I’m a Christian and I think ‘Noah’ deserves a four star review

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On Friday, my wife and I had a very rare date night.

Naturally, we decided to spend it being pummeled by the blaring condescension of the most insipid, absurd, unimaginative, clumsily contrived piece of anti-Christian filmmaking to come along since, well, probably just last week.

In fact, if I learned anything from Noah, it’s this: despite popular perception, you can often judge a book by its cover. Also, giant deformed rock monsters make for awkward supporting characters.

We’ll meditate on that second item in a moment, but it’s the first point that should be especially emphasized.

Christians: you’ll hear people insist that you can’t criticize the movie until you’ve seen it. Noticeably, the loudest voices in this camp are the ones who will (rather coincidentally, I’m sure) profit immensely if you meet their challenge.

Don’t.

Don’t bother.

You can hate this film without watching it, for the same reason that you can assume Citizen Kane is slightly superior to Need For Speed, without having seen either of them.

Just use context clues. Use your judgment. Use your money on something else.

Noah is a major Hollywood blockbuster, made by an atheist director best known for his previous flick where a mentally disturbed lesbian ballerina goes insane and bleeds to death on stage. Already, a critical person might be slightly concerned about his handling of the Bible, considering what he just did to the ballet.

These concerns grew from suspicion to reality before it was even released, when the man himself came out publicly and professed Noah to be both an environmentalist propaganda piece, and the “least Biblical” Bible film ever made.

He wasn’t lying.

But he forgot to mention that it’s also a terrible film.

The way I figure it, I must now convince at least two people to skip this movie in order to cancel out the twenty dollars I just contributed to Darren Aronofosky’s and Russel Crowe’s coffers.

What better way to do that than by spoiling the entire thing?

So here goes a thorough synopsis and spoiler, which will hopefully quell your curiosity and alleviate any urge you might feel to go and experience this ridiculous train wreck for yourself:

We are first introduced to the Noah of Noah on a hill in the barren wasteland of the Fallen. In a captivating and subtle initial sequence, our protagonist castigates his son for pulling a flower out of the ground, right before rushing to the aid of an injured dog.

A scraggly band of Bad Guys soon show up with the wicked intentions of devouring the animal’s flesh, because, in this story, the Height of Evil is to stave off your imminent starvation by hunting wild game. (If only they’d developed Noah’s ability to be a strict vegetarian in an environment almost entirely devoid of vegetation.)

The Bad Guys attack Noah, not realizing that he’s a vegan Martial Arts master. Noah proceeds to kick some serious butt, leaving all of the Bad Guys bleeding on the ground.

One of them looks up at him in awe and terror. “What do you want?”

“Justice,” Noah growls with a determined gaze.

I was expecting him to then whisper, “I’m Batman,” and disappear, but I realized that superhero movies wouldn’t have dialogue nearly so clichéd as this embarrassing farce.

At any rate, Noah wants justice. Of course, this is coming from the same dude who will spend the rest of the movie contemplating murder-suicide and threatening to stab babies in the face.

But, hey, nobody’s perfect.

After a troubling nightmare, Noah, for unclear reasons, sets off to find his grandfather Methuselah, who, for unclear reasons, hangs out in a cave and drinks hallucinogenic tea all day.

On the way, our heroes encounter a group of the aforementioned Rock Monsters.

The Rock Monsters — a cross between the Ents from The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, and Muppets — are fallen angels who came down to Earth to help the humans after mean ol’ God cast Adam and Eve out of Eden. The ‘Creator’ was ticked at the angels for being big softies, so he cursed them and turned them into Giant Stone Gumbies.

Christian apologists for this movie have claimed that the Rock Monsters are, in fact, “Biblical” because Genesis does make vague mention of “giants.”

That’s like turning Jesus into an Olympic figure skater and calling it “theologically accurate” because the New Testament says he walked on water.

Still, the Rock Monsters are great unintentional comic relief, so I certainly wasn’t upset to have them along for the ride.

Skimming over a few parts: Methuselah gives a roofie to Noah, prompting a hallucination about the ark. Noah and the gang and the Rock Monsters then start building the ark. More Bad Guys arrive, intending to takeover, but they’re scared off by the Rock Monsters.

In this “version” of the story, only one of Noah’s sons, Shem, boards the ark with a wife. Ham, completely wife-less, is a tad displeased at the notion of default celibacy for the rest of his life.

Understandable, I suppose.

Eventually, he runs pouting into the woods, falls into a hole filled with corpses, and finds a girl sitting among all the dead people. They fall instantly in love — the classic “how we met” story — and the two of them head back to the ark. Unfortunately, Ham’s girlfriend gets caught in a bear trap and trampled by a human stampede along the way. Classic breakup story. Noah forces Ham to abandon her and leave her to die.

Ham is mad. He pouts some more.

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Here’s Ham, searching ditches and mass graves for a bride. The movie apparently takes place sometime before Match.com came into existence.

Noah also pouts. Everybody is pouting. And then it starts pouring.

As the rains begin, the Bad Guys make their climactic charge on the boat. We are then treated to an extended sequence of Rock Monsters swatting swarms of drowning people.

Interestingly, only the Main Bad Guy comes up with the clever idea to, you know, go around the Rock Monsters.

The Main Bad Guy’s genius maneuver pays off, and he successfully manages to sneak onto the ark.

Luckily, Noah and crew aren’t forced to make room on the ship for the Rock Monsters, because they’re all ascended into heaven as a reward for kicking a bunch of humans in the head for twenty minutes.

Sadly, all of the (unintended) levity and humor goes up right along with them.

The rest of the film will now be dedicated to a brooding Noah glumly obsessing over his belief that the Creator wants all human beings to perish — himself and his family included.

This forces him to have that difficult family meeting where he explains to his kids that humanity is wicked and they all must die.

But, as usual, it’s right when you plan the obliteration of mankind that your adopted daughter announces she’s pregnant. We’ve all been there. Am I right, parents?

Noah is less than happy about the news, and tells Shem and Ila that, if they have a girl, he will murder it the moment it is born.

Needless to say, Noah doesn’t attend the baby shower and things are generally pretty awkward for the next nine months.

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Meanwhile, as Noah plots to murder his grandkids, and Shem plots to kill Noah if he tries, the Bad Guy stowaway is also plotting with Ham to kill Noah. Ham is willing to cooperate with the homicidal plan because he’s still upset that his girlfriend of four minutes was trampled to death. Essentially, this has become a floating soap opera. Think Days of Our Lives meets Waterworld.

Side note: If you doubt the Bad Guy Credentials of the Bad Guy, the writers made sure to include a scene where he bites the head off an endangered lizard while sermonizing about the glories of being a carnivore (this is how vegetarians see the rest of us). His Bad Guy Monologue consists entirely of simply and accurately quoting Scripture (this is how you identify the bad guy in a Hollywood movie).

The next several minutes of emotional-manipulation-disguised-as-plot-development center around the drama inevitably created when a dad wants to kill his grandchildren, and all of his children want to kill him in return.

Finally, in the predictable climax, the Bad Guy tries to stab Noah, but Ham — getting cold feet over the whole patricide thing, I guess — ultimately decides to kill the Bad Guy instead. In the midst of the chaos — wouldn’t ya know it? — Ila goes into labor.

Shem makes a halfhearted attempt to stop Noah from becoming humanity’s first abortionist, but is easily tossed to the side.

Ila gives birth to twins — both girls. GASP. Noah charges at the infants with knife in hand, but has a sudden change of heart. Even though the Creator wants him to wipe out all of humanity, he refuses.

That’s when they hit land.

Next thing you know, Noah is drunk in a cave, depressed that he didn’t have the guts to murder his twin granddaughters. Ah, regrets. We all have ’em.

Following a pep talk from Ila, Noah decides that maybe it’s OK if people repopulate the Earth. The Creator decides to go along with this new plan.

The end.

I’ve heard the movie compared to Titanic and Gladiator. Personally, I’d say it’s more of a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and The Shining. Only far less coherent than any of them.

I’ve also heard some “Christian leaders” endorse this steaming pile of heretical horse manure. I’m tempted to accuse them of being cowardly, dumb, or dishonest, but I’ll just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they slept through the most troubling parts — like the part at the beginning, and the end, and all of the parts in between.

It’s true that it might be a bit difficult to discern the “message” in a film so filled with explosions (the Bad Guys have bazookas, naturally), monsters, and infanticide, but any supposed Christian “leader” ought to try a little harder. Pay a little closer attention. If you do, you’ll see a tale that entirely perverts the nature of God, while flipping sin and immorality on its head.

Aside from a brief glimpse of something that appeared to be either rape or cannibalism, wickedness is portrayed as mostly a matter of eating meat and mining the earth for resources. Noah — a righteous man in the Bible — is stripped of his righteousness in favor of obsessiveness. God is stripped of any characteristics at all, apart from vindictiveness.

It’s not that ‘Noah’ strays from the text — of course it does, the actual text is only a few pages long — it’s that the movie completely and utterly distorts the message and meaning of the original story.

This movie is not an adaptation of anything at all. As far as I can tell, both Noah the Movie and Noah the Bible story have in common: a guy named Noah, a boat, some animals.

That’s it.

If you’re looking for a movie more obviously inspired by Biblical precepts, go see anything else. Go see The Lego Movie. I’m sure even that will bear a closer resemblance to Scripture than emo Noah and his gang of Boulder Creatures.

But what if you don’t care about the Bible and you just want to see a good movie? The critics seem to love this film, don’t they?

Yes, they do. They love it because they’re a herd of politically correct cattle and this is a movie that they’re ‘supposed’ to like. It’s made by an ‘important’ director. It’s ‘controversial.’ It’s upsetting a bunch of Tea Party types.

Plot and script be damned; it’s already got all the necessary ingredients for critical acclaim.

Remember, these are many of the same critics who panned The Passion of the Christ — a beautiful, bold, and mesmerizing retelling of the greatest story ever told.

Politics and theology aside, The Passion is art. Noah is a marketing strategy.

And, in fairness, maybe it ought to be reviewed on those terms.

You can’t condemn it for being a poor Biblical adaptation, because it isn’t a Biblical adaptation.

You can’t condemn it for being a bad movie, because it isn’t a movie.

It must be considered as it is: a gimmick. A brilliant gimmick, for sure.

If the movie studio wanted to spin a yarn about mythical beasts, epic battles, homicidal sea captains, and a pagan Earth god, they could have done so. They could have called it anything. They could have told their own story. But they called it Noah because they knew that the supposed connection to the Bible would garner immediate fascination. They knew there would be controversy, and controversy sells.

They padded it with enough action movie clichés to draw interest from secular crowds, they hid the outright blasphemy well enough to please gullible Christian crowds, and they mocked Biblical theology blatantly enough to delight the critics.

They came up with a way to make millions while exploiting the various sensibilities of different audience demographics.

That was their first and primary intention, and in it they succeeded wildly.

As an adaptation or retelling of Judeo-Christian theology, it’s a blatant mockery.

As a film, it’s like the script for a Syfy Network miniseries got shoved into a blender with the treatment for a Lifetime channel made-for-TV movie and then mixed with enough moping nihilism and environmentalist sermonizing to fool pretentious elitists into using words like ‘daring’ and ‘relevant’ when describing it. In other words, it’s aggressively abysmal.

But, as a money-making ploy, it’s a downright masterpiece.

Final assessment:

Four Stars for marketing

No Stars for quality, substance, coherence, meaning, or theological accuracy.

 

*******

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2,784 Responses to I’m a Christian and I think ‘Noah’ deserves a four star review

  1. Pingback: Noah’s Ark (2014) | Thoughts from Lover of Blue

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  3. Bryn says:

    ??????? I, I just cant even formulate an argument because I am so stunned by your obvious lack of critical knowledge. The fact it had nothing to do with the bible and Christianity was the greatest thing the creators could do, It made me want to watch and enjoy it, as supposed to cry and throw up. I may seem to be coming on to strong and mean but its just because I loved this movie, of course I respect your opinion and right to express it, I just think it is sadly misled by your obvious great faith in a fairytale. Also, saying the bible is the best story ever is like saying that Tely Tubbies is political, and the passion of the Christ wasn’t art it was a madman trying to make money from religious people, I mean its a movie about torture! Noah was, simply put, amazing. I will not even start on my views on religion because I will be here for days. Although I greatly disagreed with you on the subject, I still enjoyed reading your review, it was light (Most of the time), funny, well written and very Intelligent, I was laughing allot of the time even though I was fuming with disagreement.

    Thank you for respecting my opinion as I have tried yours.
    -Bryn

    • deelilynn says:

      You left a fairly respectful comment to Matt and even the closing statement of: “Thank you for respecting my opinion as I have tried yours.” and then you leave a cruel rant to another commenter here asking him if he’s F’d up in the head and calling him an idiot because of his Christian beliesf. Hypocrite much, Bryn??

    • Nate says:

      I love how you, as deelilynn noted, use a very flattering format, and then proceed to basically take a large dump on the entire article without any decent reasoning whatsoever.

      The entirety of your arguments amounts to opinions and statements, which, quite frankly, makes me want to cry and throw up. (See what I did there? Same format, different message, equally relevant – as in, not at all.)

      I don’t think we need to wonder about your religious beliefs, as they obviously scream atheist in my opinion. Newsflash: if you think you’re being original, and are one of the few to have seen the light, (or lack thereof) Buddhism beat you to it, as the first religion to believe that there are, in fact, no deities of any kind. (actually, ‘modern’ atheism sounds like an exact copy almost of ancient Buddhism. Go figure.)
      Thing is, ancient buddhism almost doesn’t exist anymore, ask any Buddhist if there is anything more than this world and they’ll say yes. Be it reïncarnation, deities, the afterlife, whatever.

