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Savouring pictorial entertainement

English: Casual photo of Dr. Ted Baehr

Casual photo of Dr. Ted Baehr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher of Movieguide looks at the tolerating self-destructive or socially destructive behavior in our children. According to him it is not a sign of love, but hate, as well as parental neglect. He warns the public also that our narcissistic society is on the brink of stewing in the vile juice of its own self-destructive behaviour.

Consequently, we seem to have forgotten what love entails.

God calls us all to love our neighbour as ourselves, both Jew and Gentile. That divine call entails helping ourselves and our neighbours get over intolerable destructive behaviour, such as violence against the innocent, alcoholic stupors and perverting our children’s innocent hearts and minds by frankly intervening and correcting such behaviour in a manner that brings about significant change or repentance).

He writes, reminding us of Leviticus:

Levitcus 19:17-18 AESV Torah  (17)  “‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour, and not bear sin because of him.  (18)  “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am Mar-Yah.

Today we should remind ourselves more of this saying, concerning what we bring our children in contact with. What do we allow to come in front of their eyes?

Nothing should lead a young person into viewing something that would lead them down the road to perdition. Young people tell us all the time they’ve been blessed by the guidance of Movieguide®.

Ted Baehr thinks love marks the freedom of the abundant life (as promised by Jesus Christ) with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, knowledge, discernment, prophecy, tongues, interpretation, apostleship, teaching, evangelism, pastoring, leadership, encouragement, faith, healing, miraculous powers, administration, service, giving, and mercy – built on all the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. But should parents not wonder more what the freedom may entail? The last twenty years we can see too much unguided freedom is given to children. They were allowed to do what they wanted and see what they wanted, but were left on their own. Television has become the modern babysit. It is so easy to set the (little) children in front of the (big) television screen and have it savouring the full entertainment stuff presented by all sorts of channels and entertainment groups.

Baehr reports that in 1985 only 1 percent of the films made by Hollywood contained “positive, redemptive content,” according to Movieguide’s grading scale. But after more than 20 years of conclusive evidence that audiences back their desire for positive, faith-affirming and family-friendly films with box office bucks, now more than 65 percent of the movies made include “positive, redemptive” content and storylines.

In most of the things shown on television or in the cinema it is not clear any more what is good and what is bad. Regular non commitments sex with several people, of the other but also of the same sex is often promoted and violence looks like a game to enjoy. In Aronofsky’s film Noah, good and evil are two very distinct things at first.  Noah’s family — the descendents of Seth — are “good” and Tubal-Cain and his people are “evil.”  Early in the film Noah’s son Ham sees a flower he believes to be pretty and picks it, after which Noah explains that they should only take what they need from the earth, never more.  In this human beings should recognise the lesson the Bible and the film maker want to get across, how we have to treat creation. Tubal-Cain’s tribe, on the other hand, will kill or destroy all creation without care in order to build industrialized cities.

Several conservative Christians may say not such messages are given in the Bible, but than they should read it better, and also between the lines on many places.  While not mentioned in story of Noah in the Bible, Tubal-Cain can be found in Genesis 4:22, as a son of Lamech (a descendant of Cain) “who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools….[his] sister was Naamah.”  It makes sense for Aronofsky to pull Tubal-Cain into his interpretation of this story because while not mentioned in the Bible, rabbinic literature (The Book of Jasher, chapter 5) suggests that Naamah was the wife of Noah (also the name of Noah’s wife in the movie, played by Jennifer Connelly). {“Book of Jasher, Chapter 5.” Sacred Texts. http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/jasher/5.htm (accessed April 11, 2014).}  Critics should be happy to know that a reference to The Book of Jasher (Sefer ha-Yashar) appears in Scripture in Joshua 10:13.

Parents seem to forget how much such television screening can impact the life of their child. A view of this world is given to the viewer, which is not always realistic nor in accordance to Judeo-Christian values. Often there is not given a reflection of how we behave or how weak we are.

Noah sees how women are being dragged into tents, presumably to be raped. He notices also how man has become full of lust and egoism, not taking any interest any more in the other. The same as we can notice today. He realizes how bad the world has become and find it high time to let them know how the Creator is indignant. Noah knows it is a justifiable anger of the Divine Creator, because man itself should recognise how man do dishonour God His creation. Noah also realizes that his family will have to die in an environment where they will form a solitude of lovers of God. Because of his insight into the depraved world he chooses, out of his love for his children, to save his seed for the poor, and he thinks the commission of an infanticide security will be for the better of the child. He let his happy beloved son Ham be trampled by a crowd. As such he knows his child will not be part of those people fighting over food, slaughtering animals in grotesque fashion (it’s like an undercover animal rights investigation), and not having to face all the killing of one another going on. He can imagine himself partaking in all of this.  And this brings us some heavy pictures to swallow. In such dreams we can take an attitude we would like to make possible. As such we also get a warning how we have to cope with our thoughts. For the conservative evangelicals it could also be a warning that we all have to be careful not to play for God. Evangelicals may consider that they are correctly following God’s Word and are handling in (blind) obedience to their God. By taking certain actions and proclaiming certain things they think they know for sure what their God thinks. But we should know that it is more what “they think their gods want them to do” based on interpolation of the sacred text, the people are known for terrible things.

