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Klavan On The Culture

The Whole Idea of Noah is Wrong

April 1st, 2014 - 11:49 am

I’ve been on the road and haven’t had a chance to see Noah, the 130-million dollar Darren Aronofsky biblical blockbuster that opened well, but not brilliantly, at the box office last weekend. But while I can have nothing to say about the content of the movie, I’ve been interested to see three of my friends from three different faiths wrestle with the film — a film whose atheist director declared it would be “the least biblical film ever made.”

Ben Shapiro is a devout Jew, and I’ve heard him speak with real and revealing insight into Torah — something that’s not all that common. In a genuinely sharp essay at Truth Revolt, he took the film apart as a “perversely pagan mess” that replaced God with Gaia to deliver a muddled environmentalist message. You can read the whole excellent thing here, but one point struck me particularly:

It is one thing for a movie adaptation to stray from the source material. Adding characters or scenes, crafting details that vary from the strict text – all of it is in bounds when it comes to adaptations. Critics of Noah who have focused on the extra-Biblical magic of Methuselah or the lack of textual support for instantaneously-growing forests are off-base.

The far deeper problem is when an adaptation perverts the message of the source material. If the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird had turned Tom Robinson into a villain and Mr. Ewell into a hero, that would rightly have been seen as an undermining of the original work. The same is true of the Biblical story of Noah and the movie version of that same story. It isn’t merely that Aronofsky gets the story wrong. That would be forgiveable. It’s that Aronofsky deliberately destroys the foundational principles undergirding the Bible, and uses Biblically-inspired story to do it.

The mighty John Nolte of Breitbart’s Big Hollywood, a Catholic, was much kinder to the movie itself — and in fact, feared that the film’s high quality as an entertainment made it an excellent vehicle for selling a wholly dishonest view of the Bible story:

My concern is that with “Noah,” Hollywood has cracked the code on how to undermine the Judeo/Christian faith while making a profit with the help of some duped Christian “thought leaders”: Use the awesome propaganda power of the motion picture to lead people away from God by telling them the Judeo-Christian faith is something it is not.

In the case of “Noah,” [because of strong box office] Satan is a happy camper… : Over the last ten days, throughout the world, millions have been told the dark lie that Christianity, or any religion based on the Old Testament, has a foundation seeped in environmental extremism and has nothing to do with leading a moral and charitable life as defined by the Ten Commandments and Christ’s 11th Commandment.

Finally, up-and-coming culture critic R.J. Moeller, an evangelical, took a man-of-reason approach over at Acculturated. Writing an open letter to Aronofsky, he expressed admiration for the filmmaker’s work both here and elsewhere.

What I’d like to say to you in closing is this: thank you for making this movie. Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I was encouraged to see your interpretation of the story of Noah and the existential themes and questions that emanate from it. Even if we disagree on the lessons we’re supposed to learn from Noah’s life and God’s actions, I appreciate your willingness to enter the “How can a good God allow bad things to happen?” debate.

Your film is going to facilitate important conversations among friends, family members and co-workers around the nation. I hope Hollywood takes note of the box office enthusiasm surrounding this movie. I also hope that those Christians who did not care for Noah are incentivized to be a part of the long-term solution (as far as the production of God-honoring, high-quality projects are concerned).

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Not really, since both Moses and Jesus form a continuity that originated in Adam and passed through Noah. The whole point of the Old Testament, after all, is to tell the story of God's work throughout history, through the people of Israel - and through Noah and his descendents up to Israel.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Aronofsky simply sees the tale of Noah as a public-domain legend, and as an atheist, doesn't have any concerns at doing to it what's been done by Hollywood over and over in rebooting successful comic book heroes or TV series.

Since he doesn't hold The Bible or its version of history as sacred, he feels free to rework it as he sees fit (and the fact that Judeo-Christian believers are far more charitable with those who take editing pencils to their scriptures is also why Aronofsky feels free to use the story for his own environmentalist concerns -- he'd probably tell you he wouldn't make a story using his own versions of the Koran because not enough people in the target audience are Muslims, but the truth more likely would be he's a true believer in not having to hide in the shadows for the rest of his life from Islamic fanatics who take less kindly to their texts being altered by atheists or anyone else).
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (55)
All Comments   (55)
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Unlike Mr. Klavan, I actually saw the movie.

It was certainly not what I expected to see, but IMHO it was not anti-Christian. I thought it was more like Lord of the Rings - epic battles, mysticism and strange creatures - than a traditional biblical epic.