      Also, you state that you “will not even start on my views on religion because I will be here for days.”
      I highly doubt it. Most people that have said this to me (which are quite a few) turned out to be done talking about religion in about half an hour. (this includes repetition.)
      Also, please do realise that atheism is a religion on itself, and not a very theologically sound one at that. (read Tim Keller’s “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism”, he makes a few very interesting points on nihilism, atheism etc.)
      So I’d like to actually challenge that statement: please do tell me about your views on religion, all you like, but do realise that atheism is also a religion, and you’re prone to insulting yourself when you actually make a point “against religion”.

      Also, I never really understood your following statement… You stated that

      “The fact it had nothing to do with the bible and Christianity was the greatest thing the creators could do, It made me want to watch and enjoy it, as supposed to cry and throw up.”

      Besides the latter part, how is making a movie titled “Noah” with obvious references to the biblical story, that isn’t actually about that, any better? That’s like making a movie titled “the Hunger Games: Blazing Inferno” with all the main characters on the cover, calling it a sequel, yet it being a romantical drama set on Jupiter between two martians that happened to meet there, with no actual link to the Hunger Games trilogy whatsoever other than “fantasy, same actors, romance”.
      In the latter Hunger Games case, the movie would’ve been taken out of cinema’s for being a blatant ripoff, selling something it doesn’t deliver. The movie basically tells you it’s going to be about the Biblical Noah, yet it’s really just something completely different.
      Wouldn’t you be mad if they made a sequel of the Hunger Games that had nothing whatsoever to do with the franchise?

      “Also, saying the bible is the best story ever is like saying that Tely Tubbies is political”

      I could just as easily say “also, not thinking the Bible is the best book ever is like saying golf is an action movie with robots in it.”
      Once again something you can say in the streets, but written on a forum it looks like a kindergartener fiddled with a keyboard. I’m not trying to insult you, I just hope to make you how completely ignorant this sounds.

      “and the passion of the Christ wasn’t art it was a madman trying to make money from religious people, I mean its a movie about torture! ”

      And Black Swan is a movie about a bisexual suicidal ballerina that cut herself and died on stage! But we call that movie art, (I actually mildly enjoyed that movie, to be honest) so why would you be so condescending as to say “The Passion” is not?
      By the way, the same could be said for most action movies, “it’s not art, it’s just about killing people!”

      Then again, I quite liked your comment, it was simply hilarious, quite a light read, very emotional, even though it left me with a headache.

      Thank you for respecting my opinion (or at least, this I expect of you) as I have tried yours. (yet questioned)
      -Nate.

      PS: Please don’t say people have a critical lack of knowledge in the first line, that’s really rude, and the first reason I contemplated making a comment.

    • Well I say this movie is a complete abomination and a disgrace to the bible. I mean for my opinion this movie has no ties to the biblical story of Noah and I wouldn’t say the bible is the greatest story either but I read it and just like any good story that I read and watch at the movie theater I would like to see that there is a connection to the story and the movie if there is not then they should have called it something else. I would have to give this movie half a star because its not related to the bible at all.

    • Rob McKay says:

      I agree with you Bryn. I saw the film last night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a Christian (LDS). It poses the question: is humanity worth saving? It highlighted an environmental and vegan philosophy. It showed Noah to be a real human being facing huge challenges that are similar to problems we face today.

    • Colleen G. says:

      Bryn,
      Hello first time on this page, I saw Noah when it came out and to this day it bothers me. It was hard to watch it, and I would have just walked out (but went with a family member who does not share my faith-and didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable). So I searched wondering if anyone felt the same. Bryn you enjoyed the movie-sure it was entertaining and had lots of cool action packed scenes. You don’t understand how offensive that film was, and I feel it was just so horrible and any ‘christian’ who gives it a positive review I wonder who they are really serving while on earth. Bryn I will try to tell you, so you can understand and seize telling people about ‘their’ lack of knowledge…once you’re a Christian you have this amazing love for this man Jesus, for His father, and in a moment whatever you thought you knew or who you were, it no longer matters. It is not condemnation or hate that brings you to Jesus it is love, a love Shakespeare couldn’t convey on his best day.This film distorts and perverts the only reason why I am here on this earth, okay. It makes it dirty, and hated. It is like you are married and you love your husband immensely, and you heard that someone has gone out and started making up the worst kind of lies and told everyone, and somehow to your surprise people support the lier!! That is what it is like. This movie is offensive, it has nothing to do the Noah from the Bible, and you don’t get it and I don’t blame you. You haven’t experienced that love, I pray that you will…because in that love is a freedom and peace and fullness unknown by many.
      -Colleen G.

  4. Anna says:

    I could go on for hours about why I cried laughing and whole-heartedly agreed with your assessment of Noah. What a terrible movie. Thank you for at least making it funny in hindsight!!!

    My favourite line: “If you’re looking for a movie more obviously inspired by Biblical precepts, go see anything else. Go see The Lego Movie. I’m sure even that will bear a closer resemblance to Scripture than emo Noah and his gang of Boulder Creatures.”

  5. thedmancometh says:

    Wow this article has taken on a life of its own.How many more days will my e mails be filled with this?But just not to be left out.Why don’t we see if we can get Hollyweed to make a movie about Mohammed and how Allah will one day rule the world under the Islamic Caliphate.On a show that I watched a couple times to see just how trashy it was;”South Park,” they made fun of Jesus and nothing happened,but when they dared to do Mohammed the threats poured in and it was taken off.Now the Muslim Brotherhood wants a third party,the terrorists have training camps all over America,the religious tolerance appointee is a Muslim and a radical,and Obama is promoting no guns for the mentally ill.So this article really is so insignificant when compared with the real world it puzzles me that people are keeping this going for this long.

    • deelilynn says:

      “How many more days will my e mails be filled with this?”

      You do have the ability of choice to manage your WordPress account and stop following this topic if it is so irritating to you 😉

  6. RaiderusMax says:

    I agree with writer, I went in with an open mind realizing this is far from a documentary so just enjoy it..and basically this movie needs to be named something else. Its basically a movie with good actors who have been put in a slapped together movie with 70s pschodelic parts, Hobbit creatures, and yes Noah himself turns into a dark psychopath bent on killing everyone…i was glad to see my fellow movie goers up and leave the movie..the first 5 min of this movie tells youo its gonna suck…beginning is like a b movie….i did enjoy it..when it comes to laughs this movie rules…its a huge joke…far below my expectations.. I saw Captain America a few days prior..Now thats a movie 🙂

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  8. John Whipp says:

    Thank You For Your Review Of “Noah”?, We Were Going To Go And See The Movie This Morning, But After Reading This, I Am disgusted With Hollywood Making Money From Christians By Naming The Movie After A Biblical Character When It Is Nothing Llke The Noah In The Bible.
    Also The People That Critisize Christians For Making A Stand Against Such Outrageous Movies, It Is About Time More Christians Did Stand Up Against What Is Wrong. If A Similar Movie Was Made About Mahommed And Allah, Then The Muslims Would Want Somebody’s Blood And Destroy Everything The Movie Stood For. I Am Not Saying We Should Do That, But As Christians It Is About Time That Verbally We Make A Stand For What Is Right And What Is Wrong, It Is Time To Stand Up For What We Really Believe In.
    John W.

    • Laura H. says:

      I am a born again Christian, and I was kind of hesitating to go and see this movie after all the bad reviews given by so many Christians. First, I want to say that I am very conservative in my views as well as I love Jesus, have read the Bible several times, and attend Church since I was 16. (I am 47 right now, and mother of 3). Having said that, I feel terrible for having even paid attention to so many bad reviews: The movie has MANY references to the Bible; in one scene, it even cites Genesis 1 and 2…exactly as it is in the Bible; Noah mentions several times that we MUST praise our Creator (and yes, one character (the little girl) mentions the word “God” (for those who said the movie doesn’t mention God!); the Bible doesn’t mention what happened during the months that Noah was inside the Ark, and the writer was imagining what could have happened: Trials, struggles, fights, etc. (I mean several months, living with people 24/7 there must have been all of that!); the evil man inside the ark, even though he was not there as flesh, represents the evil that I am sure could have still tried to make things inside the ark! The fallen angels (Watchers), even though these are not Biblical, they still teach us several things, and one of them is that they didn’t go to heaven UNTIL they had repented (meaning that God is so merciful that even if a person has been bad during all his life, if he repents even at the end, he will be going to heaven), etc.

      I would say that this is a Sci-Fi movie combined with a lot of what MIGHT have happened inside the ark, and with many Biblical references and Godly messages that might prompt a non-Christian to go and read the Bible. If you are a Christian, you would agree that this is better than watching a sci-fi movie with bad words and sex references…just think: If it were the story of Noah, like we have seen it so many times…would you had gone and seen it again?

      I mean, let’s support writers and Directors that could have talked about something else, but decided to talk about God and the Bible (in a very difficult environment like Hollywood)! Maybe that’s what Jesus would have done!

      • emarion says:

        I think it’s important to contemplate deeply when referencing a Bible topic. In fear that you yourself do not become a tool of satan. Hollywood has long been a source for unclean and deceitful teachings so no one should look to them for truth.
        It might have been better to just call it “Flood” at least then it would not have been blasphemy.

      • Colleen G. says:

        Laura I am 23 and haven’t been a Christian for too long, but I can discern what is of God and what is of Satan. This is not God, it is from the other guy. Also that fact that you felt you needed to put your ‘Christian resume’ up I find interesting. I am sure you have been a Christian for a long time, but without reading the Bible daily (and not for the sake of knowledge but to take in Christ) you are not going to be able to stand up in opposition to the things of the world. And I disagree it is better not to see the movie, than see the movie but walk away with a perverted and dirty view of God and the scripture. Last as a sister with you in Christ you know God does not take half-hearted people. You are either with God or against Him. Period. If you don’t have the boldness to fight for Him, you are against Him. Paul a great pattern and clear on that point. As he told the Corinthians BE ALERT LAURA! Don’t take a spiritual nap, and run on automated. BE ALERT!

  9. wiseoldtoad says:

    I laughed out loud reading this review…morality aside, movies of the last couple of years have been terrible. Hollywood is clearly taking advantage of the ill-read twitter generation to churn out mindless dialogue, boring CGI, and patched together plot lines. I like a review that calls the over-hyped garbage what it really is. And…it really makes me want to watch a good movie…like The Gladiator. Russell Crowe should have retired after his Gladiator / A Beautiful Mind phase was over.

    • Jackson says:

      wiseoldtoad,
      Did you think you were going to see a biopic of Noah? Perhaps with cameo appearances of Noah and his family? Followers of this blog can’t agree on much except what they hate…Obama, Liberals, Homosexuals, Planned Parenthood, Atheists, Hollywood, Wendy Davis….. Films are interpretations and adaptations of stories. This film is dark, a bit long and melodramatic, but not bad. Too bad Kirk Cameron didn’t star in this one, you would have loved it, and I would have avoided it. Thanks, Jackson

      • Colleen G. says:

        Jackson,
        Your mother never taught you not to stereotype? Well let me tell you the problem with stereotyping (aside from it being ignorant and mean) if just one person dissents- it throws it all off. I follow this blog, I am a Christian, I love Jesus, I voted for Obama…twice, I am a democrat, I think birth control is great, I am thankful for Planned Parenthood- I have family members who are poor and they can get checked for cancer and other medical conditions there, I live with my lesbian aunt-she lives near the college I go to so it is pretty awesome, (since I am sure you had ‘all Christians are stupid’ in there) let me add I am in senior in college- honors student about to get my BS degree in electrical engineering..so yeah I’m kinda smart. Your words I find offensive. It wasn’t that is was simply a ‘bad interpretation’ it was a lie. On that screen those writers and that director- lied. They took something I love and made it dirty, perverted, and ugly. Last its funny you’re here writing how much better you are compared to us ‘ol’ stupid Christians’ yet you’re the one who got played- in the end I know the truth.You watch 2 hours of crap and didn’t even notice.

        • Jackson says:

          Colleen G.,
          You need to read a few more of Matt’s posts before you accuse me of stereotyping. I appreciate that you at least saw the movie before hating it. I’m not trying to promote this film. My issue with most of Matt’s rants is the purpose, to get you to follow him. Don’t see this film, don’t vote for this person, don’t treat everyone equal and fair under the law because ‘I (Matt) say so’. I don’t agree with black listing whatever or whoever thinks differently than you. I don’t think Christians are stupid, I think people who follow blindly without questioning motives need to wake up. I’m for freedom for everyone. Keep your mind open to people and possibilities and decide for yourself. Congratulations on your education! Thanks, Jackson
          PS: Where did I say ‘stupid ole Christians’ in my post?

        • mo says:

          @ Jackson

          ” don’t treat everyone equal and fair under the law because ‘I (Matt) say so’. ”

          Show me where Matt has said or implied such a thing.

          I sick to death of your lies and slander. Back up your claims with evidence.

        • Jackson says:

          Mo,
          Well good, I’m sick of your haughty attitude and demand for facts. Especially since you have no evidence or facts for any of your claims. What an example of Christian piety. Thanks, Jackson

        • mo says:

          @ Jackson

          So, still no evidence, only name calling and projection.

          Frightening.

        • EdenRocks says:

          Mo / gildertree / jackson / david carpenter / whoever the hell else you pose as:

          You’re a disgusting human being, a plain troll; I see you’ve revealed your penultimate position, that is, parroting Dawkins.

