When it comes to popular culture, Christians seem to persistently be out of touch, standing in staunch opposition to much of the film and music enjoyed by the masses, rather than acting like missionaries, as Jesus would, and engaging the material, using it to build bridges with unbelievers. Granted, there is a lot of inappropriate material in some films, but then again, there is a lot of inappropriateness in the world in general, and if the main concern of those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ is to avoid being “tainted” by sin, it is questionable whether they truly understand the Bible and its message. The sin most believers in the Christian religion fear is actually in the heart, according to their theology, which means that they are already tainted. Besides, how can one impact the world and spread the gospel without rubbing shoulders with “sinners?” This is the kind of thinking behind the opposition to Noah being espoused by Christians, which is really causing them to miss a golden opportunity to connect with unbelievers.
First, before examining why Noah provides such an amazing opportunity for Christians to reach out to atheists and agnostics, the movie’s largest audience, the matter of accuracy to the source material needs to be addressed. A film is a work of art and art is subjective. It is the interpretation and expression of the artist and reflects their worldview. An atheist making a film about a biblical character is more than likely not going to be accurate. It is obvious, from the trailer alone, that there was massive artistic license taken in regards to filling in the gaps of the biblical narrative. The original story in the book of Genesis is only a few pages in length. If the account were 100 percent accurate to the text, the film would be less than 10 minutes long, and hardly entertaining or worth the money paid to see it on the big screen.
Again, it needs to be stressed, that art is subjective and should never be taken as an objective sources of truth. That is not to say that art does not contain truth, as it most certainly does, but when it comes to the accuracy of a biblical text, it should never be considered a replacement for the Bible. If you want the real story, go to the source. Even Christian based films like, God’s Not Dead, are slanted and subjective art, and that is perfectly okay. Christians will no doubt get upset with those who bash films that present the Christian worldview, accusing unbelievers of being biased, all the while participating in the same behavior with Noah, missing out on a golden opportunity to connect with people and share their faith through telling the real story.
Noah may not be a great film artistically, and it may even make professing Christians want to spew in their mouth due to the inaccuracies, but rather than complain, perhaps it would be a better service to unbelievers to watch the movie with them, and actually talk about the themes in the film, and use them as a springboard to talk about the gospel they believe in. Engaging art does not mean a lack of critical thinking or criticism, but it does mean taking the time to discuss the underlying themes that connect to the Christian worldview, and setting straight the myths perpetuated by the film. Being overly critical puts distance between Christians and those who participate in culture, which is the opposite of what most believers should want. This film opens the doors for conversations with a group of people typically not open to discussing these matters, which is why it is tragic to miss this opportunity.
If believers in Christianity want to becoming culturally relevant and gain influence in society around them, a good place to start would be engaging films like Noah. The whole film is a retelling of a classic Bible story. What better tool could those of the Christian faith ask for? Unfortunately, it seems the golden opportunity presented by Noah, is going largely unnoticed, or perhaps even ignored, which is truly a shame.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell