“Exodus – Gods and Kings”: a biblically based review

  Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.
Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus Gods and Kings

There is no question that Hollywood knows how to make big, beautiful, epic, blockbuster movies with wide appeal. In that regard they are second to none. With the release of the recent Biblical themed movies – the latest of which is Exodus – Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott, the question for Christians is has Hollywood learned, or more appropriately, recalled how to do Biblical themed movies that Christians will both enjoy and approve of? I say ‘recalled’ because of course Hollywood used to know how to make such movies. Anyone who has seen  Cecille B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments understands why it is regarded as the standard against which every other Biblical epic is judged.

To answer the question:  no, Hollywood has not learned or has chosen not to recall how to make movies Christians can both enjoy and approve of.  If Exodus – Gods and Kings is the gauge, then it’s clear Hollywood remains clueless in this regard – or perhaps more appropriately – remains willfully antagonistic toward the Christian messages inherent in Biblical themed movies.

This assessment stands in stark contrast to the article in Christianity Today
from which the caption (Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.) is derived. In that article, Brett McCracken wants to give you “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.”  Here’s my assessment in a nutshell:

For Ridley Scott, director of films such as Gladiator (2000),  Hannibal (2001) and American Gangster (2007) the account of the exodus is just another story. He could not possibly care less if it is a Biblical story that has theological meanings, symbolism and message. He doesn’t care if it is cherished by Jews and Christians the world over. He’s a story teller, and he’s going to do it his way. And do it his way he did.

After viewing the movie I sat down and wrote over 3 dozen inaccuracies and problems (from a Christian perspective) in the film without having to look hard or dig for them. What follows are what I consider to be 10 of the most egregious.  After that I’ve included commentary on the ten reasons that Brett McCracken thinks it’s okay to see the film.

Here are links to the two sections:
Spoiler Warning: – Many parts of the film are discussed – but if you’re familiar with the Exodus account, not much should be a surprise – other than the many changes Scott made.

 

Part I.  Ten Reasons to be Hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

 

Part II.  Brett McCracken’s  “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic” – in italics, followed by my comments.



Part I:
Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

1. No concern for Biblical authority
Right off the bat you know that there will be little regard for Biblical authority when the first thing you see is the time period: 1300 BCE. That date – known as the “late date” for the exodus is used because many scholars date the exodus to 1270 BC during the reign of Ramses II.  (In passing, BCE – Before the Common Era – is used by those who don’t want to acknowledge the Christ in BC – Before Christ.) Scholars who affirm the 13th century date do so disregarding recent archeological evidence1, and more importantly the testimony of scripture which says:

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Bombs, design and Spiritual Blindness

Where is the outrage over hundreds of bombs raining down on Israeli cities, and the oft stated intentions of Muslim  radicals to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

How long would the United States tolerate terrorists bombing its capital Washington DC, or its financial center New York City? Well we  already know the answer don’t we? When terrorists attacked the US on September 11, 2001 the US response was swift. On September  20, 2001 President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” and later vowed to capture the mastermind Osama bin Laden “dead or  alive.”1 That sentiment resonated with the American voters and helped win him a second term. That was after one attack on a single day with four targets.

What would the response be if terrorists were raining down bombs by the hundreds over months and years?2 What if they  regularly made statements to totally eradicate every last American? I submit the answer is obvious.  Americans wouldn’t tolerate it, and would  demand swift, decisive military action to eliminate the threat – as President Bush initiated against the war on terror. There would be no tolerance for hiding in bomb shelters  nor a felt need to moderate the force used against the terrorists.

Why then does anyone have a problem with Israel’s actions to defend itself? Why the continued calls for Israel to back down on  their defensese? Why the sympathetic articles towards the terrorist group Hamas by liberal papers like the The Washington Post? Why is the world, (not to mention her ally the United States), not rallying behind Israel supporting her 150%,? The answer is easy: As one Israeli Christian put it,

“…it is the very height of hypocrisy that the West, which sheds crocodile tears over the horrors faced by Christians in Iraq and Syria, then  turns around and condemns Israel for defending its people against the very same horrors.”3

But why the hypocrisy? Another easy answer: Spiritual Blindness. The type of blindness that prevented the Pharisees from acknowledging that Jesus had  healed a man born blind in fulfillment of prophecy and thus both demonstrating and asserting that he is the messiah.4

It’s the same type of spiritual blindness that keeps evolutionists from seeing all the evidences of design in God’s creation; that keeps big bang supporters from  recognizing that you can not get a universe out of nothing; and the same type of blindness that keeps atheists who are angry with God from seeing that  anger or disappointment over some evil in the world does not mean that God does not exist.

Scripture records Jesus reaction on one occasion to the stubbornness and  spiritual blindness of  those who refuse to answer even a simple a question lest their error and hypocrisy be revealed:

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…
Mark 3.5

If you deny Israel’s right of self defense, or obvious things like the fact that universes don’t pop out of nothing, don’t be surprised to get this reaction from a Christian.

Let me close with a reminder to Christians:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.
Ps 122.6

Duane Caldwell | posted 7/31/2014 | Print format


 

Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive USAToday 12/14/2001 
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/12/14/bush-binladen.htm

2  Hamas has showed Israel with hundreds of  bombs with the intent to kill as many as possible – regarless of whether civilian, women or children and have targeted the capital  Jerusalem, and the financial center Tel Aviv.

Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Jerusalem Post 7/8/2014http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Iron-Dome-intercepts-second-rocket-over-greater-Tel-Aviv-361994

This tweet puts the number of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel at 3034 since the start of Operation Protective Edge
https://twitter.com/israelunderfire/statuses/495544304723451904

Israeli Christian Spokesman: Enough With Western Hypocrisy! Israel Today 7/30/2014
http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=24801

4   John 9.1-41;  Isaiah 42.1-7