Over-thinking everything he sees Noah realizes in that moment that he is no different than any of these people.  He too, is subject to the duality of man. are we not all guilty of certain dreams where we picture ourselves in ‘happy circumstances’? How many of us may not enjoy some films or television series, placing ourselves in the role of the character of the play? How much do we let our ghost wander? How many of us do not like to enjoy such adventures we can see on the little screen? Dreaming or thinking of such events or activities which are not in accordance to the Will of God, are as bad as doing it or taking part of it. And Noah knows that. He for a moment seems to be enjoying such things as well, but he is confronted by the badness of such thoughts. He, like we, should know how much such thoughts are also part of something God does not like. He tells us that already looking with desiring eyes is already a sin.

Parents confront their children with many pictures they themselves often would desire and would not mind dreaming of. They give food to their children with lots of things which they should know are not in unison with the Will of God.

We do not know exactly what God is thinking, but from His Word we can have some idea. People have been known to do terrible things. They regularly have to be warned when they go astray or when some things are going to go really wrong.

Several people may be excited God and Jesus are back on the big screen. Many mega churches call their followers to go to fill the theatres. For the cinema owners it would be good business, but we wonder if it will be good business for God. One good thing is that once again people can speak about God, commandments, Jesus, how we have to behave and live, how the world has to continue. This are good things. People should be more aware of such issues.

The backers of Son of God are hoping for its own Passion of the Christ moment. The 2004 Mel Gibson film was a huge commercial success, grossing over $600 million, despite mixed reviews from critics and very understandable concerns over the portrayal of Jewish people in the film. Son of God has even made an attempt to remove its own potential controversy from its big screen version. The producers cut out scenes with the Satan or Devil when re-formatting their miniseries for the big screen. That’s because, in part, the actor who played the devil bore (for some) a striking resemblance to the current president.

All events of the small or bigger screen can always be related to the real life. All fiction can be used to learn lessons for the world of facts. We may use it but we should be careful what we do want to come in front of our kids.

Integrated Behavior Tree

Integrated Behavior Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our worldview (including what values we adopt and live by) determines whether you will forgive or seek revenge, be generous or stingy, be courteous or rude, be independent or dependent. People with worldviews build or destroy, rescue or torture, join churches or join gangs. Finally, a society’s prevailing worldview shapes its culture, and, of course, the mass media has a powerful impact on every worldview.

Distracted by the cruel shibboleth of “tolerance,” even judicial systems built on Christian principles are now confused about some very basic values.

For instance, in Germany, a man put an ad in the paper asking if anyone wanted to be killed and cannibalized. Surprisingly, several people answered his ad. He chose one, slaughtered him, and ate him. The court in Germany was hard-pressed to find a reason to convict this villain since both men were “mutually consenting adults.”

What kind of moral idiots and mental midgets are we breeding here? How do these people even get high school diplomas, much less college degrees? There, but for the Grace of God, go we!

This case and many others show how low a culture can sink when it rejects the love of God and the love of its neighbour.

True love refuses to tolerate such evil. True love affirms life. True love gives. True love shares. True love does not delight in evil or sinful behaviour, including extra-marital lust.

Lust, on the other hand, consumes. It takes without permission. Lust is never satisfied.

We have moved from a society of love to a society of lust where we tolerate evil in the name of self-gratification, or in the name of trying not to “offend” another person. This is exactly what’s happening when many of our leaders, including church leaders, are asking us to tolerate rampant gang crime in our inner cities, rampant illegal immigration that flouts the nation’s laws, and rampant prostitution and perverse lust on our public streets.

As a result, our culture faces economic, moral, and spiritual collapse, and God is warning us to turn back from the brink of self-destruction by removing His blessing and allowing the alarms of natural and social disasters to sound to wake us from this nightmare of self-destruction. Sadly, like Pharaoh at the time of Moses, the warning alarms of a series of plagues screaming out “let my people go” may be falling on such hardened hearts and tone deaf ears that our current governing powers will not heed the warnings but will persist in America and Western Civilization’s continued self-destruction.

writes Ted Baehr. {Love vs. Lust: Transforming the Culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ}

“Most people dedicated to a particular faith are likely to find the violence, substance abuse, sexual immorality, and mocking of traditional values in most modern movies offensive,”

said Megan Basham, entertainment editor at Christian news site, World Magazine.