          The wicked flee when none pursueth; so do you create multiple fake accounts to deceive people.

          I implore you to reach out to somebody to get help for yourself

          That is all

        • Jackson says:

          EdenRocks,
          Believe as you wish, superstitious nonsense with an imaginary father in the sky…it matters not. Don’t include my name and ‘Mo’ in the same list! She is one of you, not one of us. Reason and fact are our basis for living. Thanks, Jackson

        • EdenRocks says:

          You underestimate me. I’m used to dealing with the likes of you.

          I am a professional-level writer; I can easily discern when it is you, trolling. FYI

        • Jackson says:

          EdenRocks,
          “Professional level writer”…. LOL, that’s so cute! “Trolling?” Fits with the fairy tale aspect of your religion. I suppose the devil is the Big Bad Wolf? Well, little red edenrocks better get to grandma’s house. Those of us who live in reality have work to do. Thanks for the amusing interruption, Jackson

        • EdenRocks says:

          Your reality is that you manipulate several fake accounts to harass people on Matt’s blog.

          Besides that, psuedo-nihilism, which is complete nonsense.

          So, what have you said here, just now? Nothing.

        • Jackson says:

          EdenRocks,
          LOL…Did you forget to take your anti-psychotic pill? Thanks. Jackson

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          Pseudo-Nihilism
          – most of those that use the word, simply demand the attention it garners for them in their social circles.

          Pragmatically, it’s nothing but another puerile ploy for attention for those who have not (yet?) found their independence of belief.
          NIHILISM IS SANITY IN AN INSANE SOCIETY
          Religious believers and philosophers alike frequently ask the question, ‘does evil exist? What is the meaning of life? Does life have purpose? as if they need to be continually be reassured that it does and that we must agree with them.They state that people such as myself have no social mores or social convention or morality. How wrong they really are. Many fundamentalist Christians are completely convinced that evil is everywhere,and that for those who do not follow their views are damned for all eternity. Yet the same people are equally sure of luck, fate, and of mysterious malevolent powers out to defeat all their noble efforts. They believe in faith, but what is faith, it is the belief in something that cannot be proven! But all these imaginary influences are simply projections of a selfish ego. In fact, there is no natural evil, and no malicious intent exists within any forces of the universe.So their whole premise is asinine! The hypocrisy of their position has no boundaries!

        • EdenRocks says:

          Who are you imagining you’re talking to? Not me. I’m not “most”, you troll under the bridge, and that’s exactly what you are, a psuedo-nihilist; you can’t even begin to fathom what nihilism is ultimately. You’re a sad clown. I think I’m done here. Go ahead and have your baseless and sickening last word, from all of your fake accounts

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          You have got to be the MOST condescending, self-righteous, pompous,pious, self-serving egotistical, arrogant ASS that I have EVER encountered, You are also VERY entertaining and good for a great laugh! However, in the battle of wits, AGAIN you came into the battle …unarmed!

        • mo says:

          @ EdenRocks

          How dare you lump me in with this Jackson person as though we are the same person! (I don’t know who the others are.) I’ve been putting up with his abuse for weeks now.

          Show me the evidence we have the same account. Liar.

          What idiocy. As though I’m going to be sitting here responding to (and insulting!) myself.

          Show me your evidence for these vile accusations.

        • deelilynn says:

          “@ EdenRocks. How dare you lump me in with this Jackson person as though we are the same person! (I don’t know who the others are.) I’ve been putting up with his abuse for weeks now. Show me the evidence we have the same account. Liar. What idiocy. As though I’m going to be sitting here responding to (and insulting!) myself. Show me your evidence for these vile accusations.”

          Mo, I truly feel that the other(s) have upset EdenRocks up so much that he simply made a mistake in a moment of frustration with including your name. Have followed what both of you have written since the beginning of the comments and know your hearts are both in a Christian place. We all truly need to stop replying to the sick person/persons here instead of adding fuel to their sick agenda.

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          edenrocks has lost in the battle of wits. Now he is attacking those who he thinks are posting fake accounts That challenge or question his premise and exposes his paranoia! He doesn’t realize that there are others besides myself who see him as he truly is, a condescending, pompous, egotistical, arrogant, “holier than thou”, blow hard who refuses to look at evidence presented to him .. He cannot defend himself by providing evidence to refute my or others claims who do not agree with his philosophical agenda. So now he is trying to attack my and others characters.(including yours) without any basis of facts! He calls everyone who opposes his view(s) liars without providing anything to verify his claims! He is weak. Unfortunately for him, he has two brain cells left in his head, one is lost and the other is trying to find it! He comes across as some great oracle, but sound off as a great orifice! He boasts as some professional-level writer, what does he do write resumes for people to expose their idiocy such as his? He is a fools fool! He calls me a troll and other vile things but I’ve been called worse by better people than himself! It never bothered me than nor does it now or ever will!

    • Dee says:

      I could not agree more.

  10. rettekat1665 says:

    I have been contemplating seeing Noah but have been leaning more towards not. I do not enjoy Bible Stories made into movies because of all the commercialism that goes into making them sell. I feel that God left the Bible up to individuals use of imagination and having it displayed on a big screen is a way of making sure we all see it the same way. I enjoyed you critique of “Noah” as I love sarcastic responses to anything mainstream that challenge the integrity of said topic. Stick to your guns and don’t be discouraged by the negativity I’m sure you are getting!!!

  11. Pingback: Please, Let My People Think » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

  12. Heather says:

    Thanks for the commentary. You’ve succeeded in your goal of saving me 20 bucks. This is pretty much the summation I’ve heard a few times now so I won’t be viewing it.
    Although I will say, I’m a vegetarian & I don’t see all you ol’ carnivores the way you describe. 🙂
    I enjoy your blog Matt, thanks.

  13. Terrell says:

    Wow Matt, you are a brilliant writer! Very clever and humorous, best thing I’ve read in a long time! I completely agree with your sentiments expressed, and now want to follow you on Twitter

  14. myblondeseoul says:

    This was the best thing I’ve read in a long time, hahaha. I was laughing out loud pretty much the whole time. I am a theology teacher, and have heard basically the same reviews from many reliable sources, but none so nearly as hilarious and entertaining as this. 5 stars for this review. Do more!

  15. Apolodor says:

    Two exceptional (and related) articles explaining in crystal clarity WHY the story of Noah was presented as it was in the movie:
    http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil
    http://godawa.com/movieblog/subversion-god-noah/

  16. Laura H. says:

    I am a born again Christian, and I was kind of hesitating to go and see this movie after all the bad reviews given by so many Christians. First, I want to say that I am very conservative in my views as well as I love Jesus, have read the Bible several times, and attend Church since I was 16. (I am 47 right now, and mother of 3). Having said that, I feel terrible for having even paid attention to so many bad reviews: The movie has MANY references to the Bible; in one scene, it even cites Genesis 1 and 2…exactly as it is in the Bible; Noah mentions several times that we MUST praise our Creator (and yes, one character (the little girl) mentions the word “God” (for those who said the movie doesn’t mention God!); the Bible doesn’t mention what happened during the months that Noah was inside the Ark, and the writer was imagining what could have happened: Trials, struggles, fights, etc. (I mean several months, living with people 24/7 there must have been all of that!); the evil man inside the ark, even though he was not there as flesh, represents the evil that I am sure could have still tried to make things inside the ark! The fallen angels (Watchers), even though these are not Biblical, they still teach us several things, and one of them is that they didn’t go to heaven UNTIL they had repented (meaning that God is so merciful that even if a person has been bad during all his life, if he repents even at the end, he will be going to heaven), etc.

    I would say that this is a Sci-Fi movie combined with a lot of what MIGHT have happened inside the ark, and with many Biblical references and Godly messages that might prompt a non-Christian to go and read the Bible. If you are a Christian, you would agree that this is better than watching a sci-fi movie with bad words and sex references…just think: If it were the story of Noah, like we have seen it so many times…would you had gone and seen it again?

    I mean, let’s support writers and Directors that could have talked about something else, but decided to talk about God and the Bible (in a very difficult environment like Hollywood)! Maybe that’s what Jesus would have done!

    • Patti says:

      …uh … at least he talks about god – exactly which god are you talking about? Sounds like you’re talking about a gnostic god or a kabbalistic god because that’s where this movie’s script originates.

  17. Linda says:

    Hi Matt. I’m trying to understand why you would start your blog by saying “I’m a christian, and I think “Noah” deserves a four star review. ” Unfortunately many will see just this much and go see the film. I liked your review of this horror of a “Biblical” fantasy A LOT, but wish you hadn’t started off with the confusion. Anyone who truly loves God and His Son Jesus Christ will be greatly offended by this nightmare of a movie, I walked out of it. Linda.

    • Jackson says:

      Linda,
      Did I miss the promo for “Noah” that said 100% Biblically accurate and approved by the fundamentalist Christian Coalition for viewing as a compliment to Bible study programs/salvation? That would have been entertaining….The atheist director didn’t have satisfying each religious sect in mind…how long would that version been? What unbelievable arrogance! Thanks, Jackson

    • deelilynn says:

      “Hi Matt. I’m trying to understand why you would start your blog by saying “I’m a christian, and I think “Noah” deserves a four star review. ” Unfortunately many will see just this much and go see the film.”

      Why would you assume that ‘many’ people (Christian or not) would be so unintelligent and/or shallow as to decide to go to a film based on reading a title of a review instead of reading the review itself?? Also, Matt’s writing style is satirical so I hope that clears up the ‘why’ he titled the article the way he did.

  18. G. Turner says:

    Open up your mind. The persons who understand jewish literature, and has read the KJV account of the story understands what was being deplicted. If you want to understand what the director of this film was doing you might want to find out what biblical typology is about. As for the Christians critics; just for a moment, put aside the telling of the story in the bible. JEWISH TYPOLOGY. This is what Mr. Darren Aronofsky deplicted, and presented to you with some perspectives. No one is claiming its true. The purpose? To tie up the open ended questions of the Noah story in the bible which you are feeling some passion to defend, and leads me to believe you think is a clear and unambiguous account of God’s Anger. Lets not be small minded. A biblical narrative is a slow process, and one that should provoke thought. This was a gift to the average person whos only being fed one line of thought from the pulpit. See it. Chew on it. Spit it out if it doesn’t taste right. But don’t spoil it for those who; in the back of thier minds may start to serach for real answers.

  19. Stephen says:

    What a shit movie the only thing it has incommon with Noah from the bible is the name

    • Monday says:

      You must have never read the entire bible. How about when Noah’s sons covered his naked body, or the “watchers”. Read Jude 1:6. Or how about creation and the cause of fallen man, that can be found in genesis. Or maybe him building the ark and no one believing in him, also found in genesis. That’s why there was only so few with Noah in the ark. I could keep going if you would like.

  20. I sincerely don’t understand the point of Christians being “offended” by a bible based film. Firstly, the jewish mythological writings known as the bible, Jahweh, Yeshua bar Yosef – none of them are ‘Christian.’ You don’t have a monopoly on bible meaning or intent – to think you do is delusional. Secondly, the bible as you know it is a historical composite – it’s gone through 7 major translations, hundreds of scribal transliterations, to the point that your Sunday School memories of it have no more orthodoxy than Aronovsky’s film. Furthermore, the flood story exists in several pre-torah accounts, and the fact that you choose to ignore or deny that doesn’t make it any less true. There isn’t a bible based film ever that stays true to the KJV narrative – because the stories contained within are merely sketches. Even the films and TV shows that Christians like are guilty of glossing the material – especially that serial turd recently put out by the History channel. Telling people not to see this film based on some notion that Christians have claims to bible authenticity is both moronic and arrogant. If someone were to make a film based strictly on the modern bible account – it would be x-rated – as with most Old Testament stories.

    • Monday says:

      I so agree.

    • David R. Carpenter says:

      This is information I posted in an earlier post I thought you would find interesting.
      Peering between the covers of the Bible, we find that many of the book’s characters are in reality depicted in engaging in behaviors that would be considered in current standards to be sexual deviations. From early on in the biblical drama we encounter incest, with Moses himself being a product of it. Later, the righteous Lot is made drunk and then seduced by both his daughters, who bear sons from their incestuous trysts. Rape is another prominent biblical theme, engaged in frequently by the Yawists, whose history according to the Old Testament is based on the slaughter of other cultures and kidnapping and rape of their young girls. In fact, a number of great patriarchs and heroes have sex with the concubines a fancy name for these young girls kidnapped and made into prostitutes. Of course Solomon was the most conspicuous consumer with 1,000 wives and concubine.to demonstrate the manliness of his purported progeny. But if having so many wives and concubines is not adultery, we wonder what it is and just what one would call Abraham’s relationship with Hagar, his wife’s handmaiden, by whom he has a child, or Jacob’s various dalliances with Rachel, her sister Leah and their maids, by whom he has children. In the story of Jacob and Rachel, in fact, are found not only sexual deviations by your Christian standards, but also drug use in that Rachel’s son’s mandrake is sex plants or fertility fruits. In addition, adultery is practiced even by the great king David, as in the second book of Samuel. Like Noah, who got drunk and let it “all hang out” if you will, we also find David exposing himself in front of a crowd. And, at Number 25:1-5, the Israelite’s even participate in an orgy!
      One of the most notorious of the “closeted” Christian homosexuals was IN FACT King James I, the patron of the King James Bible so highly esteemed by evangelical Christians! As related by Otto Scott, King James “was a known homosexual who murdered his young lovers and victimized countless heretics and women His cruelty was justified by his “divine right of Kings.”
      So you see Daniel, you are correct as to the indiscretions of the Bible’s Old Testament accounts! The Bible has gone through many translations throughout its history and all without any original texts or scriptures by scribes who either did not know or were unfamiliar to the languages and their interpretations of the period! So to state a ” truth,” the Bible is a human book inspired by man and man alone!