If Noah offends anyone it will be atheists and Darwinists expecting to see monkeys evolve into humans on the big screen. As for the environmentalism, that was a few lines in a two hour screenplay, not a central theme. IMHO.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The movie Noah is an attack on the Bible, Judaism and Christianity. Aronovsky seeks to replace these religions with the new religion of environmentalism. Most environmentalists believe that humanity is evil and that the planet would be far better off without mankind. Spiritually, they serve Satan and know it not.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
How much gasoline was burned to make this movie? How much food was consumed and then how much gaseous emissions from humans did that cause? How much electricity was burned making this movie? How many hours of electricity will be burned running this movie in theaters? How much energy is going to be burned making the DVDs? How much plastic will end up in the garbage heap from this movie? There is not too many true environmentalists in this world. This movie maker has the audacity to claim he worries about the environment. What a joke he is.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
But--Emma Watson!
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eagerly awaiting the no-doubt-in-the-works tender treatment on screen that Aronofsky will give to Salmon Rushdie's "Satanic Verses."

Ah, yes, 'twill be quite a sight to behold, 'twill.

Hmm...was the word "behold" or "behead"?? So easy to confuse the two...
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two points to make:

1) Go see the movie before you write about it...its on the verge of annoyance to hear you go on and on about what OTHER PEOPLE think of this movie, without having YOUR OWN interpretations included to balance it out....

In other words, why should I read the entirety of YOUR article, when you could have just said:

"havent seem it...but some trused friends have, heres the link"

2) Movies like this only magnify my seething contempt for, and shrinking dollars spent upon, the "Entertainment" Industry as a whole....

Oh, brave and smirking Commies, undermining our faith with such dash and daring...how about an expose' on The Wonderful Life of Mohammed someday?

I can picture them using a rocking version of Tulls Aqualung to smooth over his pedophelia into somethng "radical-cool" to be admired...

Whats the matter, its not like half the directors out there dont diddle with children already? What are you afraid of?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you take on the Koran in film, you end up in an American jail.

The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam. - Barrack Hussein Obama
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is one reason this movie was made: that Jesus said, taught and warned that His return would be heralded by days like the days of Noah. And the more misinformed, misguided and confused one can make the population the more defenseless it will be to end-times deceptions.

Therefore, Satan simply wanted no one, and certainly as few as possible, to have any clue whatsoever about the times of Noah; who lived in those days, how they lived, who Noah was, who God was, man’s relationship to God, why the flood came, also the sons of God taking the daughters of men who gave birth to the giants (the ancient mighty men of renown), the genealogy of Noah and his son’s, the rational arguments for the scientific acceptability of Noah and his family the building of the ark (it took a century, you know), and whatever else can be known or deduced from the many passages and extent writings pertaining to that time.

And, yes, Satan is likely happy about it, and especially happy he should be, and it perfectly shows the “did God really say” grain-of-truth-to-tell-a-whopping-lie skills that Satan showed when seducing the first humans into sin.

No, this was a great movie; and it is a demonic movie. Throwing intellectual mud so that part of it can be washed off by rare opportunities for conversation is no acceptable argument for filling people’s minds with such anti-christian nonsense.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most of the biblical criticism of NOAH I hear is unfounded. People criticize environmentalism themes in the movie, yet in the genesis 5 and 6, God had not yet given animals to humans as food. That doesn't occur until after the flood waters recede. Having the villains violent and meat eaters is actually a reasonable portrayal. Sinful man is characterized in Genesis as taking liberty where God gives none, specifically taking multiple wives and murder. Killing and eating animals would fit in line with that behavior.

The other major one I hear is that Noah acts questionably. However, the Bible is clear that there are no righteous men according to deeds. Noah wrestles with the sinfulness of all men including himself. I don't agree with how some of that is portrayed like God setting Noah up to choose to kill or not and then Noah seemingly disobeying God and then God approving of the action. That is where the story telling gets sloppy. But the ideas Noah is reasoning through are all found in the Bible either in the Noah account or others.

Redemption of fallen angels is wrong, adding in flaming swords is a stretch, the pregnancy test is silly, but let's read our bibles before we criticize too much.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"God had not yet given animals to humans as food. That doesn't occur until after the flood waters recede."
Nonsense.
Animals became food as soon as Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
It can be inferred that God gave men animals as food when he looked with favor upon Abel's offering of a firstling from his flock.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good point. However, Abel's offering isn't clearly for food. There are clear statements by God in Genesis 1/2 about giving plants for food and then in Genesis 9 it clearly states that God gives the animals into mankind's hand for food. It even references God only giving plants as food before. So I think that is a better way to look at it, and should then affect the way you see this movie.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
hollywood pushes "NOAH" , ignores "Lilith"
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Probably because "Lilith" has no name recognition.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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