It’s ironic that 2,000 persecution-ridden years later we still look to the religious descendants of some of our worst persecutors to defend our biblical epic, especially considering that the film’s writers focused on remaining honest to the biblical account:
In some cases, Moore says, “people had recollections of the story that weren’t actually correct.” For example, there was Noah’s ability to open and close the door to the ark. “People said the door to the ark is supposed to be so big that no man can close it. Well no, that’s not actually what it says. What it says is that God ultimately shut the door of the ark when the flood comes, so it wasn’t Noah shutting the door on the rest of humanity — it was God making a decision.”
And then there’s the scene — which actually is in the Bible — in which Noah, back on land after the flood, gets drunk by himself in a cave. “But most people do not remember or were never taught the fact that after Noah’s off the ark, there is a moment in the story where he is drunk,” says Moore.
Noah stands to challenge viewers’ recollections and denominational understanding of the biblical story, which could be all it needs to do to spark an uproar. (Just ask hardcore LOTR readers about their take on Peter Jackson’s three-part epic.) But, will that morph into an interfaith firestorm?
Perhaps the better question is: Why would certain groups and/or publications be motivated to stoke the flames? At this point in our history, American Jews are being accused of dual loyalties by the most anti-Israel administration ever to grace the White House. Will the same Bible-believing Christians who preach support for Israel keep the realities on the ground in mind, and rush to their Bibles for a brush-up before they rush to judgement? Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say the film has perceptible liberal themes. If so, will the Jewish world be able to digest conservative political criticism as just that, and not antisemitism?
And what of the Bible’s message in the story of Noah? The account in Genesis begins by detailing that “Noah walked with God,” and “God saw the earth, and, yes, it was corrupt; for all living beings had corrupted their ways on earth.” As someone forever fascinated by humanity’s struggle for power and authority over one another, I can’t help but admire Noah’s simple yet profound response to the king’s threats of power in the film’s preview: “I am not alone.” It is a good and simple message for the lovers of freedom. What could be more biblical than that?
On the other hand, what could be more anti-Biblical that allowing God’s message of freedom and redemption to be corrupted by denominational ideology? That’d be rather, well, idolatrous, wouldn’t it?