      • Colleen G. says:

        David,
        You are right. Man is horrible. We lie, kill, rape, get drunk. lose control, have sex immorally…yup we are pretty bad. How wonderful is it that we have a glorious God who loved us so much to send His Son to die. Do you have children? Do you think you are worth someone killing His child over? Also your point on the wickedness of man, is on point. Many of those things really did happen, the Lord used such imperfect vessels- imagine (even with us always messing it up) He still can exhibit His greatness! Yes and you are right the Bible is the truth, but the Bible was written by man inspired by God, and all Scripture is God breathed.

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          Collene, you state that the Bible is truth, but how do you Really know that? I admire your faith, but what is faith?
          “Faith is needed in something that can’t be proven or its process cannot be seen”
          Faith and God: It’s an ingenious hypothesis–yet to be proved.
          Deception In Saying The Bible is “God’s Word”

          This idea that indicates that there is still the other aspect of what may be termed deception in the Biblical stories. This in relation to the statements by many religious leaders is that the Bible is “God’s Word” and that God wrote the Bible. It is well understood when reading through Biblical passages and comparing to other earlier writings, that a great portion of the Bible has been lifted from earlier writings of other cultures. If Christianity is to be considered “divine revelation,” then so too must be the importance of other religions and myths upon which much of the Christian effort was palpably founded. In reality, since much of these religions and myths preceded Christianity by millennia, the many other religions and myths could also lay claims to being the original “divine revelation.”
          CONCLUSION:
          The fervent belief in a god or gods who allegedly “walked the earth” is dependent not on absolute truth or reality but often upon the fashion of the day. The many gods are now taken to be mythical, despite the ardent beliefs of their hundreds of millions of worshipers over a period of several thousand years. The same may and should be said in the future concerning the story of Jesus Christ—in fact, the precise machination of demotion under another religion and god is already happening with Jesus., he is depicted within the fast-growing Islam as a mere mortal prophet, rather than the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent “ Son of God”.
          However if the mind is so clouded by fabulous tales of gods and other mythical creatures, how can it be clear enough to interpret data properly?THE HISTORICITY OF THE GOSPELS

          The historical reliability of the Gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. Although some claim that all four canonical gospels meet the five criteria for historical reliability, others say that little in the gospels is considered to be historically reliable.
          According to the majority viewpoint, the Synoptic Gospels are the primary sources of historical information about Jesus and of the religious movement he founded. These gospels–the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Luke–recount the life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The fourth gospel, the Gospel of John, differs greatly from the first three gospels. Historians often study the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles when studying the reliability of the gospels, as Acts was seemingly written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, although there are passages in Acts that contradict Luke. There are different hypotheses regarding the origin of the texts. The gospels of the New Testament were written in Greek for Greek-speaking communities that were later translated into Syrian, Latin and Coptic. Just how reliable are the Matthew and Luke birth narratives?
          Such things represent the common impulses of ancient world mythical thinking, which all cultures seem to have shared. It is difficult if not impossible to believe that Matthew and Luke were not aware of these universal expressions, and thus they could not have approached their nativity stories as a record of genuine history. And neither should we. If there are individual distinctions between the versions of a common story, we can certainly allow that Matthew and Luke would have had no interest in slavishly copying another version; they would have felt no need or desire to provide an exact parallel to some Egyptian myth or Macedonian legend. Who wants to be seen as a blatant plagiarist, in any case? But a parallel works best on the subliminal level, by appealing to things which are familiar, familiar because they have been found effective in the common psychological responses of the time, satisfying to both writer and reader. Matthew and Luke’s ‘originality’ would lie in their patinas of distinctive detail, set into patterns and themes of cultural preference and expectation. It’s debatable whether readers of such tales would have uncritically accepted them, or would not have recognized on some level that they were all appealing to the same instinct and were not to be seen as literally true, although it didn’t take long before Christians were swearing by them as they eventually did with all details of the Gospels. But just as we cannot accept the historicity of the nativity stories because of their closeness to ancient world parallels, so too we must reject virtually all the rest of the Gospel content, because of its close similarity to a range of precedents, whether in the Old Testament, in Hellenistic Hero legends, or in the myths of gods from Egypt to India. The story of Jesus is not historical, but one created for a new faith movement out of the sights and sounds and dreams of the day.

          For many Christians, to question the description of Jesus’ birth as related in the Bible is unthinkable. They believe that the Bible is the “word of God”, an infallible record of the Almighty’s influence on his creation, and therefore to be taken at face value. However, a careful study of the nativity narratives of Matthew and Luke indicate that the supposedly unerring “word of God” is full of contradictions and inventions. The most plausible conclusion is that the familiar Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke are religious myths, awkwardly grafted onto an earlier non-miraculous tradition about Jesus’ birth.
          They appear to be legends recorded by later Jewish-Christian apologists who were attempting to explain the origins of a man whom they considered divine. In this sense, the authors employed the familiar Jewish practice of the time known as “midrash” to illustrate and prove their points; that is to say, they liberally interpreted and expanded on texts and prophesies in the Jewish scriptures.
          Historians subject the gospels to critical analysis, attempting to differentiate authentic, reliable information from possible inventions, exaggerations, and alterations since the gospel manuscripts include many variants, scholars use textual criticism to determine which variants were original. To answer this question, scholars have to ask who wrote the gospels, when they wrote them, what was their objective in writing them, what sources the authors used, how reliable these sources were, and how far removed in time the sources were from the events they describe. Scholars can also look into the internal evidence of the documents, to see if, for example, the document is making claims about geography that were incorrect, or if the author appears to be hiding embarrassing information. Finally, scholars turn to external sources, including the testimony of early church leaders, writers outside the church (mainly Jewish and Greco-Roman historians) who would have been more likely to have criticized the church, and to archaeological evidence.

          I will tell you a little as to why I have difficulty with the “Truth” as it relates to the “historicity or stories of the Bible: In College I have learned the basics of the field known as “textual criticism” a technical term for the science of restoring the “original” word of a text from manuscripts that have altered them.
          Again, I admire your faith, I have studied and researched this topic for many years, I have seen peoples faith shattered in the course of battle. If I come on cynical and radical in some of my earlier posts to other individuals, I have my reasons, I am giving you this information for your review. just because I do not believe in your Bible, does not mean I have not read it. as I have read many other religious texts.and researched them also..

  21. Gloria says:

    You forgot something in your brillent comments. Yet again, we have a all white community. Where are the people of color? Did they not exist at that time? Actually, that is probably a good thing, given this horrible movie.

    • Stephen says:

      🙂 Adam and Eve were most likely brown hair brown eyes and darked skin that’s why we have so many different races in the would today

  22. Monday says:

    And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. (Jude 1:6 NLT). That would be represented by the “giant deformed rock monsters make for awkward supporting characters.” Only a DA would not know that and judge someone on it.

    Too many people claim to be Christians and yet they judge. Jesus didn’t even judge, that wasn’t his job, nor is it ours. Unless you have read the bible from cover to cover with an open mind, shut up and quit complaining about a God you will probably never understand. When Noah corrected his son about picking the flower, and was angry about those who chose to kill animals, you must remember that the first blood spilt was with Adam and Eve when they made clothes. They chose to defy God and realized they were naked. Sacrificing an animal. It had nothing about Noah being a vegan, it was about spilling unnecessary blood of Gods creation you DA. It doesn’t matter who wrote and directed the film, look who God used all through out the Old and New Testament to serve him. Murders, thieves, adulterers, etc. I could go on and on. My Godly opinion is, why not see it. If anything, you just might learn something. It’s not our job to reach other Christians, but to reach those who have not heard the gospel.

    • EdenRocks says:

      You declare one should not judge; yet, the singular premise of your entire post was a judgement of this blog.

      Do you understand?

      You have contradicted yourself; your message is worthless.

      Furthermore, you speak as a “New Age” believer, and not as a Christian at all. That is, your writing does not include any mention, or implied awareness of, the enemy of God, or the weapons at his disposal. In other words, you speak as if there is no evil at all.

      I argue that the author has done a good thing to write this article, and expose the hideousness of the messages being advertised through media such as this piece of garbage film. He is 100% spot on, flawless, no one could have performed a better task at that particular job. You’re dead wrong on all counts.

      • David R. Carpenter says:

        You should try smelling what you are shoveling!
        It is completely unacceptable, and it will continue to be unacceptable, for anyone to say that their religion is infallible and that not only must they believe it, but everyone else must believe it and follow its teachings. We simply cannot force belief on others. which you are guilty of doing! So who is Really being judgmental? You Rally are a Hypocrite!

    • James W. says:

      I would have to agree with EdenRocks. Good review on Noah from Matt.
      Unfortunately within the human psyche there is an urge to release aggression on an anonymous other when they feel justified. That person is defined by, they are wrong and I am right and I’ll show you. You can’t complain about how “Christians” shouldn’t judge but yet do the same as those you complain about. That’s like preaching the gospel but following satan expecting a place in heaven. Choose a side and stick with it. This Noah was just simply a movie, that’s it. Hopefully your “Godly” walk is better than your talk.
      If you were to actually watch the movie you couldn’t disagree with Matt. For me it was an ok film, although there were times I was nodding off and looking for an exit, but decided to wait it out and try to finish the movie. If it wasn’t for Russell Crowe, I probably would have never even watched it until it reached Cable and I could have watched it for free.

  23. Montague says:

    http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil

    This fellow, I think, pretty well explains why the Noah Movie is so bizarre. Sort of the “behind the stage” for what’s got you and other fellows so rightfully riled up (Thinking of John C. Wright in particular, where I found this link)

  24. Well I don’t know how anyone could come up with a 2 hour movie about Noah when there is only two pages in the bible on him. Any man could add his interpretation of the activities that took place in those years, the only thing I complain about is changing what we all have read in those two pages. Most noticeably ” sons and wives “. I always interpreted that to mean all his sons were adults and all had wives prior to boarding the Ark.

  25. yes, there is a lot wrong with the movie, but there is also a lot that can help lead to a healthy discussion – see my post yesterday http://youthworkconnect.org/2014/04/16/noahmovie/

  26. Pingback: The Noah Catastrophe | The Platform

  27. Karl Clark says:

    GOD DID NOT DESTROY MANKIND WITH A FLOOD, BUT CAME TO SAVE HUMANITY THROUGH THE BLOOD!

    This may sound strange, but John 14:8 says this…

    “Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

    This verses tell me that Jesus is the true picture of the Father and we know Jesus never destroyed anyone (he gave his life for all sinners). Thus if we have a perspective of God (via Noah’s account) that does not align with the person and character of Jesus, then perhaps we are trying to “know” the Father without going through the Son?! This is a very dangerous method of reading scripture, thus I’m a bit surprised that Pastor Joseph Prince has not fully picked up on this (he’s very good at seeing Jesus in scripture).

    We must keep our eyes fixed on Christ in order to understand God. Said another way… Jesus is the ONLY WAY to the Father. DO NOT TRY TO FIND GOD EXCEPT YOU SEE HIM THROUGH THE LIFE OF JESUS!!!

    So if God didn’t purpose in His heart to destroy the unrighteous, what is the story of Noah really all about?

    THE SALVATION OF HUMANITY THROUGH GRACE!!!

    This is such an important biblical concept that I wish all would listen to the audio below. The impact and need for grace in our lives runs much deeper than what most of us know…

    TRUE STORY OF NOAH

    Noah is really a story about the salvation of humanity, with rain being God’s method of washing away our sins. Genesis 6:5 says God saw the wickedness of man, not because of what people were doing, but because nobody believed on Christ for salvation. But when God saw Noah’s heart, He used him to reverse the curse that had been declared on the ground (Genesis 3:17). This curse in the Garden reflects the separation of the seed (Christ) from the dirt (man’s heart), thus the ground could only produce thorns and thistles, which is the seed of the enemy mentioned in Genesis 3:15. The Garden of Eden is actually a metaphor for God inside of man. This relationship had been severed by sin, not because God forsook man, but Adam & Eve ran from Him in the spirit of fear. Sin has caused mankind to be conscious of our nakedness, which brings shame and condemnation and causes us to have a fearful expectation of what God will do to us.

    Without the seed of Christ, God knew there was no way for the heart of man to bear the Fruit of the Spirit. This explains why Genesis 6:5 says man’s heart was only evil continually. But Noah found grace in God’s sight! God used Noah to demonstrate His plan of reconciliation through grace. Yes, Noah brought comfort back to humanity through the 1st burnt offering, which is symbolic of the sacrificial lamb. The curse had been reversed!

    But what is the significance of the rain? Come and see…

    http://www.therockgospel.org/audio/Noah‘s_Flood.mp3

    • David R. Carpenter says:

      The fable of Noah purports to be the true story of the progenitor of the human race; however, like so many other biblical characters, Noah is a myth, found earlier in India, Egypt, Babylon, Sumer, and other places. The fact is there have been floods and deluge stories in many different parts of the world, including but not limited to the Middle East.
      The biblical flood the “deluge” story was a late offshoot of a cycle of flood myths known everywhere in the ancient world. Thousands of years before the Bible was written, an ark was built by the Sumarian Ziusudra. In Akkad, the flood hero’s name was Atrakhasis. In Babylon, he was Uta-Napishtim, the only mortal to become immortal. In Greece he was Deucalion, who repopulated the earth after waters subsided {and after the ark landed on Mt. Parnassos}… In Armenia, the hero was Xisuthros- a corruption of Sumerian Ziusudra-whose ark landed on Mt Ararat. According to the original Chaldean account, the flood hero was told by god, “Build a vessel and finish it by a deluge I will destroy substance and life. Cause thou to go up into the vessel the substance of all that has life.”
      Obviously, then Noah’s ark is a motif found in other myths around the ancient world before the Bible was ever written!