“The rare well-made film that offers the opposite is going to appeal to church-goers of every stripe.”

Christians in the world should know were to go and were to look for. They shall have to make choices and direct their children and their loved ones to get to see the right things and come to understand what is good and what is bad. They have to avoid this descent into the personal hell of an intolerable evil and lustful narcissism that destroys body, mind, soul, and spirit. As Baehr rightly says,

those who still love their neighbour must take a stand.

That stand according to him includes:

  • Praying for an awakening, for the gifts of a fear of judgement and knowledge of the love of God, as manifested in the free gift of new life offered by God Himself, Jesus Christ, the prophesied messiah for both Jews and Gentiles.
  • Reclaiming the role of the church and the family, not the state, in the rule of all matters of faith and values, including godly education and marriage.
  • Exposing the fruitless works of darkness and excommunicating those in the church who pretend to be faithful while espousing a politics of “I don’t care what you do” tolerance instead of love. Because they are leading others astray, these callous pretenders need to be reprimanded by a new 95 theses nailed on their doors declaring them unfit for preaching, teaching, discipling, or fellowship.
  • Excommunicating those in the church and government who tolerate evil. If they persist, legal action must be brought against them in the church and against government leaders in the courts for violating the inalienable rights of people, for distorting God’s Truth, and for violating the Constitution of the United States of America. We need to stand for God’s Law in the face of the abuse of power to inflict harm by those in civil authority, who know no restraints. Doing anything less is a form of secular, if not demonic, tyranny.

The writer of the article believes vast majority of people have faith and values. Now, they need to exercise love by refusing to tolerate the evils destroying our culture and jeopardizing the future of our children and grandchildren.

Model Behavior

Model Behavior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moviegoings writes in Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

Our fallen human nature and brokenness as believers isn’t always manifested in ways as dramatic and overtly evil as the Church turning over a group of innocents for murder and enslavement. Sometimes it looks more like the recent imbroglio over World Vision International, for example, or like producing and praising a “Christian” movie that “takes every available chance to unfortunately stereotype, almost to the point of offensiveness, every people group represented.” Whatever the situation, however grave or seemingly trivial, these are failures of Christian community and Christian love. And when it comes to the mainline evangelical approach to movies, there is also a chronic failure of Christian imagination, impoverished by sanctimony without discernment, and atrophied from lack of use.

Fans of God’s Not Dead might regard the negative reviews on the film as further affirmation of secular hostility towards “the truth,” rather than an informed assessment of the movie’s ham-fisted lack of artistry.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, at least to me, is that this film’s audience is so insular and out-of-touch that they regard a product that is avowedly preaching exclusively to the choir as a valid evangelistic tool.

writes Jared in Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?.

At Movieguide® they are convinced that very strong redemptive content in movies does much better than very strong negative content. We also at From Guestwriters are convinced that we do need much more articles in the world showing the good things and the better ways to live. We also do find we do have to concentrate much more on the old commandment – to love one another, and to show our preparedness to do that in honesty.

God wants us to make our culture more free and more civilized. He wants us to be the light of the world. He wants us to teach our children to love Him because He loves them so much.

So, then, how should we live?

Go into all the world with the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ and do not be afraid. For, we are heirs to God’s His kingdom, and we come with faith, with freedom, with thanksgiving, and with the power, love, and joy of the Lord, not the lusts of our sinful nature.

What can we possibly give our children and grandchildren that is more valuable than that, than a culture which honours Jesus Christ and His Gospel of True Love? Nothing!

