I’ve noticed a number of people getting really upset about the lack of accuracy in Bible movies made by Hollywood. So upset in fact that you’d think someone had broken into their home, taken their bible and rewritten the stories with a sharpie.
I was thinking about it and though it was worth a few thoughts.
My wife and I do devotions with our kids every night. Recently we have been reading out of the The Action Bible which is a comic book style bible with TONS of illustrations. They love it, but initially they weren’t so sure. The details are sometimes left out and the occasional artistic liberty is taken but it gets their attention and they learn the stories fairly well. Occasionally, and probably not quite often enough, we grab a “real” bible and compare the stories to get the facts straight.
It’s a challenge, but definitely worth it. We need to teach our kids to discern fact from fiction and this is a fantastic opportunity.
One of the odd things about my feelings on this is that I don’t feel the same way about other forms of media as it relates to the bible. Movies and cartoons in particular.
My Grandfather was involved in the original development of two animated bible story tools that were developed in Japan The Flying House and Super Book. I loved them as a kid. The premise was that these kids went back in time and learned about the details of bible stories by interacting with bible characters. I learned a lot and it left a deep impression.
But there are a bunch of bible story attempts that I don’t like. The primary reason is that they are dynamic, impressionable and moving – which should be good right? Not for me, I found that my memory of scripture and the stories in it were being twisted too far from the actual facts. I don’t know exactly where that line is, but I know that my instincts kicked in and I stopped watching them.
The Veggie Tales stories are fun, but terrible for biblical fact and really cloud our kids’ ability to remember what’s really in the bible. And as much as Christians seemed to rave about it, I felt the same way about The Bible mini-series and movie that Roma Downey was involved with. There were just way too many liberties taken for me to buy into it.
Russel Crowe’s Noah wasn’t even trying to be biblical.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who freaks out at Hollywood, demanding that they do our job and tell our bible stories for us so that we don’t have to. That’s our job after all. I don’t boycott these films I just can’t be bothered. If I happen to watch one, I use the opportunity to solidify the facts by contrasting it with scripture.
Hollywood is about entertainment, visual displays that entice and draw crowds, and at the core they are about MONEY. So I’m not going to bother worrying about what they do or how, instead I’m going to worry about what and how I am teaching my kids and developing the foundation of my own mind as it relates to the Bible.
God left us the bible, let’s use it! And everything else should supplement. It may be a good or bad representation of God’s word but as long as we use it to build our children and ourselves up we should be just fine.
The people who are throwing a fit over the whole butchering of God’s word in Hollywood thing are likely also terribly excited about the potential of using it to share Jesus. I’d argue that we can do that either way. Or maybe they are looking for a movie to use as a replacement for spending time reading their bibles, in which case “How dare Hollywood scribble all over my bible with a sharpie.”
That’s okay, maybe if we pick it up again, read it and remember the beauty of God’s written word, we can erase the sharpie from the scripture in our minds.