      All the flood stories that originated in the Eastern part of the ancient world derive from the Mesopotamian original, used in travelers’ tales for over two thousand years, along the great caravan routes of Western Asia: translated, embroidered, and adapted according to local tastes to give a myriad of divergent versions, a few of which have come down to us. However, the possibility of several independent origins cannot be dismissed, for the idea of a universal flood may well have risen to explain observations in different places of marine fossils in rocks above sea level. At a time when there was no conception of how geological changes took place, nor of how vast was the time-scale of evolution, moreover when the creation of man was generally supposed to have accompanied creation of the earth in its present form, an enormous flood which man by chance survived would be the only way to account for the presence of such marine fossils, and may have been thought up by more than one inquiring mind.
      However, where flood stories are found in other parts of the world, missionaries and early Christian travelers may have disseminated (to circulate or spread) them; there is no reason to not suppose that they are indigenous.
      The flood myth is also common to the country of India where the hero of the story is referred to as Manu and the Fish
      In the Gilgamesh epic of Babylonia, he is referred to as Utnapishtim
      In Aztec of Mexico it is referred to as Tata and Nena (the Aztecs did have a flood story that was clearly indigenous and preceded the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The American Indians give a similar account.
      It would also appear that Hawaii had its own indigenous flood myth also before the arrival of missionaries. But there are two versions one clearly influenced by the bible story and one that preceded it. known as Kai-a-ka-hina-li’i translated as “Sea caused by Hahinali’i’ or as “Sea that made the chiefs fall down”
      The Incas of Peru called it “the period of “Pachachama
      The Egyptians also had a flood myth.
      So you are correct when you say the Aztecs and other cultures from around the world had similar stories of the flood, but for obviously different reason! .

      Was There Really a Great Flood?
      Floods are among the most powerful forces on earth. Human societies worldwide have lived and died with. Floods from the very beginning have spawned a prominent role for floods within legends, religions, and history.

      Inspired by such accounts, geologists, hydrologists, and historians have studied the role of floods on humanity and its supporting ecosystems, resulting in new appreciation for the many-faceted role of floods in shaping our world.
      .
      In the first place, skeptical geologists propose that for such a flood to have occurred, we would find a similar stratum throughout the world covered with pebbles, sludge, boulders, and other elements. It is curious that this layer cannot be found, even more so when the flood narrated by the Bible had taken place in a time as recent as 3000 B.C.
      Neither can be found the strata of fossils, with different animal and vegetable species occupying specific soil layers. According to flood logic, the animal remains of all species before the big flood (including the extinct dinosaurs) should be found today in only one stratum, without any distinction. But paleontology completely contradicts these suppositions.
      Yet these examples appear to be only the tip of the iceberg comprising the arguments that refute a global flood. Even so, much of such reasoning is refuted with equal grace by the “pro-flood” scientists. In fact, descriptions like “all the sources of the great abyss were broken” or “the waterfalls of the heavens were opened” recounted in Genesis are backed up by hypotheses that, although incredible, are impossible to rule out as being incompatible with reality.
      One of the more dramatic hypotheses proposed that the planet could have been covered with water up to its highest points, contrary to the calculations indicating that all the water suspended in the atmosphere would only be enough to reach a modest 1.2 inches over the total surface of Earth.
      These “flood supporters” calculate that if the geography of Earth went through a leveling out in its surface—the mountains being lowered, the sea troughs being elevated—then the entire Earth would be covered by thousands of feet of water.
      According to the water-covers-the-earth theory, in the times of Noah the upper layers of the atmosphere contained a substantial amount of water that today makes up the oceans. This atmospheric water was what covered the whole planet, and which later returned to the ocean troughs by violent vertical tectonic movements. Researchers in support of this idea believe it makes suitable reference to the “waterfalls of the heavens” that could condense themselves thanks to dust generated by several simultaneous volcanic eruptions.
      With respect to non-Biblical myths about a purifying flood, these can be found in the Hindu, Sumerian, Greek, Acadia, Chinese, Mapuche, Mayan, Aztec, and Pascuanese (Easter Island) cultures, among others. Several of these stories appear to possess surprisingly similar common factors. Among the most repeated themes are those of celestial announcements ignored by the people, the great flood itself, the construction of an ark to preserve life from the flood, and the later restoration of life on the planet.
      A clear example of this similarity is provided by pre-Biblical Mesopotamian history of the flood in which the god “Ea” warned Uta-na-pistim, king of Shuruppak, about the punishment that awaits humanity for its serious moral degeneration. Uta-na-pistim received instructions from the god to construct a craft in the form of a cube with eight floors, and said that it should include in it a pair of each species of animal, plant seeds, as well as his own family. Thus, Uta-na-pistim survived the several-day-long deluge, released a bird to verify the proximity of dry land, and made an animal sacrifice to the gods.
      In spite of the multiplicity of texts from diverse cultures which tell the story of a great ancient flood, the magnitude and duration of such an event seems to be a point of argument, even among those who believe that such an event actually occurred. Thus, while a small number of researchers suggests that this flood covered the entire Earth in vast amounts of water, most geologists agree that such a scenario is an impossibility.

      While not everyone believes ancient accounts that describe the re-creation of humanity from the salvation of a handful of people, it would seem that a climatic catastrophe actually did take place across the entire planet several millennia ago. We can also safely assume that an indefinite number of human beings in elevated locations had the capacity to continue civilization, and to transmit the story of the occurrence to later generations.
      Up until the time when evidence is revealed to definitively tip the scales toward one of these particular theories, the story of a time when a great flood purged the sins of man will be taken as a myth for some and a statement of historical fact for others. Either way, this great ancient flood remains forever a part of the story of humankind.
      I hope you find this informative

  28. adrienne says:

    I found the theological ideas and symbols in Noah exciting. It was a very interesting movie, and one that felt true to me in a lot of ways. It wasn’t perfect, but I can’t imagine any religious-themed movie that someone wouldn’t take offense with, because when you visualize sacred things, people seem to be hesitant if the picture isn’t the exact similitude of what they imagined. It’s hard to take the bible literally all the time when so many literary devices are used throughout, and both New and Old Testament are ripe with symbolism and parable. I thought Aronofsky captured the essence of the very sparse biblical account.

    The wonderful thing about art (which film this is at its most simple) is that the artist brings himself or herself into the work and they have the license to interpret symbology and ideas as they feel fit. It challenged my idea of prophets in a way I think is important. Sometimes the Lord does ask his prophets and even us regular mortals to do difficult things. Yes, Aronofsky melted some OT stories together, and the suggestion of infanticide was very uncomfortable as it absolutely should make me feel. That’s the author’s intent. All of us have tests of Abrahamic magnitude and I thought this was a great visualization of that terrible commandment given Abraham to sacrifice Issac.

    I don’t have any problem with rock creatures, as Genesis 6 refers to “giants IN the earth,” nor did I get the idea that the movie was strictly condemning wasting environmental resource. Noah gets drunk in the biblical account so that doesn’t bug me either.

    In the end, I support the film because I want more movies of faith being made. Even if it doesn’t get everything right, it doesn’t mock faith. I’d much rather have a thousand more earnest well-meaning movies like Noah than one that mocks faith like The Book of Mormon musical.

  29. Happy in TN says:

    I begin with an apology because my comment may (or may not) be as long as the movie itself…
    1st…Bryn – I think you meant “as opposed to” instead of “as supposed”. (Grammatical error/context forgiven)
    2nd…To Matt Walsh – loved this…all the way to the 2nd to the last paragraph, where I do beg to differ. Unfortunately it does mock faith.
    Here’s why…
    Hebrews 11 says…
    6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

    Anytime we do not uphold or support God & what His Holy Word says we “mock faith”.
    Noah, at the time, was the only man God could find worthy of saving!? I can’t imagine he truly was at all how reviewers say the movie depicted him! He HAD to be humble, submissive, obedient – all of the traits & reasons God found favor in him.

    I thank all the viewers & reviewers so that I can honor God & not see this blasphemous piece of work. With that being said…

    I have not seen this movie so I am going by quite a few reviews I’ve read, in all fairness.
    Obviously, we all can interpret Noah however we choose.
    I choose to see him as the Bible states:
    (*just for context value I am including vs. 1-7 from Genesis 6 here)
    1When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
    4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
    5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
    9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
    Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

    So…WHY would you copy the story Noah & make it into a movie – IF you are not going to COPY the story of NOAH!?
    Why not just rewrite it and then call it something else?
    Perhaps… “Noah – totally NOT based on the Bible story but names remain the same and we are all over the place with this thing.”

    MUCH Thanks & true appreciation to the creators of the movie “The Gospel of John”.
    There are some out there still willing to do it right.
    We watch it every year during Passover!! (No, I’m not Jewish – just “grafted in”.)

    Here’s some scripture for readers to ponder…(NIV)
    Proverbs 30:5-6
    5“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
    6Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

    Revelation 22:18-19
    18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

    And, just incase there are NIV nay-sayers, Here’s the KJV:

    Proverbs 30:5-6
    5Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
    6Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

    Revelation 22:18-19
    18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Either way – if you’re reading then there is still time to repent & turn it around!
    Don’t waste your time with some twisted version of Noah.
    My family & I won’t be.
    Instead…Read the book! It’s MUCH better!!

    I praise God for His “fairytale”! 🙂

  30. San says:

    We just finish watching at avenues theater,Its disappointing as a CHRISTIAN its a big twist on this movie in the bible…its all hollywood effect my mom And her friends also disappointed and she feel to sleep because she said its big different in the BIBLE.in short we are all disappointed.

  31. Pingback: The Sunday morning sidewalk | My Website

  32. Mike W (@Didactic138) says:

    Heretical Gnostic connection to the Noah movie: http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil

  33. Pingback: The Movie “Noah” Accurately Reviewed | Our King Share

  34. alader says:

    i found the the movie to be okay ,but you know that hollywood likes to take artistic license it is hard reconize it from the bible. for anyone who wants to watch the film the link is :
    http://www.sockshare.com/file/CDB82DA3F6C16A6E

  35. The movie was terribly disappointing to me. All too brief was the mention of the industrial technology imparted by the Nepthalim. We could have learned something. Have the Chinese design and fabricate consumer products based on it to sell by American mega corporations at an obscene profit, proliferated everywhere by their popularity.

    And the environmental damage? No details. Very disappointing. I mean was like the Carbon Ethyl Lead foisted on us by the petroleum industry, creating lead poisoning for the entire earth ecology? Or was it benign, like fracking? Again — so disappointing!

    It is very clear that THIS Noah was seriously in need of a qualified competent mental health professional. At the end of the movie, it was clear that the survivors seriously needed family counselling, but, alas, all family counsellors were destroyed in the flood. Bummer.

    The problem here is clear: The same actor and actress were involved in “A Beautiful Mind,” which, if you think about it, this was just a reboot, minus the Nobel Prize and faux happy ending. Typecasting much?

    But I must seriously disagree with you. It was a slight cut above the Syfy disaster of the week which prompts me to ask, “Why bother?” except I know it some how makes money.

  36. Lona says:

    You are so interesting! I don’t think I have read through a single thing like this before.
    So good to find someone with some unique thoughts on this subject.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that’s needed on the web,
    someone with a bit of originality!

  37. Liz says:

    Thanks Matt for your blog. At first when I saw the advertisement on TV about releasing the movie in theatre soon, I was very tempted to watch it. I contemplate about it. I asked other Christians who have seen the movie. No one can say its a positive experience after watching the movie (disappointment). Now that you have offered your views/perspectives, I decided not to watch it. I would rather save this money on something else more important. If it contradicts Scripture, I would not want to watch it.

    So thanks again for your review, Matt.
    Blessings,
    Liz

  38. Thank you again Matt, I repeatedly get more information throughout many of your responses.
    A response I noticed mentioned — “The word of god is flawless” That’s great as someone in an interview mentioned he had over fifty versions of “the bible”. —–appears a few “people” might have slanted the actual “words” in their favor.
    Are all these “errors” a result of “inbreeding?”
    It’s very simple – two animals of any kind, that survive or are created, including Adam? and Eve? “There will be “incest” from the beginning. There are no other options, or there is a “flaw”
    This is as clear as can be stated by the languages of our planet.
    If anyone thinks incest is ok ? (then or now) Please remove yourselves from the human race.
    all have to make a decision

    • EdenRocks says:

      The premise that you present here is that your word is infallible. Certainly, I, and perhaps every human alive besides yourself, would not follow you in that belief.

      What else have you presented here? You have applied a modern human-centric perception of reality defined wholly by the limitations of your five physical senses, onto an ultimate concept as the mystery of God. In the same breath, you wonder why your conclusion does not fit, and imply that anyone contemplating the mystery in a more proper context is idiotic.

      So, you have failed quite spectacularly. Your position is nothing…one major storm will destroy your foundation entirely. You will be as a babbling, pitiful idiot, desperately crying out for God.

