Religious Folks, Get A Grip: Noah Is A Blockbuster Not A Documentary

noahHello, I am a Christian. While I have a great respect for faith, I have greatly diminishing respect for people who try to derive deep, existential meaning from everything. (I’m talking to you, parents who watched Frozen.)

I have quite a few Christian friends on my Facebook newsfeed. Before I have even gotten the chance to see Noah, everyone and their pastor have already begun bitching about Noah’s erroneous plot and Biblical inaccuracies.

Several sources say that conservative Christians are right to be outraged by the presentation of the Noah movie. The movie was described by the Matt Walsh Blog as:

Noah is a major Hollywood blockbuster, made by an atheist director best known for his previous flick where a mentally disturbed lesbian ballerina goes insane and bleeds to death on stage. Already, a critical person might be slightly concerned about his handling of the Bible, considering what he just did to the ballet.

These concerns grew from suspicion to reality before it was even released, when the man himself came out publicly and professed Noah to be both an environmentalist propaganda piece, and the “least Biblical” Bible film ever made…

I’ve also heard some “Christian leaders” endorse this steaming pile of heretical horse manure. I’m tempted to accuse them of being cowardly, dumb, or dishonest, but I’ll just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they slept through the most troubling parts — like the part at the beginning, and the end, and all of the parts in between.

CUE MORAL OUTRAGE! Oh, wait—don’t. Because this is a MOVIE we are talking about, which was in no way promised to be a literal interpretation of Scripture. Calm down, Matt Walsh. There is no reason to spiritualize every movie that we see, even if it is loosely based on a Biblical story.

As a Christian, it is that overly spiritual attitude that infuriates me. I was raised in a very religious home, and I was given the impression that I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music or watch secular movies without deriving some kind of message from them. As I’ve grown into an adult and have reexamined my personal relationship with God, I realize how absurd that viewpoint really is. God is much more secure than that. I doubt He’s going to fall off His throne if Christians fail to slap a Jesus label on every piece of media that they see.

Here’s my take: I am going to see Noah this weekend because it has great ratings, and Russell Crowe is a boss. I am comfortable enough in my belief in God and the Bible to watch Noah with an open mind, accurate or not. The cool thing about God and the Bible is that there is always room to learn and understand more, beyond what you have been told in church (or in my case, Bible College).

Just watching a movie like Noah may open my eyes to perceptions about the story I have never considered before, or it may not. Maybe I’ll just eat my popcorn and relish in a few hours of relaxation away from my kids and enjoy the movie for what it is—a MOVIE—without grasping for spiritual meaning.

(Image: IMDB)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I love this “Hello, I am a Christian!” hee hee

      • Bethany Ramos

        I would like a badge.

      • Megan Zander

        Here you go

      • Bethany Ramos

        Perfect!!!!

    • CMJ

      I just wish some Christian conservatives were a little more concerned about social justice than moral outrage at fictitious blockbusters.

      http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6da9pBTSi1rocotf.gif

      • shorty_RN

        Yes yes yes yes.

    • Paul White

      Oh no, a movie based on a story that’s many millenia old and has been translated multiple times doesn’t adhere to my favorite interpretation. Horror!

      • ted3553

        this so much. Christianity has many churches within it that practice and believe in various versions of the same story so why would anyone expect that a movie will cover every version. It’s a damn movie

    • Andrea

      But it matters even if it is a blockbuster. After all, we were all pretty outraged at the potential of Alice in Arabia right? And that was a cartoon.

      So we are very concerned when there is a mis-portrayal of Muslims, but Christians should just get a grip, right? Ok, now I got it.

      • CMJ

        I would say there’s a big difference between a slightly problematic, potentially racist portrayal of an ethnicity and a fictional take on a bible story.

      • Andrea

        Maybe to people that don’t consider it a sacred text.
        How do you suppose the Muslim community would have reacted to a movie based on a story on the Quran? Would we telling them to get a grip and get over themselves when an atheist does a take on a text that is considered sacred?

        I guess this whole article rubbed me the wrong way. I am getting a little sick of what I am perceiving as a double standard here on Mommyish.

      • Paul White

        I sure as hell do. When those idiots rioted over the Danish guy’s cartoons? You think lots of us weren’t condemning that?

      • Andrea

        I don’t know. It wasn’t a rhetorical question.

      • anne

        Sorry this entertainment website doesnt reflect your specific, highly curated religious worldview.

      • Andrea

        I love this website. I just hate articles like.

