I miss the days when Hollywood ignored God. Until recently, the fastest way to kill your career in Tinseltown was to utter that three-letter-word: G-O-D. If you were to drop the G-bomb in Hollywood without following up with “damn” or a genuflection to L. Ron Hubbard, you’d find yourself staring at a lot of slammed doors. The only thing studio producers and directors enjoy more than ignoring God is slandering Him.
All that began changing several years ago, when films which openly spoke about God and religious belief had surprisingly strong showings at the box office. Films like The Passion of the Christ, which grossed $370m and earned 3 Oscar nominations, and The Blind Side, which grossed $300m with 2 Oscar nominations, have really challenged the rabidly anti-theistic predilections of many Hollywood moguls.
Studios in Hollywood are waking up to the fact that Bible-believing Americans love to support films which speak of them and to them. In response, producers have packed the assembly line with films like Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, a mini-series remake of The 10 Commandments produced by Harvey Weinstein, and a reboot of the Left Behind series, starring Nicholas Cage. Before we start applauding the miraculous conversion of the film and television industry, let’s remember that studio producers have allegiance to their pocketbooks (first), their leftist political ideologies (second), and their respect for God and His people (never). We assume incorrectly that Hollywood is godless; there is a god in Hollywood and his name is Mammon.
In the hopes that some of Weinstein’s staff has this column plugged into their feed reader, here are some suggestions for future projects which could serve to capture the Christian/Jew demographic while remaining true to their ideology:
Samson & Delilah – “This summer, romantic comedy lets its hair down!” College football star, Samson, is a clean whistle. No partying, no drinking, he doesn’t even get a haircut. But all that is about to change. When he transfers to Philistine State, he gets more than he bargained for in Delilah, the foxy editor of the campus newspaper. What will Samson do when he finds out that Delilah is working for the head coach of University of Sorek, tasked with capturing Samson’s playbook before the big game??
Solomon – The comparisons are eerie. Their life-stories are seemingly cut from the same cloth. Thousands of years after the wisdom of Solomon, there was . . . Jobs. Both men harnessed the hardship in their lives to rise above the pack. Steve had to build his business in his parents’ garage. Solomon was tasked with erecting a timeless architectural masterpiece in the city his ancestors stole from the peaceful Canaanites. Both would succeed beyond their wildest dreams and achieve the fame which both so desperately sought. But would their success be enough to allow them to finally impress the fathers they never really knew?
Saul of Tarsus/Paul of Truth – What would you do if one day you realized that the truth on which you had founded your life was not truth at all? Saul of Tarsus, born and raised to be a law professor at a prestigious university throws his promising future away when struck with a blinding thought on a road-trip to Damascus. This summer, follow Saul as he journies across the world and time itself. From introducing the concept of prison reform to a jailor in Philippi to learning to live in harmony with Mother Nature while stranded on the island of Melita, join Paul as he searches for his truth in a world of possibilities!
As preposterous as these adaptations might seem, I guarantee that they are not far-fetched. As Aronofsky’s Noah will demonstrate, Hollywood seeks to slap a patina of biblicality on a barge of liberalism in order to capture more revenue from a demographic goldmine, while utilizing the biblical illiteracy of that demographic to help spread their ideological disease.
This is what concerns me most. I fear that most American Christians and Jews will find it “refreshing” to see that Hollywood is talking about God while they neglect to evaluate Hollywood’s bile in the light of God’s Holy Word.
As cool as it is to cast Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah and Russell Crowe as Noah, it appears that Aronofsky feels he’s a better editor than Moses. In the film, humanity is visited by “Watchers” who are six-armed angels that bestow knowledge and gifts on humanity. And God decides to destroy all life on earth because “man corrupted this world and filled it with violence”. While certainly part of the reason for God’s wrath, the Bible teaches that man is not the cause of corruption. Sin, working through man, produced corruption after the Fall. A slight distinction, but one which has immense consequences. If man is the source of corruption, then man must be eliminated. That sounds like it could be a plank in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation mission statement or taken from the by-laws of the Earth Liberation Front. But if sin is the source of corruption, then sin must be eliminated, and that is only possible through the substitutionary death of the Lamb of God.
The good news is that as these productions air, there will be many opportunities for conversation which may not have taken place previously. Questions may come from curious agnostic/atheist friends who want to know about how closely the film matched the Bible; or opportunities may come from believers who thought it was really cool how Moses was motivated by his burning passion for social justice. At which point, you can gently redirect them to the Moses’s true “burning passion” , emanating from a bush with the voice of the one true God.