      • Please follow truth and common sense. Do not follow me.
        A fiction paragraph: If a man was 37 and could support and isolate his daughter now 14, from birth, when he approached her with sexual advance, she would not know how wrong this is. She has two children, a boy and girl from this encounter who are also isolated and taught they will one day mate for the purpose of offspring. Two are born, “but” there is a problem. These little ones might be 1/4 as intelligent as the original 37 year old man, but probably missing fingers or a hand or even worse, both are born without an asshole, soon fill with feces and die a horrible death.
        It appeared your response had an angry tone to it so please imagine yourself as a 1 week old baby without an asshole. You mentioned desperate?(made myself clear yet? )

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          Mr. gliderpilotlee, edenrock may not have been born with an asshole, but I think you just ripped him a new one! LOL

        • deelilynn says:

          David, neither you nor gliderpilot have done or proven anything here except to show what sick minded people you are … Enjoy patting one another on the back for being like minded but know that no one else here is taking your bizarre comments seriously anymore …

        • EdenRocks says:

          they’re the same person / organization. they spread a nihilistic agenda and tell kids to kill themselves on popular music artists’ pages / vids etc etc

          it truly is madness / nonsense, but it’s plain to see once you figured out the game. spread the word always while posting on the internet, call them/him out when you see a similar agenda in action

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          You, deelilynn and other fundamentalist “Christians” could also be considered to be the same person/organization. You spread a “theist” agenda and tell people to either believe in god or be damned for all eternity (Pascal’s Wager) theory. Yes, you are all truly mad and insane to insist that others follow your path and condemn those who refuse and oppose your views. There are those of us who know the “Truth” and have figured out your ridiculous game and we refuse to play. We now are calling you out! You too are also guilty of worshiping words The so called word of god in some book (Bible) influenced and written by man for man! (prove me wrong!!!!)

        • EdenRocks says:

          I have said nothing to you nothing which you accuse me of. You are projecting somebody else’s position onto me; you have said nothing that applies to me. You have said several vile things to me and others, and employ several obviously fake accounts to say more vile things.

          Besides that, you’re a filthy, disgusting troll. Vomit all over yourself and pick through the refuse and arrange the pieces of bile into a sculpture and worship them all you want, and let that serve as your “evidence” to rebuke God; that has nothing to do with me. I tried to be civil to you but you are a truly disgusting human being, and condemn yourself to your own fate.

          In your darkest hour, you will know your error, but it will be too late. You have no power over what will come for you. Woe is you.

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          You are so wrong! It all applies to you and your kind! You continue to condemn those who oppose your views. You say that in my darkest hour I will know the errors of my ways. i have faced many dark hours and those of friends and enemies alike! I have seen their faith fade in the course of death because god had forsaken them. So unless you yourself have been in my shoes, seen what I’ve seen, you have no cause to condemn me! You can pray for me but I will prey on you!

        • EdenRocks says:

          You’re a liar. You certainly haven’t seen anything like that; you were likely not in the military.

          You’re a filthy liar, and you’re certainly not “preying” on me in any regard. Wow you really are filthy. This is nasty business corresponding with you in any regard.

        • deelilynn says:

          “they’re the same person / organization. they spread a nihilistic agenda and tell kids to kill themselves on popular music artists’ pages / vids etc etc. it truly is madness / nonsense, but it’s plain to see once you figured out the game. spread the word always while posting on the internet, call them/him out when you see a similar agenda in action”

          Will definitely do, EdenRocks, and I suggest we both resist even commenting back to them again at all and just let them feel as if they’ve won. In the end we know in our hearts and souls that they are the true losers after all is said and done …

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          Unlike edenrock who was born without an asshole, you on the other hand was born an asshole but just got bigger!

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          You have no idea as to how much more of the Bible I know as compared to you and many other “Christians” on this blog. I have studied and researched many religious texts over the course of many years.and have found several (well documented) discrepancies in their translations in the Bible(s). If you studied and researched as I have for many years, you too would know the REAL TRUTH! It is out there. Do the research yourself you would be surprised at what you will find IF you are truly willing to seek the answer. But be careful for what you are looking for, you just might find it! “The truth shall set you free!”

        • EdenRocks says:

          you’re a disgusting human

          that is all

    • David R. Carpenter says:

      Mr. gliderpilotlee, I read your post as to the discrepancies to the Story of the Flood Myth,(which you state and found) This post is from one of my earlier posts to another individual as it related to the flood story and its flaws which I noted. This research is from some of the worlds top scholars and scientists and the sources for my research are noted. I hope you review the information I provided and come to a logical and reasonable conclusion.
      Problems with the Global Flood

      Building the Ark

      Wood is not the best material for shipbuilding. It is not enough that a ship be built to hold together; it must also be sturdy enough that the changing stresses don’t open gaps in its hull. Wood is simply not strong enough to prevent separation between the joints, especially in the heavy seas that the Ark would have encountered. The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped. The ark was 450 feet long [ Gen. 6:15]. Could an ark that size be made seaworthy?

      2. Gathering the Animals

      Bringing all kinds of animals together in the vicinity of the ark presents significant problems.

      Could animals have traveled from elsewhere? If the animals traveled from other parts of the world, many of them would have faced extreme difficulties.

      Some, like sloths and penguins, can’t travel overland very well at all.
      Some, like koalas and many insects, require a special diet. How did they bring it along?
      Some cave-dwelling arthropods can’t survive in less than 100% relative humidity.
      Some, like dodos, must have lived on islands. If they didn’t, they would have been easy prey for other animals. When mainland species like rats or pigs are introduced to islands, they drive many indigenous species to extinction. Those species would not have been able to survive such competition if they lived where mainland species could get at them before the Flood.
      Could animals have all lived near Noah? Some creationists suggest that the animals need not have traveled far to reach the Ark; a moderate climate could have made it possible for all of them to live nearby all along. However, this proposal makes matters even worse. The last point above would have applied not only to island species, but to almost all species. Competition between species would have driven most of them to extinction.

      There is a reason why Gila monsters, yaks, and quetzals don’t all live together in a temperate climate. They can’t survive there, at least not for long without special care. Organisms have preferred environments outside of which they are at a deadly disadvantage. Most extinctions are caused by destroying the organisms’ preferred environments. The creationists who propose all the species living together in a uniform climate are effectively proposing the destruction of all environments but one. Not many species could have survived that.

      How was the Ark loaded? Getting all the animals aboard the Ark presents logistical problems which, while not impossible, are highly impractical. Noah had only seven days to load the Ark ( Gen. 7:4-10). If only 15764 animals were aboard the Ark (see section 3), one animal must have been loaded every 38 seconds, without letup. Since there were likely more animals to load, the time pressures would have been even worse.

      3. Fitting the Animals Aboard

      To determine how much space is required for animals, we must first determine what is a kind, how many kinds were aboard the ark, and how big they were.

      What is a kind? Creationists themselves can’t decide on an answer to this question; they propose criteria ranging from species to order, and I have even seen an entire kingdom (bacteria) suggested as a single kind. Woodmorappe (p. 5-7) compromises by using genus as a kind. However, on the ark “kind” must have meant something closer to species for three reasons:

      For purposes of naming animals, the people who live among them distinguish between them (that is, give them different names) at roughly the species level. [Gould, 1980]
      The Biblical “kind,” according to most interpretations, implies reproductive separateness. On the ark, the purpose of gathering different kinds was to preserve them by later reproduction. Species, by definition, is the level at which animals are reproductively distinct.
      The Flood, according to models, was fairly recent. There simply wouldn’t have been time enough to accumulate the number of mutations necessary for the diversity of species we see within many genera today.
      What kinds were aboard the ark? Woodmorappe and Whitcomb & Morris arbitrarily exclude all animals except mammals, birds, and reptiles. However, many other animals, particularly land arthropods, must also have been on the ark for two reasons:

      The Bible says so. Gen. 7:8 puts on the ark all creatures that move along the ground, with no further qualifications. Lev. 11:42 includes arthropods (creatures that “walk on many feet”) in such a category.
      They couldn’t survive outside. Gen. 7:21-23 says every land creature not aboard the ark perished. And indeed, not one insect species in a thousand could survive for half a year on the vegetation mats proposed by some creationists. Most other land arthropods, snails, slugs, earthworms, etc. would also have to be on the ark to survive.
      Were dinosaurs and other extinct animals on the ark? According to the Bible, Noah took samples of all animals alive at the time of the Flood. If, as creationists claim, all fossil-bearing strata were deposited by the Flood, then all the animals which became fossils were alive then. Therefore all extinct land animals had representatives aboard the ark.

      It is also worth pointing out that the number of extinct species is undoubtedly greater than the number of known extinct species. New genera of dinosaurs have been discovered at a nearly constant rate for more than a century, and there’s no indication that the rate of discovery will fall off in the near future.

      Were the animals aboard the ark mature? Woodmorappe gets his animals to fit only by taking juvenile pairs of everything weighing more than 22 lbs. as an adult. However, it is more likely that Noah would have brought adults aboard:

      The Bible (Gen. 7:2) speaks of “the male and his mate,” indicating that the animals were at sexual maturity.
      Many animals require the care of adults to teach them behaviors they need for survival. If brought aboard as juveniles, these animals wouldn’t have survived.
      The last point does not apply to all animals. However, the animals don’t need parental care tend to be animals that mature quickly, and thus would be close to adult size after a year of growth anyway.

      How many clean animals were on the ark? The Bible says either seven or fourteen (it’s ambiguous) of each kind of clean animal was aboard. It defines clean animals essentially as ruminants, a suborder which includes about 69 recent genera, 192 recent species [Wilson & Reeder, 1993], and probably a comparable number of extinct genera and species. That is a small percentage of the total number of species, but ruminants are among the largest mammals, so their bulk is significant.

      Woodmorappe (p. 8-9) gets around the problem by citing Jewish tradition which gives only 13 domestic genera as clean. He then calculates that this would increase the total animal mass by 2-3% and decides that this amount is small enough that he can ignore it completely. However, even Jewish sources admit that this contradicts the unambiguous word of the Bible. [Steinsaltz, 1976, p. 187]

      The number and size of clean birds is small enough to disregard entirely, but the Bible at one point (Gen. 7:3) says seven of all kinds of birds were aboard.

      So, could they all fit? It is important to take the size of animals into account when considering how much space they would occupy because the greatest number of species occurs in the smallest animals. Woodmorappe performed such an analysis and came to the conclusion that the animals would take up 47% of the ark. In addition, he determines that about 10% of the ark was needed for food (compacted to take as little space as possible) and 9.4% for water (assuming no evaporation or wastage). At least 25% of the space would have been needed for corridors and bracing. Thus, increasing the quantity of animals by more than about 5% would overload the ark.

      However, Woodmorappe makes several questionable and invalid assumptions. Here’s how the points discussed above affect his analysis. Table 1 shows Woodmorappe’s analysis and some additional calculations.

      Table 1: Size analysis of animals aboard the Ark. Page numbers refer to Woodmorappe, 1996, from which the figures in the row are taken. (Minor arithmetic errors in totals are corrected.) Woodmorappe treats many animals as juveniles; “yearling” masses are masses of those animals after one year of growth. “Total mass after one year” is the maximum load which Woodmorappe allows for. Additional clean animal figures assume they are taken aboard by sevens, not seven pairs, and also assume juvenile animals.
      Log mass range (g) 0-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5 5-6 6-7 7-8
      Ave. mass (kg) (p. 13) .005 .05 .5 5 50 316 3160 31600
      # of mammals (p. 10) 466 1570 1378 1410 1462 892 246 7424
      # of birds (p. 10) 630 2272 1172 450 70 4 4598
      # of reptiles (p. 10) 642 844 688 492 396 286 270 106 3724
      total # of animals 1738 4686 3238 2352 1928 1182 516 106 15746
      Ave. yearling mass (kg) (p. 66) .005 .05 .5 5 10 100 300 1000
      Total mass after one year 8.7 234.3 1619 11760 19280 118200 154800 106000 411902
      Total mass assuming adults 8.7 234.3 1619 11760 96400 373512 1630560 3349600 5463694
      Additional clean birds 1575 5680 2930 1125 175 10 11495
      Additional ruminants (138 genera) 260 420 10 690
      Additional clean animal mass (yearling weight, kg) 8 284 1465 5625 4350 43000 3000 47600
      Collecting each species instead of each genus would increase the number of individuals three- to fourfold. The most specious groups tend to be the smaller animals, though, so the total mass would be approximately doubled or tripled.
      Collecting all land animals instead of just mammals, birds, and reptiles would have insignificant impact on the space required, since those animals, though plentiful, are so small. (The problems come when you try to care for them all.)
      Leaving off the long-extinct animals would free considerable space. Woodmorappe doesn’t say how many of the animals in his calculations are known only from fossils, but it is apparently 50-70% of them, including most of the large ones. However, since he took only juveniles of the large animals, leaving off all the dinosaurs etc. would probably not free more than 80% of the space. On the other hand, collecting all extinct animals in addition to just the known ones would increase the load by an unknown but probably substantial amount.
      Loading adults instead of juveniles as small as Woodmorappe uses would increase the load 13- to 50-fold.
      Including extra clean animals would increase the load by 1.5-3% if only the 13 traditional domestic ruminants are considered, but by 14-28% if all ruminants are considered clean.
      In conclusion, an ark of the size specified in the Bible would not be large enough to carry a cargo of animals and food sufficient to repopulate the earth, especially if animals that are now extinct were required to be aboard.

      References

      Gould, Stephen Jay, 1980. A quahog is a quahog. In The panda’s thumb, Norton, New York.

      Steinsaltz, Adin, 1976. The essential Talmud. Basic books.

      Whitcomb, J.C. Jr. & H.M. Morris, 1961. The Genesis Flood. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia PA.

