I haven’t seen Noah or Son of Man. (I may eventually. I can honestly do with or without them). I have, however, observed Christians reacting to these movies, and I’m always a little disappointed at the stock that Christians put in these movies. The reactions seem to be to strong, whether the in positive of negative. It seems to be the result of a Christianity that is far too concerned and involved with Hollywood and pop-culture and far too little involved in Bible-study and the church.
In the example of Noah, the movie seems to be (without seeing it yet) about what I expected: A 2-hour-long Hollywood portrayal of a biblical story that is only 4 chapters long, which – quite necessarily – takes a lot of artistic freedom, which is not primarily concerned with communicating an evangelical message. I wasn’t expecting this to really be a help to our portrayal of the gospel.
Why do Christians seem to respond with confused hysteria?
This seems to be an example of a segment of Christianity that is more acquainted with Hollywood and pop-culture than with the Bible; biblically illiterate, but culturally astute. What would be ideal and, I think, good, is a generation of thoughtful Christians, who are biblically studied, who can analyze art with wisdom and discernment, allowing their minds to be stretched, but unwilling to be led by any authority but the Bible. What I see is a generation of Christians who are watching these movies and trying to remember what the Bible actually says about the things that they are seeing on screen. It is a kind of ignorant caution. It is the wrong starting point.
This is a reminder of our need to be biblically literate. When the philosophies of the world come our way, they should be meeting minds that are already morally trained. These issues should be filtered through worldviews that are already formulated and constantly being refreshed.
Soldiers train for battle before they go. You don’t see a soldier approach the front line and then say “I need to Google how to fire and assault rifle!” They are trained in such a way that there responses come without thinking.
Why then do we approach the confused mess that is our culture, to which we are called to be ambassadors, and find ourselves saying, “I need to figure out was the Bible says about this.”