My reaction to the movie “Noah” intrigues me. As a therapist I’ve had a bit of vicarious experience with violence. I know how addictive, how destructive to the human psyche it is, how quickly it can take over mind and emotions. So when God says, “Man has filled the earth with violence…Every thought of his heart is only evil continually,”* why do I, along with many of my friends, want to soften “Noah”? Saying, “It wasn’t like that!”?
Are we in danger of pacifying evil so we don’t have to look at how destructive, how bleak, how sick and bad it really is? So we dismiss this dark, bleak picture by saying, “It’s Hollywood, what do you expect?” And we go back to our sweet focus on the toy ark with its colorful animals and a rainbow over it.
I really do hate watching or hearing about violence, but our culture doesn’t seem to. I was happy the director muted it as much as he did. I’ve heard of much more graphic depictions in the name of entertainment. And with the perspective and the story-line the producers went with, they had to get creative to fill in the gaps. They made it work psychologically. I don’t have a problem with poetic license, people can read the real story, so what is my problem? Why did I find the movie so disturbing?
Maybe it’s that we don’t relate to that kind of barbarianism any more. We don’t think it could happen to us. Kill all the trees and all the people that don’t agree with us? Yet both are happening.
For sure the picture of God portrayed leaves me wanting more, but I did like that even Noah wasn’t immune to twisting the message, getting it straight in the end. And choice is shown as pivotal, powerful, progressive, sometimes painful, and permanent.
I think it’s deeper. I think the movie’s perspective of evil is too obvious. I think evil is more deceptive than total smog, a bare earth and primitive, blood-thirsty people. I think it’s more insidious.
For example, do you know that sex addiction can go into violence addiction very quickly? Just had another client struggling with that. Or that grief or loss or anger can mask as sex addiction? (Have one with that too.) And what about making everyone think like you do? Or worse, like the church does? That’s created evil and violence.
Jesus’ worst problems came from his own church. They killed him because he bucked the system, he didn’t live by or teach all their rules. He taught that God is love and the best love relationship we can have–that God will meet all our needs–emotional, spiritual, physical. He said God’s way is the only way to life.
In some wierd, understated way, that was the message of “Noah”.
But I’d like to see someone picture it as more “civilized“, more advanced than we are, and yet stuck in the violence of having our own way, ignoring God. Because Jesus said that when he comes back it will be like the days of Noah–“eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and didn’t know they were in danger until the flood came and swept them away.”** Noah didn’t need protection from the people because they thought he was crazy…until the flood came.
The scariest evil is two kinds: mindlessness, and destruction that masquerades looking good, tasting good, feeling good to us, or destruction judged righteous by us.
*Genesis 6:5 , **Matthew 24:37-38
For more on deceptive evil see my book: The Worst Evil–Losing Yourself http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad