Tag Archives: Ted Baehr

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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Christians acting towards filmbusiness

Recently the mega churches have been in the news with many things going wrong in that business. They also are churches which often make use of the modern media and use a lot of audio and visual material.

The film industry has seen a renewal of interest in religious movies and therefore is releasing again some films with Biblical stories.

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Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide, as well as chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission and  Tom Snyder, Movieguide’s editor, wrote the underneath article which originally appeared on Movieguide.org.

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I Thought I Knew How Christians Should Act Toward Hollywood, Until I Read This …

 

faith-based films
in 2014, an incredible number of the major movies being released have positive, overtly biblical and often evangelical content. (Movieguide)

Twenty years ago, when Jesus’ name was used in a movie, it was usually used as a curse word. Last year, 67 percent of the movies released had at least some pro-Christian, pro-biblical content.

This year, an incredible number of the major movies being released have positive, overtly biblical and often evangelical content. As might be expected, many of these movies have attracted criticism. Sadly, some of the most spiteful, angry and mean-spirited criticism has come from Christians.

Movieguide was built on the premise of exposing the fruitless works of darkness and commending the good. As a result of doing this consistently for many years, we have seen a great growth of the good, the true and the beautiful, and a decrease in the darkness in the movies released. Much of that could be attributed to our detailed economic analysis of the box office, combined with the fact that we see the gospel for what it is: good news.

So we try to present our analysis and criticism in light of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control), which dictates that we love the people who created the works we’re examining enough to try to be constructive. There are exceptions, but the exceptions are not the rule.

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, there’s been a tremendous amount of criticism bashing Darren Aronofsky and the producers of Noah, criticism of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett for Son of God, and even criticism of the producers of Heaven Is for Real.

Recently, I had a chance to talk to one of the top people at Paramount Pictures, whom I’ve known for years, who’s a co-producer of Noah. He had told me about Noah years ago when we met for lunch. He wanted Noah to be very evangelistic, which it is not, and he wanted to tell an Old Testament story in light of the New Testament revelation of God’s grace. I asked him about Darren Aronofsky, and he said Aronofsky was wrestling with forgiveness and mercy because of a crisis in his family.

The producer, one of the brightest, most conservative Christians in Hollywood, noted that the same thing had happened to him. We discussed the fact that Mel Gibson had been bashed so badly for the trumped-up charge of anti-Semitism that he went off the deep end.

There is no doubt that my friend and Aronofsky needed guidance and perhaps even faith formation, but personal, ill-conceived attacks don’t make it easier for him, as a conservative evangelical Christian, to do more movies that touch upon Christian and biblical themes.

With regard to Downey and Burnett, the situation seems even more mean-spirited. One attack article claimed The Passion of the Christ was more biblical, when, in fact, The Passion was based on visions a Catholic nun had over 100 years ago.

Jesus of Nazareth (miniseries)

Jesus of Nazareth (miniseries) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other articles commended the Jesus film, which, for the record, is only 66 percent of the book of Luke and is produced by a good friend of mine who is Jewish and extremely wary of the Christian community, as well as a director who’s known for some very salacious movies. In fact, the star of the Jesus film told me years later he was an atheist. Also, Jesus of Nazareth was funded by a Muslim and directed by a bisexual who chased one of the male stars around his villa.

Thus, of all the 130 Jesus films that have come out, Burnett and Downey’s Son of God is one of the few made by people who constantly say they love Jesus. That doesn’t mean they got everything right. In fact, I sent them a theological analysis months before the movie was locked in editing.

In this regard, however, has any sermon ever gotten everything right? If so, I have yet to hear such a sermon, though I have walked out several times on sermons that have gotten most of their theology wrong.

Many of the mean-spirited articles about Noah have been written by people who admit to having never seen the movie. Others have been written by people who don’t seem to understand some of the Bible’s basic theological concepts or realize the difference between a Christian ontology (a real world with real sin and real pain that needs a real Savior, Jesus Christ) and an anti-Christian, nominalistic ontology (a nonmaterial, great-thought maya world where all is an illusion and there is no need for a savior, such as The Last Temptation of Christ).

Movieguide has been critical of Noah, but also fair. We’d love to see the theology of each movie improved and would love to see the theology of most of these articles improved.