      • Angela

        1. Islam is an Abrahamic faith and the story of Noah and the flood actually IS included in the Quran. The reaction from the Muslim community is similar to the Christian response- mixed.
        2. Alice in Arabia was offensive not because it was fictional but because it portrayed harmful stereotypes of an already marginalized group. Since the story of the flood significantly predates Christianity it is highly doubtful that any Christian characters appear in the movie. However, if the movie portrays Jews in an anti-semetic light then I would be every bit as outraged.
        3. Each Abrahamic religion has a slightly different take on many Old Testament tales, and even within Christianity there is no real consensus. Most modern Christians do not believe in a literal flood and accept this particular story as mostly mythical. Does the fact that there are several retellings of your sacred texts make your individual interpretation any less sacred to you?

      • anne

        It’s a movie. Not a documentary. If you go to see a Hollywood blockbuster looking for realism, you’re more the fool.

        And Muslims are negatively portrayed in popular media constantly.

        Christians are allowed to get as mad about Noah as they want. And bloggers are allowed to say other blogs are stupid.

        What a wide wonderful world.

      • Andrea

        Alice in Arabia was a cartoon, not a documentary. And yet, Muslims were (understandably) outraged.

        Bloggers are allowed to say whatever their editors allow them to say. And I am allowed to post on it too.

      • CMJ

        Wait, I am confused…are you talking about this ABC Family pilot?

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/22/alice-in-arabia-abc-family_n_5012643.html

        Cause the premise does sound pretty cringeworthy….

      • Andrea

        It is cringworthy and the public was outraged and ABC pulled it. All I am saying is that if Muslims are allowed to be upset over something that doesn’t portray their beliefs/community, then I don’t see why Christians aren’t. And this article implies that if they are, they should get over themselves.

      • Bethany Ramos

        Everyone is certainly allowed to be upset, but my opinion on the matter, which I’m sticking with, is that Christians and many other groups take life much too seriously. I am a Christian, I am well acquainted with the Christian community, and I’m speaking from experience. In my personal life, I don’t see any reason to read so much into a simple piece of entertainment.

      • CMJ

        I think they were upset at the stereotype. I don’t really see any specific stereotype in this story…mostly a fictitious telling of the story…

        Muslims have consistently been stereotyped and vilified by Americans….I don’t think this movie does anything even remotely close to that with Christians. I can understand being upset by the movie/storyline but I just don’t think it’s comparable to the stereotypical treatment of Middle Easterners by the entertainment industry.

      • brebay

        Because they’re a minority in the U.S. and they’ve been persecuted VERY RECENTLY in THIS COUNTRY, stereotyped, profiled, imprisoned without due process, etc., while Christians have a numeric and political majority. When your kid goes to a public school and gets led in “One Nation, Under Allah…” every morning, then you can play the fair’s fair card.

      • Ursi

        The difference is that you’re talking about the stereotyping of an ethnic group versions the interpretation of a story that belongs as much to the writers (Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel) as to any religious group that claims the flood story. Even if they weren’t Jewish they would still have a claim on that as a part of western culture and western tradition. (if you think the Bible belongs only to Christians you’re discounting it’s massive cultural impact on Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.)
        This isn’t to say someone from another culture isn’t permitted to have their own artistic interpretation but that’s when you really have to tread lightly.
        A show that stereotypes Muslims made by and for Americans at large isn’t anywhere close to the same thing. Most Americans are outsiders to Muslim Culture. We are not outsiders to Christian culture, we live in a nation where Christianity is the dominant faith and a huge influence on culture and law.

      • anne

        But why act like the victim and say Christians have it so hard? They are overwhelming the majority and control most of the social/political/economic world, and most definitely the United States. That’s why when they act like Hollywood blockbusters are personally attacking them, it just comes off as goofy.

      • anne

        It’s a movie. Not a documentary. If you go to see a Hollywood blockbuster looking for realism, you’re more the fool.

        And Muslims are negatively portrayed in popular media constantly.

        Christians are allowed to get as mad about Noah as they want. And bloggers are allowed to say other blogs are stupid.

        What a wide wonderful world.

      • K.

        I dont’ think you can argue equivalency between “Alice in Arabia” and “Noah.”

        “Alice in Arabia” stereotypes an entire religion, as well as several cultures (which is collapses into one) of everyday people living in a very large region of the world in a pretty unflattering light.

        “Noah” is a retelling of a Biblical story–it does not attack a particular group of people. YOU might feel attacked because it doesn’t tell the story in the same way you interpret it, but it’s not stereotyping YOU (it may stereotype ancient people, and I’m sure its producers are very very sorry for stereotyping ancient folk).

        I can however, understand if you are offended that your faith is being used for the purposes of profit and entertainment. Don’t forget, though–”Noah” has precedent in “The Ten Commandments,” “Passion of the Christ,” and “The Prince of Egypt,” to name only a few–are you offended by those films as well? And if you are, I still think that your offense is more justified if it has to do with the commercialization of Christianity, rather than the fact that “Noah” simply doesn’t align with your personal beliefs. Either way, I don’t think that you can say “Noah” preys on your ethnicity as something like “Alice in Arabia” does for Muslims.