      Wilson, D.E. & D.M. Reeder (eds.), 1993. Mammal species of the world. Smithsonian Institution Press. (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/)

      Woodmorappe, John, 1996. Noah’s Ark: a feasibility study. Institute for Creation Research, Santee, California.

      4. Caring for the Animals

      Special diets. Many animals, especially insects, require special diets. Koalas, for example, require eucalyptus leaves, and silkworms eat nothing but mulberry leaves. For thousands of plant species (perhaps even most plants), there is at least one animal that eats only that one kind of plant. How did Noah gather all those plants aboard, and where did he put them?

      Other animals are strict carnivores, and some of those specialize on certain kinds of foods, such as small mammals, insects, fish, or aquatic invertebrates. How did Noah determine and provide for all those special diets?

      Fresh foods. Many animals require their food to be fresh. Many snakes, for example, will eat only live foods (or at least warm and moving). Parasitoid wasps only attack living prey. Most spiders locate their prey by the vibrations it produces. [Foelix, 1996] Most herbivorous insects require fresh food. Aphids, in fact, are physically incapable of sucking from wilted leaves. How did Noah keep all these food supplies fresh?

      Food preservation/Pest control. Food spoilage is a major concern on long voyages; it was especially thus before the inventions of canning and refrigeration. The large quantities of food aboard would have invited infestations of any of hundreds of stored product pests (especially since all of those pests would have been aboard), and the humidity one would expect aboard the Ark would have provided an ideal environment for molds. How did Noah keep pests from consuming most of the food?

      Ventilation. The ark would need to be well ventilated to disperse the heat, humidity, and waste products (including methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia) from the many thousands of animals which were crowded aboard. Woodmorappe (pp. 37-42) interprets Genesis 6:16 to mean there was an 18-inch opening all around the top, and says that this, with slight breezes, would have been enough to provide adequate ventilation. However, the ark was divided into separate rooms and decks (Gen. 6:14,16). How was fresh air circulated throughout the structure?

      Sanitation. The ungulates alone would have produced tons of manure a day. The waste on the lowest deck at least (and possibly the middle deck) could not simply be pushed overboard, since the deck was below the water line; the waste would have to be carried up a deck or two. Vermin composting could reduce the rate of waste accumulation, but it requires maintenance of its own. How did such a small crew dispose of so much waste?

      Exercise/Animal handling. The animals aboard the ark would have been in very poor shape unless they got regular exercise. (Imagine if you had to stay in an area the size of a closet for a year.) How were several thousand diverse kinds of animals exercised regularly?

      Manpower for feeding, watering, etc. How did a crew of eight manage a menagerie larger and more diverse than that found in zoos requiring many times that many employees? Woodmorappe claims that eight people could care for 16000 animals, but he makes many unrealistic and invalid assumptions. Here are a few things he didn’t take into account:

      Feeding the animals would take much longer if the food was in containers to protect it from pests.
      Many animals would have to be hand-fed.
      Watering several animals at once via troughs would not work aboard a ship. The water would be sloshed out by the ship’s roll.
      Many animals, in such an artificial environment, would have required additional special care. For example, all of the hoofed animals would need to have their hooves trimmed several times during the year. [Batten, 1976, pp. 39-42]
      Not all manure could be simply pushed overboard; a third of it at least would have to be carried up at least one deck.
      Corpses of the dead animals would have to be removed regularly.
      Animals can’t be expected to run laps and return to their cages without a lot of human supervision.
      References

      Batten, R. Peter, 1976. Living trophies. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York.

      Foelix, Rainer F., 1996. The biology of spiders, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, New York. Chpt. 6.

      Woodmorappe, John, 1996. Noah’s Ark: a feasibility study. Institute for Creation Research, Santee, California.

      5. The Flood Itself

      Where did the Flood water come from, and where did it go? Several people have proposed answers to these questions, but none which consider all the implications of their models. A few of the commonly cited models are addressed below.

      Vapor canopy. This model, proposed by Whitcomb & Morris and others, proposes that much of the Flood water was suspended overhead until the 40 days of rain which caused the Flood. The following objections are covered in more detail by Brown.

      How was the water suspended, and what caused it to fall all at once when it did?
      If a canopy holding the equivalent to more than 40 feet of water were part of the atmosphere, it would raise the atmospheric pressure accordingly, raising oxygen and nitrogen levels to toxic levels.
      If the canopy began as vapor, any water from it would be super-heated. This scenario essentially starts with most of the Flood waters boiled off. Noah and company would be poached. If the water began as ice in orbit, the gravitational potential energy would likewise raise the temperature past boiling.
      A canopy of any significant thickness would have blocked a great deal of light, lowering the temperature of the earth greatly before the Flood.
      Any water above the ozone layer would not be shielded from ultraviolet light, and the light would break apart the water molecules.
      Hydro plate. Walt Brown’s model proposes that the Flood waters came from a layer of water about ten miles underground, which was released by a catastrophic rupture of the earth’s crust, shot above the atmosphere, and fell as rain.

      How was the water contained? Rock, at least the rock which makes up the earth’s crust, doesn’t float. The water would have been forced to the surface long before Noah’s time, or Adam’s time for that matter.
      Even a mile deep, the earth is boiling hot, and thus the reservoir of water would be super-heated. Further heat would be added by the energy of the water falling from above the atmosphere. As with the vapor canopy model, Noah would have been poached.
      Where is the evidence? The escaping waters would have eroded the sides of the fissures, producing poorly sorted basaltic erosion deposits. These would be concentrated mainly near the fissures, but some would be shot thousands of miles along with the water. (Noah would have had to worry about falling rocks along with the rain.) Such deposits would be quite noticeable but have never been seen.
      Comet. Kent Hovind proposed that the Flood water came from a comet which broke up and fell on the earth. Again, this has the problem of the heat from the gravitational potential energy. The water would be steam by the time it reached the surface of the earth.

      Runaway subduction. John Baumgardner created the runaway subduction model, which proposes that the pre-Flood lithosphere (ocean floor), being denser than the underlying mantle, began sinking. The heat released in the process decreased the viscosity of the mantle, so the process accelerated catastrophically. All the original lithosphere became subducted; the rising magma which replaced it raised the ocean floor, causing sea levels to rise and boiling off enough of the ocean to cause 150 days of rain. When it cooled, the ocean floor lowered again, and the Flood waters receded. Sedimentary mountains such as the Sierras and Andes rose after the Flood by ISO-static rebound. [Baumgardner, 1990a; Austin et al., 1994]

      The main difficulty of this theory is that it admittedly doesn’t work without miracles. [Baumgardner, 1990a, 1990b] The thermal diffusion of the earth, for example, would have to increase 10,000 fold to get the subduction rates proposed [Matsumura, 1997], and miracles are also necessary to cool the new ocean floor and to raise sedimentary mountains in months rather than in the millions of years it would ordinarily take.
      Baumgardner estimates a release of 1028 joules from the subduction process. This is more than enough to boil off all the oceans. In addition, Baumgardner postulates that the mantle was much hotter before the Flood (giving it greater viscosity); that heat would have to go somewhere, too.
      Cenozoic sediments are post-Flood according to this model. Yet fossils from Cenozoic sediments alone show a 65-million-year record of evolution, including a great deal of the diversification of mammals and angiosperms. [Carroll, 1997, chpts. 5, 6, & 13]
      Subduction on the scale Baumgardner proposes would have produced very much more vulcanization around plate boundaries than we see. [Matsumura, 1997]
      New ocean basins. Most flood models (including those above, possibly excepting Hovind’s) deal with the water after the flood by proposing that it became our present oceans. The earth’s terrain, according to this model, was much, much flatter during the Flood, and through cataclysms, the mountains were pushed up and the ocean basins lowered. (Brown proposes that the cataclysms were caused by the crust sliding around on a cushion of water; Whitcomb & Morris don’t give a cause.)

      How could such a change be effected? To change the density and/or temperature of at least a quarter of the earth’s crust fast enough to raise and lower the ocean floor in a matter of months would require mechanisms beyond any proposed in any of the flood models.
      Why are most sediments on high ground? Most sediments are carried until the water slows down or stops. If the water stopped in the oceans, we should expect more sediments there. Baumgardner’s own modeling shows that, during the Flood, currents would be faster over continents than over ocean basins [Baumgardner, 1994], so sediments should, on the whole, be removed from continents and deposited in ocean basins. Yet sediments on the ocean basin average 0.6 km thick, while on continents (including continental shelves), they average 2.6 km thick. [Poldervaart, 1955]
      Where’s the evidence? The water draining from the continents would have produced tremendous torrents. There is evidence of similar flooding in the Scab Lands of Washington state (from the draining of a lake after the breaking of an ice dam) and on the far western floor of the Mediterranean Sea (from the ocean breaking through the Straits of Gibralter). Why is such evidence not found worldwide?
      How did the ark survive the process? Such a wholesale restructuring of the earth’s topography, compressed into just a few months, would have produced tsunamis large enough to circle the earth. The aftershocks alone would have been devastating for years afterwards.
      References

      Austin, Steven A., John R. Baumgardner, D. Russell Humphreys, Andrew A. Snelling, Larry Vardiman, & Kurt P. Wise, 1994. Catastrophic plate tectonics: a global flood model of earth history. Proceedings of the third international conference on creationism, technical symposium sessions, pp. 609-621.

      Brown, Walt, 1997. In the beginning: compelling evidence for creation and the Flood. ( http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook)

      Baumgardner, John R., 1990a. Changes accompanying Noah’s Flood. Proceedings of the second international conference on creationism, vol. II, pp. 35-45.

      Baumgardner, John R., 1990b. The imparative of non-stationary natural law in relation to Noah’s Flood. Creation Research Society Quarterly 27(3): 98-100.

      Baumgardner, John R., 1994. Patterns of ocean circulation over the continents during Noah’s Flood. Proceedings of the third international conference on creationism, technical symposium sessions, pp. 77-86.

      Carroll, Robert L., 1997. Patterns and processes of vertebrate evolution, Cambridge University Press.

      Matsumura, Molleen, 1997. Miracles in, creationism out: “The geophysics of God”. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 17(3): 29-32.

      Poldervaart, Arie, 1955. Chemistry of the earth’s crust. pp. 119-144 In: Poldervaart, A., ed., Crust of the Earth, Geological Society of America Special Paper 62, Waverly Press, MD.

      Whitcomb, J.C. Jr. & H.M. Morris, 1961. The Genesis Flood. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia PA.

      6. Implications of a Flood

      A global flood would have produced evidence contrary to the evidence we see.

      How do you explain the relative ages of mountains? For example, why weren’t the Sierra Nevadas eroded as much as the Appalachians during the Flood?

      Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. [Johnsen et al, 1992,; Alley et al, 1993] A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. Why doesn’t such evidence show up?

      How are the polar ice caps even possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn’t regrow quickly. In fact, the Greenland ice cap would not regrow under modern (last 10 ky) climatic conditions.

      Why did the Flood not leave traces on the sea floors? A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1) an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2) different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift in oxygen isotope ratios (rain has a different isotopic composition from seawater), (4) a massive extinction, and (n) other characters. Why do none of these show up?

      Why is there no evidence of a flood in tree ring dating? Tree ring records go back more than 10,000 years, with no evidence of a catastrophe during that time. [Becker & Kromer, 1993; Becker et al, 1991; Stuiver et al, 1986]

      References

      Alley, R. B., D. A. Meese, C. A. Shuman, A. J. Gow, K.C. Taylor, P. M. Grootes, J. W. C. White, M. Ram, E. W. Waddington, P. A. Mayewski, & G. A. Zielinski, 1993. Abrupt increase in Greenland snow accumulation at the end of the Younger Dryas event. Nature 362: 527-529.

      Becker, B. & Kromer, B., 1993. The continental tree-ring record – absolute chronology, C-14 calibration and climatic-change at 11 KA. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 103 (1-2): 67-71.

      Becker, B., Kromer, B. & Trimborn, P., 1991. A stable-isotope tree-ring timescale of the late glacial Holocene boundary. Nature 353 (6345): 647-649.

      Johnsen, S. J., H. B. Clausen, W. Dansgaard, K. Fuhrer, N. Gundestrap, C. U. Hammer, P. Iversen, J. Jouzel, B. Stauffer, & J. P. Steffensen, 1992. Irregular glacial interstadials recorded in a new Greenland ice core. Nature 359: 311-313.

      Stuiver, Minze, et al, 1986. Radiocarbon age calibration back to 13,300 years BP and the 14 C age matching of the German Oak and US bristlecone pine chronologies. IN: Calibration issue / Stuiver, Minze, et al., Radiocarbon 28(2B): 969-979.

      So again, the evidence is out there and the sources have been noted to my research!

      • Great job David R. – thank you for your research Recently in a conversation a woman stated / questioned: Why would you waste a time thinking about this? Humor. also maybe one in a thousand “nose up the crack of a bible” will re- evaluate: Sons, animal or man should not have offspring with their Mothers or sisters, Fathers, daughters included, because this will cause birth defects.It takes me a few seconds type a few common sense thoughts. My Mother wanted me to be a minister and would have said “speak the truth” (this is one of those moments)

        • David R. Carpenter says:

          Thanks gliderpilotlee, I went to a catholic school and my parents and grandparents wanted me to become a priest in my early years when I studied theology and religious study as well as many other subjects that I majored in. However, through the course of time, research and the search for the “Truth” I found that i had difficulty turning the other cheek!”

