Why I’m Buying “Noah”: Thoughts On Christian Intolerance

Noah

Russell Crowe in the 2014 movie “Noah.”

Yes, this blog is a little “dated.” The movie has already left the theater (actually came out back in March) but I just got around to watching it. At any rate, I wanted to capture my thoughts on both the movie and a related side-issue.

Some thoughts…

Finally got around to watching “Noah” today. Honestly? I don’t see the big deal. Is it Biblically accurate? Obviously not. But the movie was still full of some powerfully important themes regarding grace, redemption, faith, and obedience. I enjoyed it and will watch it again. There is also a real likelihood that I’ll even buy it. Seriously.

In hindsight, I wonder that some of the initial public anger and outcry arose because people allowed their expectations to become falsely inflated. (Mainly because they didn’t do their “homework.”) They saw the trailers and started drooling over the imagined prospects. But then when the actual movie was released they often stormed out of the theater, angry that their expectations had not been satisfied. Sadly though, I wonder that just a little thought could have prevented the situation entirely. First of all, this is Hollywood. They are in the business of making money. I don’t think Biblical accuracy is high on their agenda. Secondly, this is the same director who provided us with “Black Swan.” What were you expecting? Really? The man is known for his often dark take on spiritual issues.

On a related note, I would encourage “Christians” to do their homework this time before they get too excited about Ridley Scott’s upcoming “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” I love Ridley’s movies. Absolutely love them. But he is a professed atheist. Doesn’t mean that it won’t be a good movie. I plan to see it. The previews look incredible. But I just hope that we don’t end up setting ourselves up for another public demonstration of ignorance.

If we in the realm of faith would see these movies as opportunities for honest and transparent discussion, I think we would realize much more favorable outcomes. The world is what it is. We need to stop getting so upset when they act like it. Our self-righteous anger only relegates us to the corners of being dismissed from public debate. I know that for many in the Evangelical right the word “tolerance” has become a buzzword synonymous with compromise. We point the finger at those who say we should be tolerant. But I wonder how often we have failed to envision our “spiritual posture” from the outside-looking-in. So many times today we appear angry. We appear self-righteous and contentious. We appear intolerant. Little wonder that the multitudes aren’t flocking to our cathedrals and churches. Who wants to join an angry, self-righteous, contentious, intolerant group of believers?

No, I’m not saying we water down the truth. If the “Noah” movie had been produced by the same people who brought us movies like “Facing The Giants” and “God’s Not Dead,” I could see a reason for outrage. But when non-believers act like non-believers they deserve a gracious response. It’s what God gave to each of us when we were in that same position. But instead we prefer to hurl insults and accusations. And in the end, we come off as petulant and petty. The result is that people just “tune us out.” And in so doing they also tune out the “Truth.” Not because they are evil but because His representatives failed to demonstrate Him with both their actions and their words. True, grace cannot be separated from truth. But in like manner, truth cannot be separated from grace. The world desperately needs us to be both.

Maybe we’ll learn to be kind.”