In my last post I talked about the importance of the Bible and the way that it can (and will if you let it) shape our lives and destinies. On the flip side of this observation, We can also examine things that might negatively affect how we view God. And yes, they are all around us.
This became quite apparent as I sat in a movie theater last week watching the movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” As a person who is fairly well studied in the Old Testament, I was pretty much appalled at the way in which the biblical narrative of the Exodus was portrayed. I love the book of Exodus and the message it conveys. The movie fell short in portraying ANY biblical meaning. Sure, there was a guy named Moses. The setting was mostly Egypt. There were some disasters (plagues); and, there was a character named Ramses II. That is pretty much where the similarities disappear. God is portrayed as a ten year old boy. Moses saw the face of God. Never once did Moses approach Pharaoh and demand that he “Let my people go.” Moses did not have a staff, but rather, a sword. There was no Pillar of fire or smoke leading the people! This list is far short of all the discrepancies I found while watching it. I could make these distinctions because I am familiar with the biblical account.
I guess I could go on and on bashing the movie. And really, Exodus demands bashing by anyone familiar with the original story. A recent movie entitled “Noah” is also an example of yet another Hollywood fantasy in need of bashing. Instead, I suggest that we look more closely at the ways in which we receive the story. After all, you each make decisions about truth based on “the way you see it.” Just how do you see it? The picture at the top of the page has a quote that says “Truth is so obscured nowadays and lies so well established that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it. -Blaise Pascal.” What he is saying is that we need to search for truth and be diligent in sorting out the lies. There were lots of lies in Exodus(the movie)! How exactly then does one sort out the lies? How will you determine the truth? Will you allow the movie Exodus to alter the way in which you view the Bible?
Christians will generally affirm that the Holy Bible is truthful in all things to which it speaks. There are some arguments out there about infallibility and inerrancy. But, that’s not the point in this article. The point is that the Bible is foundational to our understanding God and the world around us. In my last article I talked about wisdom found in the Bible. Christians have found that the wisdom literature, if followed in daily life, works. It lends credibility to the rest of the Bible. Spiritual experiences also affect our view of the truthfulness of the Bible. Archaeological work, historical work, and analysis of available scriptural texts further confirm the legitimacy of the Bible. I don’t have enough ink in my computer to go through all of that. I will just say that I am convinced that the original story of Exodus is “as written” by the author.
Moses is generally credited as being the author of Exodus. It was recorded as a way to preserve the story of God’s mighty works in honoring his Covenant with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Passover celebration was commanded by God to preserve this story; and, Judaism revolves around it. The account is referenced over and over in other parts of the Bible (including the New Testament!). In any case, I am inclined to believe that the original account as recorded in the book of Exodus comes closest to being the truth. After all, it is straight from the guy who lived through it and experienced firsthand the mighty works of God in delivering his people. Rotten Tomatoes is a website that rates movies and reviews them. Here is what they say in their review at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/exodus_gods_and_kings/: “While sporadically stirring, and suitably epic in its ambitions, Exodus: Gods and Kings can’t quite live up to its classic source material.” Even they recognize the source material as authoritative. The movie falls quite short of being truthful. It does not in any way, shape, or form convey the message Moses intended for his readers.
I guess one could object and say “But it’s based on the Bible” so it has to be good. Well, Satan is mentioned in the Bible too and his goal is to deceive you and the word of God. He wants you to believe the lie because it takes away from God’s real message of salvation and deliverance.
So then, dear reader, you have a choice to make. What and who will you believe? Will you believe in the biblical account or a fantasy? These questions are equally applicable to other situations and not just in making a choice about the movie. What do you believe about marriage? How do you treat other people? Is salvation available to you? What is salvation? What is the nature of God? You can sit back and listen to whatever people are saying about such things. But, where and how does one sort out the lies?
I would suggest that the Bible is a great place to start. However, one must first be familiar with it and what it says. That will probably require reading it. That is the only way you can evaluate its truthfulness; and, it is the only way the Bible will shape your worldview! If you don’t have a Bible you can access one online. You can click on the “Resources” tab above and I have listed a few websites where good Bible versions are available. I suggest you might try the English Standard Version(ESV) as a starting point.
In my next installment, I will address the differences in various Bible versions.
©2014 Casey O.Hooper