Noah: Another Perspective

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. I set out on this new blog adventure with the full intention of not writing timely pieces because I only have so many hours in my day, and blogging has to take a backseat to things like full-time work and helping raise two young children.

But I’m feeling extremely passionate right now, so off I go to break one of my own rules out of the gate.

I just returned from seeing Darren Aronofsky’s film “Noah”. I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the controversy surrounding the film. The criticism has come from some of your typical movie reviewers. But does anyone really listen to them?

Noah

But the bulk of the film’s lambasting has – sadly – come from some conservative evangelical circles here in the US. These folks have taken it upon themselves to whip up a frenzy about what they see as a disgusting misrepresentation of Holy Scripture.

One review that especially caught my eye was from Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham (not exactly the person you’d typically look to for a film review). You may remember him from February’s creation debate with Bill Nye, The Science Guy. He came out swinging Friday afternoon saying the film was “disgusting and evil-paganism.” And that was just him getting started.

Yowza! Them’s fighting’ words.

But is fighting what we need right now? We are in the midst of a $125 million Hollywood film based on one of our faith’s earliest stories. And this film, even with all of its negative publicity (is there ever bad publicity when you’re trying to sell tickets?), presents a fine opportunity to talk about our faith in the public sphere and show a gracious heart even when we don’t agree.

Sure, the film deviated from the Biblical account. But remember that we’re talking about a mere three chapters in Genesis. And also remember that this film never claimed to depict the precise Biblical account, if that’s even possible because those three Genesis chapters leave quite a bit open to creative interpretation.

My plea, my wish, my desire, would be for evangelicals who get worked up over ever tittle and jot they perceive to be against them to take a step back, disregard the media, quiet the loud-mouth preachers, ignore the naysayers, and watch the film with their own mind. Recognize it for what it is: a film based on how the screenwriters interpreted and adapter the Noah story for film.

This is art we’re talking about, not a sermon.

Looking at the Bible, there are a lot of holes in the story of Noah. Not leaps in logic, just the sparse details. I feel that writers Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel created a world and characters that are very plausible. They used various creative techniques and story devices to move the narrative forward in a coherent and meaningful way. I feel they should be commended for their work, not demonized.

Warning: Spoilers below.

I found this film to do nothing to blaspheme or take away anything from God. In fact, I found a few instances to be extremely moving. One involved the Watchers (who were angels cast down to earth and covered by rock after the heat of their heavenly forms melted and attached to their now earth-bound bodies). These beings helped Noah do much of the heavy lifting when it came to building the ark and defend against the attacks of the people in the line of Cain, led by Tubal-cain. During the final battle sequence, Tubal-cain found a weakness and was able to “kill” one of them. As the Watcher was dealt his fatal blow and realized his time was at an end, he looked upward and asked for forgiveness. When he was “killed”, a brilliant light shot upward and he was once again allow back into heaven. What a wonderful illustration of God’s forgiveness.

And that’s just one example of many positive and – I feel – truly reflective aspects of our faith I found presented in the film.

I just wish Christians would engage in quality and meaningful conversations in our society today instead of getting all worked up over perceived attacks on the faith. There is entirely too much of what I like to call “Christian victimhood” going on in America today. Negatively reacting to anything that we don’t 100% agree with gets us nowhere. When will people like Ken Ham realize that we will never be able to share what it means to live in the light of Christ when we’re too busy telling people how we’ve been wronged, or how others are wrong and we’re right?

I reflected on the emotional rush as I walked back to my car after the film. I felt lifted. I felt loved.

And if that wasn’t enough, I was shown just a bit of beauty from above.

Super awesome night.

Awesome night