One theologian complained to us that, unlike depicted in Heaven Is for Real, no one has gone to heaven and come back, although I pointed out to him that Paul said he did just that in 2 Corinthians 12:2. Was Paul lying? Where do we get such strange eisegetical views?

Thank God that iron does sharpen iron.

But even so, what enabled a small group of Christians to overthrow the most debauched empire in history, Rome? As Professor Alvin J. Schmidt points out in the book How Christianity Changed the World, one major reason was that people knew the Christians by their love and wanted to convert.

Did the people who criticized Mel Gibson love him? Or those who criticize any of the Christians working behind the scenes in Hollywood?

Most biblical movies and most movies dealing with heaven contain things that you won’t find in the pages of the Bible. To make a really dramatic movie that millions of people will go see requires at least some dramatic artistry. Furthermore, it’s really easy to poke holes in almost any movie, whatever the subject matter.

So, let us commend the good while gently instructing those who might have gone astray so that we may encourage everyone to focus on the Good News of Jesus Christ that enlightens us all.

– Ted Baehr & Tom Snyder

Ted Baehr is a Christian film critic whose Movieguide has grown from a modest newsletter into a mammoth Web database that attracts millions of readers each month. For thirty years, the site has reviewed most every Hollywood film released in theatres, picking up on thematic intricacies that other critics tend to overlook. For instance, Movieguide noted that the first Harry Potter movie relies heavily on “evil occult themes and a spirit of selfish rebellion among its children characters.” In the year that “Avatar” swept the awards shows, Movieguide cautioned against its “New Age pagan worldview, which contains extremely anti-capitalist content with a strong Marxist overtone. It promotes group-think and argues in favor of the destruction of the human race.” ()

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Original Movieguide article

As a Christian myself there are certain things in the Bible where creative liberties have no place. That may not allow me to be the most objective critic of some Bible-based movies but it is a belief that is inseparable from who I am. On the other hand some stories from Scripture leave themselves open to interpretation while others may stir our imaginations by omitting many of the details. Such is the case with the story of Noah. The story of Noah and his ark takes up only a small portion of Scripture so there are definitely areas where our creative imaginations (in this case Aronofsky’s) may kick in. Yet you always look for respect of the spirit of the story and at least some type of adherence to the material.

Paramount Adds Disclaimer to Noah Movie

The disclaimer admits some “artistic license” has been taken with regard to the story, but that the movie is “true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.”

The disclaimer also adds, “The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

The disclaimer is being added at a suggestion coming from a panel on the movie NOAH at the recent National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Nashville last week. The panel, led by President and CEO of the NRB, Dr. Jerry Johnson, discussed NOAH’s positive qualities and its departures from the Bible.

6 Fun Things Noah and Duck Dynasty Have in Common

The Good and Bad in Noah

Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) begins as Noah’s nemesis from a scene in the hero’s childhood and finishes as his enemy in a violent hand to hand combat scene on the ark. In between, Tubal-Cain tries to turn Noah’s son against him, launches a military attack on Noah’s ark project during construction, and finally manages to hack his way into the ark as the flood surges.

The “Watchers” assist Noah. They are Aronofsky’s fanciful development of the biblical Nephilim concept. We are told angelic creatures helped early man with technology; humans abused it for evil; God cursed the angels for this and turned them into rock giants; these fallen angels help Noah defend and build the ark; when they die in the battle against the bad guys, the mysterious beings go up to heaven. Of course, in Christian theology, fallen angels keep falling, down to the other place.

While showing images of war, violence, theft, and sexual sin, the main evil of humankind according to Noah is the abuse of the environment. Man has been guilty of a scorched earth policy brought about primitive industrialization, resulting in apocalyptic scenery reminiscent of the Mad Max trilogy.

Son Of God and the Flood of Christian, Biblical Movies in 2014

Son of God marks the first time in more than 15 years since a major Hollywood studio has put major money into a movie aimed at depicting the life of a biblical character, since 1997’s The Prince of Egypt about Moses.

20th Century Fox is releasing Son of God, a movie version of the Gospel portion of The Bible that aired on The History Channel in Spring 2013. In December, they’re scheduled to release Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses.

Sony Pictures has Heaven is for real scheduled for release in April. It’s based on the popular book telling the story of a boy who died, went to heaven, and came back to tell about it.

Warner Bros. has its own Moses movie, Gods and kings, in the works, but no release date has been set. They had hoped to get Steven Spielberg to direct, but he turned them down. And, there is talk at MGM about a remake of one of the greatest Christian epics ever made, Ben-Hur.

