Sunday, October 20, 2013

Taking or Adding from Scripture

As you've no doubt noticed, Joel has had "writer's block" lately. My personal schedule has been so out of control lately that I simply haven't felt like blogging.

Be that as it may, a story surfaced this week that I thought needed wider attention. Check out this FNC story about the new biblical epic film about Noah and the flood.

The story reports a battle between the director and the studio. Somewhat surprisingly, the studio wants the story to stick close to the biblical text. The director wants to take liberty with the story and make the biblical flood the result of environmental naughtiness rather than sin against God. He demands the freedom to "interpret" the biblical account however he likes, making it mean something that is not meant in Scripture.

This underscores the problem when Hollywood and the Bible run smack into each other. It's one thing to take a story out of classic literature and take liberties with it for filming purposes (even though it drives me nuts and the authors of most books—given they're still alive to see what the filmmakers have done to their stories). But when we take the Bible and dare to portray it, we enter dangerous ground when we depart from what it says. Assuming one believes (as I do) that the Bible is God's written Word and revelation to mankind, and that it says what it means and means what it says, there are rather severe penalties attached by God toward anyone who would add or subtract from His Word. Check out the end of the book of Revelation for one such warning. There are others.

There is speculation on whether Noah will bomb at the box office and offend believers. I found it curious in the article that such offense shouldn't enter the concerns of the director. Very curious. I understand the muse of the artist, but if your work ends up being so outlandish no one wants to see or hear it, you've defeated your purpose. "Shock art" appeals to only a few. Remember the late Andres Serrano and his infamous "P*ss Christ" exhibit where a crucifix was dunked in Serrano's own urine? That was supposed to be "art." Serrano was also known for homoerotic photographs where the end of a bullwhip was sticking out someone's rectum. Grotesque? Absolutely. But hardly artistic.

Serrano is an example of when the human soul and spirit has rotted, and the only "art" that can be created is a twisted, vulgar representation of what God intended as a blessing and a symbol of loving union. Art at its highest form uplifts, encourages, portrays beauty, and glorifies God. It provokes thought, but hopefully the thought provoked points you in the right direction of truth.

I can't say that for a lot of art today. Oh, it's out there if you look. But the media and entertainment industry seem to want to focus on the offensive, perverse and grotesque. But what should we who believe do? Light a candle in the midst of the darkness.

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