    • David R. Carpenter says:

      Mr. gliderpilotlee,
      I just had to comment on the response by edenrock as to your response to Matt’s post. edenrock wishes for you and others who object to the views of Matt and himself to want you to bet on Pascal’s Wager thinking that it is the foundation to their argument(s) So for your review (and others), I give you my rebuttal to this argument.

      There are some individuals who believe that dropping a seemingly sophisticated sounding idea from a 17th-century French philosopher is sufficient to win a debate. –

      Since it was originally published in 1670, Pascal’s Wager has remained a tool in the Christian apologist’s and evangelist’s tool belt. In its modern form, the Wager is most often proposed to skeptics and non-believers in the form of the question, “What if you’re wrong there is any number of acute responses to such a question, but the question leaves behind the bulk of Pascal’s largely rational argument that appeals to pathos through the implication of eternal punishment. Even so, Pascal’s logic becomes less and less persuasive as we move beyond the sphere of exclusively Roman Catholic doctrines. When one comes to realize the sheer number of gods, goddesses, religions, and sects that have existed as well as the many arbitrary (and, as it happens, contradictory) claims Pascal indirectly makes about the nature of God, the wager is quickly reduced to absurdity.
      Before evaluating its relevance any further, I will outline Pascal’s argument as he makes it in Pensées. He opens with the assumption that God is infinite, saying, “We know that there is an infinite, but do not know its nature, just as we know it to be false that numbers are finite” (107). The use of the system of numbers as an example of something that is unknowably infinite confirms Pascal’s background as a mathematician and his argument’s rationality. Pascal’s only answer as to how we might go about learning the nature of something infinite, like God, comes when he says, “In glory we shall know his nature” (107). What exactly this means remains unclear. We could take “in glory” to mean that the nature of God cannot be known until we receive glory in the afterlife, but Pascal fails to elaborate on what he means with the word “glory,” and proceeds to construct his argument on the assumption that we cannot know the nature of God.
      Pascal goes on to assert that he’s dealing exclusively with the Christian God when he says, “If there is a God he is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, he bears no relation to us […] who will then blame Christians for not being able to give rational grounds for their belief, they who profess a religion for which they cannot give rational grounds?” (107). This attempt to absolve Christians, like Descartes, for failing to provide rational arguments in favor of their God’s existence seems initially in contradiction with Pascal’s rational purposes. However, it is here that he makes a distinction between himself and rationalists like Descartes. Pascal asserts that God is “infinitely incomprehensible,” and that no rational argument will ever serve to prove the existence of a being so all-encompassing and large. Instead of trying to directly prove God’s existence through reason, Pascal is merely trying to prove why it is more rational to believe in him rather than not believe in him.
      The actual Wager statement, which I have just alluded to, comes later when Pascal says, “There is an infinite chaos that separates us [from the possibility of God’s existence]. At the extremity of this infinite distance, a game is being played in which heads or tails will turn up. How will you wager?” (107). Why he uses the metaphor of a game, I do not quite understand. It adds a bit frivolity to a topic that I would think Pascal took quite seriously. In any case, the game becomes a bit more serious when Pascal goes on to say, “you must wager. It is not optional. You are committed” (107). The wager, according to Pascal, is obligatory—or, as William James puts it, a “forced option” (70). We must know where we stand in regards to the Christian God’s existence—the choices being either he exists or he doesn’t. For Pascal, “If you win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that he exists!” (107). its must be noted that this appraisal of the Wager implies the existence of at least a sort of eternal life (for all intents and purposes, the Christian heaven). If God exists and you believe, you will gain eternal life. If you wager and he doesn’t exist, you’ve still wagered in the rational direction and lose comparatively little. The reason for this is, “All bets are off wherever there is infinity and wherever there are not an infinite number of chances of losing against the chance of winning” (108). Since we stand to gain infinite rewards by wagering one way and only lose a finite life by wagering the other, we should always wager that God exists. I say, “Lose a finite life” because to center my life on the worship and propitiation of a deity that doesn’t exist would be to waste the only life I have in spiritual fantasy. Pascal admits that there is some uncertainty in the Wager (as far as chances of losing), but summarily dismisses its significance. Since the existence of God is not provable by reason, there is as much chance of winning as losing. However, the scale still tips in the belief direction when we consider that “the chances of winning are even, and the infinite is to be won” (108).
      Pascal ends his discussion of the Wager by informing skeptics who’ve decided to wager on belief what they should do next. To those who are “made in such a way that [they] cannot believe,” he says, “realize that your inability to believe comes from your passions, since reason brings you to this and yet you cannot believe” (108). This reaffirms that Pascal’s enterprise is a rational one, despite his differences with philosophers like Descartes. It also presumes that people who still cannot believe are in some sort of emotional rebellion against belief in God, and have no way of arguing their way out of the Wager. Pascal ultimately suggests that such skeptics follow in the footsteps of their fellows who “acted as if they believed, took holy water, had masses, etc. This will make you believe naturally and mechanically” (108). He assumes that genuine belief will come if we simply take part in religious practices enough, which is a psychologically sound assertion. The “Mere-Exposure Effect,” occurs when we start to like someone/something simply is being exposed to it frequently. It is this effect, in combination with infantile and childhood impressionability, that inculcates religious belief in the first place.
      One of the obvious problems with Pascal’s argument—in this case, the preface before the Wager—is that it’s premised on supernatural claims supported by no evidence. Pascal claims that, because we know there is such a thing as infinity, there must also be an infinite God. This is a non-sequitr. The fact that we are able to conceive of something that has no end (some might even debate this), does not lead to the conclusion that there is a transcendent being who also is infinite. Positing a deity—and specifically a Christian deity—seems rather arbitrary.
      The fact that Pascal suggests that belief in the Christian God is a “forced option,” also poses problems for his argument. We now know that millions of people never hear of the Christian God at all, and are therefore incapable of professing belief in him. William James, himself a proponent of our ability to voluntarily adopt religious faith, offers a similar argument against the Wager in his essay, “The Will to Believe.” He says, “Certainly no Turk ever took to masses and holy water on [the Wager’s] account; and even to us Protestants these means of salvation seem such forgone impossibilities that Pascal’s logic, invoked for them specifically, leaves us unmoved” (73). Belief in Pascal’s proposed God is simply not a “living option” for those who happened to be brought up in a different religious tradition or none, simply because they are unaware of his God (73). I, however, would go a bit farther than James and say that belief in a god or gods of any sort is not a forced or living option. Many children are now brought up in entirely secular homes where they either remain unacquainted with the various Gods or learn about them all and thereby come to disbelieve them all. For such people, Pascal’s Wager is neither a living option—they are either unacquainted with his God or doubt that he exists—nor a forced option—there being nearly unlimited alternatives.
      The sheer number of alternative Gods and religions that have existed is currently one of the most common ways of challenging Pascal’s Wager. Skeptics, being aware of the mutual exclusivity of many religions and their tendency to fight among themselves over minor theological points, see that the Wager’s odds drastically change if we take this into account. Richard Dawkins uses this argument in his book, The God Delusion, when he says, “Mightn’t Pascal have been better off wagering on no god at all rather than on the wrong god? Indeed, doesn’t the sheer number of potential gods and goddesses on whom one might bet vitiate Pascal’s whole logic?” (131). Instead of just one God, we all of a sudden have thousands of choices. They can’t all exist; given that they all claim to be the one true God or Gods, and what if we happen to pick the wrong one?
      In opposition to this, I have heard it argued that, in an infinite universe, all gods could exist and the ones that claim infinite supremacy could all be different manifestations of the same. However, this does nothing to solve the problem for the Wager. If the universe truly is infinite and we assume all gods exist out there somewhere, the floodgates of superstition are thrown open to their greatest extent. Why not also assert that all gods imagined in works of fiction and every personal God ever made up by human beings is also out there somewhere? Why don’t we all just believe whatever we want about God and the nature of the universe, since all could possibly exist? I daresay I don’t need to explain how fatal such an idea is to rational inquiry. As to why all gods that claim to be infinite could not all is manifestations of the same, look no further than the three major monotheism. The Christian God has a Son in whom the faithful must believe in order to receive eternal life. The Muslim God, Allah, clearly states that he has no son and that to assert anything to the contrary is punishable by eternal torment. The Jewish God, Yahweh, rejects both of these and apparently has yet to send his true messiah. These are some of the central claims of the three monotheism and already we have insurmountable differences that indicate very different Gods. This is why I, like Dawkins and many others, find the number of different gods and religions to be a fatal counterpoint to the Wager.
      Another common critique of the Wager is the manner in which Pascal has written it. The very idea of belief in God as a wager implies that he’s rather impotent, and unable to win belief from his creations other than through cruel existential games. In addition, simply look at the diction when he says, “If you win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then without hesitation that he exists!” (107). It sounds oddly like the sort of language a used car salesman would throw at you, only on a divine scale. Why does belief in an infinite being need to be sold in this manner? I think Christopher Hitchens puts it well in God is Not Great, when he says that the “degeneration” of belief in God “into a mere bargain was made unpleasantly obvious by Blaise Pascal, whose theology is not short of sordid. His celebrated ‘wager’ puts it in hucksterish form: What have you got to lose?” (211). A God that needs to be sold like a good or service cannot be very omnipotent and appears to be content with belief based solely on opportunistic self-interest.
      If the Pascal’s God accepts half-hearted mechanical attempts to achieve belief, as Pascal says he does, then he cannot be omniscient. Dawkins bolsters this point in his book when he says, “I can decide to go to church and I can decide to recite the Nicene Creed, and I can decide to swear on a stack of bibles that I believe every word inside them. But none of that can make me actually believe if I don’t. Pascal’s Wager could only ever be an argument for feigning belief in God” (130). Wouldn’t an omniscient God see through such vain attempts truly believe in his existence? If he did and still accepted them, he must be rather base and cruel to proceed to condemn all those who prefer intellectual honesty and remain skeptics.
      Greg Janzen, in his essay “Pascal’s Wager and the Nature of God,” bases his entire argument on the exclusivity of God’s offer of salvation. For the moment, let’s forget that Pascal dresses up his argument like a salesman and, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the multiplicity of Gods and religions has no bearing on the Wager. Even now, the Wager remains an absurd proposition. According to Janzen, “The following is an explicit assumption in Pascal’s argument: Believing in God is a necessary condition for salvation” (334). Since God is an infinite being who possesses all knowledge, if he makes a single irrational stipulation, we can assume that he is irrational. Now, imagine that there’s an individual who does not believe in God simply because he is simply unaware of God’s existence. According to the Wager, this individual would be denied eternal life. As Janzen says, “Since his unbelief is not a result of malice or vice, there is, it would seem, no good reason for [God] to deny him the reward. But since he does deny him the reward, he is irrational” (335). If God wasn’t infinite and all knowing, we might forgive the occasional occurrence of irrationality. However, this is not the sort of god that Pascal argues for.
      Janzen goes on to say, “if God is irrational, then refraining from engaging in such [religious] practices is the only rational option, since even if one engages in such practices and generates the intended belief, the result is unpredictable even if God exists” (337). An irrational God could do anything to you, whether you believe in him or not. He could grant you eternal life, deny it, turn you into a cow bung, or give you a lollipop. As Janzen says, “Once the net of rational judgment is lowered, anything goes; and if anything goes, then, well, anything goes. God’s irrationality effectively reduces Pascal’s Wager to absurdity” (338). This is after having granted both that God exists and that the plethora of deities’ humanity has created over the years are irrelevant.
      So, “what if [I’m] wrong?” Well, the chances of that are statistically quite small. When speaking of eternal, transcendent, or divine things, pretty much anything goes. Positing the Roman Catholic God as the one true God is a rather arbitrary claim that Pascal offers in spite of the thousands of gods and religions that compete with his. When we add them to the Wager’s probability equation, the odds all of sudden favor skepticism. Even if this weren’t the case, the fact that Pascal’s God requires belief in order to bestow salvation allows us to deem him irrational—since he denies salvation to reasonable skeptics for no rational reason. Therefore, I think Bertrand Russell’s answer, when asked what he would say if he met his Christian maker, remains the most rational one: “Oh God, you did not give us enough evidence” (as cited in Hitchens 211).
      So, let’s continue to assume that I’ve hypothetically bought into the logic of Pascal’s Wager. How should this same logic extend into other areas of my life? Well, here’ an interesting hypothetical example. Let’s suppose someone handed me a napkin with the following words written on it: “If you don’t hand over your savings account to me, you will spend an eternity in hell.” Somewhat befuddled, I decide to think deeply about this predicament. On the one hand, my gut intuition is that this person that handed me the napkin is full of shit. On the other hand, they could be right. In fact, I have no way to disprove their claim using my reason, much in the same way that I can’t disprove that a fickle God exists. I can think it’s highly unlikely, sure, but I really can’t formally disprove it. According to Pascal’s wisdom, I should cut this person a check and save myself from the slim possibility that I may be sentenced to eternal damnation for my failure to comply.
      I’m willing to take the risk that God, if he exists, isn’t this cruel. If you don’t agree and believe in Pascal’s logic, then please hand over your savings account to me or you will spend an eternity in hell (Of course, I’m joking for effect).
      Works Cited
      Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.
      Hitchens, Christopher. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve Hachette Book Group, 2009. Print.
      James, William. “The Will to Believe.” Pragmatism: A Reader. Ed. Louis Menand. New York: Vintage, 1997. 69-92. Print.
      Janzen, Greg. “Pascal’s Wager and the Nature of God.” Sophia: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics 50.3 (2011): 331-344. Philosopher’s Index. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.
      Pascal, Blaise. “Pensées, the Wager.” Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources. Ed. Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2009. 106-09. Print.

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