Empowering Epics of Faith & Values

The 22nd Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry honored the best, most family-friendly, and most inspiring movies and television programs of 2013 at its annual awards show, held last month in the Grand Ballroom of the Universal Hilton Hotel.
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Grace Unplugged and The Bible took home the two $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for the Most Inspiring Movie and TV Program of 2013. Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Epiphany Prizes honor the best movie and television program that “greatly increase man’s love or understanding of God.”

Love vs. Lust: Transforming the Culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Tolerating self-destructive or socially destructive behavior in our children is not a sign of love, but hate, as well as parental neglect. If a child has a propensity to beat themselves or beat other children, the parents are required by love to intervene and help the child get over such abhorrent, intolerable behavior. To do anything less is a sign of child abuse!

Our narcissistic society is on the brink of stewing in the vile juice of its own self-destructive behavior. Consequently, we seem to have forgotten what love entails.

God calls us all to love our neighbor as ourselves, both Jew and Gentile. That divine call entails helping ourselves and our neighbors get over intolerable destructive behavior, such as violence against the innocent, alcoholic stupors and perverting our children’s innocent hearts and minds by frankly intervening and correcting such behavior in a manner that brings about significant change or repentance (see Lev. 19:17,18).

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Next: Savouring pictorial entertainement

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  • Obligatory Noah Thread (scottpaeth.typepad.com)
    Having devoted valuable time and bandwidth to God Is Not Dead, it is, I suppose, behoovenly for me to say just a bit about Noah. These days, of course, I seldom get to see movies that aren’t streaming on Netflix, so I’m no more likely to get out ot see Noah than God Is Not Dead, nevertheless, in both cases I’m fascianted by the zeitgeist surrounding them.
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    Tony offers a lot of plot details in his review, but does not reveal the outcome of what is the actual spiritual core of the film — Noah’s crisis of faith in the aftermath of the flood. This is the thematic hook on which the movie rises or falls, and I suspect that the very idea that Noah may experience any kind of a crisis is at the heart of evangelical objections to the movie.

  • Bible Films ‘Noah’ and ‘Son of God’ Are Competing for Christian Audiences This Spring (thewire.com)
    The first two so-called Bible films of the year have very different backgrounds and intents. Son of God is produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who also made The History Channel’s Bible miniseries. The pair are capitalizing on the commercial success of that miniseries by releasing the mix of re-purposed and new footage from The Bible as a film. And they’re also Christians, making a Christian movie. On the other hand, Noah is not an explicitly Christian film, although it has its basis in a well-known biblical story, to which it remains rather faithful. Aronofsky, it should be noted, did not make Noah to glorify God, or to promote religious belief. He was understandably opposed to his studio’s efforts to repackage the film in the editing booth for a conservative Christian audience. 
  • Thoughts on “Noah” (pianonate.wordpress.com)
    By and large, the movie is fantasy. (And I firmly believe in the Flood account of Genesis!) But this no doubt plays like a “Lord of the Rings” or “Clash of the Titans” film. This is not an attempt to re-create the events as they actually were, a la “The Passion of the Christ”.
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    If the Bible is merely a collection of stories, as is often portrayed, than “Noah” is par for the course. But the Bible is more than that; it’s the story of God and how He redeems people.If the character of God; His holiness, justice, purity, is not explained, then the story makes no sense.If the Fall of man, and the pervasive nature of personal sin is not explained, then the story makes no sense.If God’s redemption plan is not clearly spelled out, especially in the light of the rest of Scripture, then the story makes no sense.
  • Does God Have A Prayer In Hollywood? (wreg.com)
    The National Religious Broadcasters insisted “Noah” include a disclaimer acknowledging the filmmakers took “artistic license” with the Bible story.Several Muslim countries have banned the movie, citing Islam’s injunctions against depicting prophets.Even Paramount, the studio releasing “Noah,” has agitated Aronofsky, testing at least five different versions of his film with focus groups.“I can understand some of the suspicion because it’s been 50 years since an Old Testament biblical epic has come to the big screen,” Aronofsky said recently. “And in that time a lot of films have come out of Hollywood that have rubbed people the wrong way.”

    2014 is supposed to be the year Tinsel Town reversed that trend and finally got religion.

  • Review: “Noah” (keithandthemovies.com)
    As a Christian myself there are certain things in the Bible where creative liberties have no place. That may not allow me to be the most objective critic of some Bible-based movies but it is a belief that is inseparable from who I am. On the other hand some stories from Scripture leave themselves open to interpretation while others may stir our imaginations by omitting many of the details. Such is the case with the story of Noah. The story of Noah and his ark takes up only a small portion of Scripture so there are definitely areas where our creative imaginations (in this case Aronofsky’s) may kick in. Yet you always look for respect of the spirit of the story and at least some type of adherence to the material.
  • The Christian Oscars (newyorker.com)
    Baehr has no interest in this year’s Academy front-runners: Movieguide called “American Hustle” “predominantly pagan,” and complained that “12 Years a Slave” portrays “a mean Christian who uses Scripture to justify slavery.” But that doesn’t concern him, as he has his own awards show: the twenty-second-annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala, which will be held tonight, at the Universal City Hilton, in Los Angeles. Better known in industry circles as The Christian Oscars, Baehr’s ceremony gives cash prizes to films and television programs that “increase man’s love and understanding of God.” Originally a fringe event, the gala has recently attracted the attention of the major studios, who come for Baehr’s annual report to the entertainment industry, which attempts to demonstrate a correlation between Movieguide-approved content and box-office revenue.
  • What’s at Stake in the ‘Noah’ Controversy (news.moviefone.com)
    various Christian organizations, including consulting firms that can help Hollywood market its films to Christians and ministries whose thumbs-up or thumbs-down will influence large numbers of congregants. So far, they’ve been wary of “Noah,” not just because of long-standing skepticism toward Hollywood, but because of reports since “Noah” was still just a screenplay that the film strays from scripture in ways that may rankle the faithful. Will Paramount’s disclaimer placate the Christian power brokers and the viewers they claim to speak for? And if it doesn’t, can the film succeed without them?
  • ABC’s Christian-Bashing Show Canceled (americanclarion.com)
    I like to think we humans developed the amygdala about the time we decided to climb down out of the  trees and live in holes in the ground and the sides of mountains and cliffs we later came to call caves.  I’m no anthropologists or biologist, or any other kind of “ologist,”  so I have no clue when the human amygdala became standard equipment.  So, I’m just winging it here.Still — smart people pay attention to the warnings from their amygdala.  A great number of those who didn’t — aren’t here any more. And a disproportionate number of those who still don’t today, will not be with us much longer.
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    the American people are, like that humming bow string I mentioned above, strung about as tight as they have ever been.  It won’t take much for then to utter an oath, grab their semi-automatic rifle, all the ammo they can carry,  and head for the swamps and woods and form up into organized resistance.  Many groups of citizens have already “formed-up.”  They are simply awaiting orders from headquarters.
  • Faith Films Win Box Office War (foxnews.com)
    It seems in 2011, pro-America sentiment mixed with conservative values and faith-centered themes equaled a hit.This according to an annual study conducted by the Christian-focused entertainment advocacy group Movieguide, which found that in 2011, American audiences preferred movies with strong conservative content and values over movies with liberal or left-leaning values by an almost six-to-one margin.The 760-page report claims that films with a conservative or pro-American edge, such as “Captain America,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Soul Surfer,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Battle: Los Angeles” raked in significantly more box office green than more liberal films like “Red State,” “Super 8,” “J. Edgar,” “Glee” and “Ides of March.”“People want good to overcome evil, justice to prevail over injustice and liberty to conquer tyranny. They respond to strong heroes and even strong heroines, but they are turned off by radical social engineering and big government programs,” Movieguide publisher Dr. Ted Baehr said of the report, which rates movies using several criteria such as “anti-communist content,” “strong biblical morality,” and “strong pro-capitalist content.”
  • Hollywood honors faith, family films (wnd.com)
    Since the mid-1980s Baehr’s Movieguide organization has been on a quest to completely transform the movie industry by revealing to Hollywood executives that positive-themed, faith and family-friendly films make significantly more money at the box office than their more salacious and often R-rated competitors.The quest has been hugely successful, as each successive Movieguide awards gala has enabled Baehr to present Hollywood’s power players with extensive studies proving America’s audiences would much rather watch faith than filth on the silver screen.And Hollywood, where money talks and box office receipts are king, has heard the message.
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