by Libby Anne cross posted from her blog Love, Joy, Feminism
By now you’ve probably heard of the new Hollywood movie, Noah, with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson. I haven’t seen it yet, but I now kind of want to, thanks to Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis.
First the trailer, and then I’ll explain.
Last fall, after this trailer came out, Ken Ham wrote a blog post titled Don’t Be Taken in by the Noah Movie’s Promotion. In it he wrote the following:
Is the movie trailer promoting the blockbuster film Noah—to be released in March—part of a Hollywood con?
Why would I even suggest that? Well, if you watch the movie’s trailer, it seems that the film might be compatible with the biblical account of the Flood and Ark of Noah. But I believe the trailer was put together very carefully and cleverly to attract Christians and Jews—those who might be inclined to pay to see the film and not speak out against it. In fact, many Christians and Christian organizations have already come out publicly to say they can’t wait to see this movie. But what will Noah, with movie star Russell Crowe, really show? Should Christians promote this movie just based on what Hollywood is letting them see?
We have heard from various sources—including two close friends of AiG who watched a rough cut of the film—that it is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis. The final movie will probably be very unbiblical in some bizarre and shocking ways.
Well, now the movie is out and Ham can see for himself! After seeing the movie, he wrote a blog post titled The Noah Movie Is Disgusting and Evil—Paganism! I’m really, really unsurprised, I have to say. In his blog post Ham wrote as follows:
Friends, last night I watched the Hollywood (Paramount) movie Noah. It is much, much worse than I thought it would be—much worse. The director of the movie, Darren Aronofsky, has been quoted in the media as saying that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made,” and I agree wholeheartedly with him.
I am disgusted. I am going to come right out and say it: this movie is disgusting and evil—paganism! Do you really want your family to see a pagan movie that portrays Noah as a psychopath who says that if his daughter-in-law’s baby is a girl then he will kill her as soon as she’s born? And when two girls are born, bloodstained Noah (the man the Bible calls “righteous” in Genesis 7:1) brings a knife down to the head of one of the babies to kill her—and at the last minute doesn’t do it. And then a bit later, Noah says he failed because he didn’t kill the babies. How can we recommend this movie and then speak against abortion? Psychopathic Noah sees humans as a blight on the planet and wants to rid the world of people.
I feel dirty—as if I have to somehow wash the evil off myself. I cannot believe there are Christian leaders who have recommended that people see this movie.
. . .
I am so glad my wife did not come with me to see this—she would have been terribly upset. I feel violated as a Christian.
In fact, Ham is so upset by this movie that he and several other Answers in Genesis employees put together a two hour movie review where they critique the movie and explain their “biblical” account of the flood and what actually happened. I have not (yet) watched their review myself, but you can view it here if you’re interested:
Since I’ve taken the time to write a blog post, I might as well offer some commentary.
Evangelical Christians tend to be highly critical of any movie (or book, etc.) that takes a Biblical story and interprets it at all differently from the way evangelicals read it. I think they miss that that is how literature works—the beauty of stories is that they can be retold, elaborated on, turned, or embellished. But then, evangelicals don’t see the Bible as literature, they see it as revealed truth.
Evangelicals also feel that they have a unique claim to the Bible, that they are its faithful arbiters, and they are upset when others use the Bible in a way they don’t like—even when it’s the Old Testament we’re talking about. It’s not just that they don’t want to retell Bible stories with a new twist or in a modern setting, it’s that they don’t want anyone else doing it either. And if someone else does it, they see it as a personal affront.
Many evangelical Christians believe that there are forces at work in the world making efforts to undermine the authority of the Bible. These forces, at their core, are demonic forces, but in practice these demonic efforts are carried out by Hollywood producers or statist education officials or atheist scientists. Through this lens, then, movies like Noah are often seen as efforts to poison the way individuals view and approach the Bible, leading them to see it as no more than a collection of fairy tales. Rather than seeing a movie like Noah as art, whether it succeeds in its efforts or fails, they see it as overt subversion and part of an effort by Satan to keep the world from recognizing their need for salvation through Jesus.
Of course, movies like this also offer organizations like Answers in Genesis another opportunity to trumpet their mission. By so vocally opposing Noah, Ham has access to another soapbox and has another opportunity to explain his own “biblical” view of what actually happened. I hate to be so calculating, but it definitely gets Ham press!
It would be cliche to say that if Ken Ham hates it it would be worth seeing, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that Ham’s horror makes me curious to see what all the fuss is about. Of course, I might just go see the movie for Jennifer Connolly and Emma Watson, Ken Ham be damned!
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Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Libby Anne blogs at Love, Joy, Feminism
Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the religious right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving fundamentalist and evangelical religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the problems with the “purity culture,” the intricacies of conservative and religious right politics, and the importance of feminism. Her blog is Love, Joy, Feminism
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce