them they heard from this guy in the checkout line at the grocery store. Am I saying that makes us tolerant? Nope! Am I saying that means that we are trying to make an effort to have a rational conversation about this topic? Yes. So often today, our opinions are just someone else’s opinions coming out of our mouths. Because many religious leaders support “The Bible” and “Son of Man” (both of which I have yet to see, to be transparent on this point), that doesn’t mean we can sit back and just say, “Well, these inaccuracies or deviations have been ordained acceptable by the Church, so we can overlook these.” Lets be a little more balanced and judge fairly people. Use your own knowledge to decide and don’t base your acceptance/disapproval only on the acceptance/disapproval of others.

    (Spoilers ahead)

    As for me, I felt that artistically, the movie was very well done. The visuals were stunning and I think that Noah’s PTSD was something we don’t think about often. I love his statement from the movie about why God chose him. My problem was with some of the story-telling that led to his issues. A barren wife, miraculously healed, two sons without wives (which was clearly deviated from based on the original text), and Noah determining that any based on these circumstances, God wanted the human race to end with them and that no more women should be born or they must be killed. Do I think that Noah suffered from hearing the screams of the dying outside the ark? My guess is that it haunted him every night. Did he wonder if God wanted to end the human race with them? I could conceive that as a possibility. But I also believe that he had faith that God knew what He was doing and if a female was born, I believe he would have accepted that as God’s plan.

    Another artistic choice I feel Aronofsky made that really will resinate with viewers is the feeling that God is not there or listening. This is something many in this world are facing and I might say would be the equivalent for Aronofsky of Rembrandt’s painting. While I feel that this also deviates from the text, I also feel that the way Aronofsky portrayed it was that God didn’t answer directly, but you could see Him directing the course of things. Everything seemed to happen just at the right time.

    Anyway, those are my personal thoughts and I guess what I’m really getting back to is that I formed my own opinion based on what I gathered. Watching this film to make a sound judgement is not saying you support it, just that you want to be informed so you can accurately defend and support your beliefs. Some Christian leaders need to understand this before taking the boycott route.

  48. Why are so many words necessary to debate this flawed original post. Regardless of where you stand, any decent high school logic student could sum it all up in two words. FAULTY LOGIC! No more needs be said except, “Suck it up. You take grand liberties with a major historical hero and folks are gonna come after you with a vengeance!” Oh yeah, your argument against the evangelical community’s critique is that it is censorship, but Noah is protected by free speech. Head spinning…maybe you should revisit your argument. Just a thought…:-)

  49. Bradley Gibson

    I am not sure I can agree with you, Jonathan Merritt. I haven’t seen Noah, but from everything I have heard and read from numerous different resources it seems that you are trying to justify this movie by the short coming of other movies.(Justify might not be the right word here). But you failed to discuss the intent of the movie. I’ll explain;while these movies that you listed do have some small differences compared to the original biblical txt the meaning behind the story and the story line itself is unaltered. Those stories represent faith in Christ, His story, and His will for our lives. Again, I have not see “Noah”, but from what the majority of most articles agree on, Christians and no Christians alike, this is not the case with “Noah”. The director himself has been quoted, several times, to having said that he is proud of being able to take a biblical story and make it more secular. IE; he takes story of God and makes it completely about man.
    The fact that this movie doesn’t even mention the name of God once should speak highly in regards to the intent of the movie.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/24/atheist-noah-director-brags-film-least-biblical-bi/#.UzKzKsR2Esk.facebook

  50. The issue is not the total accuracy in depiction but message. The message of Noah is that the world has gotten so bad God had to cleanse the world, a type of Christ’s return. This movie doesn’t center on the maker or his message that’s the problem!!! I could care less if Noah was bald or hairy or if it was in this location or that. Noah represents the saved from Judment that is coming in a Christs return. What would an atheist gain from proclaiming the Gospel! The Passion was not 100% accurate but the message was, a savior dying for the sins of the world. What’s Noah’s message, God was just pissed off and no contextual explanation or message!!!! How like Satan to remove the message and to mythologized the Word of God!

  51. This article appears to be to be somewhat disingenuous. Most evangelical Christians, I imagine, do not object to this movie simply because it deviates – or adds – to the biblical account. It is not the plot but the message portrayed through the plot that matters. This is why you perceive Christians as “inconsistent” in their judgment of movies. For example, it is the agenda that drives the decision to portray Noah as an axe-wielding fanatic (intent on murdering his family in the belief that God wants them all dead) that is irksome. The most important reference for Christians concerning Noah is arguably in Hebrews and not in Genesis: the clear antithesis of Noah’s motivation in the movie. ..

