Posted 30/03/2014

The Creators Of ‘Noah’ Met With Large Churches Around The World Like Hillsong To Get Approval

hillsong-conf-2010

The Vice President of Paramount was invited to Hillsong’s London Conference last year (July 2013)  giving him some 5 mins to spruik this irreligious movie based loosely on the actual Biblical man called Noah.

So you think you know the story of Noah?

Russell Crowe is starring in what can very accurately be called, Darren Aronofsky’s Interpretation of the Biblical Noah story.

The Hollywood Reporter released an interview with the acclaimed auteur about the trials he and the studio are facing finding a perfect combination of ‘Biblical accuracy’ and artistic freedom that still holds true to the Biblical narrative.

Not much is told to us in the Genesis account about Noah aside from a few key facts. He had a wife and three sons. They all helped him build the ark, which is generally assumed to have taken at least 100 years to complete. There is definitely a lot of time in there not specifically covered.

Time for Noah to question if he had heard correctly from the Lord. It’s a burden that most of the prophets in scripture dealt with. This type of dark serious introspection is what Aronofsky does best.

Paramount was hoping that support from Christian groups would be instantaneous and they would all fall in and flock to the film, but they were hitting road blocks when it came to word for word details.

They reached out to leaders of large congregations like, Hillsong, in Australia, and flew them in to test the film.

They all gave their seal of approval on the project

Vice chair of Paramount, Rob Moore says the film has “…the key themes of the Noah story in Genesis — of faith and hope and God’s promise to mankind…Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it.”

So there you have it.

The director and paramount must have assumed that Noah would ordinarily get young, old, religious and agnostic, and athiest alike along to gorge down popcorn, and a litre of Coke. But things went a little off track when the script was raised as being somewhat different to the bible’s account of Noah.

 

 

In an effort to head off controversy with religious groups before the film opens in late March, Paramount has announced that it will add a statement to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which stars Russell Crowe as the Biblical hero. The statement will make it clear that the Black Swan director’s film is not a line-by-line version of the Biblical story.

From now on, all marketing material for Noah – including the next trailer, the film’s website and print and radio ads – will now include a statement that reads:

”The film is inspired by the story of Noah.

”While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.

The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

———————————————————————————————–

Yet Hillsong still thinks it can add its weight to the promotion of the movie, as some sort of ‘Evangelistic tool’?

Paramount Pictures is going the extra mile to assure religious audiences that Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” isn’t abject blasphemy. For a short while, that reportedly included a screening for Pope Francis himself. The studio, however, is denying that such a meeting was ever set to take place.

The Main Concerns:

Jerry A. Johnson, Ph.D., is President & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), was interviewed. He’s a theologian who has taught on cinema and theology.  He makes these points.

 

Noah‘s main character does not ring true.

When the title of a movie is the name of the main character, you have to nail it. This does not happen.

Aronofsky’s Noah becomes so disturbed by human sinfulness that he obsesses on the idea that the race should not survive. God must be using the hero’s family just to save the animal kingdom and then mankind will die out. If his son’s wife has a baby girl, Noah announces a plan to take that life to prevent the human race from going forward. Later, with Noah’s knife raised over twin daughters you sense a composite, Noah mixed with a bit of Abraham and going crazy.

When the title of a movie is the name of the main character, you have to nail it. This does not happen.

The portrayal of Noah during this part of the movie is so dark that you do not want to like him. It is hard to reconcile this character with the “righteous” man described in Genesis 6 or the man of “faith” described in Hebrews 11.

Jews and Christians will have a hard time recognizing Noah in this film.

The environmental agenda is overdone.

While showing images of war, violence, theft, and sexual sin, the main evil of humankind according to Noah is the abuse of the environment. Man has been guilty of a scorched earth policy brought about by primitive industrialization, resulting in apocalyptic scenery reminiscent of the Mad Max trilogy. Think Global Warming.