ends Ted Baehr in his article: Love vs. Lust: Transforming the Culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  • All Things Truly Wicked Start from Innocence, or “Hey Everyone, I Watched Aronofsky’s NOAH!” (beatlands.com)
    Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite filmmakers, as he is just so excellent at capturing the human condition.  He is a master of creating complex characters whose private demons will elicit all sorts of feels in the audience and probably shatter your soul a little bit.  NOAH, while not Aronofsky’s finest work (I reserve that spot for Requiem For A Dream) and not necessarily soul-shattering, takes the Biblical deluge myth and makes it relevant to a world in which nature is being threatened by industry—our world.
  • Noah: A dissection. (faithandfrustration.wordpress.com)
    How far would you go for God? How sure would you have to be that he was speaking to you? That it wasn’t just some delusion? What is our responsibility as Christians towards the planet? How important are the choices we make?Those are just a few of the questions that Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah asks. And they are all very, very good questions. This review is going to be full of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, please go see it first. Do be warned, however – it is a dark movie, and quite disturbing at times. You know, kind of like the actual story of Noah.
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    I’m a Christian, and I value the story of Noah. I don’t think it’s literal, but it’s probably based on some very important historical facts. However, this movie is NOT a Christian movie. It’s a Jewish movie. It’s heavily inspired by Jewish Midrash – this is a certain style of reading the Hebrew Scriptures. Essentially (and I might be getting this wrong), midrash is reading the scripture and then interpreting it several different ways, and letting the interpretations sit. It’s not about finding the ‘right’ way to interpret a scripture, but about providing possibilities. Noah is definitely in this vein.
  • “Is this the end of everything?” Noah – review. (josaustin91.wordpress.com)
    Being one of many controversial and outrage-inducing elements to irritate church circles and flood the internet (no pun intended) are the film’s supposed biblical inaccuracies and distortions of ‘God’s word’.It seems Hollywood can’t please everyone, as many Christians and others believe that God existed before this beginning, and have also voiced  their unhappiness with the film’s depiction of Noah as a ‘psychopathic killer.’But with atheist director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) on record as saying that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made” and producers Paramount explaining that the film is “inspired by the story of Noah”, this inevitable religious backlash is something non-believers need not worry about.
  • Noah, the Movie (biblescienceguy.wordpress.com)
    Noah’s Flood is the pivotal geological event of all time because it utterly transformed the globe. Mountains, ravines, ocean basins, and continents probably all date from the time of the Flood—they were either formed by or drastically altered by the Flood. Most fossils were probably deposited by the Flood.The Apostle Peter declared the Flood destroyed the world (2 Peter 3:6). The Flood caused geological damage to the earth that defies imagination. Turbulent Flood waters caused massive erosion worldwide. Churning sediments were hydraulically sorted and settled in layers, solidifying during the following decades. Geological adjustments continued for centuries after the Flood. The oceanic, atmospheric, and geologic upheavals of Noah’s Flood exceed man’s capacity to comprehend.
  • Movie Review: Noah (infobarrel.com)
    The story is not quite true to the Biblical story, as read in one Bible. Even without considering the similarities to a story in the even older Epic of Gilgamesh,[2] there is a tendency for some to take the entire Bible as gospel (sic) truth, rather than as a parable, even when logic shows that the literal meaning does not work – Noah was building an Ark, not a Tardis, and that many animals for that length of time would have built up a lot of waste. The film does come up with a solution for some of these problems, through the knowledge of herbalism of Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), Noah’s wife.
  • ‘Noah’ Movie review: As promised, it’s not a Biblical movie, but worse – it’s not a good movie (theglobaldispatch.com)
    Director Darren Aronofsky promised his film Noah would not be a “very religious story” and he certainly didn’t disappoint in that regards. Later Aronofsky attempted to clarify his statements, attempting not to alienate Evangelical viewers, saying “I think people who are believers will see the ideas and the values that they’re looking for represented in the film…” – more on that Here.
  • Movie Review: Noah (reellifewithjane.com)
    I admit I’m not up on my Bible studies as much as I should be, but despite the contrasts between the story told in the Bible and director Darren Aronofsky’s film, I still really liked this movie. I went into it determined to view the movie on its own merit, and in that way, it delivers as an entertaining, well-cast, well-written movie with great special effects.
  • Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: Noah: A Midrash by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel (Interview) (huffingtonpost.com)
    When Darren Aronofsky was 13, he wrote a poem inspired by the biblical story of Noah that won an award from the United Nations and was part of a lifelong quest to bring the story to the big screen. After 10 years of trying to develop the project in Hollywood, Darren Aronofsky and co-writer and producer Ari Handel will introduce their interpretation of Noah to the world this Friday when the movie opens across the country.Not surprisingly, there has been controversy around Noah that has featured the Sunday School crowd loudly declaring that they will refuse to see the film because it does not simply tell the story in the Bible. That is, of course, ridiculous. First of all, the Bible is never simple, and any depiction of it that doesn’t acknowledge that complexity is doing the Bible a disservice.I’ve seen Noah, and it is epic, mythic and wrestles with questions of God, creation and the role of humans within it — in other words, it is biblical.That said, the apocalyptic story of Noah that Handel and Aronofsky have rendered will disturb some people — not because it is unbiblical, but because it is a biblical vision to which they object.
  • Dear America: A Response to Our Mass Violence Du Jour (anapperscompanion.com)
    In a month or two, someone will lash out, killing or injuring another dozen or two, and we’ll do what we always do: scratch our heads, look for behaviors foretelling violence, and ask what can be done to prevent such a horror from happening again.
  • Why Are We Spiteful, Even Though It Bites Us Back? (wnyc.org)
    Why do people willingly inconvenience or even harm themselves in order harm others? And why are some of us more spiteful than others? Being aggressive and lacking empathy might have a lot to do with it, researchers say.”Spite can become very destructive,” says David Marcus, a psychologist at Washington State University and the lead author of a study published in the journal Psychological Assessment.
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