    • CMP414

      I’m also a Christian and I agree it’s just a movie. Also, none of us were around in biblical times and have no true idea if any of these stories are real so who is to say exactly what is accurate and what it isn’t. I think there are a lot more problems in this world that need our attention instead a movie.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      But if Frozen gave children The Gay, who KNOWS what will happen after this? http://www.quickmeme.com/img/a6/a646c45633cfab95a2aaf727480883aba7de652148fb3601db61853a62d3b3da.jpg

      • Tea

        I don’t know, I’m pretty sure his performance in Master and Commander gave 14 year old me the gay.

      • EmmaFromÉire

        Mila Kunis in Black Swan made me question myself. I wouldn’t say it gave me The Gay, maybe The Gay Lite.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Why has no one mentioned Emma Watson?? It’s got Hermione in it, how can it be bad?

      • EmmaFromÉire

        Witchcraft on top of Biblical interpretation? Something tells me the Christians aint gonna be loving her

      • Megan Zander

        Because it also has Russell Crowe :(

      • Justme

        At least he’s not singing…

    • http://fakegeekmom.com Aimee Ogden

      I am not a Christian, to be fair, but why is the ~controversy~ around this movie not about how the Middle East thousands of years ago is full of white people?

      • pixie

        Because Jesus was white, obviously.
        /sarcasm.

        But seriously, a lot of hardcore fundamentalists that I’ve heard/seen in the media tend to equate characters in bible stories as being white and not what is historically accurate.

      • Kay_Sue

        So was Santa, lest we forget.

      • itpainsme2say

        I thought santa(St. nicholas) was scandinavian so wasn’t he white. Sorry Im nit picking

      • Bunny Lou

        St. Nicholas was actually a man from Myra, Turkey.

        So he would have looked like a Turkish man, which while “technically” white, it isn’t what we think of when we think of Santa, normally. He would have had dark eyes and dark hair, an olive complexion or possibly even darker…

      • itpainsme2say

        Ive been told lies nooo. Sorry my education failed me and thank you for the history lesson.

      • Bunny Lou

        No worries, I didn’t know it myself until that whole “JESUS AND SANTA ARE BOTH WHITE. THAT’S A FACT CHILDREN.” controversy. Learn something new everyday.

      • itpainsme2say

        In reference to the whole british accent thing did you know the american accent is much closer to the early british accent than the modern british accent. The upper classes affected the now common accent to separate themselves from commoners so the wrongness continues.

      • Ursi

        The where and when of it was open to interpretation but casting entirely with white actors was in fact the weirdest and most distracting part of the film.

      • CMJ

        I always wonder what the aversion is to maybe casting someone of Arab descent in any of this stuff….like, even one person….

      • K.

        Or how about maybe more than 1 woman?

      • Bunny Lou

        To be fair, how many actors of Arab descent are in the US? How many are big name actors who would bring in fans? How many people would not go to a movie about the bible (Boring) being acted out by actors they have never heard about before?

      • CMJ

        Actually, probably more than you think there are (not to mention people who are Jewish but also of Arab descent)…and I’m not saying they have to cast the lead – but it wouldn’t kill them to cast one. Seriously, just one. Or, at least try to make it close for santassake.

      • keelhaulrose

        I think I saw someone of Arab descent in the previews. They were drowning. I’d say something about the state of American audiences here, but I’ll just say Tea Party and leave it at that.

      • Valerie

        Yeah. Obviously pale gingers who resemble one of the Bee Gee’s would have thrived in the Middle East.

      • Mystik Spiral

        And as my boyfriend says, “Why do they all have English accents?”

      • Angela

        Excellent point!

      • Ann

        Jennifer Connelly’s mother is Jewish, and Logan Lerman is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

      • http://fakegeekmom.com Aimee Ogden

        1. That’s 2 characters out of how many?
        2. While they can trace their roots to the Diaspora, modern Russian Jews are simply not equivalent to the ancient Semites.

      • Dee

        Yeah, you’re right they’re not equivalent. Modern Russian Jews are much more genetically cohesive than ancient Jews, who were modern ethnically diverse. I assume that’s what you meant.

    • keelhaulrose

      Least Biblical movie of all time?

      I’ll just leave this here, then.

      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e316/flyspeckjones/Funny/Buddy_Christ.jpg

      • Valerie

        Yeahhh Buddy Christ!

      • Valerie

        Yeahhh Buddy Christ!

