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The Whole Idea of Noah is Wrong

Why twist and gut and dishonor this story?

Andrew Klavan


April 2, 2014 - 1:00 pm
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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).

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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Really, now, Christians have no right to complain about any Noah movie, no matter how bad.

It's not a Christian story. It occured long before Christianity even existed. Its way more of a Jewish story, if anything.

I won't see it. A bible story, without God? No thanks. You might as well have Abraham being visited by the Three Stooges, instead of three Angels.

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gee, Andrew, Susan L.M. Goldberg here at PJ Media seems to think Aronofsky is a "good Jewish boy" engaged in a theatrical Midrash of the Noah story. She then goes on to tell readers how Aronofsky actually has a much better handle on the Noah story than those rubes who call themselves "Christians".

I am also more inclined toward Shapiro's analysis. Aronofsky turns the story of Noah inside out.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
As usual, the Left shows what they think of "those evangelicals" even while giving the Orwellian kick in the pants to the idea of Islamophobia. The only thing that matches the Left's view of Christian intolerance is their inability to make a case for it. The phrase "compared to what?" isn't in high fashion in lib circles.

In order for liberalism to work, you need a combination of people who are:

A) Naive
B) Morons
C) Bigots

Here's the Tweets I'm reading:

"aside from all the criticisms based in religion, I refuse to see a movie about a Jewish folk hero that stars nothing but white people."

"I'm also amused that they're super upset that no one says the word 'God'. The Creator is mentioned, but that's not the same as God, I guess?"

"wow, the evangelical Christians are out in full force on any thread where 'Noah' is being talked about. They all hate it..."

That's right: "Creator" could be anybody. And if it's no big deal, why leave it out?

(show less)
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Noah co-stars Jennifer Connelly, whose mother is Jewish, and Logan Lerman, who is 100% Jewish. These twitterers need to grow a brain.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Now all three of these guys are friends of mine, true men of faith, and big brains..."

"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.."

I don't know any of these three personally, but I do know this: A man who can call himself an evangelical Christian, and write what he did, may have a big brain, but he has scant knowledge of the message of the Bible.

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Great Flood occurred where and when an isthmus, which joined the Apennine Mountains of Europe and the Atlas Mountains of Africa, collapsed and sank.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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