At least that is what Aronofsky wants you to think. Killing animals is also condemned as a departure from the lifestyle in the Garden of Eden. This environmental theme reaches a “preachy” level that secularists would mock if applied to some evangelical doctrine in any other movie.

While much in the film feels like a set up for this agenda, the film does not set the hook. Perhaps some of the back and forth in the editing process (described in the press) caused them to moderate that message.

To the contrary, the words in Genesis 6 used to describe the sins of Noah’s generation are: wickedness, imagination of the heart on evil always, corruption, and violence. The textual emphasis is on “violence.” Not a word about hunting or mining; knowing this, the environmental agenda feels phony.

Noah, the film, fails in this regard.

The theistic evolution scene will be a concern for many.

In the darkness of the ark, Noah retells the creation story to his family. From the beginning, there is the Creator, who calls forth the light. So far—so good. However, visuals are supplied once life gets going, which show primitive species morphing again and again to more sophisticated creatures.

That cinematic slight-of-hand notwithstanding, there is a clean break in the cycle when Noah speaks of the first man and woman. They just appear hand in hand, no anthropoid halfling in between.

Let’s be clear about what this is, and what it isn’t. This is macro-evolution, from amoeba to aardvark. But contra Dawkins and company, the beginning and end of it seem sacred. God starts it from nothing and ends it by starting something altogether new with man.

Many conservative evangelicals, like me, believe that a straight forward reading of the biblical text indicates that new “kinds” of life were specially created, not evolved. If you agree with this view, this scene may rub you the wrong way. In the larger cultural war, the tip of the hat to a Creator will equally be a frustration to the new atheists.

The Nephilim concept seems convoluted.

Here’s the “CliffsNotes” summary: The “Watchers” helped mankind with technology; humans abused it for evil; God cursed the angels for this and turned them into rock giants; these fallen angels help Noah build and defend the ark; when they die in the battle against the bad guys, the mysterious beings go up to heaven.

Whew! You have to see this—not to believe it.

In the long line of biblical interpretation about the Nephilim concept, which is quite rich, this one definitely takes the cake for being the most fanciful. Besides that, in Christian theology fallen angels do not go up to heaven in the end, but down to the other place.

Secondary biblical details are blurred.

It has already been noted that Noah follows the main lines of the biblical plot. However, secondary elements do not fare so well.

Two of Noah’s sons (teenagers, not adults) do not bring wives on the ark, but the one son’s wife has two twin girls. Are these future wives for the other two?

The main nemeses (Tubal-Cain) hacks his way into the ark, eats some lizards as a stow-away, and tries to kill Noah.

There are “magical” objects that do the supernatural: a seed, a potus, a drink, and a birthright snakeskin. Are these occult or just extra-biblical miracles of biblical proportion?

In some cases, it looks like two of every species are packing into the ark rather than two of every biblical “kind.” That would make a very tight fit.

Conclusion:

So Noah gets Noah wrong, gets the environment wrong, gets evolution wrong, gets angelology wrong, and gets some biblical details wrong.

Compounding these problems, add the fact that none of these negatives can be deduced from watching the previews that have been released.

Given these facts, and facts they are, the movie trailer may feel like a “bait and switch” to Jews and Christians. For instance, in the trailer where Noah says, “I am not alone,” he is not talking about God. You’ll see.

So, what do I think Christians should do—go see it, ask our church to buy up block-seating, protest, or boycott it?

If the Pope didn’t bother seeing it, and Muslims are boycotting the movie,  why are ‘Christians’ going to see it?

   ————————————————————————————————————————————————

Main Sources:

The Creators Of ‘Noah’ Met With Large Churches Around The World Like Hillsong To Get Approval

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/february/noah-five-negative-features-about-this-film.html

http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2014/02/paramount-adding-statement-russell-crowes-noah-film-and-marketing-material-religious

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/18/noah-pope-francis_n_4985219.html