I love movies. My wife and I have a fairly decent sized collection of movies which we very much enjoy. We also rent movies, and we’re careful to check the movie ratings label on the back to see what kind of content to expect. That is probably a peculiar practice for two adults who don’t yet have children, but it happens nonetheless. And it got me thinking…
If the Bible were faithfully made into a (very epic) movie, what would it be rated and what content descriptors would that rating carry with it?
With the first appearance of man we would have “nudity.” And this would be real nudity, not the artsy kind where tree branches, flowers, or various other things just happen to be acting as a covering. Adam & Eve would have no reason to hide themselves and a faithful movie would have to depict that. There was no shame in their nudity. But there was nudity, and it would certainly be mentioned on the back of the box.
And before long, another descriptor would need to be added, as Adam & Eve “knew” each other. A faithful movie would have to depict that–it is just as much a part of the Word of God as “let there be light” so why shy away from it? And so we would add “sexual content.” We might also add “sensuality” at this point as well; it’ll be there anyway once Song of Solomon showed up on screen.
Moving on, we have more characters introduced in this movie, a pair of brothers by the name of Cain and Abel. We all know their tale, and so we should not be surprised that “violence” would need to be added to our movie’s box.
Let’s skip ahead to the time of the flood. Here we have sons of God mating with daughters of men, resulting in giants. And the thoughts of men become increasingly and continually wicked. And a great flood covers the earth, resulting in the drowning of countless men, women, and children. I think it’d be safe to call all of these things “thematic elements” and depending on the realism of millions drowning and what a flood would look like littered with countless dead men and animals, we might also add “disturbing imagery” to the list.
We could jump forward a fair bit to the Judges, where we learn of Ehud thrusting a sword into a man so fat that the entire sword entered his body, his fat closing in around the handle. Depending on the translation of the Bible used, either the exit point for the sword would make sitting down a very difficult task or the man’s waste matter was spilled as a result of the wound. Perhaps the “violence” descriptor should be upgraded to “strong violence” or even “strong pervasive violence” in light of the many battles depicted in the Bible and the many, many millions (or even billions, in light of Revelation) that would die as a result of them.
As Judas’ bowels burst forth on a rock and blood flows like a river in Revelation, we should probably note that this movie would contain “gore” as well.
Satan would certainly have a part in this movie, as would his demons, witches, and so on. “Demonic imagery” should certainly be noted.
Sorcerers are mentioned as well, and they were the “drug dealers” of their day, druggists or poisoners who perhaps used psychedelic drugs to make people think they were communicating with lost loved ones or whatever. At the very least, let’s add “drug references” to our list of descriptors.
I’m certain the list could go on for quite a while.
Movies are often criticized by Christians for their “adult content,” but it doesn’t take laborious research to discover that much (if not more) of the same content can be found within the pages of Holy Writ. Is reading it that much different than seeing it on screen? If one is really getting into the Bible, his imagination will fill in the visual part of it anyway, would it not?
The Passion of the Christ comes to mind; on more than one fundamentalist Christian website I saw the very idea of a Christian movie containing so much violence and blood as being completely and utterly wrong. But the Bible says that Jesus was beaten and whipped even more so than the movie depicted for the Bible says He was unrecognizable after His beatings. In the movie, that wasn’t the case.
Perhaps Christians think that if they see certain things on screen, it somehow corrupts them. How could a gory movie possibly corrupt me? It isn’t real. It isn’t even a depiction of something real. But the Bible describes real incidents which were really gory and in some instances very, very, very bloody. Is imaginary gore bad but real gore okay? Or is it simply a matter of visual versus mental? I don’t know about you, but mentally imagining gore is just about the same as actually seeing it. The difference is mostly of source–the mind or the eye.
As far as I know, most of you reading this enjoy movies; I’m willing to make that assumption. So, the next time someone criticizes you for the movies you watch, ask them how they enjoy “The Bible — Rated ___ for Nudity, Strong Pervasive Violence, Gore, Adult Content, Strong Sexual Content, Drug References, Disturbing and Demonic Imagery, Thematic Elements, and whatever else you can honestly add.” The rating itself I will leave up to you to fill in. Would a movie with all of these manage the R rating? Or would it be even more restricted?
How would you rate such a movie?
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