    And then, why does anyone care that those irrelevant, ignorant, simply-minded evangelicals don’t want to see this movie, anyway? On this site, (from a few of the comments I have read) it is an opportunity to beat up on “those bigots.” The movie makers’ panic is about one thing only. The one thing. But there is always the consolation prize of the Oscars …

    I don’t choose to be wooed with a poop-laden cookie. I will instead suffer in my small-minded corner, missing the high point of western artistic achievement expressed through the magic, ark-building rock creatures. Or perhaps I will use my time and money to attend a concert instead: let me think … the Atlanta Symphony or Miley … ?

  52. I haven’t seen the film yet but I heard that Noah goes insane and tries to kill his own family.

    There is such a thing as artistic license. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” is full of it and yet that’s a great Bible film.

    However, if the plot here makes Noah out to be a homicidal maniac, then that’s not artistic license. That’s godless people trying to tell a story that they didn’t bother to even try to understand first. Some things can be justified as interpretation: but this appears to be plain fabrication.

  53. Jonathan,

    I couldn’t agree more, and truly appreicate your article. I think much of the skepticism of Christians for anything secular comes from deeply rooted defense system from our faith’s long history of oppresion. We are wary of anything not created by “one of us,” because “they” are the ones who persecute. However, we should all be reminded that Christ not only interacted with but also loved his persecutors. Maybe if we can let the weight of persecution roll off our shoulders, we would be more open to art from every form and every people.

    And, as you mention, I think we should all be reminded of our imperfect we are, just as our ancestors were flawed. I would imagine that if I was charged with the task Noah had to bear, I’d probably drink wine until I couldn’t remember anything either and wouldn’t be a very pleasant person to be around, but Sunday School does not probe us to think about those difficulties.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but am looking forward to it. Thanks again for this.

  54. Thanks for this article. It re-framed the movie in a way I hadn’t thought of. Rather than debating inaccuracies, or the director’s motivation (something we can’t possibly know anyways) comparing the movie to other forms of art that have used the bible as inspiration to create something unique really changed the way I perceived ‘Noah’. The new direction you gave provided me with a clear opinion. Thank you for that.

  55. Do NOT go see Noah the movie!!!! I walked out of it (one of the first I have ever walked out of). I went trying to give Hollywood the benefit of the doubt, knowing that they would need to add some artistic interpretation given the small storyline from Genesis. However, when Hollywood injected the idea that Noah couldn’t get answers from God and wanted to murder his granddaughter, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was disgusted by the portrayal of an axe wielding Noah who kills countless people. I was appalled by the fact that they made up a storyline that a bad guy secretly snuck on to the boat and conspired with Ham to kill Noah while on the boat. I was offended that they portrayed a prophet as a man not preaching repentance but as a man determined to end the human race including his own family. Besides the fact that there is a man with a boat and animals, this movie in no way follows the story found in Genesis. With only three chapters about Noah, it is surprising how many errors this movie has compared to its biblical telling (eg. age of noah, sons all took wives on to boat, length of ark stay, his interaction with his father and Methuselah, in Bible it said Noah walked with God etc).

  56. Dr. Wesley Wilson

    Opinions are for yourself to amuse each other with. This discussion won’t further the kingdom of God nor will it prove God Unreal. Opinion is important to you and only you. You’re not going to change another’s mind in a believe they hold so strongly to. Instead do something today your future self will thank you for.

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  61. My sister and I went to Noah the other day and thought is was just plain silly. We both love biblical epics but this was a combo of a sci-fi biblical comedy. Everyone said at the end of the movie that it was not what was expected at all. It was a far cry from The Ten Commandments, King of Kings, etc. the Bible series on the History channel was superb. Apparently stay away from anymore Hollywood bible stories. Just watch those old epics when on tv or buy the DVDs.

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  1. […] Christians came out in droves to support the movie Son of God. Those same Christians are coming out in droves to not support the movie Noah. This has been a frustrating thing to watch from the sidelines. It’s frustrating because Christians have been the most unwelcoming group of people. Unless you come from within the Christian circle we will cast you out. Before even seeing the film. I wish Christians got as upset about the poorly done movies made by Christians as they do the Christians films made by Hollywood. There is a great article on the hypocrisy of Christians picking Son of God vs. picketing Noah. You can read it here. […]