Why the Bible still matters
By Paul Moomjean 03/27/2014
Over the next year Hollywood will present a series of epic Bible stories. Currently in theaters, Son of God is playing well, having a strong following at the box office, grossing an impressive $51 million in its first 20 days, even with basically negative views and specified marketing. This week the controversial new film Noah will open with a wave of detractors and supporters. Darren Aronofsky’s $150 million apocalyptic adventure starring Russell Crowe has already gotten the type of buzz Hollywood executive only dream of — as they say, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” And later this year Ridley Scott and Christian Bale will present Exodus, the story of Moses and Israel’s flight from Egypt and into the Promised Land. Our culture is looking to the sky for answers in a world filled with such hopelessness; so why must secular leftists try to crush man’s search for meaning?
Recently, Bill Maher got into trouble (again!) for spewing his anti-theist rants. He recently called God “a psychotic mass murderer” who kills babies. He was referring to the upcoming Noah film. Maher went on to add: “Genesis says God was so angry with himself for screwing up when he made mankind so flawed that he sent the flood to kill everyone. Everyone: Men, women, children, babies. What kind of tyrant kills everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie.”
Obviously, Maher is paid to be outrageous, and he will defend Christian fundamentalists over Muslim fundamentalists, as well as the state of Israel over Palestinian suicide bombers (aka “freedom fighters” to some), but when he wants to get truly cruel, he never pulls his punches regarding the 60 percent (his statistic) who believe God has a hand in the world’s comings and goings.
Conservative writer Dennis Prager argues that the flood story of Genesis is actually the most moral act of a kind and loving God.
“After the evil that led to the flood, God decided to reveal basic moral rules — such as that murder is wrong. So wrong that one of the moral rules revealed after the flood is that murderers must be put to death — yet another way in which this story runs counter to the prevailing doctrines of our time,” Prager wrote in a recent article on his website. “No wonder the secular world ignores the Bible and the left largely loathes it.”
In the 1950s, Hollywood produced numerous biblical epics, but not since then has one year been so saturated with biblical films and TV specials (HBO has a Christian vs. Darwin special now, too), as well as literature proving, disproving and posing questions about the existence of God.
Personally, I see much of the resurgence stemming from an empty society searching for the answers that social media and Maher’s New Atheism can’t provide. While many argue the harm of religion, blaming “God” for man’s evil, where are those critics when looking at all the good that Children’s Hunger Fund and other Good Samaritan groups do? Is man responsible for all the good, and God responsible for all the bad?
In fact, Maher is a big proponent of the death penalty. Isn’t that exactly what God did in the story of Noah? He killed those who deserved the death of an immoral life lived.
Much of the reason secularists and some liberals want God out of the public sector is that they hate the idea of a God who judges moral behavior. In a post-modern world of tolerance, moral judgments are so passé and moral relevancy is the new fad.
The reason it is important that we share the rich stories of scripture, and the reason I feel we are seeing these stories being brought to life, is just a human desire to see why we are so messed up and whether there is hope. We look at a world filled with injustice, and the Bible tells us that in due time God will judge those whom society can’t. Yet hope is always at the climax.
In secularism, hope is crushed after sadness; in the scriptures, after the destruction, God provides a rainbow and a promise to restore the earth. Which story do you prefer?