    • EdithFoffman

      none of us were around in biblical times and have no true idea if any of these stories are real so who is to say exactly what is accurate and what it isn’t. I think there are a lot more problems in this world that need our attention instead a movie… its just a movie. http://qr.net/rGQc

      • Angela

        True that none of us were around, but there are some ways to gauge the accuracy of certain historical claims. For example, we understand the laws of physics well enough to understand that water doesn’t just appear or disappear into thin air and that there is no where near enough water on Earth to cover the entire surface of the planet. Plus a flood that massive would certainly left some geological traces and there are none. So I think that it’s safe to accurately surmise that this particular tale is more mythic than factual.

    • krock

      Sadly, I think that people just enjoy being outraged. Of course, they don’t like being outraged about real, horrible issues that can’t be easily solved. (hunger, slavery, child abuse) Instead its much easier to complain about things that are no big deal. Oh no, a movie (that I haven’t even seen) portrays things I don’t like.

      • CMP414

        kind of reminds me of when The Davinci Code came out. I went to see the movie one night and there were tons of protestors. I was like “really, are you kidding me”

    • Ursi

      Probably an unpopular opinion among Christians and non-Christians alike but here goes. I’m a Christian and I loved the film because while it took a lot of liberties with the bible and invented additions to the story, the core of the film, the message, and especially the portrayal of God were dead on, as far as I’m concerned. This is the God I know and love; the God of wrath and the God of mercy. This is the God who burned cities to the ground and visited the plagues upon Egypt. This is the God of justice. This is also the God who sent Jesus Christ.
      Do I believe the story of the great flood is true? Not in the slightest. I don’t take the Bible that literally. But even if someone did wouldn’t they be gratified to see a director who doesn’t shy away from the bits that Christians get skittish about?
      Aronofsky is of Jewish background and I think he does great credit to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God in this film. He isn’t afraid of portraying that awesome power and terrible justice and he isn’t shying away from hard questions. I was moved and fascinated. If I Christian told me they were offended by the film because it didn’t strictly adhere to scripture I’d offer that they likely missed the point.

    • shorty_RN

      Love this. I’m a Christian who has seen this WAY too many times on her newsfeed. It’s just a movie. Not everyone believes what we believe. People need to untwist their panties.

      • Bethany Ramos

        Thank you! :) My FB is being destroyed by this. Ugh.

      • CMJ

        I must have heathen friends.

      • shorty_RN

        Lol, or religious friends who are way awesome and DGAF about this movie

      • CMJ

        Many of the religious people I know are really awesome…I come of from a long line of liberal Catholics.

      • Justme

        Liberal Catholics are the BEST kind of Catholic. ;)

    • darras

      There is not a lot on this earth that makes me angrier than the Matt Walsh blog..

    • Kay_Sue

      I dunno that it was the Matt Walsh Blog’s intention…but I really want to watch Black Swan like right fucking now after reading that…

    • lpag

      Seriously. I’m a religious person, and I do not expect Hollywood to get the Bible right. The story of Noah is exciting movie material. I expect them to take creative license with it. If I want the real story, I can open up my handy-dandy Torah, complete with classical commentary.

    • thisshortenough

      I’m more concerned by all the white people in it than whether it follows the bible story to the letter.

    • guest

      Christian, also, and I agree with you. It’s a great movie, very entertaining, visually appealing, and it has Hermione. I think it is also a movie that people can enjoy no matter what their religious affiliation or lack of. I don’t understand the hand-wringing, but my facebook is full of it too. There is real shit out there to be outraged about, people!

    • Angela

      Honestly, I haven’t seen the movie but I have no idea what could possibly portray Christianity in a worse light than a God who gets mad and decides to wipe out virtually every life on Earth, including pregnant women and (gasp) fetuses.

    • robbie

      Love it! Have a beer with your popcorn!

    • Steven Weiss

      Let us not forget that this is a Jewish story, written before there were any Christians. So unless Christians want to read the Talmud, and learn what the Rabbis said about the Noah narrative, they really ought to keep their mouths shut. This film examines themes Jews have pondered since a thousand years before a first-century Nazarene Rabbi bought mostly Jewish teachings to the wider world.

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    • ram

      One thing that I have noticed when people talk about the “Noah” movie, is that they get the Watchers and Nephilim mixed up and think they are the same beings. I am here to tell everyone, the Watchers and Nephilim WERE NOT THE SAME!!! The Watchers were a group of angels God commanded to watch over the Earth. According to many Bibles, the Watchers, who are referred to as the “Sons of God” started to lust after human women called the “Daughters of Men”. The angels wanted to co habitat with humans and have wives among the many women. They fell to Earth and lived with the humans and had sex with the women. The women then had offspring by the Watchers and they became known as the Nephilim. When the Bible was translated, many biblical scholars translated the word Nephilim into the word giants. The word means “those who fell”. For anyone curious about learning more on this subject of the Nephilim, read The Book of Enoch. The Genesis story about the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men” is broadened upon in the Book of Enoch and goes into more detail then the Bible does.